Panic and dread cover me like a dark cloud. Why isn’t he a screaming? Why isn’t he crying? Where are the sounds I hear every mother talk about? I look down toward the physician, but he has his back to me. I can see his arms moving quickly. What is he doing?
“Is he ok? Why don’t I hear anything?” He turns around with the unmoving baby in his arms. He looks so tiny wrapped up in all the blood and mucus stained towels.
“He’s fine. Just a little shocked to be in this new world.” The doctor says with a satisfied smile as he finishes wiping Aurelius clean. The doctor places him on my chest as a rush of relief washes over me. His skin is soft against mine and I’m surprised to feel tiny breaths brushing against my skin as I watch his back move up and down in a soft rythym. I wish he were here to see how perfect our son is.
This tiny being is now mine to care for. Mine to raise into a good-hearted, strong man. Mine to feed and shelter. Mine to protect even after he’s strong enough to protect himself. I know instantly that I will never be able to let him go. I know I will never give up on him. Looking at him now I feel confirmation of what I’ve known since the moment I felt that tiny change in my body.
“You are going to do great things.” I whisper. His round cheeks twitch. His fingers curl and uncurl. They are so tiny. I shift him so that he is cradled in the crook of my arm and I can see his face more fully.
His blue eyes blink open and look straight into mine. He doesn’t make a peep. I continue to whisper my love to him. His eyes move over my face as if he is making sure to memorize this is who will keep him safe. He is so relaxed. I continue to whisper to him. Then both my heart and my air catch in my chest as he reaches his tiny little hand to touch my face. A baby-sized smile spreads across his mouth and I watch it move in an effort to talk back.
I know now, this is why I was born. As peace fills me and I smile at my Aurelius, I know this is where I’m meant to be. I lean my head back against the pillow and realize the physician has left the room. He is a wise old man and sweet for giving me time alone with my son. I had thought about letting my mother stay in the room, but a few hours in, I told her it would be better for her to take care of the shop. I would be fine. I thought I might regret it, but I don’t. I felt powerful on my own. I can’t explain it. There seemed to be another force helping me push my son into this world.