I remember the feel of my grandfather’s dresser under my hands as I felt the beginning. Black cardigan sweater. Blue shirt, elastic waist black Kmart pants. Two days later they would be bagged up and handed to me much like forensic evidence of what had gone down. What had been killed. Blood soaked underwear, puke stained shirt. How did I ever get them off of me? Who took them off? How did anyone keep track of them? Why do I want them back? How am I going to ever get them clean?
My water broke. I was still good…still in love with my husband, still believing I was going to be okay. The last image of my marriage as I had known it was my dear one walking me across the street to the hospital emergency room. It was a normal birth. I was a healthy woman. I had a healthy baby. I loved my husband, I loved my baby.
Everything was going great. I was okay. I was birthing the son I loved more than anything I had known. The son who had come to me months earlier as I walked around a lake and said: “I’m ready mama”. My dear Zig. My dear one. We tried, he and I. We tried to follow the rules, follow the body, follow the doctors. I followed store-bought images of motherhood not meaning the end of me would show up that day. And more pain seared through my womb.
Body and mind split completely open. Each minute brought more pain. Each moment split my mind further away from my body.
Waves of fear. Fear that it would stop, fear that it wouldn’t end. Fear that despair it was just beginning…and down I went.
Hours, oh minutes, oh hours of self-imposed torture because I wanted to do it “the right way”–naturally. Naturally, I would want to do it naturally! Who in their right mind wouldn’t naturally want to natural birth? But I forgot something on my birth plan…
I forgot I had to remember to not forget to watch my back. So I missed it altogether. I should have KNOWN. I wasn’t looking, too distracted by pain, and the slipping away of parts of my mind. I wasn’t aware when the dark figure of my lifelong fear of my father took its place in my birth room. The dark cloud. Standing behind the door, behind me—lurking. I never had a chance. My bad.