Just ask me my story.
He’s almost five months old now and a complete doll. All giggles and grins and drool and I’m his universe. What a privilege.
In his first hours, I was all adrenaline. His birth was just 1.5 hours full of intensity and pain and…. well, many things I can’t remember. No meds this time – it was just too fast and the doctor said a nubane dose that close to the finish line would compromise his breathing. It’s like being told you’ll run that marathon you knew you would, but now you’re going to do it with a broken foot or maybe no foot at all. So I said under my breath, “I can do this.” For what other choice did I have? Well, I had the choice of how I would do it – with strength and fearlessness knowing the harder I worked the faster the finish line would be mine and I would meet my son.
To be sure I have plenty of respect for those who choose to do without an epidural, but let’s be honest here friends – I don’t need to be a hero. In fact, with my first son I received a delightful epidural and cracked jokes with the doctor and my husband while he was being born. Science has produced a great many wonders and painless birth is a fabulous achievement. Though I shouldn’t forget that sitting still for the mile long needle to be inserted into my spine while having full blown contractions is incredibly difficult, but I just kept reminding myself that I might be paralyzed if I moved and that motivated me sufficiently.
But just ask me my story.
The details of this third birth are hazy or foggy or another word I can’t find. I can recall some of the details like the three doses of cervadil that didn’t work, but the fourth that made everything begin with a fury. That first full contraction at 1am that tells you the adventure is here. The sound of the steady breathing of the doctor asleep in the corner of the room and asking the nurse, a female football player reminiscent of the Trunchbull, ‘is the doctor here?” when really I knew he was asleep. Being surprised at my candor in the midst of progressive labor. Gratitude for the sweet Trunchbull for her fist in my lower back at the eclipse of each contraction. Grabbing my husband’s hand over and over and then clinging to his chest towards the end. And I remember saying to the baby placed on my chest, “It’s okay, baby, it’s okay,” and thinking later that calling him ‘baby’ was all I could do as it took us two days to finally name him.
Please ask me my story.
Roughly ten hours later, when the adrenaline had worn it’s course, I called my husband, tending to our other children at a family member’s home, “Could you come back and stay with my tonight? I just need you to be here.” The rattling of the details of that furious experience was making me shake and I needed his arms close by. What safety and danger there is in love.
The thing is I can’t feel those memories. Not as they were being made and not now. Perhaps there is design in that – God giving us a reprieve from massive emotional experiences while they are taking place so that more slowly, as time metes them out, we can portion them from our hearts to our heads and make sense of them. For now as I write these things down, I can begin to feel and experience them in the safety of my desk and sunrise view.
Consistently though, the words, “ask me my story” were in my mind, but never left my mouth. But no one did and I was surprised to find that I wanted to be asked so much. I’m a story teller by His design and delight in the word choice and verbal trailblazing even the silliest occurrence can render when relayed to a wanting audience. So imagine my delight when my sister did ask and specifically said, “I want to hear the whole thing.”
So I’ll be she who asks because I’m certain each women, whether its her first or fifteenth, has a story to tell and is pleading to be asked.
Thank you for hearing my story.