Hello! I just tucked JD in and we did something super special. As you know tis the night before JD’s 5th birthday. I’ve never read any blogs or excerpts from my book to him. But, tonight, I told him I had a special bedtime story for him and to jump in bed. He ran to his room, climbed in and pulled the covers up to his chin. I ran my finger across a line of books on the shelf … stopping at mine, Rattled!
I looked down at the pink and orange cover. The black profile of the pregnant girl, of me. My eyes stung. This time, five years ago, I was in my one-bedroom apartment, tucking myself in, knowing I was having a c-section the next day.
“Mommy!” JD called, shaking me from that memory. The hardwood floor in the old bedroom. The black, puffy comforter. The honey colored crib pushed against the wall and zoo themed bedding.
“Coming,” I said. JD has seen my book before. He knows my book by its cover. “Mommy’s book!” he said. “Baby, I’m going to read you the story of how you came into this world to me. JD squealed, “Ohhhh OK, Mommy!”
From Chapter 18 of Rattled!
The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world, there will not be, another child like him.
I squint at the bright white lights overhead. She leads me to a thin table and as we walk to it I see surgical tools, one next to the other in a pretty, little uniform line on a tray, and quickly turn away. Nurse Jack helps me scoot up onto the table and Dr. Krammer appears before me.
[JD] “The nurse is my name!” interrupts JD. “Yes, her name is Jacklyn, like Mema, but her nickname is Jack, like you, baby,” I said, brushing his hair off his brow. “Mema’s nickname is Jackie, right?” I nod.
“How are you feeling, Christine?” he asks, resting his palms on my knees. I half smile and swallow.
“You’re going to be fine, Christine,” he says, and walks around the table. I feel fingers grazing my neck and startle.
“That’s me, Christine,” says Nurse Jack. “I’m just untying the gown.”
[JD] “My name! Again! Mommy!” interrupts JD. (He is very excited that he shares a name with his maternity nurse. Kinda kismet, actually.)
Dr. Keanchong comes in with a mask over her mouth.
[JD] “Like a Spiderman mask?” interrupts JD. “Kinda,” I say. “Cool!” says, JD.
“Hi, Christine,” she says, and takes my shoulders in her hands.
I feel a cool sheet of plastic spread over my back and a quick brush of something wet and drippy.
“That’s me, Christine,” Dr. Krammer says. “I’m sterilizing your back. You’re okay,” he says.
I feel myself excite. My teeth begin to chatter and my eyes fill with tears. [Side note for Babble readers: I was really anxious about the spinal.]
“You’re okay, Christine,” Dr. Keanchong says.
“Christine, I need you to do the scared cat move,” says Dr. Krammer. I feel his hands on my back. This is it, this is it, I think as my heart races. Dr. Keanchong pulls my shoulders forward.
“You’re okay, Christine,” she says again.
“Just a quick pinch and a slow sting,” Dr. Krammer says.
I start to cry, then suck in a breath. Nurse Jack is holding my head, rubbing my temples. There is a sharp pinch, like a bee sting, then it burns, fading slowly. . .
[JD] “Like the bee sting at the zoo, Mommy!” interrupts JD. I smile and keep reading.
“That’s it Christine, you’re okay,” Nurse Jack says.
“Tell me when you put the needle in,” I say, shuddering.
“I’m in,” Dr. Krammer says, and Nurse Jack and Dr.Keanchong ease me down without warning. I feel like everyone is suddenly racing around me.
“The needle?” I say.
“It’s all done, Christine,” Dr. Keanchong says and I feel my legs flush with heat, then a fast rush of pins and needles. I lay back staring up at the bright white lights as Nurse Jack pushes my gown up and opens my legs.
“I feel you, I can feel you,” I say.
“We’ll give it some time, Christine, don’t worry,” Dr.Krammer says.
Nurse Jack appears over my head and opens a small screen in front of my face shielding my view. This is it.My eyes search left, then right. I feel something tugging on my side, it’s like a rubber clamp squeezing my skin.
