Ancient History

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In my pouch

I pulled her 47 pounds onto my lap and rocked. Beatrix had strep throat with a fever and terrible headache. Because she couldn’t keep medicine, food, or water down, the doctor felt she needed an antibiotic injection. Unfortunately, it needed to be given in a large muscle.

She was cheery, despite, until the moment the silly-long needle was plunged into her hip. She screamed, then wept. “It really, really hurt!” I told her how brave she was and that it was over. She’d feel better soon now because the medicine was already working. And then I shut up and held her. She was heavy. When was the last time I pulled her up into my overstuffed chair of a body? I sit by her on the couch. I hug her and cup her face near mine. She is my baby girl. But I haven’t cradled her since…? I couldn’t remember, which made me sad, especially when I considered our first few days together in the hospital.

She was born at 36w6d, 2 1/2 hours shy of being full term. She weighed six pounds and was born via emergency c-section because her umbilical cord prolapsed during labor. She had a sudden, bumpy start. While she breathed and ate well, she couldn’t maintain her body temperature. The nurses would stuff her inside my hospital nightgown for skin-to-skin contact. It kept her warm and safe. It kept her away from warming lights suspended over a bassinet.

I wonder how Costco would feel if I stuffed a few rotisserie chickens down my shirt—Just keeping them warm! Warming lights are for savory meats. Warming lights are for seeds you want to start. I hear they’re quite popular in Colorado right now.

There was a 20-minute wait after the shot to make sure she didn’t have a reaction. After a quick trip to the lollipop basket and the sticker basket, we settled back in the exam room. I sat in a terrible chair with mystery stains. She sat on me and talked about how she was going to tell everyone at school about the shot she got in her butt. I said kids might not want to hear it, you know? “Oh. Then I’ll tell them about the shot I got in my bottom.”

In between talking about shots, butts, strep, and throwing up in the school’s clinic trash can, she obliterated a Dum-Dum. I thought about the fillings in her mouth and hoped they’d hold up against her jaw’s brute force. She inherited my fragile teeth. My green eyes. My tendency to want to tell people everything that happened, including violated butts and how the Lucky Charms looked hours after sitting in a tummy all morning. Gross.

“I feel better.”

“You do?”

“Yes. Except for my throat. And my headache. Also my butt still hurts and my tummy still hurts.” Adding it all up, she probably felt worse.

I know what she’s talking about. At some of my worst moments, I’ve never felt better. It’s because I was in someone’s pouch or lap or held up in prayer. It’s because someone let me talk and chomp and didn’t say anything about the dentist.


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