I remember his lips the day he was born. Tiny. Calm. Plucked from my belly in an emergency C section.
I remember laying there, motionless, unable to move, on the operating table as they pulled him out and away. I focused solely on hearing him. Listening intently for his breath, his scream, a cry. Any sound from his tiny lips welcoming him into this world proving the last 5 months of bed rest worked. The biweekly stress tests in the hospital to make sure his heart was still beating mattered. The constant conscious attempt to not stress or worry, wanting every extra ounce of energy to go to him and his developing body. Giving him all the calories, the nutrients, the love, he needed to survive. To thrive. To develop. To grow. To mature. To become a well bodied human who could exist on the outskirts of my belly.
I laid there. Listening. The doctors’ intense orders becoming background noise. The machines next to me suddenly faded in beeps and pumps as if they had been moved into the distance. I laid there. Hyper-vigilant. Waiting eagerly for a sound to escape his tiny lips.
Everything else became muted. Nothing else mattered.
Finally, a deep breath into his newly born lungs. A gasp for air. His first, followed by a guttural scream. The sound of his struggle music to my ears, calming every frayed nerve, because he was alive. Fighting.
While at the same time, noticing how unheard he was to the staff, to the new world, around him. How it didn’t seem to matter to those that surrounded him as he screamed from the depths of his soul, announcing to the world he was here the only way he could—Through those tiny lips.
His lungs now clear of liquid and filled with oxygen. Making his presence known. He was here. We were together. Separated from my body by a sheet and a team of nurses.
I looked over at his small, pink, vibrating body as they rubbed him and rolled him over. Examining him as his screams continued. Finally swaddling him tightly into a white, small hospital blanket with pink and blue stripes.
My husband cradled him over to me close to my face. I remember staring at him in disbelief. How surreal his existence was outside of my body. Now calm, quiet, tucked back into comfort. Protected. Cared for. Loved. Noticed.
Staring at his face. At his button nose and those tiny lips. The lips that had just gasped for air, then screamed, cried and now silent.
I wondered what, if those lips could speak, they’d have to say.
If they were confused or angry to be plucked from the warmth of his womb into the cold world, that poked and prodded him and didn’t listen.
I wondered if he felt the sever of the cord. I wondered if he felt them slice it without explanation. Without knowing or understanding why or what that meant. Without knowing if his food or mother would ever return.
From an infant, a newborn, who has no say what will happen in those first moments. Who only has those two tiny lips to speak out into the vast universe and admit he is here. To announce what he feels matters. From birth to adults, we have that primal voice we are gifted with from the moment we arrive. The truest present we have been given represented in those tiny lips I remember staring at.
As I laid immobile, wondering so deeply what those lips had to say. Proud they screamed so loudly announcing to the world his arrival. As a mother, I watched those tiny lips hoping they would never stop speaking. Never stop announcing. Never stop yelling. Because I know how much those lips and that voice matter. Not only to me, and him, but I know how much those lips will and can impact this world that doesn’t seem to listen.How those lips will create and begin change. No matter how big or how small. How much those lips will help someone else who might be feeling or experiencing the same pain. How those lips can inspire someone else’s who might have gone back to silence.
My job now is to teach him the importance of those lips and his voice. To always recognize the sound of his voice as music to my ears. Even when they might outspeak me, when they may seem too loud or when they can make me speechless. My job is to remember their importance along the way. And encourage him to always keep using, those perfect tiny lips.