It’s 7:00 a.m. and I am hooked up to a breast pump watching a strange yellow liquid be expelled from my body into a contraption that slightly resembles the flux capacitor from “Back to the Future.”
Six days ago I gave birth to you, my two healthy babies, my beautiful baby boy and girl. I love you. My heart aches with happiness each time I look into your searching deep-blue eyes.
…There I was strapped to a gurney–yes, strapped, by the pressure of six large men in scrubs–with my doctor reaching up and into what must have been my ribcage to pull out “the high one,” which was you, “Baby B,” my sweet little girl.
I don’t know what I thought a c-section was, but clearly it was not that.
You feel things.
You hear things.
You are awake and see blood splattered on the other side of a blue hanging curtain and on the blaring florescent lights above like a crime scene from “Dexter.”
“I am a horse,” I quipped at one point through clenched teeth, writhing in pain, in reference to the unfortunate fact that I still was not numb. I was “feeling” more than I should. “It takes a lot to knock me out.”
To this one of the anesthesiologists, a small-eyed British man, unhinged the table I was laying on and sent me flipping upside down. “There is room for only one sarcastic wank-a,” I imagined him saying underneath his blue paper mask.
Instead, he cried, “HOLD OFF!” as my arms were outstretched on either side horizontally and my numb feet were lifted and placed to kiss at the soles and my knees were splayed open so I laid there uncovered in frog position, buck naked, being painted by something cold.
“We need to drip the medicine higher,” Tony Blair explained, a harsh punishment for trying to be funny, if you ask me.
And then later on that same table, leveled once again, the surgery complete and you guys officially here, your father outside with our balling parents and siblings showing them the latest additions to our family, I laid getting “stitched up”–in, out, yank, tug, pull, in, “OY! That hurts!”–I repeated in my head the nursery rhyme:
All the King’s Horses
And all the King’s Men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Here it is, six days later, and I remain unglued.
My heart, my emotions, my expectations of what’s next, my pants I can’t button, I am wide open.
…The second day in the hospital I was scolded by a plump lactation consultant who I’d imagined at home drank Celestial Seasonings and had a lot of cats. I tried to explain to her that I was not “crazy about” her idea of taking two hours to do a feeding, as it would following her plan of breast-feeding each of you individually, then supplementing with formula to ensure “getting enough,” then pumping in one sitting. “But, if they eat every two to three hours…and it takes me two hours to do a feeding…sooo…aren’t I always going to be feeding…?”
“This is your job now,” she answered abruptly. “This is not the time to party.”
I blinked at her in my assless gown from my hospital bed–
“And your job is, a lactation consultant? What, is this something you always wanted to be? You always had an intense fondness of breast milk?”—
I looked around my surreal setting.
At the IV in my wrist..
At the catheter dangling from beneath the sheets…
At the champagne cork rolling around on the floor from when everyone had toasted your arrival…
At the cocktail napkins someone had brought that said, “The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here…”
At my two babies sleeping peacefully in the corner…
Screw you, lady.
The party has just begun.