“Can I touch him?” I asked.
Incredulous, the doctor replied, “Of course. He’s yours."
The pain, the heat, the fear—all of it had melted into one big puddle of utter disorientation. In a move of incredible acrobatics, the baby had gone from being inside my belly to on top of my belly in a few seconds. He was here, he was mine, and I was asking if I could touch him. But after all the instructions on holding onto the bed railings and not touching the sterile sheets, could they blame me?
I was reminded of my time at a sports camp a few years before. JJ and I had decided to spend the last part of our honeymoon practicing sports dear to our hearts—golf for him, tennis for me. After sharing a gloriously carb-heavy breakfast, we’d separate for a few hours of our respective sport, reconvene for a loaded lunch, go our own way again for the last bit of sports, and then end the day with a deep tissue massage. Heaven? Close to it.
But after the first full day, I was downright exhausted. I had wilted. So much running and sweating and serving and fetching had rendered my muscles useless. I was in pain. Had this really been my idea?
When my dad called to ask how our first day had gone, I told him I was dying a slow death by tennis ball.
“So, slow down,” he told me.
“But it’s not that easy! The coaches are screaming at us to run for the ball, having us do so many drills. They keep yelling at us to go faster and faster. I don't know if I can handle another day,” I confessed.
He broke it down for me, “You’ve always been a good student, but you don’t always have to do what they say. If they say run, maybe jog?"
He was right. I had always been a good student. And here I was, unsure if touching my own son was breaking the rules. I so funny.
With the doctor’s unnecessary permission, I stretched my hands out to him until the IV taped to my left arm tugged, rendering a full on baby-cuddle impossible. I lay my hands on his warm back and stared. The doctor’s words played again in my head.
Thanks for making this story so easy to tell, little one. My baby boy. All mine. :-)