Wednesday, September 10, 2008

::Bearing Witness::

At 12:30, I got a call: "We're about 15 minutes away from the final push, so if you want to come. . ." I come. In a hurry. Up the elevator to the fourth floor. Trying not to think about how much I hate the elevator. Stopping at the reception desk to ask for permission to go see my labouring sister. Nurse leaves and enters room #6. I hear; "Your sister's here. Do you want her here?" Mumbled reply. Obviously an affirmative because; "go ahead." And I find myself arriving, not for the final push, but an hour and a half's worth of pushing.

I hold her right leg. I brace myself. I ask her if I am doing it right. {What do I know?} She says it feels fine. She pushes with all her might. I watch the nurse who is occupied with the other leg. I try to imitate. She is studying Dave. Studying me. I am so aware of my bafflement. I feel as though I wear my confusion about me like a neon sign. None of this makes sense to me. My four children are stripped from me as I stand there. I try desperately to stay rooted in the joy of the moment. Try not to allow this awesome and ancient dance before me to make me feel alienated and cheated. I watch the nurse watching the monitor and see if I can predict when the contraction comes. When it does, Kate says; "I think I feel it," and we grab her legs again. And again. And again.

I can feel the frustration in her voice: "Come on Matty. Just come." And push by push we see more of his dark hair. "Good push Kate. So good. Wow." Suddenly everything looks different. A tennis ball sized portion of Matty's head is pushed through. A nurse is working her fingers around it. It is surprisingly soft. Push. Kate screams. She is clearly in agony. His head is through. He is facing downwards. Quick fingers unwrap a chord that has looped itself twice around his neck. Blood. So much blood. Dave doesn't look. I don't look. I just let her squeeze my hand. I shut my eyes and pray. Keep them both safe.

And then he is out. He makes a gurgling cry and I know it is alright. Kate gasps with joy. He's so big! His hands. His feet. So big! His voice sounds like Isaiah's. Kate thinks so too. I find that because of this, and because he has my sister's face, I am instantly and completely his. I stay near him as he is weighed and checked over. I speak to him. I try and dance around the working nurses, never feeling quite out of the way. And then Dave lets me hold him. I feel guilty. I get to hold him before Kate does. But her body has work to be done. I keep him close to her face so she can speak to him. It is her voice he knows. He is so quiet. He is so beautiful. His mother is a warrior and I bore witness to the pain it took to bring her son to us. And he is here.