Monday, August 3, 2015

that first moment

I was so scared. The fear was tangible, like a thick tar running through my veins. My fingertips tingled as tiny tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes.

I stared up at the surgical lights ahead and tried not to think about what was going to happen on the other side of that blue paper curtain just under my chin. The lights were bright and reminded me of the dentist. But bigger. And scarier. Because somebody was going to cut open my abdomen today.

The tears trickled down into my hair and ears. My head was foggy. Whether the fog was from the fear, from the long hours of fruitless pushing, or from whatever was pumping in through my IV, I couldn't tell.

My husband stood by my head and held my left hand. He was so quiet.

I wanted to ask him if he was scared, too. Did the fear feel like he was bleeding inside too?

But I couldn't quite figure out how to make the words. My mouth tasted like cotton.

And then it began. A slight sting at the bottom of my swollen belly.

"Ow," I moaned weakly.

"You can feel it?" my husband asked, bending down so his cheek was inches from mine.

"Yeah," I whispered.

But then the sensation faded and all that was left was a numb tugging.

"Okay," my doctor said. "You're going to feel some really intense pulling. It's going to be all right."

Then the strangest sensation--a feeling I'd never felt before. Like my insides were coming out, but painlessly.

And then I heard the little cry. It was small and quiet and wet-sounding. One single little wail.

I blinked up at the surgical lights. "Whose baby is that?" I asked through the fog. "Is that our baby?"

"Yes," my husband laughed. "That's our baby!"

He let go of my hand and walked over to where the baby was. I heard wet suctioning noises and happy chatter from the nurses and doctors and my midwife. "Let's get that boy on a scale! He's big!"

But it took a long time for the baby to cry again. The suctioning noises continued.

"Where is he?" I asked.

My husband came back to my side for a moment. "He's just over there. He's got mucus in his lungs. He'll be okay. Don't worry." He was so calm. So I tried to be calm, too.

And then all at once, that baby started wailing just like a newborn should. The sweet, sad, irresistible sound of brand new life.

I craned my head around to see my new son where they put him on a scale. 8 lbs 15 oz. Not too big, but definitely not small.

Seconds later, he was all wrapped up and the nurse was unstrapping my left arm so I could hold my sweet boy for the first time. I pressed my cheek against his warm, soft one.

"Hello, baby," I was saying. "Hello! I love you so much! You're so handsome, sweet boy..."

He licked his lips and his eyes looked all around for me. He was so precious. So tiny. So perfect.

The fear was gone, replaced entirely by ecstasy and joy and a love so intense I felt like I might burst.

This was the moment. The moment they all talk about. I was somebody's mommy now.

Read my full birth story here.

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