It was so foggy that night.
Ben placed his hand on the small of my back, slowly and gently, and guided me into the hospital. The lights inside were too bright for 3 AM. I was thinking about all the sadness I had felt in this hospital. It seemed so bizarrely strange to me that a place that I had spent part of my first trimester and almost my entire second trimester (before I was moved to the state hospital) would be the same place I would experience one of the best moments of my entire life, separated only by wings and space and time. West wing for sadness, east wing for happiness. At least on that day, it was happiness.
I would not be having the home birth I had dreamt of. I would not be having the natural birth I had dreamt of. Instead, due to preeclampsia, I would be induced during kind midnight hours and hope for the best. The doctor warns me that there is a high chance that I will have to have a c-section. I am timid and scared and exhausted and I quietly nod with wide eyes. He leaves and we watch Modern Family all night.
In the morning, my family comes and I have already been given an epidural and am not making any progress. Amanda documents everything with my camera, which I don't notice at the time but will treasure later on. I made a beautiful playlist for Rosalita's arrival and it is always playing in the background.
Amanda brought brownies. They were pumpkin brownies and the nurses loved them. I don't remember what I was feeling, except I was relieved that it was raining outside. The doctors and nurses came and went all morning. I was not progressing. Someone turned on 40 Year Old Virgin. It helps keep my mind off the fact that I will very likely be having a c-section in the near future. The doctor breaks my waters but I never progress past two centimeters. I watch their mouths move as the words "emergency c-section" swirl loosely off of their lips and shatter into nothing. "You Alone" by Dawn Landes plays in the background as I sign a thousand papers and repeat the phrase, "No, I am not allergic to any medication" over and over and over again. My family is shooed away as they place a blue cap on my head and wheel me to the OR.
I feel overwhelmingly numb as they prep me for surgery. The table they lay me on is narrow and hard, and humans in blue gowns and blue hats are rushing all around me. For the first time in nine months, I feel small. I think about how many times these people do this in a week or in a month. I think about how one of the most beautiful things that happens to us in this lifetime must be old news to them.
Ben is finally allowed inside the room. He comes in with the camera and holds my hand. He is the only kind person in my world at that moment. They cut me open and I feel everything. It hurts and I tell them. A nurse comes from out of nowhere and without looking, roughly shoves an oxygen mask onto my face. She squishes my nose down and I am gasping for air. I can't breathe and they can't hear me. The doctor asks me if I can still feel the pain. I nod and they put me to sleep. I did not get to see my daughter when she was born.
I remember dreaming but I don't remember the dreams. I wake up in a tiny room to the strangest and most urgent gut feeling I have ever felt in my life. I had just had a daughter, and she was not with me. Where is she? I ask drunkenly to a nurse that I simultaneously realize is sitting right next to me. She tells me I have to lay there for ten more minutes after having woken up before I can go see her. I lay back and slowly drink in the deep sadness that is rushing into my head. I have no idea how long it has been since she was born. I should have been breastfeeding her. I taste my tears as I ask the nurse if my baby was ok. She is kind to me and says I have a healthy baby girl.
Relief and sadness. Relief and sadness.
All of a sudden, I am being wheeled through the white hallways, on my back. I can't lift my head and I can hardly open my eyes. I still can't separate fact, fiction, and time. We are getting closer. I hear someone squeal with glee and exclaim,"She's so beautiful!", and in that moment, we had arrived. I could hear my family all around me. I heard my mother say,"Look up--"
And there she was. I opened my eyes and six pounds of exploding light flooded into my life. I finally felt myself exhale with her name.