Friday, June 3, 2011

thin blue thread of light, parts 4-6

4. dysphoria after labor for eighteen hours

when the doctor pushed for surgery
—a C-section intervening
regardless of us as human beings
or our hope, our plan
for a natural birth—

there was the shock of falling
into that deepest gravity,
and fear of all I could lose:
mother, infant,
and all the imagined future—

then there was anger at the doctor,
blackmailing us with a release form
(releasing him of blame for deaths if we waited too long),
paining her even more
at the eighteenth hour—

my anger grew acute in surgery,
seeing how he pulled the feet so hard
because the baby’s head was stuck
and our infant’s body stretched so far
it must have hurt beyond anything it ever felt before
—I wanted to pummel the surgeon,
but could only watch—

but then the newborn
was in the nurse’s hands
as he did void, pee and cry,
terrorized, it was clear,
in his first world-sized scare—
a folded football body,
sorrowful, slick, anguished
from the torture of being
yanked so hard by his feet
from the once-whole womb—

he cried in his first pain as big as all space,
but through his wrinkly skin,
he strangely linked
to my hands somehow calming
my small fretful son,
estranged from every
except my voice
heard so often before he was born,
as if it registered,
he was soothed,
like he knew his father.

and I wanted to live—against my will
because my son needed me to.

a thin blue thread of light through me
lifted my voice—I spoke to him

when I first held his infant self
crying in terror in the sterile OR

I wanted to live—against my will
because my son was born.

5. Baby Chen

Our son was only a few hours old.
The RN named Lisa was imprinting his feet
into little family photo albums,
and he was crying in fear and frustration
at having his feet moved against his will
over and over, again.
I explained to Lisa
these were gifts for his grandparents.
The baby cried even louder,
so I told him:
“If you think this is bad,
wait till you meet them in real life.”

6. the thin blue thread of light (the first night in the hospital)

the instant he cried in the dark
I got up from the deep vinyl chair
without sleep
hanging from a thin blue thread of light from the sky
without thought
holding up my head
walking to his tiny crib
over linoleum lit only by night-lights—
without effort
submitting to his cry that rose
like another thin blue thread of light
hanging from the sky

without knowing how I’d know
I lifted him, pacified,
changed and bundled him again,
then felt the indentation encircling his head
—realized he’d been stuck so hard
his skull now had a dent-band—

And she was still sleeping,
stitched up, unable to rise without aid---
I’d shown her the baby in the OR,
said, “He’s okay.”
I hated to watch the surgeon stitching
the line where the scar would be,
but she said, “It doesn’t hurt.”

cradling him on my arm
I paced so slowly
his breathing evened
in the near silence in the semi-dark,
and I set him down,
deep in sleep.

Sinking into the stiff, stuffed chair
I was so happy because of him
a smile lifted every depleted cell of me,
and I was happy because of this
thin blue thread of light
(Was it from the sky, or us?)
that interlinks us
and out of pain
brings joy—