Promise or peril

Featured in

  • Published 20130724
  • ISBN: 9781922079985
  • Extent: 288pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

Selected for The Best Australian Science Writing 2014

AS SOON AS the midwife placed my newborn son on my belly, moments after a twenty-three-hour labour brought him into the world, I started counting his fingers and toes. I checked his fontanelle wasn’t too big. Or too small. Or bulging. Or sunken. I looked closely for a squint, unusual lumps on his ears, a receding chin, any sign of respiratory distress. I ran my hand slowly along his spine. Most parents I have spoken to over the years describe the first meeting with their baby as it emerges into the word in radiant or spiritual terms; a moment of exaltation. I, on the other hand, spent those precious moments at the starting line of our life together, scanning my son’s tiny 2.9 kilogram body for imperfections.

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