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Breathing Lessons

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abbynormal92243



Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Posts: 123
Location: El Centro, CA
Breathing Lessons  Reply with quote  

"In goes the good air, out goes the baby."

Those words were my mantra September 9, 1984, when I gave life to a baby boy not mine. I was 20 years old and attending Judson Baptist College, and had a cadre of friends waiting down the hall, breathing those with me as I Lamazed that baby out.

My three closest friends, Rembrandt-lit in my memory, took turns standing with me, laughing under their breath while I, in a Demerol stupor, mumbled about pretty butterflies.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked once, crossly.

"I'm just happy," Jill said, propping my arms on her shoulders. "Now breathe. Here comes another one."

She kept me centered on her crinkly blue eyes, inhaling, exhaling, then I dropped back into spring-meadow dreams.

When it was time, she, Lorraine, and Tammy braced my shoulders and together we pushed a boy down my birth canal into the world. He came out blue, the umbilical cord a boa constrictor around him, and I choked with panic and wild grief. Not for me, but for his adoptive parents. I'd promised them a healthy baby and blue babies weren't healthy and who would tell them...and Jill leaned down and pressed her lips to my ear.

"Just because he's out doesn't mean you can stop breathing."

Then his startled wail filled the room and I let out a trembling laugh.

The doctor plopped him onto my slack belly and examined me while I stroked my baby's damp head.

"Boy, Stace! You really bottomed out!" The doctor's cheerful voice bounced off the walls and out the door. I winced, thinking of the crowd of friends waiting around the corner, hearing about the condition of my tired vagina.

The baby's elbow had dragged down the birth canal and torn my rectal tract, so I was promptly wheeled down to surgery----past a wall of grinning, waving people.

There's a lot of joy in childbirth, but no dignity.

After surgery I was alone in my room for a while before receiving visitors. I got up to go to the bathroom and to my horror, a torrent of blood gushed out of me onto the pristine floor.

I stood there, embarrassed and sticky, and thought, "Truly have I bottomed out."

I waddled to the bathroom to get towels, but when I turned around and saw my smeared bloody footprints, the huge pool of bright red blood, and felt it still oozing out of me---I knew I'd make things worse with every helpful squat.

Sighing, I pressed the intercom and said, "I made a mess."

In the bathroom doorway I dripped, waiting, and when the nurse arrived I apologized, eyes averted.

"Oh, honey," she said, wiping my quivering legs gently with a scratchy white towel. "This is normal. Now you get ing the shower and this'll all be gone when you get out."

There in the shower, forehead resting on cold tile, watching my blood curlicue in the water, I was slashed by reality: I'd ripped out my heart.

I'd ripped out my heart and was bleeding to death and couldn't even cry.

Two days I spent hot-eyed and hollow, bottle-feeding my baby while my breasts burned with un-used milk. Then the nurse came, careful, kind, with the relinquishment papers.

I'd been cradling my son, rocking and whispering love into his tiny ears. Suddenly his weight felt foreign to me, heavy and not-mine.

"You can change your mind," the nurse said. "You have a six-month grace period."

Hope, cruel and fierce, beat against my ribcage, fighting my mother-empties. For a moment. Were I to keep him I'd be bringing him home to a dorm room, I penniless, jobless, and dysfunctional-family full.

So I nestled him on the covers between my knees and signed the papers through scorching, muddy tears, and waved the nurse off so I could feel my baby's solid weight one more time and lock his face into my memory.

Viktor Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning that the way we navigate through suffering is by having a purpose. I steered with blind instinct, and in so doing I'd scooped a child away from my family's generational pattern of putting children into foster care when they hit adolescence. Grandma Madeline had placed Mama and her two sisters in an orphanage, and those girls grew up to put all their children save one into foster care.

I'm single-parenting two post-adolescent boys now, steering less blindly and sure with the knowledge that I sacrificed and we all won.

But I haven't breathed properly since.

Post Sat Sep 04, 2004 1:41 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
Tal



Joined: 21 May 2004
Posts: 1692
Location: Not Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Wow.

*applauds*

Well written.
_________________
"Doug's okay." - Deb.

Post Sat Sep 04, 2004 3:01 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
earthshoes



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 213
Location: SW Missouri
 Reply with quote  

Holy Cow . . .

thank you abby.
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. . .once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.
(The Velveteen Rabbit)

Post Sat Sep 04, 2004 4:06 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
abbynormal92243



Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Posts: 123
Location: El Centro, CA
 Reply with quote  

*smiling*

thanks, guys.


it's an excerpt from my memoir. The actual text is much longer--I had to pare it down for a contest I entered in May (yeesh. That section's 13 pages)
_________________
"We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly." ~~~ Shakti Gawain

Post Tue Sep 07, 2004 10:51 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
Guest





 Reply with quote  

this is amazing!!!
want more to read!!!]

Post Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:54 am   
abbynormal92243



Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Posts: 123
Location: El Centro, CA
 Reply with quote  

thank you, that's very encouraging, more than you know.

I'll post more when it's less unwieldy.
_________________
"We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly." ~~~ Shakti Gawain

Post Fri Oct 15, 2004 2:02 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
NinjaPajamas



Joined: 12 Dec 2004
Posts: 15
Location: Portland, OR
Awesome  Reply with quote  

That was a great story! Awesome!

- NinjaPajamas

Post Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:18 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
lisilk
Guest




Brava  Reply with quote  

Beautifully written Stacy. Had to remember to breathe as I read. A story worth sharing. Thank you.

Li

Post Sat May 07, 2005 7:08 pm   
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
 Reply with quote  

Beautifully done.

Post Sat May 07, 2005 8:26 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ginjg



Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 6617
Location: Los Angeles
 Reply with quote  

that was beautiful, heart-rending, honest. Thank you for sharing it with us.
_________________
To Learn is to Know
To Know is to Love
To Love is our aim

~~~~~~~

Why should we bother with immortality when we are eternal?

Post Sat May 07, 2005 10:30 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
lisa



Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 6789
 Reply with quote  

There is a lot of joy in childbirth but no dignity is right. I remember even in those moments when two male attenders came in I tried to squeeze my thighs together though they were hanging apart on suspended belts.

Brilliant stoking Abby. Carry on.

Post Sun May 08, 2005 10:19 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
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