Monday, January 14, 2008
when a baby is born
You're pushing--or trying not to push but just let your body do the pushing for you--and there's this moment where you know, if you just bear down and push through everything (through the pain and the pressure and the stretching and the burning and the bizarre way you can feel your baby's head descending through the birth canal and making a break for it), you will push the baby out and you will be done. So you push, even though you're supposed to just pant or something and let your body push so that you don't tear, but the last time you did that, she crowned and then went back inside, and that is NOT going to happen again. So you push, and it burns, and you think you're going to tear apart, but then, after the pressure is so great you wonder how the universe can still be in one piece, her head slips out and her body after it and all the pain is gone, instantly, like it never happened, like the whole twelve hours of everything you've just been through was only a dream--no, not even a dream, it was someone else's dream and they told you about it and for half an instant, you believed in it, but no, it was only a dream. So you push through to that moment and then it's over and they drape the baby over your naked stomach and chest. She's howling and sliding around on you because they didn't even wipe her off much first, and she feels so warm that you don't ever want them to take her off of you. And you look at her eyes shut tightly against the light and her mouth open wide in a loud protest of being born and her little hands, curling into fists like they're trying to grab a hold on you to push themselves back in and in that moment, you are irrevocably bound to this tiny life for the rest of eternity.