I stared at the TV, hearing the drone but not paying attention to the program. Earlier I had eaten to my heart’s content, wishing I hadn’t stuffed myself the way we did our turkey.
Before too long, I felt a strong urge. Alone and frightened, my heart raced.
I pressed the button.
And pressed again.
No one came.
In desperation I banged on the wall, yelling, “Hello, anyone out there? I have to push! I have to push!” Doesn’t anyone hear me? I . . . have . . . to . . . push!
I pounded on the wall, about to put a hole through it. At last, a nurse ran in. Much to her surprise—and my anguish—she found me fully dilated and ready to pop.
A lot of activity happened at once. Oddly enough at the same instant, I felt like an ice cube. The nurse noticed me trembling and threw three blankets over me. She fetched Mr. Wonderful in the lounge, already stretched out half-asleep. After waking him, they gave him a hospital gown, a cap, and a mask. After he followed them to the delivery room, they instructed him where to stand.
With my knees bent and feet in stirrups, an assistant leaned me forward.
“Now push,” my doctor instructed. “Push, hard.”
I took a deep breath and held it, managing a couple of pushes, one or two deep grunts, and a long groan, feeling the blood rush to my brain. “I . . . can’t!” I gasped. “No more. I’m tired.”
“Come on. Keep pushing. Bear down. A little more.”
“Shush. It’s okay, honey,” Mr. Macho-turned-coach drilled. “Stay calm.”
“YOU stay calm! IT HURTS!”
“Humph,” Donny snorted.
“All right, now give me one big, long push.”
“It . . . b-burns!” God, I feel like I’m tearing!
“Okay, now stop. Stop pushing a moment.”
Push–Breathe–Bear down–Don’t push–Breathe! My mind zoomed from ninety to zero. Oh, what am I supposed to do? Why hadn’t Donny and I completed those Lamaze classes? Finally, the answer came to me: In order to refrain from pushing, I had to do a series of shallow breathing. Pant. Like a dog.
Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant.
Donny watched the whole process bug-eyed and ashen-faced.
Some macho-man he turned out to be.
Gorgeous. Chestnut hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Rosy cheeks. Ten fingers and ten toes. I was in my teens and just delivered a beautiful, healthy 7 lb. 6 oz. baby girl. My baby girl! Thank you, God. With the ideal name for her—in memory of my beloved grandma and my deceased sister—I named her Anna, with Marie being her middle name.
Once home, I savored the miracle before me: An innocent life at peace in her crib. A life I had only known as bittersweet; a life filled with much adversity from being alone, cold, hungry, and frightened. My mind twirled with unanswered questions. Could I protect this child and keep her safe? As her mommy, I wondered if I’d always be there for her, and not fail or disappoint her. Would we have a close relationship? Would she always feel my love?
(An excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)
# # # #
My firstborn’s birthday is just a few days away. About every four years, her birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day. From day one, she is a reminder of all I am thankful for. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. When she came into my life, she began a circle of three.
As I watched her grow, she taught me the rhythm of a mother’s heartbeat for her child.
To my beautiful daughter:
Anna Marie, there’s a lot more to the story that had transpired before this excerpt about you posted here, as well as a lot more that occurred afterward. I suppose your curiosity is piqued right now, but I’m afraid, you’ll have to remain patient and stay tuned along with the rest of the audience until my book becomes published.
I love you.
© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved
6 responses to “Thanksgiving 1976”
Sister, You Did it Again! Loved it! Had me in Tears once more, because it also made me remember when I had my 1st born Son, Jesus. Can’t Wait to Finish Reading the Rest of the Story! Well Done! 😉
Love you Sis!!!!!!
Wonderful vignette! It made me feel as though I were there with you, and at the same time reminded me of my own firstborn–all of the uncertainty and newness and all-encompassing love…beautiful! Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter–I look forward to reading the rest of your story!
Thank you Rebeca! I’m glad this little tidbit resonated with you, and reminded you of your own experience regarding your firstborn.
Just read your excerpt from your book. I was totally engrossed and felt your every fear and pain reading it. At the same time I celebrated with tears at the joy of bringing a new life into the world. You pull me in with each word. Love it. Can wait till your book is published!
From one mother’s heart to another 🙂 Thank you Sandy!