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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Birth

Bit of a re-write from my pre-birth poem about labour:




At first it’s a slow leak,
nothing to panic about.
We watch the game
after a brief call to the midwife,
who is concerned by the snow
barricading her country home.

To bed for now,
in our basement bedroom.

4 am comes too early.
My between-contraction naps
become too brief and frequent.
Then pop.
Gush.
Bags of waters,
which protected this 9-month concept,
down the drain.
Still no midwife.

5 am the shrieking begins;
there’s blood on the floor.
A slightly panicked call to the midwife,
who says in the face of rapid dilation,
to stay low and calm -
no shrieking.

Just low moans,
at the buffalo frequency,
bouncing on your birth ball.

Fill the tub.
Muddy bloodied waters.
No problem,
as long as it’s warm
in the cold
and cool in the heat.

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.

Help me,
you whisper your scream.
We’re only 2 hours in.

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.

You can do this,
I mock confidence.
And then we’ll have a baby.

Where’s the midwife?
Your query
more rhythmic than contractions.

Friends come first,
with a breakfast to go cold
as they boil water,
like a 60s sitcom birth.
Filling our birth pool
by the fire they built
in our living room.

Where’s the midwife?

Stay low and calm
at the buffalo frequency.
Tepid water over contracting belly,
moaning low.
300 liquid scoops
cool the pain
until it gets worse,
and you push them away
as the midwife arrives.

I feel like I want to push.

No don’t do that!
quoth the ignorant partner.

The voice of experience
searches for cervix,
finds nothing,
says, it’s all natural.
You’re ready to go.


So up we go,
lumbered stair-climb,
you staggering, punch-drunk
like a lopsided prizefighter
begging to throw in the towel,
as we throw you into warm water.

Nobody can do this but you,
and guess what, you’re doin’ it.
You will get this baby in your arms,
she informs you, her lips taut
like the memory of a cigarette,
her voice all silken dominatrix.
Now push!

You scream your war cry.
Forget low and calm,
to hell with buffalos.
You sweat methane,
but you won’t take my hand,
just ice-water.
Ice-water to forehead,
ice-water to lips,
to throat, then spilled
under a small slice of sea.
My hand is freed
For shoulder neck massage.

You wail, just short of ululation.
Your language is clear,
your cries reverential.
This is not the time to be crass,
though the neighbours think
you are being tortured.

The baby responds with a crown.
You can’t see it.
Anticipation fills the room,
like a back-alley yodel
you’re so close, Mama,
we all agree.
But you aren’t impressed
by the sliver of emergent hair.
I’m so far away.
Can I quit now?

Low moans,
buffalo frequency.

Seven more warriors cry.
Seven more uterine contracts.
Your baby’s face is slipping through,
and my hands are placed for the pull,
but the shoulder is stuck as we heave,
and it’ll surely break with such force,
our biceps one way
your contorted primal writhing
the other.

I can only whimper and cry,
as this marathon miracle 1st prize
passes through my hands, head-first
into the rivulet between your breasts.
Legs are spread to see
his swollen testicles dangling.
It’s a boy, my little baby boy!
But you already knew that.
My shoulders heaving tears,
your face a sheet of white shock.
What just happened?

The radio sings:
I’m Here
for You

A smile washes over my body.
He looks like me.
He looks like you.
A smile washes over my body,
blocks my fears
of tyrannical fatherhood.

We kiss,
each other and him,
our lips his cheeks.

Just sculpted lines between mother and child
have blurred and blended again,
leaving a singular hope.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is just beautiful. Brings tears to my eyes. I only saw the end result - the beautiful baby boy - my grandchild.

Love to all

EB

Charles Gramlich said...

The first part had me thinking, "you went through this VOLUNTARILY?" But the ending saved it. Made me think....maybe... Whew, thank goodness we're both too old.

benjibopper said...

EB: he's hoping grammy and grandpa will come visit him again soon.

CG: it wasn't easy of course, but it was a phenomenal, incredible experience we'll never forget.

Anonymous said...

This poem needs publication. I hope you submit it to several places.

benjibopper said...

Thank you anonymous, and surely completely objective, scribe.

Anonymous said...

I am crying... en joy and happiness and a deep felt sharing emotion of birthwonder! welcome to the world
kisses from inez

I have an terrible urge to run over oceans to see you guys!!!

benjibopper said...

aw, inez, we miss you guys and talk about you all the time as parents we want to emulate!