I wrote this piece about giving birth to Luna as part of a project entitled "The Mother Monologues." I plan to make it into a short film.
A Good Friday In Lent
On the freeway, into the ER parking lot, onto the wheelchair, I can’t remember anything in between except pain cracking my belly and back open like a watermelon hitting the floor.
For a moment I think “This is good. Husband parking, teenage daughter at my side, candy striper pushing me to maternity.” Then, another contraction and sound is coming out of my mouth without thought.
“This wheelchair has no feet! Get me another!” Candy striper runs, leaving me face to face with the ER waiting room. They look at me as I spit orders through contractions like a circus dagger show, landing with expert precision. I don’t know if I am thinking or yelling, “Your place here has no significance. All of you taking up space with your little flues, body aches; your little cuts and need for stitches. Do you know where I’ll have stitches by end of tonight?!”
All at once, I’m in the delivery room with a team of nurses, husband and daughter. I breath the #1 top 40 childbirth hit of all time “Hee, Hee, Hee/Hee, Hee, Hee/Hee, Hee Ho, HAAA!” I look over my shoulder to my husband for coaching. This is the moment I cash in on 4 weeks of birthing classes and he’s disappeared! “MARC!” I scream and he pops up from the floor, “I’m right here!” as if there is no need for hysterics. “I was plugging in the video camera, the battery needs charging.”
I look at the head nurse with her calm authority. I say to her “You’re my focal point now.” She is the only one who hears me, she looks me in the eye, ME, not my arms for IVs or vitals, not my vagina for dilation. She says, “Just look at me Mamma,” and I’m peaceful inside while crying tears, screaming and breathing.
“Give me some Demoral” I say to my focal point, my sliver of grace. Husband says, “What about the natural child birth?” We ignore him. I save my energy for getting the drugs instead of choking him, and soon the razors running through me have turn to dull knives.
The doctor is here and I am pushing. The surgical cheerleaders chant in unison cheerleader tandum (as in the football chant) “PushPushPushPush!PushPushPushPush!PUSH PUSH” It is Good Friday in lent. No meat today for this pregnant Catholic school veteran, and as I push to bring what I know will be my last child into this world, blood, water and my filet-o-fish dinner gush out.
“PushPushPushPush!PushPushPushPush!” and I do. Everyone comes in close and I don’t recognize the silence. The baby’s head is out and suspended with her eyes closed. For this moment, I am sure the earth has stopped rotating on its axis. My teenager is filming with tears welled up behind the lens. Each face in the room reflects the AWE of God’s best work. My last and strongest exhale pushes the universe into movement again.
No one is listening to me as I say “Thank you God. Thank you personal trainer. It’s over. The carpal tunnel on my hands will go away soon, my toes won’t look like sausages.
Baby is crying and rushed to a corner to get cleaned up. All of the attention in the room is shifted from me to her with the exception of my own doctor and nurse M*A*S*H unit.
I am incoming wounded with organs displaced and months of internal shrapnel wounds no one will ever know of. Life has detonated inside of me. I see only their eyes behind surgical masks, serious and intentional. Bloody gloved hands sew me back together, repair me, careful to not leave behind the battle scars.