Abraham was born at 28 weeks into my pregnancy. As you can imagine, being born that early has its difficulties for someone so small. Abraham, Moses and many preemies often struggle with breathing issues because of premature lung function. Many times they forget to breathe called apnea which leads to Bradycardia (slowing of the heart rate). These apnea and bradys are more common when babies are sleeping.
Both Abraham and Moses had many Apnea/Brady episodes. They were hooked to machines that went off REALLY loudly to let the nurses and us know that they needed help. At the beginning we would rub their backs or flick their feet to get them to "wake up". As Abraham was there longer, the nurses allowed him to bring himself back to breathing, which he did as his lungs and the breathing became more mature. Amazingly, he never had to be ventilated. He used the CPAP machines to help them to breathe well.
As I spent those 51 days in the NICU, I can distinctly remember watching their breathing - their backs/bellies rise and fall with their breaths. I would put my hands on them and feel the rise and fall as well. Those moments spent with them are ones that I hold close to my heart. It was (and still is) a precious sight to me.
When Abraham came home from the hospital, I woke up often during the night and slipped into his room to lay my hands on him to make sure he was breathing. (We didn't have to come home with any machines, which freaked us out a bit!) I would sit on the floor and watch him through the slats of the crib - breathing - up, down, up, down.
I don't think that I'll ever get used to not checking on him. Those days in the NICU are still fresh in my memory bank. And those nights after he came home were just yesterday. Last night I went in and put my hand on his back, a back that my hand no longer covers... to feel him breathing - up, down, up, down. I sat down with my sweet boy and watched his face as he slept, breathing - up, down, up, down.
I think that even when he is 15 years old and taller than me - I will still watch him sleep.
That is my baby of course!