His weight is warm and comforting in my arms, and again my heart feels that so familiar pang of joy. I get to hold my baby boy. I get to. And today, his second birthday, I marvel at this privilege for the millionth time. This 2 year old gift we did nothing to deserve. This child we were told we might loose.
I think back two years ago… The look in her eyes is one I will never forget. Only her lips smiled politely as she placed the dopler back in its nesting hook and told us that the Doctor would be in to review the ultra sound with us. In each of my pregnancies before we’d been ushered back into the appointment room. This time I was asked if I needed to use the restroom and politely told to wait on the ultrasound table. I still feel the chill of those doctor’s words as we were shown fuzzy ultrasound images that afternoon.
The second ultrasound, a much more high tech one located in a specialty clinic, confirmed that doctor’s suspicions. We were set up with a genetic counselor and advised to have an amniocentesis done. We were told our tiny son had a 1 in 5 chance of surviving birth. That from what they’d seen in the ultrasounds the odds were not very good ones. That it was likely one of two things. That we should be praying for the chance of survival in the lesser of the two.
Tests done and more ultrasounds later, we were told of our miracle over the phone. They didn’t know why he had the markers they spotted in the ultrasounds, but for whatever reason, the deformities were not life-threatening, for him. His chromosomes are clear of extras and dangers. They were cautious still, worried about a deformity of his umbilical chord, prescribed weekly testing and ultrasounds and post-natal follow ups for his kidney.
And when he is born, ten days early, carefully monitored, and 2 hours and 45 minutes after the doctor started pitocin: when he is all purple and slippery on the bed in front of me, having come into this world before the doctor could get to the room and before the nurses could prepare for him, before I could take anything for the pain of it: time pauses for this briefest glimpse. This tiny shivering life before me. This miracle. I can hardly take it in.
We have friends who have welcomed their babies into the world to say good bye. We know friends and family members who live between doctors and therapies, their babies born with extra challenges and struggles. We have stood over caskets and comforted loved one, marveled at progress and counted developmental stages finally reached by young ones struggling for more normal health.
Yet, here we are. Our son turns 2, full of life. Full of health and living and laughing and pushing limits and buttons and spreading patience thin. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t think about these things, when I don’t pause, overcome by the immensity of our gift. We did nothing to deserve this mercy pass, this escape from grief for ones so young.
And I scoop up my laughing toddler, nuzzling his chubby neck, breathing in his air, his joy. I simply cannot take this precious gift for granted. Having stood on that ledge of daunting possibilities, looking over the edge of our son’s future unknown, knowing those who have lost – I can’t forget. That feeling, that fear, that grieving, that unimagined relief at such a humbling miracle. All that is encapsulated in this word, miracle.
Joshua Iason Noah – “My God is mighty to save”, “Gifted of life”
Gifts we enjoy from these two years past: his ear piercing scream of joy or anger, his wild belly laugh, his smart capricious blue eyes, his aim and love for throwing, his voice and smart little words, his wet kisses and suffocating bear hugs, his love of pizza and treats, his adoration of his big brother and his smitten love for his big sister, his dance, his walk, the way he snuggles right in at night, his large head that often gets used and a weapon – much to his delight, his “pleases” and his “thank you’s” and his “I love you’s” too, his tough guy stride and tackle, his blanket – the one he picked out at the store when he was 8 months old, his Coca Monkey that makes all things right, his “nokia” and “Momia” and “Dadia” and “Mikey-a” and “potty-a” and “puppy-a” and “Nonia” and “Elie-a”… and so much more.