My daughter is fine.
Those are the words I’ve been afraid to write now for 3 weeks and 4 days, despite countless (kind, so very kind) emails and comments hoping specifically for these four very words in response.
I was afraid to write them even when the hospital pediatrician told me that the baby looked totally healthy.
I was afraid to write them two weeks ago even when my doctor first called to tell me that the lab report read that “her levels are inconsistent with a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis.”
I was afraid to write them several days later even when I received a poignant letter from a blind reader who had stumbled onto this post; she is blind because her mother didn’t know she had toxo during her own pregnancy.
I was afraid to write them Wednesday even when my pediatrician reported that based on her conversation with my OB, she wasn’t worried at all.
Because there’s always a BUT the end of every definitive statement.
“She looks totally healthy BUT we’ll know better when we get the blood work back.”
“Her levels are inconsistent with a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis BUT the lab would still like her to have her blood drawn at three and six months just to be certain.”
“I spoke to your OB and I am not worried BUT I wonder why they only did blood work and not a brain scan on her at the hospital.”
“I have toxo because my mother was never diagnosed with it during her pregnancy BUT I was perfectly healthy until I was four years old.”
I know it’s a tad unconventional, but actually I like my definitive statements to be…well, definitive.
My first instinct is that if I say “she’s fine” out loud that I will somehow jinx it. As if my words have more power than antibiotics, more power than medical science as a whole. And so I don’t say it out loud. Or when people ask me to, I smile and respond with the good news as enthusiastically as I can muster, then rapidly change the subject. No, she doesn’t have toxo, thanks for asking. Hey, I know…let’s get ice cream!
But sometimes first instincts are wrong. Sometimes they downright suck.
And so my new hypothesis is that saying the words is the first step in getting my mind to believe them. It’s the first step towards acknowledging–knowing–that my daughter is in fact totally, mercifully, beautifully healthy and strong. That when I see her gazing off into the distance, it’s just what newborns do and I should stop freaking the hell out that one day she’ll tell me that she’s only pretending to see all the things her friends see. She’s not that reader who wrote to me. They have different stories.
This is Sage: A sweet, round, ruddy little newborn girl who looks beautiful in pink and lavender, who has infant acne crawling across her fat cheeks and up her scalp, who has piercing blue eyes that will probably change to brown, who needs to be picked up a wee bit more often than I’d like, who blows through 4 onesies a day and many ounces of Tide Free with her ever explosive and well-functioning intestinal system.
In other words, my daughter is fine. She’s fine.
There. I said it.
And now I can resume falling in love with her.