I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. That’s you, Monkey.
When I discovered I was pregnant again, nine months after we lost Gabriel, I had a curious feeling: very quiet, very calm. I felt the part of me that wanted to be fearful, and I stoically closed that door. What came into my heart instead was the feeling of strong faith.
When people asked, “Aren’t you scared?” I answered, “I have a lot of faith.” I did have faith: in my midwives and doctors, in me, in God, and, most especially, in you, Monkey. I just had the belief that your heart would not break mine.
To say that my pregnancy with Monkey was joyful would not be correct. We were so wounded, still. To say it was completely without anxiety would be overstating it, too.
But there was the quiet whisper of faith. It sustained me — and in turn, DearDR — through 38 weeks. Through anxious sonograms and non-stress tests. Through the discovery of low amniotic fluid and modified bedrest. Through gallons and gallons of water that I quickly grew tired of drinking. Through the blanket that I knit for you while on that bedrest.
Faith and your heartbeat.
DearDR and I entered the hospital on a Wednesday evening to begin induction. Pitocin would be started the following morning, and I would be tended by the midwife on call.
My labor seemed to progress very quickly, but I don’t remember a lot of pain. At about 8 hours, I got to the pushing contractions. I started to push. I remember feeling a rush of strength, of triumph.
Monkey got stuck.
She was “sunny-side up”, meaning that her face was toward the ceiling. It’s not the optimal position for a vaginal birth.
I kept pushing. I lost complete track of time. I tried position after position after position: standing, kneeling, squatting, and so on. (I did not have an epidural.)
The perinatologist on call, Dr. C, came in when I was about two and a half hours into pushing. She assessed the situation, talked to my midwife and DearDR. She probably talked to me, too, but I really don’t recall. I remember talk about vacuum forceps, trying to turn the baby, and the dreaded “c” word — Cesarean section.
Dr. C attempted to manually turn Monkey. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life — and I’m in labor here. She tried again. I begged her to stop. I was laying on my back with my legs spread hell-to-breakfast, and I could see her getting ready to try it again. My midwife had one of my legs, but the other one was free. I took aim at Dr. C’s head, because I fully intended to kick her if she hurt me. DearDR saw my face and grabbed my leg.
I was pretty close to hating him in that moment.
I determined that Dr. C would not be right. She didn’t think I could push that baby out. I proved her wrong about half an hour later.
At 11:11 p.m. on 11-11-2004 (not kidding) I pushed Monkey into the world. Her eyes were wide open.
And now you are three years old, Monkey. Happy Birthday. You are one of two of the brightest lights in my life. I love you.