A Memoirby Mary-Louise Parker
I heard a deep voice. You appeared long enough to make annoying conversation and then tried to take my baby, dissolving before my eyes when I said no. I said, no, go. Or slept long enough for you to leave and come back. Or someone else did. I don’t really know what I saw but it kept happening.
I was so tired, you see. I shivered with exhaustion, was blind with it. I’d pushed a person out. Out of an orifice that I challenge having been designated as the exit ramp for humankind. No matter how dilated. And forget anesthesia, I’d had nary an Advil. I remember thinking to myself, were I about to give birth, It probably should hurt more than this. So that’s what you were dealing with. My pain threshold was not on that chart you were clutching while you pulsated in my sight line, discordantly calling out for me to hand over the baby, assuring me it was for my own good. I’m fine, I said, but you reappeared in your blue shower cap and booties, droning on
Give me the baby
Give me the baby it will be down the hall
With other given babies
I was tipped on my side to appear on guard. If I lay on my back I would fall asleep and I could not fall asleep because if I did you might take my baby. Standing upright was not an option. The two times I’d stood that day had resulted in an outpouring. My friend was standing in its pathway the first time and his lower half was drenched. “Whoa,” he said, “I mean, not since Free Willy.” It was enough to fill a plastic pool. I could have swum laps in my afterbirth.
I realize I did not rest following the birth. I ate. I did that. I had a Big Mac but did not sleep. I followed that with a Quarter Pounder, two slices of pizza, a chocolate milkshake, no nap, and two cupcakes. Maybe three. It became night, late night, and the Antigone chorus of you insisted it would be better if you took the baby to the nursery. So I could sleep. But, I said, no my touch baby. I don’t how am I tired. Care. Tired I am. How. No, I said. No touch him, please go.