Indy's Child would like to congratulate our mom blogger, Katrina Willis, on being awarded a finalist for the Notes & Words essay contest.
Katrina is a wonderful person and we are so excited for her award!
Submissions were asked to be a personal essay about the challenges of caring for a child, including medical issues or emotional crises or any one of the more common parenting dramas. The first prize winner will be awarded with one-on-one phone consultations with a senior editor at Random House/Ballantine, a top literary agent at ICM, the executive editor of O Magazine, as well as introductions to New York Times bestselling authors and more.
With a mop of red curls leading the charge, Augustus Charles Willis entered the world on a bitterly cold February morning in 1999. He arrived via c-section and was awarded an APGAR score of nine. (Nine!) I imagined the judges holding up their numbered signs.
And then his oxygen saturation levels began to drop. Less than 24 hours after his championship performance, he was being rushed by ambulance to St. Vincent's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"Where my baby?" asked his two-year-old brother, Sam. "Where my baby Gus?" Chris and I did not have a good answer. Our baby Gus was in a strange and foreign land, one that we would reluctantly adopt as our new home.
"He's with the good doctors," I explained to Sam as I held him closely, felt the butterfly beating of his small, strong heart. "They're making him better."
Moving through the NICU was like swimming in snow boots. Travel was slow and breathing did not come easily. The dark, hushed silence of a room full of critically ill babies teetering precariously between life and death was surreal at best, tragic and terrifying at worst.
And then there was Gus. Our plump, seven-pound elf, on his back, eyes closed, still and silent, enveloped by tubes, and sleeping unnaturally to the sounds of beeping machines. His blood-stained chest vibrated with frightening speed as the oscillating ventilator delivered tiny puffs of air to his weak, damaged lungs. If you looked beyond the bandages and the wires – and I could not look beyond the bandages and wires – he was perfect. His fingers and toes were long and lean, his legs chubby.
"What went wrong?" I asked Chris.
"What went wrong?" we asked the neonatologists.
And even they couldn't give us a solid answer. We'd often see them standing at his bedside, hands on hips, shaking their heads. He was a mystery, our boy. A medical conundrum...
To read Katrina's entire submission visit her blog at IndysChild.com. By the time this issue is printed we will know if Katrina has won. We are proud of her!
Wishing all of our Indy's Child readers a Happy Mother's Day this May!