Monday, December 17, 2007

eyes opened, eyes closed

Hi there! It's an honor to contribute to this blog.

My son was born on Sept. 17, 2006. If you're into reading about unmedicated labor and the attendant joy of pushing out a 10 pound (and some change) baby after over four (no lie) hours of pushing, please be my guest and read about it here.

Every once in awhile, I'll remember bits and pieces of the labor. Such as the role of my eyeballs.

Folks who know me know that I can't see crap without my glasses. It speaks volumes that at some point during the labor - I don't know when - my glasses were removed. Did I take them off? Did my husband or doula helpfully remove them? I got them back eventually, but when? I have no idea. I know that once active labor began, I couldn't see anything.

I didn't need to.

Everything turns inward. Before my own experience, I had heard that drug-free labor transports you to, well, another planet. Basically. In several childbirth books containing various degrees of hippy-dippyness, this planet is "Labor Land." Or maybe "La La Land." I'm not sure any label can approach describing the altered state I found myself in. And my magical hormones have done their work, those little taskmasters, and all is lost in a gray haze of mish-mashed memories now. (Sometimes I tell my husband, "Oh, it wasn't THAT bad," and he just looks at me. Like, "Woman, you're nuts.")

But the glasses flew away at some point. One nurse asked me toward the end, "Do you want a mirror?" I was like, "Mirror what? NO." (Someone also asked me if I wanted to feel Tommy's head as he crowned. I was specifically uninterested in this, but did it anyway. It was...alright, I guess. You know. Other things on my mind after pushing that long.)

When that precious naked baby body laid on my chest, Tommy's tiny mouth open and squalling, that most fantastic sound in the world that meant all was well and especially that he was OUTSIDE MY BODY, everything was so close. So close and hyper-real and I could see everything perfectly and wonderfully and vividly, no 20/20 required.

I'm a writer and I'm a looker, normally: I like to see things, examine them, study. There was no desire to do any of that during Tommy's birth. He traveled out and my whole body was a vessel, a canal, a passenger ship for him. No mirror, no glasses. I was on that other planet, and it was inside of me.

1 comment:

Cameron Clark said...

So I am seriously hoping for this type of experience. I look forward to Mary Jessica's knowledge and inspiration on this blog.