When I held Henry, two days after he was born, my whole body relaxed. "This is it. This is what I've been waiting for." And in spite of the beeping monitors and the blinking lights and impending surgery, all was right in my world in that moment. My baby. In my arms. So right.
We would lie together in the morning, him curled on my chest. He fit perfectly in a way Kathleen never did. I'd make sure his canula was in his nose and that the monitor was in reach so I could turn it off with my toes, and we'd rest together. This is perhaps the deepest peace I have ever known. If I needed proof that snuggling with his mama was good for him, I got it in numbers. When he curled up on my chest, his O2 sats went up and his heart rate went down. And again, I felt my body relax. In these moments I found "normal" in ways I didn't throughout the rest of those days. Or maybe I just stopped looking for normal, taken in fully with the slow, deep breaths and the warm, comfortable weight on my chest.
When Henry was brought back to Children's they put him in one of the big cribs. He looked so tiny and lost in it, but after we had been there a while, one of the nurses said we were lucky to have the big crib because we could climb right in with him. And so I did. I curled like a comma around my boy, snuggling with my baby again as I hadn't been able to for far too long.
One day in the hospital, he looked around, looked at me, and smiled. He smiled just for me, that big, bright grin. Many days I have trouble remembering what his smile really looked like, but I can always remember just what it felt like, how I wanted to smile myself, how I stopped sinking and floated up on that smile.
This is his story as much as the surgery and ambulances and codes and diagnoses. They are not the first pieces of his story I remember. But I want them to be.