There was a tiny flickering light on the screen,
It was the beginning of your heart, pushing the beginning of blood through the beginning of your existence.
Then there you were, head and arms and legs, and you swam around in me while the doctor checked you for genetic abnormalities. You were fine.
Then you were there, your body beginning to look human, little rounded head and upturned nose facing up on the screen. And you rolled over. Your sex determined – we were having a daughter!
Then you were there, your mouth opening and closing, all squished up tight in that small space.
And then I was there, the doctor feeling my stomach and telling me “well, you sure did grow a big healthy baby!” I smiled. I would meet you soon!
And then I screamed in agony as the pitocin made me feel like my legs were being ripped out of my body, and I begged for an epidural.
And then every time I had a contraction, your heart rate dropped. They desperately tried to stabilize you and me so you could be born.
And then they called it. I signed a waiver and they brought me to the operating room.
And they determined I would need to be put out, because I could still feel the doctor pinching me, and the last thing I remember is the doctor saying “put her out, I can’t find a heart beat.”
In the darkness of my return to consciousness, I gagged. I asked the nurses later if I had thrown up. They said no – I gagged when they pulled the tube out of my throat.
And when I finally opened my eyes to the sterile environment of recovery, with two nurses beside me, I started crying.
“Where is my daughter?”
They told me she was upstairs with my husband. I cried harder. They told me, “it’s okay to cry, it’s normal after general anesthetic.”
And I told them that the last thing I heard the doctor say was “we can’t find a heart beat,” and they both hugged me. They told me, “she came out screaming, a big girl at 8 pounds, 1 ounce.” I cried again.
They told me another man was in the room with my husband and my daughter. A family member, but they didn’t know who. I got angry. I wanted to be the first to hold her, but that was already over.
Her father got to hold her first – he would tell me later he wanted me to hold her first but the nurses up there said, “well someone has to hold her while your wife is in recovery,” so he did.
“Who is it?” I demanded
“Thomas?” They declared nervously. It was my own father, who made sure to be at the hospital as soon as he knew his first granddaughter was arriving. And I couldn’t be mad. And I cried again.
And then finally, they rolled me upstairs. And as they rolled me into the room, I stared at you. You looked just like your father when you were first born. I wasn’t sure if you were real; you were so perfect.
And they laid you in my arms, naked you on my naked chest, and I looked at you and cried.
I have never seen someone so perfect in my entire life.