Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Birth (infancy)( 08/20/09)
By Sheri Gordon
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I am supposed to be in a beautiful birthing room—with green giraffes or blue bunnies lining the walls. With frilly curtains blowing gently in the artificial breeze, listening to sounds of a waterfall, or raindrops, or the ocean. My husband is supposed to be watching something, anything, on the flat screen, plasma television—not focusing on that evil machine.
“Here comes another one, sweetie.”
I refuse to respond.
“It’s getting bigger.”
I begin breathing. Hee-hee-hee-hoo-hoo-hoo.
“Wow, this is the biggest one yet. Come on honey, you can do it.”
“Why do you think you have to inform me that this is the biggest one yet?!! Don’t you think I can figure that out all on my own?!! And stop staring at that stupid thing—it’s the tool of the devil.”
I calmly—in my estimation, given the current circumstances—make it through another contraction. I don’t know how long I’ve been in labor in this broom closet—and I am not exaggerating by saying ‘broom closet,’ they ran out of birthing rooms so I have been put in a converted broom closet—nor how long I’ve been connected to this contraction contraption—and you are free to draw your own conclusion as to how the wires are attached to the baby inside me, and yes, your assumption is probably correct. I am fairly certain that I’ve been in here for days since there have been four shift changes—each with their own Nurse Ratched.
“Would you like ice chips, sweetheart?”
“Should I rub your back?”
“How about some soft, soothing music?”
“Only if I can stick it up your…ooowwww.” Hee-hee-hee-hoo-hoo-hoo.
At some point, Nurse Ratched races in, followed by six lackeys. I assume the position and watch six jaws drop to the floor.
“These are some interns observing labor and delivery today. I hope you don’t mind that they are here,” Nurse Ratched explains as she dons the latex gloves.
Would I be laying here spread eagle if I minded? I filter that thought and decide it would be better left unspoken. And while we’re at it, can any of you geniuses explain to me how something roughly the size of a watermelon can mathematically fit through a diameter roughly the size of a grapefruit? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure there isn’t a formula that will make that work. Probably shouldn’t vocalize that either.
“Well, it’s time for you to push. Everyone take their places.”
Am I supposed to move? No, guess not. I’ll just relax and let you guys take it from here—I’m pooped.
Somehow, the watermelon miraculously fits through the grapefruit-sized opening—but do not try this at home.
“We have a son.” I smile at my husband as he makes his announcement. “Augh…with a conehead! What’s wrong with him, Doc? Will his head ever be normal?”
“It should return to a normal shape within a few days.”
Should?!! That means, it might not, correct?
I turn to look at my son in the warming tray and see a screaming, red, naked something—definitely a boy—with a very pointy head, skinny chicken legs, and giant feet. Then I faint.
I wake up sometime later in a new room—still no parading peacocks, but at least it’s not a broom closet.
“Good morning and congratulations, new mommy. Someone’s ready to be changed and fed.” I’m fairly certain the nurse is talking about the baby, not me. I am relieved, however, to see that Nurse Ratched has been replaced by Florence Nightingale—but why are there three additional nurses in the room, all pretending to be busy while keeping one eye on me?
I slowly unwrap my beautiful baby boy. He still has a conehead, chicken legs, and great big feet, but since he’s not red and screaming, he looks a little more…human.
As I undo the teeny tiny diaper, I am christened with a strong stream of warm liquid followed by rollicking laughter from the nurses.
“We’ve been waiting all morning for that. This is the best part of working in this ward.” Guess even Florence Nightingale has a bit of spunk in her.
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