By Andy Mannix
By Caleb Hannan
By Olivia LaVecchia
By CP Staff
By Aaron Rupar
By Jacob Wheeler
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Aaron Rupar
I did ask if they could wait until my mom and dad came back. My parents had been called. They were on their way. They had only a fifteen-minute drive, but the operation had to take place right away because of my escalating fever. So . . .
It began. It felt the same as when I was cut open to have Alexandria. I didn't want to hear what they were doing. Or focus on it. I asked Scott to talk to me. He couldn't. One of the nurses came and chatted with me.
The drape was dropped. I was scared I'd see my insides lying all over the drapes. I didn't. All I saw was this little body.
This little body was laid on my chest. Not clean nor swaddled. Just a towel draped over the baby. Onto my naked skin. Onto my breasts. I saw only my child. I parted the legs. And before I looked, I turned toward Scott. I saw the tears first in his eyes. Then, they rolled down and got lost in his face mask. I turned back. A son. My son. Our son. We had a boy. I knew Scott's world just shattered for the second time. Scott's son. I looked up at our son's face. "Scott, he looks just like Alexandria." He did. Exactly. I got to do what I didn't get to do with Alexandria after the Cesarean with her. I got to hold my son. The only difference was, this baby, my son, was dead. I felt the urge. The desperate, burning desire. I wanted to nurse my baby. I somehow believed that if I just nursed him, he'd breathe. I believed I could will the breath back into him. I could make him breathe if only I could get some milk into him. Reality came back. I felt as if I'd died.
I began to shake violently. My arms wouldn't stop. Then my shoulders. My chest. My hands. All I could see were these arms shaking. Were they mine? I fell asleep. Shortly. I awoke. I looked at my son. I fell asleep. I awoke.
Why was I falling asleep? I fell asleep. I awoke. I looked at my son. I squeezed him tightly to my chest so he wouldn't fall off. I fell asleep. I awoke. I told Scott he had to hold him because I was afraid I'd drop him. He said, "I can't." I told him, through chattering teeth, that he had to. I'd drop him. I was passing out. I fell asleep. I awoke. A nurse was helping me give our son to Scott. Scott was crying. I passed out.
I awoke at eleven-something. It was light. It was morning. I didn't know how long I'd been asleep. My dad was standing next to me. He was talking on the phone. "Do you want to talk to Paige?"
"No." [Hey, how come I have this oxygen mask on my face? I can't breathe with it on.] I pulled the oxygen mask down a little bit.
He hung up. I looked over to the left and saw my mom and a nurse doing something. I got my eyes focused. They were cleaning my baby. I was supposed to do that.
"Dad, I need some water."
My mom walked to the end of my bed when she saw that I was awake. She said, "You scared us, Paula. We thought we were going to lose you." That's all she said. No explanation beyond that. I was too weak to question.
My dad started feeding me ice chips. Within a short time, I felt really good.
Just like I had after I'd come out of the operating room with Alexandria. I just couldn't figure out why my mom and the nurse were cleaning my baby.
My Aunt Anna and Uncle Raymond came into the room. They looked at our baby. They cried. He was in a bassinet between the door and my bed. I wanted to hold him. I couldn't talk. They seemed so far away. My mom was standing there with them. They were talking. I couldn't hear. I watched them. They opened his blanket. They looked at his body. They touched him all over. They cried.
I cannot remember when, but at some point, I was asked his name. By someone. I told them.
Kadin. Kadin Scott William Long.
I cannot remember exactly when, but I was given my son to hold. I don't even remember who gave him to me. I was holding Kadin. I hurt. I was lying down. I couldn't sit up. I wanted to hold him like a mother holds her new baby. Not lying down, but sitting up. I wanted him cradled against my breast. His head next to mine. I wanted to kiss him. To envelope him with my soul. My love. My tears. I wanted to nurse him. I wanted him to know how much I loved him. To see it. And to feel it.
I remember being shown Kadin's tiny hand and footprints. We took pictures (actually, lots of them), and I held my precious Kadin for almost twenty-four hours. I slept with him on my chest that night. I cried. Told him how sorry I was. Told him over and over how much I loved him. My family and friends came to see him. To hold him. And to say hello and goodbye. I don't think those who held him will ever regret touching his sweet body. I remember finally being able to sit up. Someone helped me to pull back his blanket and search his body, which I seared into my soul's memory. I wanted to be sure I memorized every patch of his beauty. His little butt was as fluffy and soft as the nape of his neck. He was simply . . . beautiful.