“Your wound will be purple, but don’t worry, it’s just the glue,” the OB bellowed over the dropped curtain, my baby giving her best newborn battle cry from the warming tray they’d escorted her to. I wondered if suture colors were something I could choose, like orthodontic rubber bands. Purple seemed like a reasonable option for the occasion in question.
As I was wheeled from the operating room into recovery my mother, Mimi, appeared in the hallway, bag clutched carefully at her side. At that moment my world morphed into a very low-stakes medical drama, with me gazing at the woman who birthed me in slow motion, still numb from the waist down and holding my daughter. I think I waved a little from our gurney.
I had planned on encapsulating the placenta, but when my water broke unexpectedly a few days before the scheduled c-section there was no time for a strep B test. The OBGYN on call, a woman we chatted with for approximately five minutes prior to deeming her fit to slice me open, presented Jacob and I with the two things I fear most: news stories that prey on the sensitivities of new parents backed by hard data. Between contractions, I was filled with selfish, misdirected rage. This pregnancy, full of twists and turns and specialists, had already been an exercise in relinquishing control. Encapsulated or not, I was keeping that goddamn placenta. So I signed the release form and an hour later a nurse who had earlier described her out of hospital water birth to me helped Mimi pack it on ice in a biohazard bag before sending her off in a yellow cab. It now sits nestled between the frozen broccoli and burritos in our freezer, the only organ I’ll ever grow and expel.
My daughter arrived a little over a week early, drawn out by the full moon, or perhaps because she already had achieved her goal weight of a sturdy nine and a half pounds. My water broke at 2:30 in the morning after I heaved my round body over one last time into the welcoming curve of my pregnancy pillow and felt a pop from deep inside of me. My first half-asleep thought was “no! Not on the new mattress!” and I quickly stood to let loose warm fluid all over the floor, just like in the movies. If you find yourself in a similar position, I will note that amniotic fluid is fairly easy to remove from Berber carpeting.
At our final office visit, Jacob asked my original OBGYN, an elegant man given to sporting expensive-looking whimsical button-downs and the glasses of an Italian architect, how large the cesarean incision would be. “Roughly ten centimeters,” he replied as he handed me a bottle of surgical scrub to wash my belly with before the big day. One way or another, we all enter this world through a ten-centimeter hole.
We brought Frida May Moon home on her planned eviction date. She is the first person in our family to ever be early for an appointment. My wound is still purple and no one is really sleeping, but that’s to be expected. My baby makes squeaking noises akin to a very small bike horn as she nurses, announcing herself to the world.