Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Birth of Hosea: Day Three

One year ago today, I turned 27 years old.

The daylight felt harsh against my tired eyes and my body couldn't get warm. I shivered in my wool sweaters and turned the heat up to 90. The heavy blanket that my labor had been yesterday began to feel tight, suffocating. My anxiety grew into a tightening in my gut, knowing that things could not continue as they were, but feeling utterly helpless to do anything about it. The midwife came and settled herself in, deciding without a word that today would be the day. My contractions were long and irritated, demanding attention, but in all the wrong ways. My feet ached from walking for days. I longed to rest. I sensed the growing worry in the house and, feeling defeated, I fought the sinking feeling in my gut I was disappointing everyone.

This was when I gave up. I gave away my intuition, my ownership of my body, my power. I knew the risks of what I consented to and I consented anyway. I learned, in that moment, that support and the threat of its absence is the greatest weapon a birth worker has. She never argued, never insisted, never cajoled or threatened. But the message was clear: I didn't have to follow her prescription, but if I rejected it, I rejected her support. She would sit there in silence, allowing my partner's confidence and comprehension to continue to erode, allowing me to continue to flip through my textbooks, too discombobulated to remember anything I had learned about labor and birth over the past several years.
I couldn't do this alone. I looked into the worried eyes of my exhausted partner. I looked into the depths of myself and, finding no resiliency, I broke.
Yes, fine, any of it, do it.

I don't remember the contractions, just the hot, slicing nerve pain that shot down my legs. The emotionless, blank eyes of the midwife staring.
The night was long. I would lose consciousness, while standing, between each contraction and I would have to catch myself each time, before I collapsed. Twice, I saw the midwife arranging her kit and I knew she thought I was near. Both times she was wrong.
"I'm never doing this again!" I croaked to my partner as a contraction subsided, not because I meant it, but because I couldn't think of any words to convey how it felt to be in my body.

"You're so close, my love."
"No, she isn't."

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