Outside, frogs croaked by the hundreds. The recent rains had swelled the nearby creek allowing for a brief metropolis of amphibian prolificacy. They had never before caused me much delay when it came to falling asleep, but this evening their raucous sounds were so penetrating that it was too hard to exchange their dissonance with the frequencies of unconsciousness.
I lay there in bed next to my husband, wondering upon the dark blotches of shadow on the ceiling and their infinities and the day of errands awaiting me upon the approaching dawn. The fan creaked with its brisk rotations.
My three-week-old daughter began to fuss in her bassinet at the foot of the bed. She had been fed and changed not a half-hour ago. At first it was a grumble here and a grunt there, but soon enough, she belted out with full, reverberating, newborn despair. I hesitatingly slid to my feet and walked over to my beckoning child. Her left arm had broken free from her swaddle and was swinging with clenched fingers. I reached down, slid my hands beneath her—one beneath her neck and head and the other beneath her lower back and hips—but yanked my hands back—as if they had just embraced a scalding surface—in reaction to what I felt there. Something was below my daughter. I widened my retrieval, extending one hand to the top of her head and the other to her legs, and hoisted her up against my bosom.