She was an angel, I think, if angels can be plain, rough, and all crisp around the edges, dressed in hygienic blue.
I had read all the La Leche books; and so as it pertained to breastfeeding, I was good to go. I was an expert—at least, a book expert!
I so wanted to nurse this child, this live wonder, lying in my arms. After the loss of my first full term little girl Noelle three years before, and after leaving her lifeless body at the hospital and walking home to emptiness, I wanted bone-deep for all to be made right this time. I wanted the pained watercolor memory of uterine life to be replaced with the vibrant flush of this squirming child in arms.
Christian nibbled, but would not latch on, as much as I coaxed and gentled and hoped and prayed and tried-cried. But the book was just that—a book. And apparently not every newborn had read it.
She came out of nowhere. I had not seen her before, nor did I again. But she gusted in like a Kansas torrent. She said, “You young people don’t know anything!” And with that, this short stranger grabbed my nipple, shoved it down my son’s throat, almost gagging him, and she was gone. Christian latched on like a vacuum cleaner and forever after with him and my other 3 children, nursing was never again a problem.
I think of that lady now and then. I’m not sure if she was a nurse, an LVN, or maybe even a janitor! I have no idea, except that when I remember how redemptive that rough act of love felt to a young mother whose loss still pulsed like blood, I kind of feel that maybe she was an angel.