The bright lights and the dark depths that followed

When I think of my son’s birth, I think of a scary light-filled room.
I laid on my back with my arms outstretched like Jesus on the cross. A light, sterile room and nurses in blue scurrying around, the sheer number of them scared me alone.

My husband, in scrubs with a cap over his ever-present baseball hat, stood by me, a little lost, supporting me, loving me.
Shaking, retching, a blue curtain divided me from my body, devoid of knowledge from anything going on there except for the anesthesiologist, who comforted, directed and told me when my son was about to be born.

The first time I looked at the first photo of my son my heart almost stopped.

The anesthesiologist had given us the OK to take pictures just before, weeks after we were told they weren’t allowed in the surgical room, and my husband fumbled for the point-and-shoot in his pocket.
I heard a strong cry and knew he was here. My husband took a look at him around the curtain, to the side of the room where I couldn’t see.
Then they took my my son away without me and I urged Daddy to follow… couldn’t leave our son alone in this new world, so he left me alone in my nightmare as I asked.
The stitches, the means to hold together pieces of my body that had been quickly separated by a scalpel, took infinitely longer then the quick, ’emergency’ cesarean.
My son had been stubborn and large, never dropping and the contractions slowed his heart rate slightly.
I thought of the hours of pregnant yoga I had done, with every session willing my narrow hips to broaden, strengthen, stretch to accommodate a life and then, maybe then, I would have hips, finally.
It took months not to cry thinking about my son’s birth.

Not in happiness, although I had a beautiful, healthy, well-loved son and I cherished him, but in pain and embarrassment and regret and mourning.

Thinking I could have done something to change it, if I had not been hooked up to monitors and an oxygen mask throughout my labor, it would have made a difference. Something, something I could have changed. Even though it wouldn’t have.

I couldn’t look back at his birth without pain, my time in the hospital without remembering not sleeping, sitting up at night lost and lonely, attached to so many monitors I needed help to nurse him.
It took months to see my body with any sort of pride besides the milk-filled breasts that fed my son.

The long slash of red filled my vision and I lived gingerly, afraid my body would split at that seam because it had been weakened, like a crack in a wall.

My body was a temple- it had been violated.

Minutes for my body to be ruined, months to see that it wasn’t.

My first time in a hospital since my own birth and I had walked in confidently, never knowing fear in those walls,  only as an observer before.
Now I am afraid of going back, of lying in the bed, trapped, relying on others for days and staring out the window, missing the sun on my face.

Little by little, I have healed, accepted the cesarean. I’ve forgotten the seam stopped heeling for it and pushing to try to fee the scar underneath. Stopped dwelling on how my next pregnancy is a ‘high risk’ one now, even though my first was a breeze and a joy sprinkled by cravings for lemonade.

I’ve accepted that was the right path, and it may have to be again.
That I did all I could and my wonderful son is the result.

I’ve even forgiven the staff, for whatever reason they didn’t bring my son to me to see afterward.

Well, almost forgiven. That still makes me cry.

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