The thundering sound of silence was deafening. Is this how it’s supposed to be? In the back of my mind, I knew it was not. But the events were too massive for my brain and my body to register. Robbed from cutting the cord, my husband and I watched as our lifeless, soundless, colorless, baby was rushed to the corner of the room where nurses immediately started to resuscitate him. Why was I not frantically calling and crying for my baby? My mind was in a daze, yet I knew what was happening, but… I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew my boy would survive. My boy…he came 5 weeks early, and he didn’t have a name. He took his first breath a few minutes after birth, and yet there were no cries. The nurse swaddled him in a blanket, and brought him over for my husband and me to see for the first time before he was brought to the NICU. He was sleeping. A piece of heaven in her arms, slumbering as if the last five minutes had had no effect on him. He knew too. He was a quiet fighter and I fell in love.
Stimulate, stimulate, stimulate, was the advice we got from the doctors who knew what our premature baby boy with his birth experience was up against. My mind reeled in a thousand spins as the doctors began explaining all that could happen to my boy because of his oxygen depravation during birth. Mounds of information and suggestions mounted as the minutes passed, and fear for my son, planted its roots in my soul and began to grow. Amongst the fear however, hope emerged. I was a nervous wreck, but at the same time, curiously tame. Despite the odds, underneath the fear, beyond my doubts, there was a tiny voice whispering that all would be OK.
My son came home a week after his birth. As weeks turned into months, I spent countless hours holding and loving him. Countless hours watching him sleep, and never tiring of it. Countless hours being a mom. I read and sang to him. I was doing what other moms were doing. But I was also doing things that most other moms don’t have to do with their newborns. Slapped with the possibility that my son could end up with physical impairments, I exercised his limbs tirelessly throughout the day. Doing what his physical therapist encouraged me to do. Everyday my heart expanded with a new type of love I had never felt before. It became a love of steel, and I finally understood my mom when she would respond to my complaints to her rules and punishments, “wait until you have kids.” I understood that there is no way to comprehend a love for a child, and the need and longing to protect a child. I began to understand that love is not a powerful enough word to explain what you feel for your child. And with each day, my love began to chip away at the fear I had developed for my son at birth. Fear was replaced with this growing love.
My son, Peter, is now 5 years old, and has hit every milestone at or before age level. In the eyes of his doctors, he is out of the danger zone for any lasting effects from his birth. I know that modern medicine and the use of physical therapy on premature babies played a major role in healing my son. But I believe that the love, or whatever it is, I have for my son healed him more. I believe in the healing power of a mother’s love, which still works on my son today when he bumps his head, or skins his knee and he comes crying to me to “kiss it,” and after the kiss, he is back to laughing and playing. I believe in a mother’s intuition, which is born from a mother’s love. I believe that love is everlasting, that it cures, and that love is endless, which is something I have learned from having my second son, Henry. This I believe.
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