childbirth

You prepare like the dickens (or you have good intentions to), hoping Kegels and breathing will somehow make this a painfree experience for you, the most prepared woman in the world. By the time the contractions start in earnest, you’ve forgotten all about breathing and you know you’re in for a long ride.

You kind of wish you could just go to the hospital and get it over with already, but you call your doctor, a nurse, the hospital, the hospital again, and everyone keeps saying, “Just wait until the contractions are closer.” Closer. Harder. Closer. Harder. If you have to have this baby at home, they’ll be responsible, you vow. So you talk to your sisters and your mom because they’ll know best, better than those doctors and nurses, who haven’t had near as many babies and don’t have experience with your family’s genetics. Talking to family makes you cry, but at least they assure you that the medical professionals are probably as whacko as you think they are. But still you stay at home because you think you can take it just a little longer, but the whole thing has been going on for over a day now, and you wonder if this labor part will ever turn into delivery.

Four o’clock in the afternoon and you say “enough is enough.” You’re not waiting for closer contractions because you know your husband’s not keen on delivering his firstborn in the car.

You get to the hospital, feeling like a champ for laboring so long on your own. The nurse tells you you’re doing such a good job for being at this stage, but who knows if every woman gets told the same thing. You walk around, you lean over, you read your book, you crunch on some ice chips, you take a bath. You sit on a big blue ball, convincing yourself it helps. The hours drag on; the pain gets worse. The television noise has got to go. The big blue ball has long since stopped fooling you of its helpfulness. You climb into bed. You ask yourself if you will ever have more children. Is there a back-door exit to this delivery thing? You try to breathe calmly, but it’s no use. Enough of being macho: where’s the painkiller?

The moments get hazy — of seeing the head, of counting and pushing. Somehow in the midst of all your straining and breathing and pushing, someone up and steals your brain… or it wanders away when you’re not paying attention. (Sometime after delivery, you’ll realize it’s gone and can only hope it’ll find its way back soon.) But you don’t notice because a flood has just been released from your body, your soul. It’s over. It’s over. It’s over. The squalling baby is alive. It’s alive. It’s perfect. It’s your baby. It’s yours.

You try to catch your breath as they place a living being on your chest. You have just experienced a miracle.

The next day or two are blurry due to lack of sleep, but you’re delirious (and sore). Before you know it, you’re home and wondering who exactly was crazy enough to trust you with something so perfect, so fragile. Didn’t they check your list of credentials? Didn’t they realize you have no idea what to do with a live baby? As you sit there in the darkness and try to nurse, you realize that despite your brain being AWOL and your body being subject to a stronger force of gravity, you still remember how to love. And you figure that’s a good place to start.

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    • Luke
    • January 12th, 2007

    And our Father knew that His would grow up to be beaten, spit upon, and killed mercilessly…yet He loves us…

    how?

  1. June 24th, 2008

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