“Okay honey, here comes another,” my husband said with a smile.
Glaring, I tried to make it clear by the clenching of my fist if he spoke one more supposedly supportive word I’d slap that smile into next week. Unfortunately the next contraction turned my glare into what I can only assume was a mask of pure agony. It just wasn’t right. I was supposed to have to push once, maybe twice, and out would pop the infant who’d resided two weeks too long in my poor belly.
Apparently she still wasn’t willing to make an appearance. Now I know I’m a fairly comfortable woman to be around, but this was ridiculous.
The nurse counted down “three – two – one” and the contraction ended. “Okay, honey, relax for a minute. Then we’ll go again.”
A minute! I had a whole minute to sit back, resent my husband for doing this to me, and contemplate the fantastic lecture my brand new daughter would receive IF we ever got her out. I’d put in all sorts of things about “You need to respect me. I’m your mother!” and “You are SO going to your room when we get home!”
“Okay, let’s go again,” the nine-foot Amazonian nurse said to me. I took one look at her nicely coiffed hair, her super-model face, her calm nature, and wanted to cry.
Then I pushed, willing this child who claimed to be mine out of my body. I’m pretty sure I heard her giggle. I began to wonder if she’d grabbed hold of my ribcage with her toes, just as determined to stay in as I was to get her out. Did she think this was some sort of a game? I gave an extra hard push with all the strength my flabby stomach muscles could manage.
I’m fairly certain I felt one of her toes let go. She must be part monkey. ‘Takes after her father’s side of the family,’ I wickedly thought, looking at the tips of his long, increasingly purple fingers, gripped in my own.
“Three – two – one,” said the fashion-plate nurse, flashing me an impossibly white smile. “You’re doing great. She’s almost ready to come out.”
Almost? Did she say almost? I had the sudden urge to reach for her own hand and give it a not-so-friendly squeeze, only she might need it to help get this rotten kid out.
I looked helplessly at my husband, who’d gotten remarkably smart in the last few minutes and hadn’t uttered a word, when two other men walked into my room. I almost cried out in relief.
It was difficult to say which one I loved more: the epidural-man or my doctor. My dear husband would have to settle for third place.
After a quick check Dr. Reisen declared the baby “close enough”. Unbeknownst to me they were seriously considering cutting me open to get my monkey out. Forty-five minutes of shoving and pushing and general torture had worked to earn me a ‘natural’ birth. I didn’t think there was anything natural about this.
After the epidural-man worked his magic I felt so much better! There was even the distinct possibility I could get through all this.
“Now comes the hard part,” Dr. Reisen said. My recent euphoria at blissfully not being able to feel the lower part of my body flew out the window. Hadn’t I just been doing the hard part? Why were they all being so mean?
Something suddenly felt funny, like I’d wedged a baseball between my legs. Dr. Reisen took one wide-eyed look, made a quick catch, and the next thing I knew a weird looking, scrawny screamer was placed on my chest.
The sudden swirling of activity set my own head spinning. The hairless monkey was removed so she could be cleaned and before I knew it they brought back a baby. Her soft blue, innocent eyes gazed up into mine and drastically all the pain, the aches and effort instantly dissipated.
I looked up at my husband, who stood nursing his right hand, and smiled.
“Happy?” he asked.
I nodded, unable to say more.
My sweet, beautiful nurse came over and asked, “Have you chosen a name?”
“Joy,” I said. “Her name is Joy.”
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