Haul in the Turnip


Pee sticks. The only time, hopefully, taking a pee will change your life.

Well, my pregnancies were just terrible. There was something squirming through the hormones of pregnancy that infested my brain chemistry with a deep mental sickness. The result was so horrible but so nebulous I can’t describe it so I rarely try.

It’s the feeling you get when you’re alone in the house in what should be the familiar sanctity and comfort of your bed, and you hear a noise as your drifting off. A bad noise, that shouldn’t be. And your relaxing mind burns it’s clutch jumping gears, and your body goes fight or flight, there in your safe little bed. And everything turns dangerous and unreal. Like a fun house. Like a Terry Gilliam movie.  It’s like that. Without a break. For nine months. Both times.

lost about 40 pounds with each pregnancy. As I have made clear, I enjoy eating, and a weight loss like that is a staggering phenomenon for someone like me. But I was too scared and sick to eat; when your brain believes it may have to flee a tiger no one else can see at any second it’s hard to enjoy a trip to the potato bar. I sipped Ensure and downed yogurt drinks like tequila shots. My extra fat was likely a blessing to my growing babies during those times.

I learned a lot about fear from my pregnancies. A lot about thought control. A lot about being in charge of my own brain. But mostly about pain.

I’m afraid I never considered myself “carrying my unborn child.” I thought of myself as sick. A sickness that would end on a certain date and I just had to make it till then.

My son was a c-section and premature. He went straight to the NICU to be stabilized. And, this is awful, those first hours, as I lay recovering in my hospital bed… I didn’t really notice. I was just soaring with dingbat joy because I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I wasn’t in labor anymore; that serrated knife prying open the bones in my back again and again while the anesthesiologist became more and more flustered (it was her first day). My body was mine again. My brain would release me. All of it was OVER. I survived.

At some point I was asked if I’d like to see my son.

“Wassit? Oh! There was a baby. Yeah sure. Haul the little turnip on in.”

I know they all look like potatoes at first, but this
one was MY potato.

That cavalier attitude lasted until I had him in my arms. Then the OTHER chemicals kicked in, fired into my blood by the smell and tickle of his fuzzy crown and the touch of my lips against his unimaginably tiny, soft ones. The chemicals that make lab rats walk through electrocuted cages no matter the pain to get to their babies, even when they won’t make the same trip for food or water.

Then they took him away from me and stuck needles into him and attached him to tubes and I couldn’t hold him and I cried.

But that was a short time. Only a week. Of the babies in the NICU, he was one of the lucky ones.

He is two now, slow to talk but quick to laugh. We play “boop.” It’s where you poke each other’s tummies and say “boop!” and then laugh really hard.


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