Courage in Motherhood: A Collection of Short Stories
By: Melissa Harper | Date: December 29 2019
Past Melted Away
By Lorren Lemmons
The delivery room was a mirror image of the one I’d labored in with my first son— the same setting, only reversed. I paced around the bed on my short fetal monitor tether, and tried to avoid memories of the first time I’d stayed in the labor and delivery unit. Soon enough I was thrust into the present, yanked over cresting waves of pain. I’d settle in a trough for a moment, only to careen back into commotion.
Preparing for these hours had been my sole project for months. I read Ina May Gaskin. Birthing affirmations sounded in my ears when I drifted to sleep. Twenty times a day, I squatted deeply, beach ball belly wedged between my knees.
My doctor recommended I have another C-section. “It’s safe for you to try a vaginal birth,” she told me, “but chances are it will end up just like last time.”
Just like last time. Those words haunted me because last time had been unbearable. Last time, I couldn’t look at pictures until my baby was six months old because they jolted me into flashbacks of panic and pain and fear.
Another C-section was supposed to be easier. “It’s different when it’s scheduled,” friends told me. “The recovery is less painful when it isn’t an emergency.” But to me, returning to the operating room was conceding defeat. I needed a different experience to heal from the trauma of my first birth and meet my new baby in a safe place.
I didn’t really believe he would come until I saw the doctors unwrapping instruments and pulling on sterile gloves. I’d been stuck in the present, and suddenly I glimpsed the future. The bitterness of the past melted away. I don’t remember his cry, only his warm weight on my chest, and relief.
Lorren Lemmons is a mama to two blue-eyed boys, a military wife, a nurse, a bibliophile, and a writer. She recently moved to Washington state with her family. She blogs about books, motherhood, and her undying love for Trader Joe’s at When Life Gives You Lemmons. Her work has been featured on Parent.co, Tribe, Upwrite Magazine, Literary Mama, and the Good Mother Project.