I awoke in the night to find my husband, Marty, gently rocking our baby son, Noah. I stood for a moment in the doorway, watching this amazing man with whom I was so blessed to share my life, lovingly stroke Noah’s fat pink cheeks in an effort to comfort him. I felt in my heart that something was seriously wrong with Noah. This was one of several nights Noah had been up, burning with a high fever.
Tears filled my eyes as I watched my beautiful husband move Noah’s little cheek up against his own chest, so that Noah could feel the vibrations of his voice. Noah is deaf. Learning to comfort him has brought on a whole new way of thinking for us. We relied on our voices, a soothing lullaby, audio toys, and music to comfort our other children. But with Noah, we need to use touch, sight, the feel of our voices, and most importantly, the use of sign language to communicate emotions and a sense of comfort to him. My husband made the sign for “I love you” with his hand and I saw a tear roll down his cheek as he placed Noah’s tiny, weak hand on top of his.
We had taken Noah to the doctor more times than I can remember. It had been a week and a half and Noah’s fever remained very high and very dangerous, despite everything the doctor or we had tried. I knew in my soul the way only a mother can know, that Noah was in trouble. I gently touched my husband’s shoulder and we looked into each other’s eyes with the same fear and knowledge that Noah’s wasn’t getting any better. I offered to take over for him, but he shook his head, and once again, my husband stayed stubbornly and resolutely with our child.
When morning finally came, we called the doctor who examined him and declared that Noah needed hospitalization. We drove to the hospital in a neighboring town whre he was admitted. It was a tortuous night, filled with battery of tests that made my son’s tiny little voice echo through the halls as he screamed over and over. When the first batch of tests were done, the nurse informed us that a spinal tap would be necessary as meningitis was suspected. With tears streaming down his face, he humbly asked the Lord to heal our son.
A short time later, the resident doctor came in. He told us that Noah’s first results were back, and that he had Influenza A. No spinal tap was needed! Noah would recover and soon be back to his zesty, tornado little self. Our faith in Lord was being answered. Next day he was released from the hospital. We couldn’t pack fast enough!
A few days later, I was cooking dinner. Noah was healing, slowly but surely. I felt at peace . I peeked around the corner into the living room, and chuckled at the picture of my husband, sitting in his “daddy chair”, Noah in his lap. They were reading a book. They both looked up and caught me watching them, and my husband and I simultaneously signed “I love you” to each other, then to Noah. And then Noah put his little arm up, trying to shape his tiny hand in his own effort to sign “I love you” to his daddy. I watched with tears as my husband carefully helped him form his tiny fingers into the sign with his own gentle hands. Daddy hands.
By Suresh Gurwani