Open Letter to My First Born
There have been many advances in medical science over the past fifty years, and while much more is needed to take the profession from a practice to a perfect application, there have been major advances in knowing the need for human contact and the problems that arise from deprivation.
To My First Born:
Some things take the insight of years passing to receive an understanding of why things were.
When you were born, you were five pounds, one ounce and because you basically were expelled from your environment, not born early on your own, you were not ready for this world. The ignorant doctor that said you were due in January was on duty the night I went in with false labor pains. He obviously saw it as timely and got me into delivery and induced labor.
You were too young to suck and would not take the breast. And, I dealt with the pain and swelling for several weeks because the delivery and the newborn section of the hospital did not have a breast pump.
When you dropped six ounces in two days, I insisted you be put on formula. I pitched a fit, actually. On the third day, I was released from the hospital to go home empty-handed while you remained behind in your incubator, in solitary confinement. Touched only to have your linens changed. I think you were fed intravenously.
I spent hours at the hospital standing by the nursery window where your incubator would be rolled so you could see me and I see you. Two days of the nine days you were in there, I was home recovering from a near botched job of removing a wisdom tooth where my jar was almost broken during the procedure.
When we first are born, we are near to the source from where we came. I cannot imagine what you thought when you were violently expelled from the womb, and then put into a sterile environment and then abandoned for two days by the one human you had depended upon.
When you came home, you withdrew and only allowed touching when necessary and would cry if your father tried to play with you or I tried to cuddle. I once told you, that I should have persisted and forced you to take the attention but I do not know quite how that would have worked as all of us in the family are strong-willed.
But reflecting today, I believe you developed the need for non-touching when you spent the nine days without human touching contact. I wish it could have been different.
And, I wish it had not taken me fifty-two and a half years to have this epiphany.