Elijah Knox is a miracle baby. In my tenth week of pregnancy, I contracted Fifth's Disease from a student at school. I was now considered a high risk pregnancy, and I needed special care. I felt as if all of my dreams were slipping through my fingers, as my doctor spelled out the horrifying possibilities. Fear, anger, and shock filled my body--if the infection crossed the placenta, my baby's organs would swell with blood, burst, and he would bleed out in utero. He would be dead upon delivery. Her words squeezed my heart with an icy hand, a pain so acute that my heart still splutters just recalling the moment. I couldn't understand how someone I didn't even know yet could affect me so deeply. But, I also knew that even though I hadn't yet laid eyes on him, I loved him with every inch of my being and couldn't imagine losing him.
After careful monitoring over the next five months, Elijah Knox Traber (Elijah meaning "prophet" and Knox meaning "brave") entered this world with a head full of dark, thick hair, grey eyes, and wrinkly pink hands. I remember calling his name towards the end of labor, frustrated that he was not budging, "Elijah, Elijah, come out! We are all waiting to meet you!" Truer words were never spoken. After months of anguish and worry, I wanted to meet this creature who refused to succumb to disease. Moments later, I heard his screeching howl, announcing his arrival into our lives, changing our lives forever. When the doctor put him into my arms, she said, "Welcome to the world, little man. Your mommy and daddy are happy to see you."
Eli turned six years old last October. His favorite superhero is Spiderman, and he sleeps with a light on because he is scared of the dark. He loves to crawl in bed with us at night, and he kisses me on the lips in front of his friends still without embarrassment. His hair bleaches out blond in the summer, and he loves to dance to the song, "Cotton Eyed Joe." His two front teeth are turning black from a fall when he was two, and he loves to go off the high dive at the pool. He asks about God frequently, and he wonders why he hasn't seen him at church. He says he wants to be an "ar-ti-tet" like his daddy and draw buildings on computers. When I look into his eyes, I see my past, my present, and my future. He reminds me of where I came from, where I am at this moment, and where I want to go in this life.
So, Eli, if you ever stumble across this blog, I want you to know a few things. Yes, I wrote about your sister first, but you stole my heart long before, son. You have allowed me to grow into a mother, to make wrong choices and given me the opportunity to right them. You have forgiven my mistakes as I walk down the path of parenthood, and you teach me each day to hold onto the moments. It seems like only yesterday that I heard the sounds of your heartbeat through my first ultrasound. The time will come much too quickly when I will be forced to share you with some lucky young woman. But, for the time, you are my Eli, and I am your mommy. Nothing, no sister, no blog post, no woman, will come between us.