during my first pregnancy and postpartum time, i thought about keeping a log of everything i saw with my body and my son. i wanted to capture all the details, my sensations, because it all happens so fast, unbearably fast. and in the lead up to the second pregnancy, i kept thinking, ok, this time i will write down what’s happening as it’s happening, just a vignette here, a piece of description there. Something that i can look at after. (there’s an idea, i have heard, of keeping a journal for your future child, letters you would want them to have. i’m not entirely convinced that any child would care about such a record, so while i do not object to the child being the ostensible recipient of a series of letters, i think it is somewhat more honest to frame the project as a personal one, a record of that time in real time).
but because of a miscarriage, because of the agonizing days waiting to ovulate, waiting to procreate, waiting to see if we’d beat our age and tricked nature into giving us a second child, i simply couldn’t. by the time we did get pregnant, i couldn’t face too much acknowledgement of what-might-be. i spent the pregnancy waiting to bleed, waiting for the fetus to quit on me, and keeping a journal of that wait was more painful than therapeutic.
but there are two things i want to record before time and life strip from my memory, and that’s the radical sensation i had for both sons as beings separate from me.
for my first son, it was the sight of this skeletal blue alien, elongated head and dark almond eyes like the classic images of creatures from outer space. this was the first moment he was pulled from my body, and was held up, dripping, wet, bloody, matted hair, likely he was screaming but i dont remember that. i wasnt stoned but after so many hours of pain and then to be anesthetized from the belly down, it was surreal. i hadnt born a baby but a creature, this was my creature, this long skull and eyes made within my body.
for my second son, it was the feeling of his head between my legs. on the far side of the spectrum from the first birth, i had suspected for days that the time was coming (as opposed to being woken in the night unawares). with the second there contractions at night that woke me at 5am to let me know it was time to head to the hospital. i couldn’t stop the pain, but i could understand it and largely embrace it rather than fight it. at the hospital i felt the water break while in a hot bath; the water broke just like you might imagine a balloon bursting inside. i stumbled out of the tub to use the toilet, because i needed to have a bowel movement and thought i should do it before we get any further. and then i was on my knees, told my mom to get the nurse, because i couldn’t decide if i should push or keep the shit in, and i kept thinking shit shit shit. i reached between my legs and felt that solid roundness, that perfect dome pushing out. and that was surreal, because i just needed to take a shit, my body just wanted to let out a really big shit, but instead there was this person there, this round head, looking to breathe.