We spent most of the afternoon, yesterday, at the hospital. It is not a happy experience, taking your baby to the hospital. Even when you’ve mentally psyched yourself and have told yourself that it’s nothing it’s nothing it’s nothing it’s just tests they’re just being cautious it’s just tests there’s nothing wrong, it’s rough. When they tell you that you need to bring your baby to the hospital for tests, that they need to check his spine, that he has some markers for spinal problems, for serious things but maybe nothing but still maybe serious, that it might not be anything but maybe it’s something so it must be checked, it must, your heart constricts and you hold your breath.
And you can manage the constricted heart and the withholding of breath until you get there, to the hospital, but once your baby – your tiny, tiny baby – has been stripped of his tiny clothes and is laying naked on the hospital bed – a vast expanse of cold sheet beneath his tiny frame – the machines looming, menacing, around him, you struggle. You crouch beside him, cradling his head and nuzzling his cheek, babbling whispers of love into his ear, willing him to not cry, to not squirm, to let this be over, fast.
And when he does begin to cry and squirm it feels as though your heart has retracted into the furthest recesses of your chest to cower and hide.
You say to the ultrasound technician, can I lay down beneath him, put him on my belly, my chest? Can we do it that way? He’ll be calmer. And you think, I’ll be calmer.
So you remove your shirt and lay yourself down and ease your naked, struggling baby onto your own naked belly and you cradle his head between your breasts and you breath. And you breath. And you breath. And he settles into you, letting his little body relax from the arch and flex of discomfort and fear and settle, softly, into the curves of your belly and breast and lay there, eyes fluttering, cries turning to gurgles and squawks, and he rests. Happy now, safe now.
And it occurs to you, as you lay in the dark, on the hospital bed, an ultrasound wand hovering above your body, the light from the screen of the sonograph flickering just out of sight, that this is just as it was some weeks ago, before he arrived, when he was still in your belly, tucked away safe in your belly, and you were wishing with all your heart that he’d come out soon so that you could hold him your arms and nuzzle his little head and keep him safe here, in the outside, out in the big wide world but always, always pressed close to your heart.
And he did, and you do. And you tell him, in the softest of whispers – and you tell yourself, in the loudest of internal cries – that he is safe, that you will keep him safe, and that it will all be fine, no matter what.
And he is, and you do, and it will be. It will be.
(We don’t know the results of the ultrasound. We probably won’t know for another week. I’m choosing to not dwell on it. I’m choosing to simply believe that it will all be fine.)