Too long, too long there’s something wrong. That rhyme keeps running through my head as doctors, nurses, people, people, people just stream in and out of my Zen Birthing Room. The beep of the damn machine behind me somewhere starts to slow down. Another higher pitched beep picks up and starts speeding along. Don’t worry, that’s just mommy’s heart one of the people, people, people says to the rest. Don’t call me mommy till that baby’s out of my body and breathing on his own. Don't jinx me.
The high-pitched beep gets faster and my breathing is racing to match it. Relax mommy, she dares to tell me. I’ve miscarried before! I scream in my head. It was awful and bloody and tragic and I’m terrified! I hate, hate, hate this. It’s so messy and so awful and so not Zen.
Too long, too long there’s something wrong.
“How’s the baby?” I ask all the people, people, people.
Just relax mommy.
Shut up, shut up, shut up just tell me something real, something true. Fundal pressure one of them whispers to another and he runs out of the room. Shit, shit, shit. Think. Think. Fundal pressure, fundal pressure. A new member of the sincere people tribe walks in and I’m scared again. She’s enormous -- a caricature of a bear in a nurse’s uniform. A flurry of activity around me as she leans on my chest and puts all her weight below my heart. It feels like it’s my heart and it’s breaking. It’s breaking. They try to tug the baby out. The slow-beeping machine just stops. Oh Jesus please. Please Jesus, please. Anything. I’ll give you anything you want just don’t take this baby. The room goes completely silent. All those people, people, people are finally quiet in my Zen Birthing Room. Then, ever so gently, someone says Fetal distress. Let’s go. Suddenly I’m moving. The whole bed is moving. The whole room is moving. My arm goes cold and I lean over and throw up violently as we’re moving. One of the people is holding a bowl under me and stroking my hair. He has green eyes. We’re moving, no longer faux Zen. Industrial lights above me in the operating room and just the low buzz of all the anonymous people. They pull the baby out and he breathes on his own.
You did a beautiful job mommy.
Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus.