Having a lazy day folks, mostly working on random bits of nothing and hunting for stories to critique on Scribophile. I’m Alis Barr on there too, come find me. Anyway, I pulled today’s prompt from some random link WordPress offers.

Prompt: Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

My youngest child entered the world in the midst of a whirlwind of turmoil. At eighteen years old I found myself facing the prospect of being a single mother, frightened and completely unprepared despite the fact that I already played at being mommy-dearest to my older son. When I first held E, he was perfect. This tiny little bundle made of velvet skin and hunger and love that burned like the sun. I had forgotten the way a newborn felt, their solid weight cased in liquid limbs that seemed to have been poured into blankets and dolloped into teensy mittens and shaped to fit the shirt that fit too loosely on his long body. I was lost in his perfection, blinded to the aches of my own body that had so recently been a vessel for such a precious gift. I vowed then and there that I would love him and protect him from ever being hurt by anyone. And then the nurses came. 

Why are his fingers and toes still purple?

Look at that, he has some jaundice.

Listen to him breathe…that’s not right. 

And they took him away. My infant child left the safe cradle of my arms and wheeled down the longest hallway in the world to the Continuous Care Nursery. I was left alone, to sit in my worry, feeling like the walls were closing in around me. Fear, hot and paralyzing, crushed the air from my lungs. What had I done? He was healthy, nine pounds of wailing baby, angry at the world for displacing him from my womb. So why was he not with me? I fretted until I was allowed to see him, and suddenly he was very small, laying there surrounded by wires and monitors that sounded an alarm every time his oxygen levels dropped. That alarm sounded in my nightmares for weeks, even after I brought him home, where he was safe. Five days I stayed, allowed by doctors but not by my own conscience to leave his side. He nursed and slept and cried, all alone in that little box of light. My baby angel, lit by the blue glow of a blanket meant to warm him and heal his sickly yellow skin. For every tear I shed, a piece of my anxiety drifted down my cheeks with it, leaving only a smooth ball of calm resolution in the pit of my stomach. And though the next six months were a blur of doctors and needles and worry, I never forgot the promise I made to him the first time I held my baby, to protect him. 

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