Twenty-Three: A Healthy Baby–Any Kind Would Do

The day after the baby shower (see Twenty-Two: Death and Life), I went to the hospital, but the labor stopped, I went to sleep, and my poor mother waited all night to see what would happen. My husband was on call at his hospital. He was in his third year of medical school–the first clinical year where the students were actually on call like real medical staff. The following morning, the doctor decided to induce labor. I was terrified and elated.

Oh, how I had wanted this child. I had prayed for a boy. Feeling guilty about that request, I’d prayed for “just a healthy baby, any kind would do.”

Once he was born, I didn’t know what to do with him. I had never been around little babies. I’d never babysat. I was clueless, except for having read Dr. Spock, but reading a book isn’t quite like holding the real thing in your arms. The grandmothers came and stayed for a week each. My mother’s first night with us–our first night home from the hospital–she lay awake while the baby slept from eleven until about five in the morning. Yes, he slept that long, but she didn’t, afraid to close her eyes for fear that he’d stop breathing!

After the grandmas left, Baby and I were alone much of the time. It was fall, so that meant going out with the stroller on beautiful days, and that’s the way I lulled him to sleep sometimes. During the crying times, because all days and nights were not like that first one when the poor exhausted baby fooled us into thinking he would be a good sleeper, I would walk and walk and cry along with him.

I would be a stay-at-home mom. It’s what I was meant to be: wife and mother. Meanwhile, my husband’s every-other-night-on-call routine continued. He was good with the baby when he was around. He just wasn’t around very much.

He was a beautiful baby, my oldest son. Here is proof:


Can you pinpoint a time when your identity changed, not necessarily of your own doing?

This is # 23 in the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge hosted by Jane Ann McLachlan.