I was going to post my most recent newspaper column here but realize it’s old news. I discussed how much I identified with my younger daughter as she progressed through her first labor. Hers was so like mine—endlessly long and ultimately unproductive. We both needed cesareans. Both baby boys were quiet at birth.
I had trouble keeping our narratives separate, staying positive for her, trying not to let my story bleed into hers. My infant son was whisked away in an ambulance to a major hospital and died six weeks later in open heart surgery.
Her son Lucien went home from the hospital with his parents, in his deluxe car seat.
Lucien is now a chubby three-month-old. When I smile at him, he grins back. When I’m changing him and put his feet in his mouth, he laughs. He coos and chatters in his own magical language. When I bathe him, he splashes in the water. When I put him on his tummy, he pushes his upper body up with his chunky arms, like he’s doing the cobra pose in yoga.
All these things Malcolm never did.
I can hold Lucien against my shoulder, thump on his sturdy little back, and listen for his big burps.
Sometimes, when he’s sleepy, Lucien relaxes against my chest. I feel his warm heft and listen to his soft steady breathing in my ear. There is no grunting. No sweating. And there are no meds, no tubes, no beeping instruments, no charts.
Just a tired little grandson in my arms, drifting off to dream his future into being.