I knew about as much about birthin’ books as I did babies. Us women are supposed to just know how it goes. Us writers are supposed to know how it goes.
For my first baby, I did my homework. Researched the best midwife. We found the one that wrote the midwifery curriculum for Yale School of Medicine. Prenatal classes. Dutifully attended by my then husband and me. Healthy diet. Cut the carbs, added the protein and drank the quart of milk a day, plus iron tabs. Make ready the room. Painted the spare bedroom a cheerful nonsexist hue, described as popcorn yellow by Sherwin Williams. Name? Read the books, but picked Emma, because we liked the sound of it, and at the time there were lots of Emilies but no Emmas.
What happened? I went into labor on the day I was due. Good. My water burst while I was passing the hours watching Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelley. Kind of funny. Water. Rain. Pisces baby. Checked into Yale-New Haven Hospital after midnight to save a day on the hospital tab. All good.
Then after 16 hours of labor, her heartbeat faltered. My wonderful midwife, the woman I trusted more than sunshine, had to step aside and let the surgeon rush me to the OR. General anesthesia. Cesarean surgery. I heard “it’s a girl!” before I went deep deep under.
In Gone With the Wind, simplistic Prissy (we won’t get into stereotypes here) screams “I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies.” This to the contrary of her earlier claim that she knew everything. I’m with her on that. I thought I knew about it, but darned if it didn’t go a whole different way. I felt cheated out of having what I thought of a real birth. The screaming pain. The triumph as the head crowns. I wasn’t prepared to go home with a line of sutures that would mark my belly forever. But baby Emma was a beauty. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way. Beauty and the beast.
I’m celebrating her birthday this week — this first baby of mine. Her sister, Abigail, arrived less than two years later. By then, I did know something about birthin’ babies.
I’m also celebrating the first book reading this week. The Toadstool Bookshops, in Keene and Milford, NH are the very first official events for October Run. I’ve done my research. I’ve watched fellow writers go before me. I think I know something about birthing books, but I’ll find out. I’m thinking it will out turn out as great as Emma and Abi.