The nurse holds up my first child, “It’s a boy!” Raymond Lewis Hines, III. What a moniker for such an innocent little tyke, but again I follow the “Father Knows Best” '50s crowd and my husband’s request, naming son after father after grandfather.
“He’s beautiful. Perfect.” She says. I’ve missed the miracle. I smile stupidly, still out of it. Too many miracle drugs.
Next thing I know I’m in my room, the nurse is shaking me and dropping a bundle into my arms. I’ve opted to breastfeed, and have slept off enough of the drugs to focus. I see a lovely pink bald head, intense blue eyes, perfectly formed ears. Will they be able to channel sound? All I want to do is rip off the swaddling, and explore him all over, but before I can check every inch of him he begins to whimper. I fumble about while the nurse makes gooing sounds trying to situate the baby’s already sucking mouth somewhere close to my breast.
“Don’t worry. This is just a dry run, your milk isn’t in yet,” she says as she leaves me finally alone with my son.
I gaze at this wonder resting in my arms as the heat from his body seeps into mine both of us remembering that safe inner cavern from which he’s been expelled. I try to forget the past, those agonizing months of worrying about birthing a defective baby; and the future, and begin to relax in the moment. He knows nothing but. It works and I lose track of time. I touch, squeeze, explore this little extension of myself, unswaddling him bit by bit. He’s perfect. I can’t explain the communion of our two bodies, souls, whatever that I feel. We are joined. It is the most intense and comforting experience of my 24-year life.
We both are rudely awakened to cries of the nurse, “Thank God. He’s here!”
“What?” I jerk us both awake.
“The baby. We’d lost one in the nursery.”
I don’t get it. “Huh?’
“You’re the only nursing mother of the dozen babies in here. We forgot he was with you.”