After we married and she became pregnant, Kathleen began rising at dawn to light a candle and call angels to visit the being growing inside of her. I prayed for our unborn child, dedicating it to God, asking that it be made praiseworthy and grow and develop under divine guidance.
We chose to have a home birth attended by a local doctor who worked in tandem with a midwife. Then we thought about naming our child; for a boy we agreed on Jason, and for a girl, Naomi, because I liked the strong vowels strung together. In my heart I felt slightly more yearning for a daughter than a son, but looked happily toward the arrival of either. Considering the pregnancy a period of spiritual attainment, Kathleen and I both joyfully anticipated the birth.
Around 4:30 on the morning of January 11, 1980, I woke up to see Kathleen sitting on the edge of our bed. "Steven," she said, "I'm having contractions. I think the baby is coming. Please call the midwife." I called, and she arrived at 5:00 A.M. followed two hours later by the doctor. By then, soothing music was coming from the record player, and as I held Kathleen's hand, she groaned in exertion. After six hours of labor, our baby emerged and gave a little cry.
The midwife clamped the umbilical cord, and I cut it. Then the doctor pronounced Naomi a healthy child. Looking at her remarkable little red body, I was elated. Kathleen, exhausted, smiled and put her to her breast to nurse.
From the start, Naomi was a constant source of wonder and delight to us. We all slept in the same bed the first year. As a toddler, she was an easy child, robust and healthy, with straight blonde hair, and when she turned three, I bought her a little easel and crayons, and was surprised how eagerly she drew. Gripping a crayon tightly in her little fist, she expressed herself confidently, sometimes covering entire sheets of paper with colorful marks from top to bottom and side to side.