Though my hands were tied to the table, the delivery team brought my son close to my face. I kissed his healthy cheeks and nuzzled his nose.
In his bed in my hospital room he raised his head up and looked around at his family, his sister, his daddy, his mom and bobbed his head like a turtle. He quickly obtained several nicknames - hoss and moose - were a few. Joey likes to say he came out smoking a cigar.
Then, the unthinkable happened. He wasn't breathing right after his circumcision. With a panting baby in my arms, I called for the night nurse. "He wasn't breathing like this before." She tried to check his respiratory rate, but she couldn't be accurate. I asked her to find someone else. The lead nurse in the nursery came in and took my son.
His CBC noted a white count over eighteen thousand. His respiratory rate dangerously high led to an oxygen count unusually low. He had suffered a spontaneous pneumo-thorax, a hole in his lung and later we learned he had a good case of pneumonia. I knew instantaneously when they told me his white count, that he wasn't going to come home with me.
He spent a week in the NICU alongside babies that were a fraction of his size. We would reach into the incubator and he would grab our fingers with great determination. Once I was able to hold him again, he would root with intensity into my neck or up against my chest. This boy knew where he belonged. Modern medicine and great care allowed him to come home with me 7 days later. It was a long 7 days.
He's 17 today and pushing six feet four inches. He still knows to whom he belongs and if I can catch the alignment of the universe just right, he will still grab me, pull me in close and nuzzle his head against my neck Ironically, when he comes in late at night to tell me he is home, he places his face close to mine just like the nurses did the night he was born.
For sixteen years, Taylor was his light, his guide; now his strength, his sense of self, his confidence in to whom he belongs - is mine. There was nothing better than the sound of their laughter and my heart broke this morning when I saw his post -
"Hey Tay - I'm 17 today. Miss you like crazy. I"m a couple
inches taller too! You're the gift I always treasured
Today was harder than Christmas. Yet, Wade never fails to square his shoulder and laugh boldly. Though he misses her daily, he never fails to find his joy.
He had a good day. He was loved by many and the sisters that she left behind sent him love and mess - and I am thankful. We were and are so blessed.