Nine Days Old

Nine days old
Down Syndrome
Atrioventricular septal defect
Tetralogy of Fallot
Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Nine days old.
You’re supposed to sleep a lot, your mom’s supposed to be tired from the weight of your body. Your dad’s supposed to be smiling and telling all his friends that his daughters got his eyes.
Nine days old.
You cry more than you sleep. Your mom’s exhausted from the weight of the world she carries on her shoulders. Your dad’s crying on the phone pleading with the insurance company.
Nine days old, and I look at you.
Wrapped in a hospital blanket, your eyes closed. Your fists are clenched as though you’re telling us that you won’t go down without a fight. You’re wailing in sorrow, or fear.. I can’t tell which. The doctors, they run their fingers through the few strands of golden hair you’ve got on a still so soft scalp. They speak a train of words- medical jargon that you don’t understand, and I’m glad you don’t because your dad’s afraid you’d say “congenital” before you’d say “mama”.
Nine days old.
You cry until you can’t feel the pain anymore, and you drift off to sleep. When that needle sticks into your skin, you don’t even wince. You’re exhausted and they tell you how you’re going to run your family dry- of happiness, and money and everything in between.
Nine days old and you’ve already got yourself more to think of than me.
Nine days old.
Nothing’s the way it’s supposed to be. You wake up with a startle and see lab coats instead of your mother, you feel stethoscopes instead of hugs, you smell disinfectant instead of baby soap. You look around, and don’t make a sound- as though you’re telling me that you might as well get used to this.

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