Going Insane, Off the Meter

15 Jul

Three years ago, they were ripping out her guts literally, while I sat behind the anesthesiologist and struggled once again with religion.
While she laid on her back, arms out to the side, crucified and convulsing from 49 hours of labor without water or food; just ice chips. And fear. They had stabbed her in the spine twice before they got the numbing drugs right. To this day she cannot be touched where they plunged in the giant needle. It somehow wasn’t fair that I couldn’t say a prayer for her. That my beliefs didn’t run the way of hers. That I couldn’t help her with anything…not even a lousy prayer. While she convulsed on the cross, having my baby.
They ripped out the purple infant methodically as they talked about weekends and late-summer plans and the busy hurricane season.
And I sat behind the anesthesiologist after almost 10 months of gut-wrenching, lip-biting, sleepless nights, waiting for her cervix to rupture and deliver prematurely, as they were all sure she would.
(It’s 40 weeks, not 9 months like they all say; do the math)
Only, after two days of labor, it was just the opposite. And the baby became breech and tangled in the umbilical during all of it. So they had to cut and pull and tug. Cesarean is one of the most violent procedures. They tear the body apart with scalpels and go to work as if flesh were play-dough.
But she made it out, purple and pink and bloody and angry at the world she was thrust in. Angry to be born into this.
Born into this.
To see her now, you’d laugh at her dyspeptic vitriol when she checked in.
This beautiful, kind human being who looks into you with sagely, brown eyes, and whose world is one in which we’d all like to exist.
Believe me.
She swallows me up for the few days a month I’m with her; she drags me into her universe and for 48 hours every two weeks things are right.
I’ll take that. I deserve that. And I don’t feel guilty about any of it.
Going insane off the meter, twenty years running now, is not an adequate way to live. It’s not fit for even dogs. Only I somehow exist and trudge forward, and most days have no meaning to me. None. It’s not romantic. Nor is it virtuous. It’s excruciating.

After she was born, the baby went to the NICU with fluid in the lungs. Her mother wasn’t able to see her for three days. I went into the intensive care room a few hours after the birth and saw this tiny life–my beautiful baby–with tubes down her throat, expelling yellowish liquid into a bag. She had been prodded with needles for blood in her minuscule heels and in the little veins running on top of her palms–which were bruised from the trauma of the hypodermic. We went home without her, and that first night I sat on a stool while my wife slept off the excruciating pain of the operation. I sat on a stool and did not drink or did not smoke. I just sat for seven and a half hours and wondered what the last year had been for.

For this. For all of it. For the good and the bad and the kisses and the nights in the E.R. and crying and laughing. For this.

Happy Birthday Bug, maker of all pigs, dreamer of trike-a-thons, teller of fantastic stories which would make even Baron Von Munchausen shake his head in awe. Happy Birthday!
I love you from here to the moon…and back.


5 Responses to “Going Insane, Off the Meter”

  1. Rachel 15/07/2007 at 11:26 PM #

    Beautiful. Happy birthday G.

  2. Anonymous 15/07/2007 at 11:33 PM #

    Awesome birthday entry. I wish we could all read what you write on her cards. Happy Birthday G-girl!

  3. slyboots2 16/07/2007 at 4:41 AM #

    You better save this for her. She’ll thank you for your words some day. I would give anything for the same from my daddy.

  4. femme d'espoir 16/07/2007 at 7:22 AM #

    lovely! and happy birthday, Little Miss G.


    p.s. you now have word verification???? sigh.


  1. Happy Birthday Ladybug! « (S)wine — “Fiction…sometimes” - 15/07/2008

    […] I’m quickly running out of words. This year has been quite sparse. I cannot measure up to this one, from last summer. But at least it’s been written. I try to never re-visit things I’ve […]

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