Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)
TITLE: Song from a Snowdrift
By Emily Gibson
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Your rolling and stretching grew quieter that stormy winter night, but no labor came.
A week overdue, you still clung to amnion and womb, not ready.
The wind blew wicked and snow flew horizontal, landing in piling drifts.
The roads became impassable, nearly impossible to reach the safe haven of hospital if labor came.
But your dad and I tried to make it down the road, worried about being stranded at home. Our little car got stuck in a snowpile, so we prayed you would wait, our tires spinning, whining against the growing snow. It took a neighbor’s bulldozer to dig us out to freedom. You floated silent and still, knowing your time was not yet.
After creeping slowly through the dark night blizzard, we finally arrived to the warm glow of the hospital.
You slept. I, not at all.
With morning sun glistening off sculptured snow outside our window, the doctor arrived to start labor but your heart had mysteriously slowed in the night. You were jostled, turned, oxygenated, but nothing changed. You beat even more slowly. The nurses’ eyes told me we had trouble. The doctor, grim faced, announced delivery must happen quickly, taking you now, hoping we were not too late. I was rolled, numbed, stunned, clasping your father’s hand, closing my eyes, not wanting to see the bustle around me, not wanting to hear the shouted orders, the tension in the voices, the quiet at the moment of opening when it was unknown what would be found.
And then you cried.
A hearty healthy husky cry. Perturbed and disturbed from the warmth of womb, to the cold shock of a bright lit operating room, your first vocal solo brought applause from the surrounding audience who admired your pink skin, your shock of damp red hair, your blue eyes squeezed tight, then blinking open, wondrous.
You were okay.
You were brought wrapped for me to see and touch before being whisked away, your father trailing behind the parade to the nursery.
I closed my eyes, swirling in a brain blizzard of what-ifs, knowing if no storm had come, you would have fallen asleep forever within my womb, no longer nurtured by an aging placenta, being cut off from what you needed to stay alive. There would have been no pink skin, nor husky cry, only the soft weeping of your parents knowing what could have been if we had only known, if we could have been sent a sign to go for help.
Saved by a storm and dug from a drift: I celebrate now each time I hear your voice.
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