Seth smiles. He grins. He giggles. He laughs. And that is a very big deal.
Six months ago, Seth was dying. At some point late in his gestation, his placenta stopped keeping up with him, slowly cutting off the nourishment he needed to live until the day of his birth he weighed less than half what he should have, and he was so hypoglycemic that he was having seizures. He was emaciated to the point that he could not stay warm outside of an incubator. His transition from womb to air took ten agonizing minutes of resuscitation, during which he had to decide that he wanted to live. After a good month of suffering, exhausted beyond my imagination, in crisis, he chose to live.
He spent two weeks in the NICU. Unsure of the condition of his intestines, with grave consequences should milk reach them before they were fully operational, for days his doctors forbade him anything more than drops of glucose and fat emulsion, and severely restricted his feeds after that. Only the day before his release did his doctors allow him to eat until he was full. During his stay, Seth was subjected to countless IV sticks and blood draws. To get sufficient blood from his tiny body, his thumbprint feet were sliced, not pierced with a pinprick.
Yet it was in the NICU that we saw Seth’s first sly smiles, and watched him slowly begin to take in the world around him, with serene fascination.
There is something very special in my tiny son’s smile.