I’m sorry but this “Orgasmic Birth” DVD is making me uncomfortable. It starts with a woman moaning. Oh god she’s having an orgasm. Really? I start laughing.
“Women of Earth, take back your birth.” What?? Oh god they’re kissing. Oh god they’re moaning. I feel as awkward as the men in this video look.
Ohmigod, am I ready for this? My body is not cut out for this. I have red stretch marks on my belly, boobs and thighs, even on the side of my armpits. My blood pressure is creeping up again. My fave is swollen. Look at me. I am falling apart.
As I watch “Orgasmic Birth” I am hooked up to an NST machine. Dakota is kicking like an Irish step dancer.
Birth on your knees. Birth on your carpet. Birth in a tub. Birth standing up. Nope. Nope. Nope.
I had to move rooms for the day to let the hospital further prepare for some great new idea I didn’t know about. A nurse leader came in to see if I was happy- the first of three for day (really how many nurse leaders can there be?) The construction in my old room is next door and it’s loud and driving me crazy. The egg salad sandwich for lunch tastes worse than it did the time I went to jail in college, so I am sleep-deprived, grumpy, and stressed. I walk outside. I buy a Subway sandwich and sit in the front of the women’s pavilion next to the garden fountain. The sun soaks into my skin and warms my back.
I need a refresher; I need someone here. Where are all my friends? Do I have friends?
I am in a hospital in Salt Lake City. That’s about five hours, more or less, from Jackson, Wyoming- my hometown. Where and who are my friends?
I scour my brain for friends. Yes, there are many “acquaintances” and a few old friends I still see every six months for coffee. None of these Jackson friends would take me out for my birthday. None of them would write a private Facebook message to check on my health or send me flowers or come to Salt Lake to smuggle me to an Ethiopian restaurant or museum. But I did this to myself. I never exercised my introversion and socialized. I never tried to make something evolve into something more. That ended in my hometown the day I left for college, and beside a couple of drunken attempts to rectify the situation the first year I moved back, that state of detachment never changed. Nor did I really want it too. I wasn’t too far off from the girl who spent half of middle school hiding away at lunch time.
But now it seemed wrong. Shouldn’t I have friends sneak up to Utah and throw me a baby shower? Shouldn’t I have like ten vases of flowers in my room? I wasn’t Oprah but I could be charming. I’d have to work on making real friends when I got to Taos. At least enough to have a real registry if I were to get pregnant again someday.
I walk back to my room. More drilling. I walk outside again and inside again and run into therapy dogs Lincoln, (a yellow lab), and Ivie, (a Yorkie with flowers on her ears.) Ivie’s owner is old, yappy, and extremely nosy. Lots of questions: “when are you due?” “Are you the girl who ‘loves dogs’?” Yes. Just let me pet the dogs!
I escape to the chapel around the corner and sit in the dark. It’s not quiet but it’s empty. No one is going to talk to me. I google “how to get rid of a hemerrhoid” and “should I get an epidural?”
I pick up the Tao Te Ching. An old man in glasses peeks around the corner, sees me, looks startled and walks away. I open to a random page.
10: “Riding the wild corporeal spirit and embracing the One: Can you do this without letting one of them go?…”
Um, yeah, probably.
What other books are in this chapel? I pull the Holy Bible from under another chair and open it. Page 247: “Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans…” Bookworm or not, I’d never read the bible and I’m not sure I ever would have enough curiosity to try.
Next book: Santa Biblia, the bible in Spanish. Page 369: something about the sons of Israel and a list of names. Next: a prayer book. Page 329: “Grant us help a’gainst the’ enemy: for vain is’ any’ human’ help.” Whatever. Last book: The Qur’an. It was the prettiest of all the books. Page 374: “He created you in your mothers’ wombs, form following form, in three darknesses.”
Okay enough. I am thoroughly bored. “Lincoln! Lincoln!” The therapy dogs are still in the lobby getting their pictures taken. I want to crawl through a portal and disappear. I hear Lincoln’s owner: “This is quiet. Go in here.” I hear them coming. They stop just enough to see my feet. “No turn back, there’s a lady in there.”
They leave. Oh god. That was close. I feel like I’m hiding in a foxhole. I have to escape. I walk as fast as my very pregnant body will allow, toward the ER passing old nurse photos from the turn of the century and construction workers in orange vests.
My belly is shifting around, ready to pop and I have to waddle. I waddle outside to the back, past an EMS trailer and a fire truck. I pass a man in blue scrubs and a man in a tie and man in a wheelchair with no feet and one knee. My eyes are watering from the sun.
I don’t know where I’ll be in a month or two, but this is my adventure, this is my life right now for as long as I can stay pregnant.
I’m sitting by the water garden in the courtyard by the cafe when up walk all three therapy dog owners and the three dogs- Ivie the Yorkie, Taz the Schnauzer, and Lincoln the Lab. They’re taking pictures by a No Smoking sign. “Down. DOWN. Down. Down.” Goddamnit those dogs are cute. “Stay. Stay. Stay.”
Oh no, here it comes. Ivie’s owner, an old silver haired lady, is staring me up and down. “You’re so pregnant. You’re all baby.”
I start to leave. She yells, “YOU’RE ALL BABY.” Her eyes are all distressed.
I tell Charley on the phone. I tell him how I ran around avoiding these people and they found me anyway and were being weirds do nosy and annoying! I couldn’t escape! He’s playing video games with a guy from the pizza place he worked at for two days. “You’re so antisocial.”
“So who’s this guy? You’re not social either. You just hang out with other drinkers for a week or two and then move on.” This angers him and he hangs up. I call him back. Why’s he playing video games? Why doesn’t he get the tire fixed? We argue. I’m an “antagonistic bitch.” He wants a divorce. Oh this is priceless. Sounds good! He’s driving my car, gets a nail in the tire and wants me to give him money, and I’m the bitch. Okay, fuck you. FUCK. He’s going to destroy my spare. He’s destroying everything. I hate him.
I try to calm down by looking at the week’s cafeteria menu. Cheese enchiladas, Mac and cheese, ooh street tacos. I hate food. I hate everything!
I still feel horrible. My marriage is horrible. My pregnancy is horrible. My life. Dakota kicks me hard as if to say “shut the fuck up, this attitude is not fair to me,” and I apologize. She’s right. “Baby,” I stroke my belly. “I’m sorry.”
Later Charley and I argue but then we make up. “I don’t know what’s missing, makes us fight so much.”
“I don’t know.” It wasn’t love. Was it compassion? Shouldn’t love make things better?
“Love you my sweets,” he says.
“I love you very much,” I say.
“I Love you sweets,” he says.
“I love you too baby.” We were like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” I told Jeanine the RN, with the short white hair and black-rimmed glasses. She’d been my night nurse off and on since I’d arrived and always was super chill, aware of everything, and guaranteed to bother me as little as possible, allowing me to sleep through most of the night.
Veronica had been a mess all day. She smiled when she was obviously in a bad mood. I hated Veronica!
Jeanine helped me move back into my room, which had been changed only by taking out all of the cabinets and leaving a large blank wall. Then she got really quiet and whispered:
“Veronica had a patient today who went to the bathroom and left her baby on the bed. Then the baby fell off the bed.”
“Oh, shit, that’s not good.”