The wave comes. I push. The wave subsides. I stop pushing. I repeat this pattern over and over again. Sound emerges from my throat heavy and deep, I direct it downward toward the dense center of my body. I watch their faces rise with excitement and fall away into disappointment as the waves come and go. “Push, push! Give it everything you’ve got!” the midwife trainee cheers me on. Jeremy’s eyes are locked on mine, glancing every now and again down to check progress. I am crying. “It’s a no” is all I can choke out.
I knew what they wanted me to do, but it was impossible. They didn’t know, couldn’t feel, what was really going on down there; I was sitting with a square block trying to get it to go through a round space. No matter what anyone said I just couldn’t fathom how it could work. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the through line, nor could I communicate with anything other than my futile and helpless, “it’s a no” (people don’t you get it?!).
Jeremy’s face was inches from mine, seeing deeper than eyesight, “You have to find the YES,” he said. I shook my head, sobbing, none of them understood. My oxygen started tanking and so did the baby’s. I felt them hooking a mask around my face, boosting our levels hoping to get us through the last leg of this journey. I barely noticed. It was still a no.
Shelob croaked out from the dark corner, and this I heard as though it had been whispered directly into my ear. “If she doesn’t get him out in this next contraction, get the vacuum.” And in an instant a deep firestorm lit inside me and the mama bear that had not been before came raging up out of the depths. It didn’t matter that I didn’t understand how, when that wave hit I pushed with everything I had, saving nothing for the return. I gave myself over to certain death because “I” no longer mattered. It was in this moment that I became a mama. Rather than being merely the fertile ground within which this being had become, I had merged with all the facets of Her. The great mother. That which is able to dissolve and give way to become more than, to hold the entire world together for a child rather than just be the container, and there
The unfathomable creative power that flowed through me inspires and terrifies me to this day; we women are a mystery for which I have no words, simply awe and gratitude. As blazing energy faded into obsessed wonder, exhaustion and reality hit me full force. Looking down at my newborn baby who was refusing to sleep in the bassinet, I finally understood the meaning of seeing double. I felt scared and out of control. I had made it through the big scary event…what the hell was this after party?
At home in my own bathroom, tears burned hot down my face as I squirted water onto the tear I had sustained. Peeing burned like hellfire. I was scared to go to the bathroom. My little was crying and I didn’t know why. I felt defeated and surprised. He was wonderful and beautiful, and I was beyond grateful. At the same time
I was raw, traumatized, scarred, and never wanted to have a baby again.
One year and a few months later, the two lines greet me once more, and I hold my breathe.
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