When I was pregnant, I tried to make a SuperBaby. I did not realize I was doing this. I believed I’d long ago shed the theory that a body could be made perfect. But looking back, my goal was clear. I ate 100 grams of protein a day. I swallowed capsules of mercury-free DHA. I gave up wheat for reasons I forget. I kept my cell phone an arm’s length away from my belly to avoid damaging my SuperBaby with electromagnetic waves. I did not own a microwave. I shopped at Whole Foods, bought all organic, sometimes racked up bills of $300 a week. I never let a kernel of GMO corn touch my estrogen-laden tongue. I spoke to my SuperBaby, welcoming it into my body so that it would feel loved and supported. I avoided finding out my SuperBaby’s sex so I wouldn’t project gender roles onto her/him/them. I slept on my left side because I’d read it was best for my baby’s and my circulation. In the last months, I never once reclined on a sofa because I’d heard the position could put a baby posterior. Instead, I always leaned forward, elbows propped on my spread knees like I was forever on the verge of imparting a proverb.Share
Lastly, I prepared meticulously for an unmedicated birth. In the final months of pregnancy, I ended each hip-aching day by popping earbuds into my ears, closing my eyes, and listening to Hypnobabies, a natural-birthing program that guided me through self-hypnosis.
My baby will be born healthy and at the perfect time, a woman’s voice uttered as I descended into a dreamy soup of electronica chords and affirmations. My body is made to give birth nice and easy. I look forward to giving birth with happiness. My baby is developing normally and is healthy and strong. The words were supposed to become lodged into my subconscious. I see my bubble of peace around me at all times now. I focus on all going right…
After thirty-six hours of labor, the last five of which can best be described as an apocalypse at the very base of me, I pushed my baby out and into the warm waters of a hospital tub. My midwife dangled a slippery, bloody thing above me. Without my glasses my SuperBaby looked like a bean-shaped blur.
“What a little peanut!” the midwife cried. And that was the kindest thing any medical professional would say about my newborn’s body.
Abruptly, her tone changed. “Cut the cord!” she barked.
“But we were going to wait until the cord stops…” my husband said. Cutting a cord prematurely could rob SuperBaby of vital nutrients and…
“Cut it now!” the midwife commanded.
My husband snipped, and the midwife whisked the bean-shaped blur away.
I moved to a bed and prepared to birth the placenta. A nurse sat beside me. I asked, “Is my baby okay?”
She said nothing. (Read more.)