I am taking a break from my usual musings to share a bit of prose with you. I wrote this last month for an assignment for a writing group that I am a part of. It isn’t structured like a normal article. The same technicalities don’t really apply. It’s much more free form.
Anyway, I am proud of it because it was about a day where I just let God take over and tried to enjoy every moment as it happened to me. I wish I were better at living every minute of my life this way, but that’s my struggle. I hope one day that living this way becomes second nature. But I digress. Here it is: The birth-day of Gracie.
Are You Ready?
“Wowowowow…” The monitor behind my head scrawls out an endless green double zig- zag; my heartbeat and another.
Only another thirty minutes before I can meet this little invader who had grazed her elbows and knees under the surface of my belly for the past few months. I rub her back pressed out against my middle and feel her wiggle. One of the last times I’ll ever have that feeling.
A heady blend of emotions sweeps over me as I look at my husband whose clammy hand is still squeezing mine. His anxiety is thick and his eyes turn up to meet mine with a hint of emotion making them glossy, “Are you ready?”
I feel my insides quiver and it resonates to my teeth making them chatter.
“Cold?” he asks.
“No… Excited.” I wrestle a smile which wins and victoriously turns up the corners of my lips. He lets one slip through as well and squeezes my hand again then stoically redirects his attention to the now-nameless program on our triage television.
Deep breath in. Stay calm…stay calm. I close my eyes and say a quiet prayer to myself. Really I think of no words. Just a picture of what I am hoping: Ten fingers. Ten toes. A healthy pair of lungs. Maybe some fat cheeks and big, round eyes like her brothers would be nice.
“Screeeatch!” The shower curtain partition folds back and slender, scrubs, sea green Janine focuses on me and pulls her mask down to ask what seems to be everyone’s favorite question today, “Are you ready?”
I smile a wide grin again and feel my belly and throat tighten again. “Yes!” I could burst with anticipation.
My husband squeezes my hand one last time and lets it drop to my side. He stands in his own pale soapy blue scrubs and I am unhooked from the monitor. “Wowowow-” ceases abrubtly like a needle pulled from a record player mid-song. “Soon,” I think, “I will only see that pulse in my baby’s neck as she naps on my chest.”
Scott is taken to another room so that I can be given my spinal anesthetic.
Down the hallway, I walk with sea green Janine to the operating room. The air is about ten degrees cooler and my body is swallowed into the chill as the doors swing shut behind me.
Everything is deafeningly white. I climb awkwardly onto the gurney. There’s no pretty way to do it with my entire back side fully exposed. Mercifully, no one says a word about it.
Nancy, a yoga instructor/anesthesiologist is doing the injection. “Beautiful spine.” she remarks running her hands down the bumps. “I can see everything!” I look around the room. All women. The entire surgical staff is smiling, positive, confident women. “So fitting for the occasion,” I marvel to myself. A wave of sweet, soothing warmth washes over me as the numbness takes over. Scott is led into the room and seated next to my head, behind the black curtain that is now lifted in front of my face.
“We’ve started.” A gentle woman’s voice announces. I shiver again.
“Cold?” Nancy asks.
“No. Excited.” I say beaming.
I hear quiet snips and clips. I know it is my skin and muscle. But I don’t mind. Scott stares at my face with nothing but admiration and love. “Thank you,” I mouth.
“For what?” His eyebrows turn up.
“For this.” I feel so calm, I could be floating. For “this” is our third baby; a little girl to complete our family of five. I picture our two boys at home now and tears blur my vision.
He squeezes my hand and looks away.
I hear my O.B.’s familiar laugh as she works with the team behind the curtain, to bring our baby into this white room; a fresh start, a clean canvas…
Finally, I hear Dr. Matoian, “Come on out, baby! Come on… Oh, she’s stubborn!” I feel my body being pulled off the table slightly…
Then a strong, tiny (oh so tiny!) angry cry. I immediately think, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Dr. Matoian holds a purple face over the curtain and tears sting my eyes. Her cheeks are so chubby! “Hi, Grace! Gracie!” I stammer. I am overcome. She is perfect and beautiful. In that mad, little face I see that a life has begun again. Though whose, I’m not sure.
They pull her away and I hear her protests escalate as they suction out her nose and clean the placenta off of her body. I can’t help but laugh as I hear her yell at everyone touching her.
Scott kisses my forehead and announces quietly. “She’s here!”
And for him she finally is. But she’s always been with me. Only now I can finally see her and love her outside of me.