They had no idea, on that bright sunny morning, that the birth of their first child, a son they named Noah Joseph, would open the door for such unbelievable heartache. How could they?
Lucy’s labor was predictable. The birth, smooth. And she was recovering well. Within an hour or two she was up and about. Shuffling her slippered feet back and forth from the bathroom to the layette to her hospital bed again without complaint. She felt well enough to shower and now the happy couple were receiving their first visitors.
The perfectly pink full-term boy was exceptionally alert for his first hours on earth. Delighting well wishers with his big blue eyes that seemed to focus intently on each relative as though he recognized each and every one of them from some other time and place.
“They can’t see much yet? Right?” Jared’s friend Raj asked as he rocked baby Noah softly in his arms. “It’s like he’s checking me out.” he added sweetly.
“He’s probably fixing on the reflection coming off your glasses. He can only see a few inches in front of him right now.” Jared said as he held his arms out to receive Noah. “That’s your Uncle Raj.” Jared whispered to Noah once he had him snuggled in the crook of his arm again. “He was born yesterday and you were born today.” he teased.
Lucy watched Jared show Noah around the room. Beaming with pride at their creation. Their friends and loved ones leaning in to peek at Noah’s bright face or cradling him for a moment in their own arms. Jared either had Noah or a bottle of hand sanitizer in his hands. Ready with a squirt for anyone who wanted to so much as touch the blanket Noah was bundled in. Protective new Pop. Lucy felt her love for Jared grow deeper in those moments there. She had made him a Daddy. And he was good at it. So far at least. It was a special morning for everyone. Jared’s first child, a son no one ever thought he’d have. Born almost 9 months to the day after Jared married Lucy on a cliffside in Capri. She’s almost 20 years Jared’s junior but his equal in many other ways. A career of her own. A name too.
Every one who held Noah that morning commented on his beauty. A perfect blend of his model mother and his handsome Oscar winning father. Blue eyes. Bright blond tuffs of hair. Pink skin. Amazing temperament.
“Does he ever cry?” someone asked kindly.
“He’s just chillin'”
“My kinda kid.”
“You would end up with a baby that never cries wouldn’t you?”
“He’s an old soul.” Grandma Constance added and everyone agreed.
What a blessed addition to the world. Ten fingers, ten toes. A life full of promise and good health just waiting for him. Jared and Lucy were so proud. Look at what their love created. A perfect little boy. That everyone is immediately in love with.
Lucy yawned big and then quickly laughed at herself. “Sorry guys.” she said through a smile. “It’s not you, it’s me.” more giggling “I haven’t slept in like three days.”
Grandma took Noah from the arms of one of the couple’s friends and placed him softly into Lucy’s outstretched arms. “I think he might need lunch and then you both should rest.” she said kindly.
Everyone took the cue and shuffled out of the room with pats on Jared’s back and well wishes to Lucy. Once everyone was gone, Constance helped Lucy get reading for the feeding, propping a pillow beneath her elbow and a pillow at her waist.. Jared stayed back, watching the girls bond over Noah’s first latch. It was a sight to see. So precious.
“Ouch.” Lucy said as Noah latched on “Is it supposed to – Ouch! ….hurt?”
“Sometimes it’s because they latch on wrong … let’s try and reposition him.” Grandma Constance slipped her finger in to the side of Noah’s mouth to break his suction and his eyes snapped up at her as if he were chastising her. Constance was taken aback for a moment, not quite sure what in the hell she just saw. As quickly as the expression appeared, it disappeared and Constance scolded herself for assigning such a grown-up expression to the face of a newborn. He wanted his boobie back. That’s all. She gently repositioned Noah’s head and he latched back on to Lucy. But she couldn’t stop thinking about that quick shift in his eyes. Too weird. Too grown up.
“That’s a lot better.” Lucy sighed looking down on her boy. “Thank you.” She said before she looked up at Constance.
“Are you ok?” she asked Constance a moment later. “You’re white as a sheet!”
“Oh! I’m fine. Maybe I need a little rest too. I’m seeing things.”
“Seeing things? That’s not good.” Jared joked.
Constance shook her head as she spoke, fully aware of how nutty her words sounded “I think Noah was just mad at me…”
“What?” Lucy responded. “Mad at you?”
“Yeah Ma. I think you do need some sleep. He’s not mad at anyone. He’s like six hours old.”
“He gave me this look….”
“Sure he did.” Jared ushered his mother over to the couch in their hospital suite. “Maybe you should take a nap too.”
Lucy starred down at the bundle in her arms and watched him feed. His eyes were shutting slowly and her nipple was falling out of his mouth. In a moment he was fast asleep with a full belly.
“Do you want me to put him in the bassinet so you can sleep?” Jared whispered.
Lucy nodded quietly but when he went to grab Noah, Noah’s eyes flipped open quickly and he let out his first cry. A painful wail that upset everyone all at once.