I'll Love You For Always
My sweet little Kincaid was born three weeks early at 7:39 am on November 24th, 1987 and as I was being wheeled out of recovery to my room, someone along the way told me, “something’s wrong with your baby…” I was a little out of it and quite frazzled, having just given birth to my second son with Ooma present as well as my birth mother, who showed up unannounced. I had been tethered to an epidural and in booming labor and couldn’t head for the hills, like I wanted to. Still, his birth went off seemingly fine, as far as I knew, until that announcement. I’d gotten to have him immediately afterwards and relinquished him only when we needed to move on down the road.
Presently, my doctor came in and told me he was a “juicy” baby and he wasn’t sure if he’d aspirated some fluid during birth but he’d had difficulty getting all the fluid out of him and as a result, Kincaid’s breathing was labored. They started antibiotics prophylactically, in case it was some sort of infection and he was sent to the NICU.
As I’d been awake all night and in labor for 12 hours, I slipped into unconsciousness for a few hours and woke up around noon and gingerly got out of bed and into the shower, dressed and went in search of my son. As I got on the elevator, I saw an employee who’d been in labor and delivery when I was there and she said, “Didn’t you just have a baby?”
I found him in his little crib, under a bright light, with an IV going into his head with half a Dixie cup surrounding it, taped to his downy little head as protection. It was a sobering sight. I asked to be helped to take him out of his confines so I could hold him. The nurses were wonderful and obliged me immediately. As I sat there, communing with him, I assessed his tiny little self and felt reassured that, despite all the hardware, as far as I could see, he was perfect.
My anxiety somewhat abated, I began to be aware of some of the other families in that unit. They all wore the same expression of fear and dread and their babies were like exquisitely delicate porcelain miniatures. I’d never seen babies so very tiny. One of them weighed 13 ounces and her mommy and daddy were singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know…” to her.
Kincaid weighed 7 pounds and 1 ounce and was called the “hippo” of the NICU. To this day, I have never felt more grateful to be sitting on the side I was, with my hearty little hippo.
The nutritionist came to see me the next morning and expressed her concerns about my being able to take him home because he’d been fed through a tube and wouldn’t know how to nurse. How would I feed him? I'd been blissfully ignorant of that possibility and was therefore, dumbfounded by this announcement. I felt like I needed a permission slip to check my baby out and take him home. I assured her I knew how to feed and take care of a baby. The cultures weren’t back yet, ruling out an infection, so the hospital staff was somewhat on the fence as to what to do but 36 hours after his birth, we took him home.
He had to have sunbaths in the light coming through the window because he had a touch of jaundice but other than that, he was no trouble. Right away, nursed with no apparent lapse in instinctual know-how, slept well and regularly and I was so thankful for his wellbeing.
When the cultures came back, all was negative. Thank goodness! He just took on fluid as he wound up for that first big gasp of breath. He’s been winding up or wound up ever since, inhaling all the breath he can for the stories he’s got to tell. 🌬
There was never one ounce of trouble getting Kincaid to eat. To the contrary. He was a ravenous, enthusiastic eater from the start. At his two-month well baby visit to his pediatrician, he was put on a diet, since he was such a little butterball. He was in the 95% for weight and 40% for height. As Ooma used to describe, “He was so fat that when you held him around the middle, fat oozed out between your fingers.”
From the very first, he was a unique personality and made his presence and wishes known! And for the second time, I found my heart living on the outside of me in this tiny, feisty person. And, suddenly, I was the mother of two boys and I knew I was the richest girl in the whole world. What more could I possibly ask for? Those two little boys enriched my life immeasurably and made me feel whole. I was their world and they were mine.
Kincaid's zest for life and joie de vivre mirrors my own, yet his drive, ambition and work ethic are a constant source of inspiration and awe to me. It was such an adventure traipsing all over America, the UK and Ireland as he progressed in his Irish dancing. We practically commuted to Ireland, there in the end. Seeing him perform with Riverdance in Paris on Mother’s Day three years ago was so poignant and such a thrill. I will never get tired of seeing him dance. Not ever.
He’s a wonderful companion and son and I could never have made it through Ooma’s last weeks without his constant support and help.
Happy birthday, Kincaid. You’re the second love of my life and I worship the ground you walk on. May this coming year and every year after, reward you for all your brilliant visions and innovations, hard work, hopes and dreams. You deserve every good thing. I couldn’t be more proud of you or love you more. For someone to whom family is everything, I couldn’t have been more blessed with the children I was given. You’re absolutely everything to me and I love you with all my heart.
“A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living My baby you’ll be.” ~ Robert Munsch