vindication

vindication.  validation.  good, long, strong “v words”.

anyone left following this blog would probably know that I went to an “alternative birth center” (ABC) for miles birth and had what I could describe as a lackluster experience.  this is about a year ago.  you can read the original blog post about that, if you have a couple hours (just kidding but it is a lengthy post), here.

since that time, I’ve meant to write  a letter.  a doula I was in contact with shortly after his birth told me it was part of the healing process and if I ever want to do birth work (a possibility I have hemmed and hawed over a bit) in the future, essential so as to not carry all of my own birth baggage with me to other peoples’ births.  makes sense.  healing aside, though, because let’s be honest, what happened happened and nothing no one says or does now can change the past, I also wanted to write a letter for vindication.

I wanted to make someone squirm.  just a little bit.  I wanted my words to make someone take pause, feel uncomfortable, and just a little less secure up in their high lofty place, whoever it was.  I wanted to do what I could to take hold of a support beam of the massive system known as the medical system of birth and I wanted to give it a good jostle.

so, it took me over 11 months, but I did finally write a  letter one sleepless night a couple of weeks back and e mailed it off, trying to get these things off my chest before miles first birthday.  because, if other people are like me, then the first birthday is a time of enormous introspection and a sort of reliving of the entire event.  I knew that I was in for many large negative feelings surrounding his birth to come back and haunt me and I wanted to do what I could to at least express myself in a formal letter of complaint so that I wouldn’t be totally overwhelmed and overcome with remorse and bitterness on his birthday.  but it was still a hard letter to sit down and write.  it’s sort of a re-opening of the original wound, isn’t it?  not only that, but you’re really opening yourself up to get hurt all over again.  to layer wrong upon wrong.  adding new dimensions of insult and injury.

a week went by and nothing.  no e mail back, no call, no letter in the mail of apology.  shoot, I thought.  what I was hoping was that the letter would simply get forwarded to the right people, they would send out my letter of apology, along with the rest in the inevitable stack, and I could be on my merry way to putting the entire experience (the negative part) behind me just in time for his first birthday.

I was just starting to look into where to mail a hard copy of the letter, to try again, when I got a phone call one day.  it was the head nurse.  she wanted to apologize.  but more than that.  she wants to meet with greg and i, hear our story and offer us an apology face to face.  she said the director of the ABC wants to meet with us too, that they are taking this very seriously, that they appreciate us coming forward with criticism.

well, jeez.  now I’ve got cold feet.  I mean, I’m so thrilled, not to mention more than a little surprised, that they are taking this so seriously and actually want to meet with us (could it be greg’s subtle threat of litigation?).  it’s really very validating.  yet I still have lurking fears that this is going to turn out badly somehow, that it’s just another part to the story that began a year ago that I’m going to have to relive for the rest of my life with regret and bitterness.  articulate and assertive in a letter (or a blog post) I can be.  but in person?  in real time face to face speech?  fumbling, submissive, inarticulate.  and later, often full of regret.

so, I am very excited (anxious, worried) about this meeting and despite my fears, I do have high hopes of taking my chisel and beginning a crack in the giant piece of solid marble that is the medical birth world.  on a small scale.  in my local sphere.

well, you know what they say.  the revolution will not be televised.

and suddenly it’s over

well, anyone following would know that I have a “thing” about childbirth. as in, not only am I mind body and soul obsessed with it, but I also have about a million and one hang-ups about it and so much deep seeded fear surrounding it. I’ve done a lot over the years to reverse this fear, but it takes a lot to change things that are that hard-wired into your brain. my point is that, because of this fear and obsession, last year starting about this time, every spare second, I was thinking about miles birth. for months, it consumed me so that by the time he was born, I was just weighted down mentally (not to mention physically) with anticipation. but that still didn’t stop me from, in the last few weeks and days before he was born, the knowledge that I was about to put it all behind me. his birth, I knew from experience, would be like a magic tonic that, from the moment it occurred, would lift me up out of my weary existence on earth as a nine month pregnant person and would take me to a different plain of existence, where I would live for the next few months before having to come back down again.

how can I explain it otherwise? it’s like an alternate parallel reality, the months after having a baby. there is an abrupt shift in everything from the moment of birth so that life takes on a sort of divine glow and everything that came before seems so distant and small and dark.

call it hormones or delirium or sleep deprivation. but I like to think of it as stepping into a totally different energy field, if you believe in such things, where you are able to feel and see things you normally can’t. it’s a magical time that only comes a few instances in a lifetime. you might know you are in it because your heart feels about three times its normal size and all squishy and tender. or you might know you’re in it because time seems to slow down for you and you can tell that your brain is seizing upon everything around you, trying to hold onto this experience, to make a memory.

or you might not know you’re in it until one day, you look around and the veil is lifted. your baby is maybe 6 or so months old and life is taking on that old familiar feel. your heart shrinks back down and hardens up a bit. life starts picking up the pace again. and you wonder: was it a dream? yes, it was. a dream on earth, a waking dream you inhabit while a baby is so small.

I’m so sad to be coming to the end of this time since miles was born. it has been so beautiful to be so open and vulnerable. the saddest part is that I probably won’t experience another post baby period in my life. this has been my last one. luckily, I will carry it around, tucked into some distant corner of my brain, ready to be brought back out, smoothed out and admired in quiet moments. my own quiet moments of my life.