Surprise! You’re a mother, father ... uhm ...
“Push! Just one more! You can do it!” My husband yelled, encouragingly, or I’m sure he thought it was. His work-roughened hand squeezed mine. It was a comfort. A small comfort. I clutched it back, hard. My jagged nails biting into his palm. It was well-known among friends and family, that I chewed my nails to mere stubs, especially under stress. ‘Well, there are few things more stressful than this,’ was my thought at that exact moment.
“Fuck this shit!” I screeched back. I was tired. More tired than I’d ever been in my entire life. The irony, my exhausted brain mused, was that at that very moment, I was bringing a new life into the world. Or so I thought.
“Come on, Mrs. McDowell,” the doctor entreated, “you’re almost done.” My OB/GYN had leaned down and in, towards my nether-regions, gloved hands outstretched, as a catcher might, readying himself behind the plate. “Here we go. Focus now and take a deep breath. One more hard push, and you’ll be able to see your baby’s face for the first time.”
I could feel a trickle of sweat meander its way from the edge of my hairline, down along my forehead, then past my eye where it lingered, mingling with my frustrated tears. I didn’t want to do this anymore.
Grasping my husband’s hand in a death-grip, much as I’d like to take ahold of his dick just then - cause if I had to suffer through this feeling, as if my insides were tearing themselves apart, he should suffer too - I tried to do what the doctor ordered, using reserves of strength I didn’t even know I possessed.
And as I struggled, endeavoring not to have a stroke, give myself a heart attack, or worse yet, soil the bed, something strange happened.
I felt the sensation of breath being forced from my lungs, flowing up through my chest, bringing with it a long, drawn-out “aaaaahhhhh” torn from my throat, hearing the sound of my own voice ringing in my ears, and then … I didn’t.
Unable to understand what the hell was happening, just that something was seriously fucked up, as my confused and somewhat pissed-off mind fumbled about, I heard another voice, deeper, one I recognized, finishing my anguished scream, which was immediately followed by the sound of a baby crying.
Blinking rapidly, I realized that I was no longer laying splay-legged upon the bed, my feet no longer in those cold metal stirrups. And sure enough, the doctor wasn’t wrong. I did see my baby’s face for the first time, only it was from the wrong perspective.
And in the space of half a second, at the lone tick of the wall clock, I threw back my head and laughed, and kept right on laughing, as every head in the room turned to look at me, and my gaze met my own. Only it wasn’t me looking back, scared out of his damned mind; it was my husband. Evidently, God does have a sense of humor after all.