Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?
This isn’t a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.
It all began Thanksgiving Day. Everything seemed ordinary enough. I woke up, took my “Week 39” belly-shot and then did the ole waddle with C. down to the fancy deli to buy some last minute goods. There was ham and turkey and mac & cheese and two kinds of cranberry sauce; there were green beans and squash and a whole heap of carrots.
Then, our guests started arriving, and there was even more. Here’s Olivia with her famous apple pie–to be shadowed only by her famous pumpkin pie.
Looking back now (see below), I do look, as they say, verrrrrrrrrrrrry pregnant, like one of those women you point at expecting that at any moment they’re going to burst wildly at the seams…
And…burst I did…Just moments before we sat down for dinner, I thought, hmm…something’s going on. I was, I believed “leaking amniotic fluid.” I went upstairs and called my mom. Mom, I said, I think I’m leaking amniotic fluid.
Your water broke?
Well, it doesn’t seem “broken.” Maybe just a leak.
Your water broke, she said. You need to go to the hospital.
When we hung up, I called my doctor for a second opinion. Yes, she told me, I did need to go to the hospital. I went down to the table and made everyone hold hands and say what seemed like a prayer. I might be in the early stages of labor, I said as we piled our plates high, and they laughed. Then we all laughed–all the way to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was given a gown, a plastic bracelet and a Ph test. Since I still wasn’t having any contractions, I really wanted to go home and sleep for the night. The pony-tailed resident wasn’t having it. Please, I said. I’ll come back tomorrow. He stared at me; sitting at the edge of my bed, he played Mr. Empathy. My concern is for your unborn child, he said. As you know, the vagina is a very, very dirty place.
(Uhm, actually I didn’t know that but thanks for the heads-up…)
Fortunately, the tryptophan from the turkey worked as a bit of a sedative; unfortunately, the laboring woman next door could have woken the dead. Sleep was not, it seemed, in the cards. The next morning, my doctor arrived. Because of my already broken water, she was concerned about infection. She told me that if I didn’t start having contractions by eight that evening, she’d be forced to induce me. I really didn’t want to be chemically induced. Again, I begged to go home to try to induce labor on my own. Finally, she agreed, giving me twelve hours to do whatever I needed to do.
It worked a little like this OR how to induce labor at home: Hot shower followed by acupuncture followed by a quarter cup of castor oil chased with apple cider followed by a one mile walk followed by two slices of pepperoni pizza (my mom swore by it) followed by a five mile walk followed by a self-given enema followed by a twenty minute nap followed by a shower and BAM: labor.
Here I am measuring out the castor oil. Yum diggety:
What followed was the longest night of my life. C. and my mom (who had flown in from Oklahoma) were in the labor room with me, and it went a little like this: la dee da dee da dee…oh my God…ouch…moo…(rock)…La dee da dee da dee…repeat. (I had hear mooing could help alleviate some of the pain.) We had gotten back to the hospital around five, and let me tell you, all the yoga in the world couldn’t have prepared me for the pain of labor. The thing is: I think I’m tough. Or, I should say, I thought I was tough.
Around 2:30 a.m., 33 hours after my water had broken and 9 hours after the intense labor had set in, my mom came in to the bathroom with me while I showered. She cried. Here, the strongest woman I’ve ever known, and she was crying. Please get the epidural, she said. I can’t watch this. I can’t watch you be in so much pain.
Earlier today, scientists believed they had found two previously undetected planets hovering dangerously close to the earth’s surface. They then realized they were looking at my milk-engorged breasts. Back to feeding…