I want to remember the ride home from work, with Aaron driving. How I said to him: “Fuck it, let’s have a baby“, as if any of it was up to me.
I want to remember that we said to each other, “Fuck it, let’s have a baby,” throughout the birth, to keep us laughing.
I want to remember my fear as I tracked my contractions and they varied in length and distance apart. I want to remember how Kathy laughed at me over the phone as she told me that this is what labor is like and there was nothing to do but eat, drink and rest.
I want to remember the hours of drinking and resting, the solitude in those moments, the quiet between each contraction.
I want to remember the notes I took throughout the night as I tried even then to remember what was happening. How I wrote them in the dark, in a looping, barely legible scrawl.
I want to remember being in my body, that evening and afternoon and morning. How I didn’t think for minutes at a stretch as I focused only on breath and sensation.
I want to remember the next morning, how we rose too early. I want to remember the big bowl of oatmeal and honey that Aaron cooked for me, the hours it took to eat it. I want to remember how good it tasted at first, before it cooled and hardened.
I want to remember how easy it was for me to carry on conversations, up until the very end. I want to remember discussing, with Aaron and Kathy, parenting and crop circles (not at the same time).
I want to remember my fear when it was time to leave for the hospital. How I didn’t want to leave the warm confines of my home and go somewhere that was sterile and safe.
I want to remember padding down the halls of the labor and delivery ward, in my dress and mismatched fuzzy socks. How the three of us, Kathy, Aaron and I, paused for contractions, then kept moving.
I want to remember the woman screaming down the hall, in a high-pitched shriek. We could only cringe and laugh and whisper to her to moan lower.
I want to remember my fear when my body started pushing and I couldn’t stop it, how I reared my leg like an angry horse with each new push.
I want to remember how long it took, when it was time to finally push. How the doctor, the nurses, the doula and my husband kept telling me that they could see her hair. How I wished they would stop saying it.
I want to remember that in those last moments, I had a white washcloth over my eyes and I couldn’t see anything. I could only hear my grunts and the doctor and nurses cheering me on, and Kathy saying, “Use all of that strength you have inside of you.”
I want to remember trying to slow down my pushes into controlled bursts, as her head crowned. How I thought that this was the hardest thing in the world, after tapping into the source of my strength, only to have to use it in tiny bits.
Mostly, I want to remember that feeling of relief when her body finally rushed out of me, when I could feel her separate from me for the first time. How I knew just then, as I know now, that her whole life will be her separating from me more and more. How I knew that we would never again be as close as we were all or those weeks and months.
And of course, I want to remember cradling her tiny body for the first time, wet in my arms, and feeling her shit in my hands and down my stomach.
How I laughed and knew I would never feel the same ever again.