I kept removing my glasses to rub my eyes into the pillow and putting them on again because I hated that the nurses' faces were a blur of colors and not distinct features. I'm certain my vision is part of the reason I have trouble recalling the delivery clearly. I mostly remember disembodied voices.
“I'm ready,” I whined to a nurse with café con leche skin and no other discernible features.
I pushed for... an hour? Most of the time I'd spent in Barnes and Noble taking notes on what to do during delivery from Pam England's awesome book “Birthing From Within” proved to be wasted, a mistake I'm sure. I squeezed for as long as the medical team screamed “PUSH! PUSH! PUSHHH!” at me. I lay face-up on the narrow bed with my feet spread apart – a doctor's invention and the worst position for the baby. When I reached down to pat the soft protrusion of what I imagined to be newborn hair centered in the burning ring of fire between my thighs, someone sharply swatted my hand away.
“No, you're not,” a person nearby laughed. Was that my mom? “You still have to push!”
“I can't find the baby's heartbeat,” a female muttered. To me, she said, “The baby is in distress. We have to use a suction cup to pull him out, okay?”
“Okay,” I agreed. I just wanted him OUT! I put my glasses on to see upwards of twelve staff members unexpectedly crowding through the doorway before me. One woman entered the room dumbly asking if I was getting the epidural.
I couldn't locate my short mother, but my former boyfriend was pushed up against the yellow wall opposite my feet with his palms raised outwards in surrender. I felt as if I were a stop on Gray Line's Double Decker Bus Tours of New York where a megaphone shouted, “Before you is a 23-year-old girl giving birth naturally!”
I closed my eyes again to shut out the frightened, fascinated students' faces as the machine entered and then slowly pulled out of my numbed vagina. Airy, liquidy noises resounded from below.
“What happened?” I gasped.
“He has huge hands!” someone noted.
A cloth bundle moved away from me towards the scale. Relieved, I closed my eyes but quickly reopened them in horror. “Did he cry?”
“Yes! You didn't hear him?” someone chided, and I nodded my head as if I did.
The midwife with the suction cup approached me, her eyes wide with fear, “I'm so sorry.”
I shook my head, smiling to make her feel better, “It's okay. I'm just glad he's fine.”
A grey-haired male midwife with silver-rimmed wire glasses placed my son against my bare skin.
“Hi, Habibi,” I whispered as the midwife's long pale fingers massaged my breasts to let down the colostrum so I could breastfeed. I held him, knowing I'd do anything for him.
Equis was removed from me to undergo a battery of tests and a nurse prepared to repair me. For an hour, the sewing needle sharply pricked through my soft skin while my legs spasmed uncontrollably. That suction cup had ripped me apart as if I were a green paper bill in a baby's fingers. I un-accepted the midwife's apology. I begged for more lidocaine.
“Mom,” I pled when it was done, “Can you ask Dad to bring me the rest of that pecan pie?”