Friday, May 28, 2010

Olivia

When I go to sleep at night, I have a very hard time just relaxing, and letting go, and falling asleep. I have a constant stream of thoughts, and stresses, that don't shut down. I usually lie in bed, and watch TV. Mindless crap. Reality shows. These don't require much thinking, and seem so far removed from my own life, that they seem to slow my heart rate, until I finally can close my eyes, and sleep.
Some nights, however, this does not work. I try breathing techniques, and other nights, I imagine my dream home, and how I would decorate each room. I have never gotten to decorate the bedrooms in that dream home, because by the time I have finsished decorating the kitchen, and living room, and my artists' studio, I reconsider the whole look, and start over. I am dying to finally start the upstairs. I have gone all these years without any sort of anti-anxiety medication, or anti-depressants, that at some point, I know I will finally get to see the upper half of the dream house.
One thought that faithfully relaxes me, and I like to call, my "big gun", is when I close my eyes, and re-live a particular event in my life. It is the birth of my first daughter, Olivia. I don't like to always rely on that memory, as I don't want to cloud the emotion, but each time I revisit that time, and place in my mind, I can actually feel the way I did at the moment I had her. I labored for well over 24 hours. In fact, I started laboring 48 hours before I had her, and spent an afternoon lying in my bed, in East Hampton, alone, insisting that David go to work. I could not believe what was going to happen to us, and I was scared. When my contractions got 3 minutes apart, David came home, and we went to my doctors office. She sent me right over to the hospital, and then everything just went quickly after that. My pain was intense, and could not be relieved by any epidural. The contractions were just back to back, for HOURS. It was torturous. I screamed, and writhed in pain. Day went into evening. Evening turned into night. I remember screaming in pain, and looking at my husband, and the mean nurse that I had, and they were laughing at something on David Letterman. Here I was, screaming in pain, feeling like a shark was biting me in half, and they thought something was funny on TV. Nice.
I reached 9 and a half centimeters, and stayed there for 4 hours. I vomited, I begged for mercy, I pleaded, and screamed. David stared at me blankly after a while, not knowing what to say anymore. Finally, the doctor said the baby was stuck. A C-section was going to be the only way to get the baby out. I didn't care. Sweet relief. THank you Jesus. If they had said they were going to remove the baby through my mouth at that moment, I would have complied. I was taken quickly to the freezing cold operating room, and I remember thinking that it was just daybreak, and I could not believe there were all these people in there, all scrubbed up and ready to go, just for me. Had they been called from their warm beds? Were they just standing by? How did they know?
The spinal block was administered, and they made me lie down very quickly. They said I would not feel a thing from my chest down. It was bizarre. It was like being dead, physically. I could not feel my squirming baby. I could not wiggle my toes. I could not swallow, because I could not feel my esophagus. I was shocked by all the things that my body had gone, and was going through, in just hours. It was surreal.
And then, I remember sort of hazily, (due to all of the drugs) a voice. A British woman. She had pretty eyes. She said here comes the baby. And this is the part that always relaxes me in my bed at night....she said "It's a girl".  It's a girl. Oh my God. I just had a baby. It was magic. Pure elation. I felt my heart sore. Literally. I saw tears in David's eyes. He looked at me, and said thank you. They were going to take the baby and examine her. He was confused about if he should stay with me, or go with her, and I said "Go with her". And I remember thinking "her". How lovely. 
They closed me up and I had to go to the recovery room for a bit, and then real brutal pain from the operation began to set in, but I lied in my bed thinking, somewhere, in this hospital, I have a daughter. She is alive, and she is mine, and is a "her". I smiled, and cried, lying there in pain. 
Today is Olivia's 7th birthday. I love her so. Thank you.

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