You couldn't have known how I had spent 6 months clearing that word out of my skin, my organs, my blood stream. Many women never fully recover from abuse, but I had made a good start. You could not have known how my watery appearance in your hallway was the culmination of many successes: a night and a day of natural labor, in and out of the birth tub, up and down the stairs, pacing in the shady parts of the street, and finally, I had reached that dreamy trancey state. Transition was easier for me than early labor. I felt awareness and sensation in my body, but absolute comfort as I drifted and floated in the ocean of my mind.
When the midwife told me I had three strikes, that my baby would need to be born at the hospital, I was calm. I have spent enough time with lambs to tell you that I went like a lamb. Innocent. I trusted her perfectly. I trusted God and the blessing I had received that morning that specifically mentioned my midwife's judgment. And I trusted my baby. Trust itself is a miracle.
It was this trust in my caregivers that allowed me to divert all my resources to the soul coming through me. I held onto the car handles, half-robed, and stared dreamily out the window at La Cienega Boulevard and Los Angeles blue skies, while everyone else worried about getting there in time. I was only half aware of their concern. I knew she wasn't going to come in the car. I knew her heart rate would remain steady.
You couldn't have known that because I was using all my resources to transition a soul from inside out, I had none left to protect myself. I had no shield to deflect your thoughtless words. And so they dropped like a clumsy rock into a still lake: no shore was left untouched by the ripples. If I had been hooked up to a biofeedback machine, I'm sure you would have seen gauges and needles spike or plummet. Even Dr. Chin commented on my apathetic pushing. "I'm going to give you one more chance. I know you can do better," he said.
You are lucky that Davi didn't hear you. My midwife, whose name means Goddess, who wears a turban and meditates 3 hours every day, probably would have punched you.
I'm sure it was nothing personal. You were probably just using the language someone trained you to use. And your tone of voice was probably just your tired feet talking. It was, in fact, almost 3 o'clock and time for a shift change.
My angel baby was born about 20 minutes after we arrived. No one bothered to look at the clock, so we guessed it was 3:19 p.m. She was a little blue form the cord around her neck, and cone shaped from the vacuum--which Dr. Chin did end up using--but perfectly healthy and normal in every way.
I immediately forgot about you as I latched her onto my breast. Skin to skin, everyone else disappeared.
And yet. For years afterward I found myself having imaginary conversations with you. "I'm not a failed home birth, I'm a successful home birth transfer. Aren't all people who come to the hospital transferring from home at some point or another? Did I not have a natural, vaginal, peaceful birth?" This was useless.
I didn't write my birth story for years--I think because on some level, I did feel I had failed, and your words gave voice to those fears. I am not one to face things, so I continued arguing with you.
It wasn't until Phoebe was 3 years old, during a re-birthing meditation, that I got divine clarity about her birth. I now understand that I did everything exactly as I was inspired, my baby was born exactly how she needed to be born, and I had the exact experiences I needed to have. Not accepting this was my real failure.
And so I want to thank you, dear nurse, for being at the right place and the right time on your tired feet to teach me a lesson about forgiveness and success.