My first son was born with Jaundice over thirty-nine years ago. I still don’t know what it means; only that his color was on the yellowish side and we could not hold him for several days. We were told it was not unusual, and that everything would be fine, but Michael spent his first three days in this world behind a window, with gauze over his eyes, under the lights, in an incubator.
It should not be a big deal; after waiting nine months, what is another few days? Besides, we could always make another. But it is a big deal, and you cannot make another, not another Michael.
For several days I only saw Mike from behind a huge window as we waited for his bilirubin count to fall…or rise…one of those…I still don’t know what bilirubin is but the doctors made it seem like it was important. Looking at this skinny baby with gauze over his eyes to protect them from the lights was difficult. We just wanted to take him home.
What made it even worse was the other window gazers, “Oh look at that one. Poor thing; I hope he is OK.”
“He is OK!! He is more than OK!! It’s just a low (or high) bilirubin count!!”
We finally got to take our boy home. One of the so called baby landmarks at the time was “the first time baby rolls over.” Mary Beth rolled over the first time at three weeks. Mike was so skinny that when he raised his arm he rolled over. He rolled over at four days!
Mike was never an easy child, not from that first day in the incubator until the day he left the house at seventeen, on his own to become a skier in Colorado. It seems he has always been on his own, from a helpless skinny little baby with gauze over his eyes in an incubator to the man he is today.
He is very successfully on his own today in California 3000 miles away. That is what it seemed like when he was in that incubator, like he was 3000 miles away.
Mike is my middle child, always a bit neglected. He probably lacked attention as is typical of many middle children.
Sorry about that Mike; just know I love you, I enjoyed your visit this summer, and I miss you…just like I did those many years ago when you were behind that window, with gauze over your eyes, under the lights, in the incubator.
Hate the beard though!
Just kidding, the beard is OK