A balmy warm summers day dawns, the sun beaming in through my window pane and jumping on the bed to say good morning. The lady in the bed sleeps soundly, not moving, her hand resting lightly on her swollen belly – the size of it alone lets me know that her time is nearly here. The colors in this world seen so vibrant so alive…
She’s shopping. I hear the slow steady measure “click click” of her low heels on the paving, her unrestrained giggle, the taped music inside the places she visits. Its crowded. Busy chatter fills the air and yet her smile – so natural, so casual, as she slowly moves from one store to the next, browsing shoes, chocolate and jewelry at my local shopping mall. I know something is up. You can tell by the way she pauses, the way her grip tightens a little over that precious cargo she has been carrying for months. She closes her eyes, draws a breath and moves on with focused determination. Two friends follow behind not taking their eyes off her much. One bites his lip, the others hands constantly moving. They seem nervous, agitated. They reach out to touch her, but unnoticing she always seems to move away and escape their grasp.
A deep guttural moan shatters the silence. A rushed voice, gasping for air, spits the words out as she pleads “keep talking… oh God keep talking to me.” The scene is a spacious living room. It’s warm and clean… bright… comfortable… and filled with all the little objects that make a house a home. There are pictures on the walls, candles on the tables, books in the shelves and not a single box in sight. The two friends jerked from their previous conversation by the moaning. One jumping to his feet stood rocking a little on his heels as his mind searches for something to talk about. The other wide eyes sat on the edge of his chair wringing his hands, pale looking like he may throw up from the nerves stuttering… stammering. The moan comes again louder sweeping the room like a wave. I hear a calm, firm, female response – not an once of panic or confusion “that’s it Ali, you’re doing great.” My head snaps around. I see her. I don’t recognize her. She looks older than me and very stern – a no nonsense lady and yet her face is kind. She sits relaxing in her chair watching… waiting… bag of tricks at her feet. A midwife. She speaks again: “you can do this Ali.” Why is she talking to me? She said my name. Whhhyyy is she saying my name? I feel the world closing in. Things are changing, the colors are melting together… like I’m gonna pass out … except i don’t. I’m inside this woman that I’ve been watching. Her body is so heavy, her… my… muscles so tight… pressure inside me pushing on my stomach intestines. Damn I can hardly breathe. This mass in my belly… I NEEED TO PEE!!!!!! .. FUCK! pain pain pain… owww ooowww oowww OWWWWIEE !!!! aaahhh… It takes over my whole body, radiating out from my pelvis and reaching every extremity. I WANT to die. I’m going to DIE. What the fuck just happened to me? Its like current electricity inside me over my skin. I can’t stop moving… rocking from side to side pacing… I need to put my mind somewhere else. I need to think… I… OWWWWWWWWWWW!! GAWD DAM IT!!! Crumpling over, gripping that belly… rock hard between my hands. I can’t I can’t… I can’t … Gasping… Rasping… this is not right… this is not me… I can’t… I can’t have kids… something went wrong. Something’s happened. Why am I HERE HURTING! That voice again… “Breathe ALI! Come on, you’re gonna be fine… Breathe through it let it go …” The midwife… MY midwife. Holy crap I’m having a baby… I’m gonna be a mommy… OMG… breathe .. breathe .. breathe… Pacing the floor… always moving… rocking my hips, shifting my weight… moving… can’t stop…. I want a drink… I need water… I need heat…. I need… “I’m going to take a shower”… I can’t believe I just said that.
Leaning… two hands flat against the cold cold tiles… listening to the sound of the water drumming on my back…. focusing on that liquid running off my body… still rocking forward and back. Moaning into each contraction when, for a few minutes, the world seems to contract and all I can feel is the pain. I’m swimming in it… drowning in it… but I’m not scared. I know. I understand whets happening to me. I have no control. I can’t make it stop.. I’ve got to GET this BABY OUT OF ME! There is no way around this. Planting my cheek against the wall as the pain rips me open. a long deep moaning cry through another contraction pushing my hands into that wall. It feels like I need to push my hands right through the bloody wall. I can do this. I can. I… CAN… Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
Back in that front room it’s darker… much darker. Artificial lighting gives the room a dull glow and still this work is not over. Gripping my friend, my arms right around his body, holding him to me, feeling the heat from him… rocking and rolling… pulling him around as I moan and hum making him dance this dance with me. I’m tired my body is covered in sweat. its sticky and clammy on my face and seems to make my breathing harder still. I feel his hands on me. Gasping… panting… asking for a cloth – something cold some relief. The second more nervous witness offers it to me. I don’t move. I can’t let go. I don’t want to het go!! He wipes the hair from my face – a brief moment of refreshment. I can feel the midwife behind me, her hands needing my back, her head close to mine I hear her voice in my ear sometimes… but its hard sooo flipping hard to keep focused on what she’s saying. I pull back, gripping my friend’s two hands instead and staring up into his blue eyes.. I find that grip getting tighter as I squat down with the contraction. The moan turns almost into a roar as I feel the baby’s head… round and so hard… a pain like NEVER before… so unmovable inside me. My eyes fixed on the face of the man in front of me but not in fear – it’s more look at me .. watch me. I’ve never felt so powerful before in my whole life… that baby is coming OUT gawd dam it !
With the next contraction, I’m on my knees… one friend either side. I feel the midwife’s body behind my back. I know they’re there. I feel their grip. I’m aware they are talking to me, encouraging pushing me on… and yet… I’m not with them. I’m somewhere else… in a place where only I and my baby exist. As I reach my hand between my thighs and feel the weight of that precious child’s head pushing out into the world against the palm of my hand. I’m floating out of body. I know I’m turning that baby slowing working it out of me. I know I’m pushing again and yet I feel nothing but the increasing weight of this tiny body as the shoulders emerge. It feels too heavy for my one hand. I feel scared. I’m gonna drop it… I need my other hand …… my baby is so close ….
Its sounds cheesy to end the story with and “then I woke up”. I can hear my third grade teacher chastising us for the ending so often used… but that is how this story ends. I wake up gasping… sometimes shaking. I never see that baby only feel its weight and then come face to face with the reality of my bedroom walls. It’s so vivid… so real… and then it’s gone… like a bubble bursting… leaving me deprived of air. I want to go back. I want so badly to hold that child… to see its face… to look into its eyes. Instead I catch my breath and try to go back to sleep.
Last night marked the third time in a row. Always the same images. Always the same dream ending at the exact same point. I felt like something snapped. It hurt so bad I couldn’t even cry. Instead when I opened my mouth this kind of restrained scream comes out – a sound of pure pain and an inability to breathe. I felt like a piece of me was ripped out and left in that dream world. I felt violated in some way. I haven’t made a noise like that that I can remember since I was locked in a bathroom lying on the floor in fetal position having escaped my dad. I wanted to tell someone. I needed to be held. I need someone to make it Ok, to stop the hurt… nobody was around… I felt all alone and for some reason terrified of all this emotion inside me.
I screamed on Twitter: “Ali_Thom: Dear god make this STOP …. Hurts like hell on earth”. Melodramatic and pathetic, I know, but I just needed to be rid of all that emotion and negative blech. I feel weak and I’m sorry.
Actually I feel pretty embarrassed but I need to say a big thank you to @InDueTime who answered. Your simple “What’s wrong?” calmed me more than you know. Thank you !