Child birth isn’t for the faint of heart. After 34 hours of labor, I ended up having to have a c-section anyway. Birth plan, smirth plan. Shout out to the nurses who kept me calm and distracted me with stories of their lives. And god love my doctor who held my hand as they wheeled me into surgery and lovingly said, “Today is just like any other day.”
It was way too bright in the operating room and the music reminded of the end of Splash Mountain after you’ve made it through the drop and all the rabbits and foxes are singing…creepy. “Is there a Kendrick Lamar station?” I said to the nurses as I hugged myself and they transferred me to the operating table. Even though one of the nurses said she’d be down with Kendrick, my doctor and I agreed that might be a little too…well…not RIGHT for this moment. We settled on the R & B station. My man came in and sat by my side when Ride Wit Ya (Nelly) blasted over the speakers. I was shaking from the anesthesia when I shouted, “Hey! Must be the money!”
Doc said, “Dad, stand up!” and I was so jealous that he could see our little guy before I could. In retrospect, my guts were on a plate, so it’s probably better I was busy rapping at that moment. A few seconds later, a blue gloved hand thrust my son in the air over the partition and I lost my breath. Like a Lifetime movie on pause, HOT, WARM blood flooded my body and I began to cry. Holy shit, that’s him. He cried. I cried. And then he was on the table a few feet away from me. My man yelled back to me, “He’s perfect!”
After what felt like a extended commercial break after a suspenseful cliffhanger, the nurse placed my son on my chest and he looked me square in the eye. Wow, he was a force to be reckoned with. All I could think was, “You’re so cute. I didn’t think you’d be so cute.” He looked at me like, “I got you mom. We got this.” A powerful little booger. Right then and there, we agreed his name would be Otis.
The ride home from the hospital was as many parents warned me it would be…SCARY. I may have had a few rolling panic attacks, wondering how the hell I was going to keep this little human alive with my body. Breast feeding is gnarly ya’ll. Yes, it’s beautiful and all that but it’s also terrifying and painful. I’d never felt so vulnerable in my life. On the one hand, I had this huge, new responsibility in my life. On the other, I wasn’t sure I could walk up the stairs to our bedroom.
I had to get used to asking for help. For a workaholic former dancer, not being able to physically do the things you want to do is like torture. I’m also very clumsy at asking for help and can come off like I’m on set asking for a dolly track when all I really wanted was for someone to hold ME and tell me everything would be alright. Before going to the doctor to get my staples out, I flung myself into my mother’s arms and sobbed. It’s true what they say about appreciating your mother when you finally have kids of your own. And of course, I’ll always be her baby.
I love my son so much. He breaks me apart and fills me up every day. Being a mother is spiritual challenge as well as a physical one. I am not in control, yet I want to protect him and teach him with all that I am. I am humbled by his patience with me and in awe of his purity. I’ve had to learn to ask for help and to receive it with grace. It’s not pretty sometimes, but I’m working on it.
P.S. Otis means wealthy…