Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On the night you were born...

Yesterday, Emmeline celebrated her 4th birthday.

It's the first year that she was really into everything...REALLY into everything. The parties, the presents, the cake and most interestingly, her birth story.

This is what I told her.

"So, the night before you were born, mommy, daddy and Auntie L spent the night in the hospital. I was all cozy in my bed (Emmeline loves the word "cozy"). Daddy was all cozy in another bed in the room. And Auntie L was all cozy in a chair. The room looked a lot like the room mommy was in the night before the brothers came. That night, we all talked about how excited we were to meet you. Then, the next morning, the doctor came and woke me up and told me that it was time for you to come out. We were so excited. So he pulled you out of my tummy and we found out that you were a girl! We were so surprised that you were a girl. Then we named you Emmeline.

That night, we were very tired. So you, mommy and daddy all slept in the same room. So many people were taking care of you because everyone loved you so much.".

The end.

I was just getting her out of the bath when I had told her the story. "Again, momma. Again.". I wish I had had a camera on me to capture her delight.

Now, this is how I typically tell the story to myself, in my own head.

"Even though I desperately needed the 5 more days to get my shit together, we were unexpectedly sent to the hospital that afternoon because my platelets were crashing and my doc was concerned for my health. Then, they forced us to go to a different, high risk hospital...that really pushed me over the edge. Once we got there, they strapped a gazillion monitors on me, making it absolutely impossible to get much sleep. The next morning, they started pitocin and my cervix refused to cooperate. By 11AM, they decided to rip the membranes of my cervix to get things moving. This involves little Miss "I'm-a-beautiful-calm-and-serene doc" sticking her fist up my who-who and scrapping her well-manicured nails (of course, covered by latex gloves) on my cervix. Yes, it was as pleasant as it sounds. Oh, about 30 minutes after that move to get things going, the same doc makes a decision and says f' it - a c-section will be better for both mom and baby. F'ing fantastic. Yada, yada, yada...In the OR, I get sliced open and after violently pushing my organs around, out comes Emmeline. My reaction to Alex saying "It's a girl!" is "Holy shit!" (We were certain the she was a he). I get a quick peak and they take her somewhere. Back to the room I go to get all the IVs back in because, oh, did I fail to mention that I'm suffering from preeclampsia which requires me to be on a devil drug called magnesium sulfate (so I won't seize, of course). About an hour or so after being back to the room, inspite not having anything to eat for the past 50 hours (thank you, magnesium sulfate), I dry heave my guts out, only to pass out for about a day afterwords. Seriously, I don't I have one memory from the time I puked my guts out until sometime the next day."

All I know is that my baby was taken care of. I guess that's the one commonality between how I often choose to remember that time and what I told Emmeline last night.

Was the story I told Emmeline a fairy tale version of what I wish it was like? No, what I told Emmeline was true. Is the story I have running through my head the nightmare version of what really happened? No, it is true also. It all got me thinking...imagine that...

I could write this same blog about many events in my life - the contrast between the version I would tell to my child or someone else and the version that I live with in my head. Yes, initially, it does feel like I'm presenting an untruth - a fairy tale version - on the outside, yet living a nightmare of the darkest variety on the inside. And, frankly, both feel off and extreme, resulting in me feeling fraudulent in some way. But the truth of the matter is, that I'm not a fraud. That the truth of a memory lies in both the light and the dark. I think with Emmeline's age and my current unskillfulness in the balance of these matters, I made the right choice in how I told her the story. But, perhaps I can start to change the scripts that play out in my mind, moving a little more towards center...to a spot the resides between nightmare and fairy tale - a spot that defines what it means to be fully human.

Happy Birthday my sweet baby! I've always known you and I can't wait to keep growing with you.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that night so well. What I remember on top of the admittedly less than ideal circumstances is how strong, composed and circumspect you were...not a tear shed about the C section, just able to accept this as one more difficult step in your long and difficulty journey to create and meet your new baby. I said to Matt that night that your ability to roll with the punches was going to be a great help to you as a mom and I was very right. I also remember that shitty magnesium and what it did to you! :( And sweet sweet Emmeline looking at me and I still swear to G-d, smiling right at me in that old soul way she still has. And Alex, Mr. Reserved, coming out crying tears of joy, such that I thought something must be wrong. A beautiful, unexpected, human event I am still honored I was a part of.