Deliver Us

I’m jumpy, I wake in the night with stomach cramps, my thoughts are not my own…. If there’s anything harder than knowing you’re about to have a baby yourself it’s being the mother of someone who is about to have a baby.

I’m talking here about my oldest child, born the very last day of the big Bicentennial year. From August of 1976 on, at least a couple of times a week I donned a long-sleeved t-shirt with a cartoon of a fat-bottomed infant wearing an American flag for a diaper. Can it really have been 35 years ago?

I seem to be the only nervous one though. She isn’t a bit nervous, perhaps because the hormones of pregnancy act as a kind of sedative. I remember my mother telling me very late in her life that she never worried for an instant the whole time she was carrying me, even though my father had just pulled off a disappearing act worthy of Houdini. That changed about six weeks after I came but then, well, here I was and my sister too, a ringleted two-year and she didn’t have the luxury to indulge sorrowful thoughts.

But back to my girl’s story:

As I say, she is poised now at the top of the roller coaster ride that is labor and she’s full of optimism and good cheer. She wanted to have her last baby at home. She had the midwives lined up and the portable tub all rented and ready and no, you don’t have the baby IN the tub; that’s a whole different deal. You just use it during labor because the hot water eases the pain. But then a late-in-the-game complication brought her instead to the hospital for the great effort – and an effort it was all right, what with the long labor that all “primips” seem to have, and acccursed Pitocin the doctors love to squirt around these days.

This time she’s scheduled to deliver at a different hospital where they have big deep tubs, the midwives, and no apparent inclination to declare a sudden impasse and pull out the scalpel as seems to happen in an astonishingly high number of cases across the country these days.

We went out to lunch the other day and I took a picture of her, from the back, for some reason, and also a video so short that neither one of us realized I was taking it.

This is the photo. She could use that hair as a baby sling it’s gotten so long!

She’s due to deliver on my birthday which is just 48 hours away. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep and my stomach hurts and I’m jumpy. Because here comes Life, and Risk, and the great yawning truth that we are once again about to meet a small but imperious Someone who will make us go weak in the knees with love for the rest of our natural lives.

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