You’d think a healthy 31 year old doctor of obsetrics would have a seemless pregnancy. Bedrest by 22 weeks and a baby at 25 weeks it wasn’t.
I called my college friend to plan a visit in two weeks. “We had the baby Sunday,” she said. “Congratulations,” I feigned. Is a 25 week old baby something to celebrate?
I understood why she did not want to tell anyone outside of family. With all of the commotion her focus is on the welfare of her little one. And little in the world of pre-mature babies is 2.2 pounds. One kilo.
Someone tried to smuggle triple that weight of cocaine into my sister’s suitcase
My girlfriend sounded cautiously optimistic as she relayed a few details of her new son. Three minutes into the conversation she tells me his name and that he has a full head of blonde hair.
I felt helpless. She wasn’t ready for visitors and I could not think of anything valuable to offer. Being Jewish I wanted to send food. Sandwich platters or frozen lasagna, certainly not flowers. Having a premature baby is nothing to celebrate.
I hung up the phone and hugged my kids. My daughter was born ten days late, nine and a half pounds with foreceps after the epidural wore off. She was in the NICU overnight and still bears a scar by her eye. I had lost so much blood I could not stand up. That was nothing compared to a child nearly one fifth my daughter’s birth size.
Not bothering to look through the racks for a card that read Congratulations, sort of. You have a new baby, and biggest scare of your life.
Or congratulations on your new home in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I wrote a heartfelt note on my personal stationary and some gossip magazines for mindless entertainment.
A few friends I spoke to shares stories of someone they knew who had a premature baby who is now fine and as normal as a toddler can be. I pray that in a few months this is all but a distant memory for my girlfriend.
I think if not for the grace of Gd there goes I.