The Story of a Birth. 4.

1:30am. It becomes apparent that Erin's body will need some rest if it's going to handle what lies ahead. It's been 7 or 8 hours and they predict that time will double before the baby is actually here. She makes the decision on her own to have an epidural, and though she hadn't wanted it in the beginning, it's become the right thing to do. The midwife discovers meconium, a dark green substance indicating fetal distress, and Erin is hooked up to oxygen.

We all leave the room. Jon and I, talking quietly in the hall outside, are acutely aware that the man is inserting a giant needle into Erin's spine at that moment. Jon is scared and tired, and it shows in his face. He's afraid Erin will regret this decision after the birth is all over, he doesn't want her to think he's disappointed in her, and he's crying. I say what matters is that a baby is born and everyone is healthy. I say births never go as planned, and this is how it's meant to happen (I read this in a book, though really I know nothing). I say this is what she needs, and she's sure.

When they let us back into the room, Erin is lying there in peace, blissfully isolated from the pain in her abdomen. We all breathe a collective sigh of relief and settle in to keep watch over her and get a little rest ourselves.

4:45am. After shifting from chair to couch to chair again, my legs propped up on the exercise ball, I sit in the dark room looking on as Erin sleeps. She's so angelic and lovely, and a love for her as my older sister swells in me like I swear I've never quite felt before. She looks both wise and strong, innocent and childlike. And I am so happy to be here.

Jon and I head downstairs in search of food. We sit there in the dark cafeteria booth eating vending machine burritos, trying to act as normal as possible. I think we talk about life and love, change and growth. The places you find yourself that you never could have imagined. The places we have yet to find ourselves.

After an hour more of stiff sleep on the chairs in the waiting room, I get up and convince myself I slept a night, though we've all been up for nearly 36 hours. My hair is oily, my armpits smell, and I'm queasy from too little sleep and too much vending machine burrito, but all I want is to see this baby. That is what we're here for, right? She is still coming?

10:15am. Erin is dilated 9 centimeters and we're waiting for the baby to drop down, shift positions. Erin is sitting up in bed, patiently sucking on ice chips. I brush her hair and put it in a ponytail, Jon sets up two Flip cameras on little tripods. She seems to have grown in size since we arrived, or maybe it's just the size of the moment. Her legs are fully spread with belly balancing precariously between them. You can almost see it quivering as the baby gears up to make her debut. Erin says, "It feels like I'm going to shit a turtle."

And this is where my notes end.


Dear all who are reading: Thank you for bearing with me. I know the length is long, but the wait was longer. Next post, a baby will be born.

1 comment:

  1. Shannon, this is such a well-written story and I'm sure something that your sister and neice will treasure forever. :) I'm excited for what's to come!