Drawing a Breath

Drawing a Breath It starts and ends with a breath. The shock of air on a newborn’s cheek, the cold kiss of it. This is what beckons a first breath. It isn’t born of need, not a hunger for air nor scarcity that compels us to fill our lungs for the first time. Rather, drawing a breath is our natural response to the abundance of air. Air stirs the fine hairs on infant bodies, sways lanugo like seaweed underwater. A galeforce rush of stimuli triggers neurons, which spark in the brain. Unfamiliar waves of sound and light roll in: vibrations resonate within the ear canal, and brightness flashes upon the retina in fuzzy shapes. So it happens upon arrival, within the first ten seconds of extrauterine experience. It seems our first breath holds wonder. More an involuntary gasp of surprise than of survival. Upon encountering the world, the most fitting response is to open our mouths and take it in. We expand as it fills us. This initial inhalation is a moment that is unrepeatable: for the first time lungs trade fluid for air, an exchange of gases, and then, the umbilical cord with its oxygen-rich blood is cut. My friend, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Prairie Schooner University of Nebraska Press

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the University of Nebraska Press.
ISSN
1542-426X
Publisher site
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Abstract

It starts and ends with a breath. The shock of air on a newborn’s cheek, the cold kiss of it. This is what beckons a first breath. It isn’t born of need, not a hunger for air nor scarcity that compels us to fill our lungs for the first time. Rather, drawing a breath is our natural response to the abundance of air. Air stirs the fine hairs on infant bodies, sways lanugo like seaweed underwater. A galeforce rush of stimuli triggers neurons, which spark in the brain. Unfamiliar waves of sound and light roll in: vibrations resonate within the ear canal, and brightness flashes upon the retina in fuzzy shapes. So it happens upon arrival, within the first ten seconds of extrauterine experience. It seems our first breath holds wonder. More an involuntary gasp of surprise than of survival. Upon encountering the world, the most fitting response is to open our mouths and take it in. We expand as it fills us. This initial inhalation is a moment that is unrepeatable: for the first time lungs trade fluid for air, an exchange of gases, and then, the umbilical cord with its oxygen-rich blood is cut. My friend,

Journal

Prairie SchoonerUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Aug 7, 2016

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