I’m walking. Again. I’ve been walking for two days now. Trying desperately to evacuate him. He’s overdue. I’m huge. I want to meet him. I am impatient.
So I walk. And I am tired of walking.
And then? My water breaks. And I walk some more to make sure. And yes, this is it. We need to go. So we do.
And when we get there, I am told to walk. Only this walking is more like pacing. The hall is so narrow. So short. So…plain. And quiet.
Dan tries to sleep. But I? Am walking.
But I’ll only go so far. Beyond that point is The Room. The room I do not want to see.
18 hours later I find myself headed to this room, on a hospital bed, no feeling in my lower half, a shower cap on my hair and tears leaking from the corners of my eyes.
The room is so white. So bright. So…cold.
Not what I wanted or imagined for the way I’d meet my son. I am there, but I am not there. I am in the room, but I am not a part of these things. I am an observer.
Except there is a curtain and I cannot see. I cannot see even my husband sitting by my head but behind my head. I can only see this curtain and the shadows on the other side. I can hear people talking, but almost no one is talking to me. They are all talking around me. About me. But not to me.
My arms are strapped out at my sides. In my mind I look like some grotesque crucifix, all swollen middle and tear-streaked face. I have sacrificed my body for his arrival. My dignity. My rite of passage. My sense of accomplishment. My pride.
I have been stripped. Scarred. Bloodied. Dehumanized.
I hear him cry. And I cry. I do not see him with my own eyes. I see him first through the lens of a camera. A camera that was held up over the curtain at the appointed time. WE do not see him first.
I hear more talk about me, but still, not to me. I hear him crying in the corner. I hear them talking about giving him oxygen to help clear out his lungs. I hear them talk about how big he is. Still, I have not seen him.
Finally, a nurse brings him over, swaddled and bundled and chubby and I see him. And I cry again. And in that moment and that moment only, I am happy. Or something very like happy but maybe not exactly happy.
And just like that he is whisked away from me and taken down the hall.
Down the hall I’d walked the night before hoping to hasten his arrival. Down the hall of broken dreams.
And I? Am alone in the room. With them. And they talk to each other. But not to me. I am Prufrock.
An observer in this very white room. In this very white, cold room.
And I cannot wait to leave.
Though I suspect that in this, I am not so very alone as I think.
So you are not alone, either.
This was written as a part of The Red Dress Club’s weekly memoir writing prompt in which
we were tasked with writing about a room in our lives that held/holds great significance.
While there are many rooms in my life, only this one seemed to fit.