Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Numbness.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


There is a pale scar just above my pubic bone that marks the location of the incision doctors created the day Erik came into the world after nine disappointing hours of pathetic, inefficient labor. I witnessed my contractions enthusiastically spike on the monitor by my bed while the nurses flushed generous waves of Pitocin, a labor-stimulating drug, into my blood, but the pain never came. Eventually my baby grew tired and weak in my womb, and we were quickly wheeled to the operating room, where we were surrounded by masked, anonymous faces and my body was rocked with strange, involuntary shock-shudders.

After my baby's birth, my scar was punctuated with shiny staples. The nerves had been rudely severed and were no longer able to communicate with my brain.


It was then that the baby on my chest began to cry. He cried and cried for months with no end, and that numbness spread throughout my entire body via each tiny, exhausted capillary. There were no coos or smiles from this baby. He drank from me, cried, and slept. I cried, too. When I dared to look down into his scarlet, suffering face, I was horrified. I felt absolutely nothing at all.

The numbness was complete.

As many months came and went, our lives changed. The crying subsided. One day without warning, a smile appeared like an upside-down rainbow. A tiny, beautiful promise of more.

And there was indeed much more to come.

The scar on my body is barely visible now. It has healed more efficently than any of my previous scars have and threatens to disappear entirely, which, quite honestly, makes me a little sad. I'm proud of that scar because it reminds me of the very beginning of this journey. It reminds me of the very last day I was filled with the innocence that will never return and the very first day I met someone who would forever change life as I knew it. Someone who would eventually teach me what it means to feel each experience in this life.

It's amazing.

Today when I run my fingers over that scar, the numbness is completely gone.

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Blogger Lisa said...

Pass the kleenex *sniff*

10:54 PM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said... can really write!!! I started reading this book called " you will Dream new Dreams". I read it before when Abi was first diagnosised but thought I would get a different perspective this time. The book is short essays from parents with Special needs kids...what you just wrote could have been put in this book!!

On the "battle" scare subject, when Abi had her 4yr picture taken..the photographer said "we can airbrush those scares out" and I said "No, Way!...she went through too much to get those and they remind us(and strangers) that people's lives are more complicated than what is on the surface." I see those scares and feel the same way you do about your's...the day those scares were made..our lives changed yet again. Life will never be the same as it was before the scares.

Hugs to you!

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read something this morning similar to this. The author was commenting on the difference between a seasoned captain who has weathered many storms and the pretty captain who only sails in fair weather. The latter may be picture perfect, but the one who is rough around the edges is the one whom you'd rather weather a storm with, and most definitely more interesting company. I'm proud of my battle scars and what they tell others about me.


1:23 PM  
Anonymous Aspen said...

Teary eyed reading the part about a crying child who didn't coo or smile. And taking a while to make a true connection with the precious baby tiny. Those were my feelings, word for word. Sometimes, I think we could be the same person in separate bodies! However, I didn't get your brilliant writing skills. HA! I love you, my dear doppelganger.

1:40 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

You're so easy to read, love and care about. You've got such a gift. Did you have this much heart in your writing before Erik?

9:03 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Awww...thanks, gals.

Kathi -- I used to write poetry all of the time but quit completely for years before Erik was born. Now it's a healthy outlet for me I can't live without. Just one more thing he has given me.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Gua said...

Happy Mother's Day. A year ago I thought I'd never be able to say that to you. This year I can use "happy" without feeling a sharp pang of what... guilt? pain for my daughter? an emptiness from things not being what we all expected? Because Erik has brought true happiness to us all. Not the shallow happiness you are automatically handed when you spew a baby, but the happiness that comes with loving a little guy with your whole being. I've never felt more like a happy mother than I have after coming out of the despair of Erik's birth and that awful first year.
I love you both unconditionally.


7:53 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Your such a great writter!!!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Beautiful! Your words revealing each emotion and season.

1:11 AM  

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