Thank you, Great Spirit, for loving my little boy up--for making him strong and healthy so that he could transcend these challenges. As his ninth birthday approaches, I remember:
You are very small. Much too small for photographs or phone calls or bubble gum cigars. The incongruity of what this moment might be and what it is leaves me pale. Still. The empty pouch of my vast belly loose and strange in my lap.
I am alone in the room, and I know you will not be brought back to me here. I make one phone call to my mother whose sleep is still heavy in her voice when she answers, sounding very distant and slightly alarmed. "The baby is here," I say in a monotone just tinged with hope. I feel five years old, except my breasts are enormous and already leaking milk.
I have given birth tonight to a too small boy with lungs that stick together on the inside, so that each attempt to open them again, fill them with this stale air, is a monumental effort, and you will soon tire of it, I know.
Daddy has followed you and six doctors down the hall, has promised me not to leave you alone with them. Our tiny moment of contact, you sputtering quietly on my chest and me whispering my love already--it is absorbed in this protracted night of your absence. I can see you at nine a.m., I am told, and I do not sleep or move until then.