But get brighter it did.
After so much pain.
Childbirth was the most painful thing you had ever been through. They did not lie about that. They could not have told you enough about the pain. Recommendation after recommendation to get the epidural as soon as you can.
Forget natural childbirth, they said. It is just not worth it, it hurts so much!
Make sure they have the needle ready for you the second you arrive, do not waste time and wait, they told you.
They had friends who waited and then it was too late. They were too far dilated or the anesthesiologist couldn’t get there in time or had an emergency or wasn’t quick in answering his page because you were interrupting his anniversary dinner or kids swim meet or little league game or dance recital or yoga class or mistress’s birthday or something. And then it was too late, you were too far dilated and then you had to just do it the old-fashioned way, with out drugs.
You took their recommendation on that, took the drugs right away. The nurses were happy because you weren’t yelling and screaming the whole night like the “granola” moms down the hall who wanted to show how natural childbirth was and how strong they were with all their pre-natal yoga and Zen breathing techniques only getting them so far until they too, started yelling, Give me an epidural god damn it!!!
And then there he was, his head poking out of you, his body still inside you, stretching you open from your very core so that he could come out and you could open up to becoming a mother. There was nothing like it, whether you were drugged, completely knocked out, or un-medicated, the end result, if you were lucky, was the same. A baby, warm and wet and wriggling and screaming and purple faced and searching for your nipple. He turned to your voice, before any other, searching for the familiarity you had cultivated over the nine months he was inside you growing. From the smallest of seedlings he grew into a living, thriving, writhing baby – all eight pounds of him.
It was at that very moment you began to understand the gravity of the situation, the seriousness with which everyone spoke of childbirth and motherhood. The transformative nature of the entire bizarre experience. Because even though you were sweaty and exhausted and literally torn apart, turned inside out, bleeding and shitting and barfing in front of complete strangers with your ass and breasts hanging out and just not giving a damn, even then the world looked a little bit different.
Sure the tears streaming out of your eyes and down your cheeks cloud your vision, and the exhaustion and bad hospital lighting made the room seem slightly out of focus and illuminated in an artificial way, but the world seemed more saturated with color.
It stayed that way for the next few exhausted and exhausting weeks when you got no sleep because he didn’t sleep much. When he did, you were so in love you could not help but stare at him, make sure he was breathing, watched his eyes as they moved rapidly from side to side, smiled as his little red lips puckered and he made sucking noises.
They told you to sleep when he sleeps, to not worry about the dishes, or the laundry, or the filthy bathroom sinks, and that was easy for you to do. You could let the housekeeping go, but sleeping, while he sleeps, was difficult because he was just the most beautiful thing you had ever seen.
You began to realize what they were talking about. It’s like someone has taken your heart out of your body, given it little kissable chubby legs and let it go wobbling off into the big bad world.
Your heart breaks just thinking about it, and eventually, you learn not to think about it for just that reason. It is impossible to imagine your life without him in it now that he is there in the bassinet beside your bed or the crib down the hall or the baby swing next to your sofa or wrapped up in a soft warm blanket next to you in the bed where he was conceived.
You know you will never feel as comfortable, as much at home, as where you are supposed to be as you do when he is there, sheltered in the crook of your arm, your watchful eyes never leaving him.
to be continued…
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