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Since it has now been a little over a month, I am finally writing about the part I don't like to talk about, so I can move along and write about all of the other things in my brain that I want to talk about a lot more.

It is strange to hear how brave I allegedly was from people who hear about the 50 hours of unmedicated labor because I only did one thing that I was afraid of, and that is go to the hospital.

I never doubted my ability to give normal, natural birth. Not once in my whole, entire life. It was a foregone conclusion.

Until we hit hour 48 and my partner was telling me he didn't think we could afford to wait, that no one rows out in this condition and gets to come back

I never expected to give birth any way but naturally, any where but in my own home, and now I was facing the most extreme medical intervention there is. They didn't let Mike in with me for the spinal block, and I got a drilling from the anesthesiologist that I only understood later when my midwife went over the records and was in shock that they'd ordered a drug test. It went like this, while I was curled up in the fetal position: "What drugs did you take?"


"What else?"

"Prenatal vitamins."

"What else?"

"Acidophilus? Echinacea?" What do you want from me? I'm not answering this question anymore...In my mind I was being interrogated by a masked representative of the SS (he did have an accent that was, possibly, German).

I felt my body shutting down. I was pretty shocky by this point, and thought, this is it, I've really hit the final wall of physical exhaustion.

Then the anesthesia took, mostly, and they let M. back in. It was in some ways more traumatic for him than for me. As he describes it, you come in and see your loved one totally out of it, naked and hooked up to a bunch of wires, stretched out on this table that looks like a cross, in a terrible, fluorescent place that looks like the break room at a bus stop, while eight masked strangers do a cheery dance about "lalala, hi baby, it's your birthday!" and entirely ignore the person on the table and state that she's in.

And then he looked over the curtain and saw my uterus lying on top of my body.

I could hear my baby crying but I couldn't see him. I couldn't look around the curtain, and they called M. away (it turns out to cut the cord that wasn't even attached anymore, and he told them to cut it themselves and came back, but meanwhile...) and then I thought I felt my chest seize up.

And I thought, I am having a heart attack. I am going to die and never even get to see my baby, and I am never going to see Mike again. And in that moment I really believed it.

And then he came back and I told him about my chest, and the anesthesiologist said it was just the pulling while they were stitching my body back together. And they kept doing ridiculous shit, like bringing the footprints around where I could see them but not the baby, and I tried to say "ooh," and be appreciative like I was supposed to so they wouldn't make more trouble for us, but what I was thinking was, "Are you fucking shitting me?! You are showing me footprints but you won't bring my baby to me?! Are you all out of your goddamn minds?!"

I also don't know who's bright idea it was that I would recover better in the recovery room, separated from my baby and from my partner, but it was someone's idea, and that someone was in charge. This is where I was cheery (while shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia), and engaged in quick witted repartee with the nurse, and tried to look on the bright side, like, I was no longer pregnant, and I was no longer in labor. YFTW! And I started my long run of winning the nursing personnel over to our side (partly by saying that, at the ultimate worst moment, my rating on the universal pain scale was a five, because a ten means you're on fire. The nurses adopted and spread this slogan. And really, I can think of at least four things that would hurt more than your body shutting down after 50 hours of labor. Exactly four, off the top of my head.)

And after 2 1/2 hours we were reunited, and I haven't been out of arm's reach of my baby for more than a few minutes since, and every time we were separated in the hospital, M. went with him. And a good thing, too. While I was in recovery M. ran up once while our son was being bathed because someone was holding him and he knew he wouldn't be alone, and he needed to tell me, "You won't believe this, but you got that six-fingered baby you always wanted!"
And I said, "I do so believe it! Hooray!"

All during my pregnancy we joked about polydactyly and how awesome it would be to have a six-fingered baby (a dominant trait, once established!). I had dreams about having a six-fingered baby. At one point, I heard a voice ask me what I would do if I really had a six-fingered baby, and I said, "I'd kiss his beautiful little fingers and tell him how perfect he was."

My little beautiful son has two thumbs on his left hand. I kiss them and tell him how perfect he is. M. says he will out-text all of us. My mom says he is the next step in human evolution and will be an artist, a surgeon, or a chef because he can hold extra implements. The nurse who bathed him says he has a career in cinema criticism, "Three thumbs up!" or that he'll be able to hitchhike faster than anyone else.

The one time a nurse got him out of the room before M. woke up, she was scheduling surgery for him without our consent by the time he caught up with her.

We must always guard him from the well-meaning.

As M. says, if they had their way, he'd be missing the tip of his penis and his additional thumb, drinking formula from a bottle, confused about what a nipple is. And those who had wrought this situation would be certain they had acted in his best interest.

And also as I said when M. asked me, no. I would not sacrifice his additional thumb to have had the birth experience we'd expected. He is perfect. How he got here is just fine. There is a difference between something being okay, and being okay with it, after all.