Saturday, July 25, 2009:

I lay face forward, sprawled across a pile of pillows, eyes shut, as another wave of contraction shudders through my core. My mouth opens wide into an O and I feel a deep long loud “ooooohhhhh” pass over my lips. Deep breath in, deep breath out, “ooohhhhhhmmmmm”. The compression around my middle extends downward with ever-increasing pressure. Two fists press hard into my sacrum—my husband’s or the midwives, I don’t know which. My eyes shut tight to the room around me, the dark world within my womb my only reality. I can do this. If I need to do this forever, I can do this.

Time stops. I drift into sleep and out as another contraction overtakes my body and rises, rises, rises to a crescendo of sensation. The midwife instructs me to change position, up onto my hands and knees, hips swaying. Then, a change—downward pressure. My spine lengthens, my head arches back, a guttural call escapes my throat. An urgent, primal force, drives me. I flip forward into a crunched position, legs bent outward, chest pulled over my hard, massive belly. Pushing, resting, breath in, breath out. Pushing, pushing, resting, breath in, breath out. Pushing, pushing, pushing.

An eternity spans between each exertion. The overwhelming sensation changes from pressure to burning—deep, intense. My mind leaps outward, picturing flesh tearing. No, no, no, back in, back in, eyes shut. A rose blooming. It’s just burning, just a sensation, deep heat, just heat, only heat. A full scream, unrecognizable as my own; the pain rises to a final precipice. I hear “the head is out”. One final push, the sensation of emptying, a large red gush. Euphoria replaces pain. Laying her on my chest, wide, black, eyes stare up into mine. Inspired awe.

The birth of a story.

Phoenix Dreaming
Forward: Act of Courage
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