In My Arms
St. Louis MO USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 20 No. 4, July-August 2003, p. 137
In the middle of the night, her cries start small. The sucking sounds increase. I roll her toward me and my muscles clench as her mouth searches frantically for milk. We fumble in the dark, my stress and her hunger briefly escalating. As she firmly latches on, I arrange my pillows to accommodate what I hope will be a peaceful, pain-free period of enjoyable nursing. We're just eight weeks in. It's not always easy yet. Her fists are clenched. Her body is tight. She sucks quickly, waiting for the good stuff to come down. As her sucks lengthen and slow, I feel my muscles relax. My eyelids get heavy again and my mind wanders. I snuggle her in and pull the blanket around us both, a warm shelter against the cold bedroom air. We nestle in. We breathe as one. I think about the women doing this same dance with their newborns worldwide. I think of them, their eyes glazed over like mine as they look at their clocks in the night. I imagine our emotions to be the same, a sleepy joy bringing an early dawn smile to our faces.
I ease open my baby's little hand so she can hold mine. I play with her tight little fingers. She is so warm in my arms. I try to savor this moment, wanting to remember it forever. I've been through this twice before. It never gets old. I only get more sure of how fleeting it is and how much these times are to be treasured. She slows down. Her body weighs more heavily against my arm as she drifts back into sleep. I look again at those hands and see the telltale sign of a baby at peace. Her little fingers are relaxed, her fists unclenched. She is loved. She knows it. And she is safe in the cocoon of my arms.