This morning at three-forty-five I crawled in bed with our son Calvin for the umpteenth time in his fifteen years on this earth. He had suffered a tonic-clonic (grand mal), and when it was over I slipped into the small space between him and the back panel of his safety bed. There we spooned, my hand resting on his ribs feeling the rise and fall of his chest, his knees tucked up in fetal position. I stay awake as long as I can to ensure he doesn't stop breathing and die from SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). His risk of dying from SUDEP is greater than 1 in 1000 in any given year because of the nature of his seizures (uncontrolled tonic-clonic) and cognitive impairment.

Our first time spooning was when he was breech in utero, before I'd ever met him, before the dreadful sonogram revealing his brain's enlarged lateral ventricles and substantial lack of white matter, before the emergency cesarean, before the subsequent seven-week stay in the hospital. I'd rest my palm on my gravid belly on top of a bulge I was certain was his little head. Since then, when he sleeps with us, he loves to touch and press heads, and will pull us toward him, his hands around our necks.

When he was an infant and toddler, we'd regularly nap together. He'd curl up into me like a little bird in a nest. He used to be so calm, but since having to take antiepileptic medicines—particularly benzodiazepines—his body has a hard time quieting; he is so very restless. Still, at times, usually when he is sick, he settles enough to nap next to me or in my lap.

I've spooned with him in the hospital after ten-, twenty-, forty-five-minute seizures. I've spooned with him on the floor, on the couch, in his and our bed. Tiny for his age, he's getting bigger fast, but he still loves sitting in our laps for a spell, embracing us, clinging to us in bed.


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