Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another Link, And The Day I Wanted The Earth To Swallow Me Whole

Let me start by directing you to a blog. This used to be a run-of-the-mill sort of blog, but recently it has become the chronicle of a family in crisis, as well as a beautiful love story. A mother of two boys is fighting for her life, felled by a mystery infection. Her husband updates frequently, and his love for her is truly something to behold. ****WARNING**** If you are feeling emotionally fragile right now, or you're having your portrait taken and don't want puffy eyes or something, maybe wait until later to check it out. But do check it out.

Also, I am going to share an embarassing story with you. No, the embarassing story, the one that makes me physically cringe.

G was delivered at a birthing centre. It's a hospital that works in tandem with a midwifery program, and it's covered by our provincial health plan. It's a pretty ideal setting for someone who wants the care of a midwife, but isn't willing or able to shell out the thousands it costs for a midwife assisted home birth. So we made the long, long 45 minute drive (although I think we managed it in 30 minutes) with my contracting bulk writhing about in the front seat.

I was really looking forward to labouring in a pool. I mean, I wasn't looking forward to the labour part, but if it's gotta be done--and often, it's gotta--then the pool was where I wanted to be. G was born into the water, and we remained in the pool, cuddling and nursing, until I delivered the placenta. After that, it was time to get out, shower, and relocate to a warm bed. Baby G was with his daddy, and the midwives were busily filling out papers and attending to other administrative chores. I needed help to heave myself out of the pool and waddle to the shower; the task fell to the nurse, a youngish brunette named Marie.

I hadn't formed a real connection with the nurse. We hadn't met prior to that night/early morning, and she was rather business-like, in contrast to the huggy midwives. I had been so wrapped up in each contraction I'd scarcely noticed her, except that she'd made me lay on a bed with a monitor wrapped around my belly--hospital policy--for what seemed like ages before I was allowed to clamber into the pool.

Now everyone else had retreated, and Marie and I were left to wrestle my oddly deflated body out of the water. She grasped my arm at the elbow and took my hand, and pulled me out of the flotsam to a standing position. As I stood on wobbly legs, Marie bent beside me supporting my weight, a large gush of post-partum gore surged out of me and fell into the pool with a splash. Marie jerked slightly and froze. We stood motionless for a moment before I looked down and saw her wiping her face with her sleeve. I had just splashed this woman in the face with blood from my crotch.

I wanted to die. I wanted to apologize profusely--though she tried somewhat to downplay it, her disgust was evident--but my mortification rendered me mute. I was too horrified with myself to speak. She helped me to the shower, and I stayed there as long as my legs would hold me, trying to prolong the moment when I would have to face her again.

I never said anything to her. What could I say? "Sorry about that" just didn't seem sufficient. "Whoops, didn't mean to spray you with gore from my ladyparts" seemed to make it even worse. So I said nothing, and we tried to pretend it hadn't happened.

Over two years later, I still blush to think of it.

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