This I believe for certain; that babies are meant to stay safely tucked away in their mother’s womb, cocooned in comfort, until their eagerly anticipated due date arrives. I witnessed that when they do arrive early, as my firstborn son did that fateful day in December, they have to struggle mightily to survive. I believe that an army of specialists, doctors, nurses and technicians were needed to try and save this impossibly small being, barely three pounds. I know now that an Apgar score of zero is not a promising start on life. And I believed firmly and without equivocation, that we would leave the hospital together, whether we both would be in a coffin or in a car. I came to know that it takes fifty three days of constant vigilance to get a three pound baby to five pounds; big enough to finally go home.
As he approaches his thirteenth birthday, my son, Liam, thinks of this upcoming event as an effortless glide toward yet another milestone, blissfully unaware of the milestones that we prayed he would achieve when he was born, like simply breathing on his own. I believe, most of all, that he will never know the enormity of my love for him. And this I believe for sure, he will never know what it is to be so well loved until he looks into the eyes of his firstborn child, and then he will know, really know, what happened that day, December 1st, 1994, the day he was born.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.