Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Sometimes I wonder about the doctor
who for a moment held my daughter’s life
in his hands
and then held my grandchild

What did he feel when my son-in-law told him
to put my daughter first?
What were his thoughts when my daughter begged him
to keep her baby safe?
Did he pray for the wisdom of Solomon?
Did he weigh the advantages of cervical massage
versus an IV drip?
Did he feel a tiny bit of love
for this young couple, so afraid, so alone?

When that slippery new creature
a baby in miniature
slid unwilling into his grasp
and hiccoughed a first tentative breath
did he thank God for the miracle of life?
Was he checking the APGAR score?
Did he look into my grandson’s eyes
and see the face of his own child?
Did he monitor the respirations per minute
and calculate whether he’d make it home for dinner?

Physician, scientist, compassionate healer
whatever your training, abilities,
inclinations and talents
I thank you for the health of my daughter
and the life of my grandson
However he arrived, however he first was held
in hands loving, wise, or merely competent
I welcome his new soul
To this our world.
and pray that all future hands
will also hold this child in grace