This is being written from her room at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, our home for the past five nights as we’ve tried to get our little dynamo to gain some weight.
Concerns of money, career and the nuisances of daily life have melted into a world where getting Marley to drink 3 ounces of formula sparks a fist-pumping victory dance.
Mid-morning, the parade starts, visiting family members and doctors, nurses, medical students and specialists streaming in and out, with Mom alternating between chief baby entertainer and griller of medical professionals.
It seems to take 50 hospital employees and family members to keep up with 14 pounds of toddler, and since most of us seem more tired than she is by the end of the day, maybe that is not enough.
Evening-time, and we make laps around the 6th floor. Everyone knows the name “Marley,” as she whips her head from the left to right as we walk, wanting to make eye contact with every patient being wheeled past, every weary-looking parent. many of whom have far less simple concerns than getting a kid to eat, and every gown-wearing or clipboard-toting staffer. A scrunchy-nosed, two teeth-bearing grin always follows, then a reciprocating smile and comment about the little girl who’s happy all the time.
Nighttime, it’s just Marley and Dad, head on shoulder in the rocking chair, looking up with a tired smile and yawn, droopy eyelids fighting to stay open. Dad in a darkened room, watching her crib as Marley randomly picks her head up from a sound sleep for just a moment, flashes that big smile in his direction, and puts her head back down and closes her eyes.
With all the tests coming back OK, and Marley putting on the pounds, tomorrow, maybe, we go home.