“Chris, do you feel that?” Dr. Krammer asks. I close my eyes, sensing it again.
“I just feel something warm and soft squeezing my side,” I say.
“And here, do you feel that?” he asks.”I don’t know,” I say.
“Christine, pull your legs up for me?” he says.
I will them up with all of my might. “Okay,” I say.
“They’re up?” Dr. Krammer asks.
“I don’t know, I guess.” I hear things clanking into a metal dish. I sense something dripping down my stomach, but then it fades away.
“She’s ready,” I hear Dr. Krammer say. “Bring in Mom.” [Side note for Babble readers: My mom was with me. I wasn't alone. My Dad, Carlo, Bri and Nanny (RIP) were waiting in the wings.]
“Christine, I’m going to start now. You’re okay,” I hear Dr. Keanchong say.
My mother comes in and stoops down next to me. From my perception it’s like she’s sitting on a tree trunk. I feel her brush her hand on my forehead.
“You’re okay, Chris,” my mom says. Everyone keeps telling me I’m okay. The lights seem brighter. I look to the left of me, then feel like something is tiptoeing across my pelvis or like I’m being unzipped.
“I feel that. I feel something,” I say.
“You’re okay, Christine,” I hear Dr. Keanchong say. I hear a clank again.
“You’re going to feel some pressure, Christine,” Dr. Keanchong says. All of a sudden I feel like there is something sitting on my chest. I reach for a breath. I try to make noise, but I can’t.
“I see the head,” Dr. Keanchong says.
“The baby is out, Christine,” Dr. Keanchong says. I hear Nurse Jack, “Aw.” Then I hear my Jack. He sounds like a little bird doll that someone wound up, until he roars with “Eh-Eh-Eh-Ehhhh-Whahhhhh!”
“The baby is here,” my mother says, and I feel a single tear fall from my eye until I taste it on my lips.
“He’s peeing on me!” Nurse Jack says and the room erupts into laughter.
[JD] “You told me I peed on the nurse! I peed on Nurse Jack? That is silly and disgusting, Mommy!” says JD.
“Christine, look to the left, Nurse Jack is going to show you your baby,” Dr. Keanchong says.
It’s like I’m underwater looking through a pair of goggles. I can see him. He’s naked and pink and wet and his arms are pulled up with his fists under his chin. There is bright white light all around him. He looks like an angel baby—a heavenly little creature. I see things happening around me. Dr. Krammer is at my side telling me I “did good,” then sticking my line with something. My vein flushes with cold. My mother is standing up, craning her body away from me.
“The baby, where is Jack?” I say to my mom.
“They’re cleaning him up,” she says. Then I see Nurse Jack come closer. She’s holding a white bundle that she passes to my mother. She sets him next to me and I turn my face to his.
“Jack Domenic,” I say in a whisper. His face is pink and there are a few stray black hairs peeking through his white cap. I pull it off to find a damp mess of dark hair. My mother presses his cheek against my lips.
“Jack Domenic,” I say again, looking at him. “Hello, my baby. I’ve been waiting for you.”
I shut the book. “Read me more, Mommy,” JD said. I smile at him. I’m crying now. “I will one day, baby. But now go to sleep,” kissing him on the cheek like I did the day he was born. “When you wake up, you will be 5, baby.”
“Will my face look different, Mommy?” he said.
“It will look beautiful,” I said. With that, I kissed him again, scooted off his bed and clicked the light off. “Good night, I love you, best friends,” I said. JD repeated the words. I tugged on his elephant toy his godmother gave him when he was born and twinkle music played.
I put my earbuds in and listened to Mindy Gledhill while I unloaded the dishwasher and folded the laundry and thought.
Mindy Gledhill’s, All About Your Heart
If you were an ice cream flavor
You would be my favorite one
My imagination sees you
Like a painting by Van Gogh
Starry nights and bright sunflowers
Follow you where you may go
Oh, I´ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Have you told your kids their birth story? Share.
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