Last night I had a series of odd dreams about giving birth beginning with one in which I was in the hospital in labor. The labor went well, quickly and relatively easily (this, I suspect, reflects my current feeling about giving birth — of all the things I fear about parenthood, labor is the least frightening). After the baby was out, though, everything went wrong. The doctor told me I had extra “tissue” inside of me that they needed to check out. I was rushed out of delivery to a recovery room where a nurse was setting up an ultrasound machine to examine me with. She set up that machine forever and everytime she tried to use it, it did not work. This didn’t seem to bother her. She dilly-dallied and joked and wasted time. Meanwhile I wanted to know where my baby was and no-one would tell me.
During all this I was alone with the nurses. My parents, I knew, were somewhere in town for the baby’s birth, but where I did not know. Jay, it seems, had dropped me off at the hospital and gone off to do something else while I delivered. Now that I was stuck with nurse-obnoxiously-slow, Jay called me and wanted to know how big the baby was. I couldn’t tell him. No-one had told me and I hadn’t seen the baby yet. I asked the nurse what the baby weighed. She told me I would have to look at the official paperwork — only I didn’t have it or know where to find it. I was beginning to realize that I also didn’t have my baby or know where to find her and the nurse was obviously not going to be helpful.
I don’t remember searching for the baby, but I must have because in the next part of my dream I was returning to my room only to find it occupied by a roommate, her baby, and about thirty of her closest family and friends, three of whom were sitting on my bed. Though they noticed me come in, no-one would get up and give me a place to sit. I felt so helpless and tired and alone and all I wanted was my baby . . .
The rest of the night I spent dreaming various dreams in all of which the baby was missing and all I wanted to do was find her. “Where is my baby?”
Sounds upsetting, no? Strangely, no. I must admit to a few moments of anxiety during my frequent nighttime bathroom breaks . . . but in the morning, with the memory of these dreams vivid and sharp, I woke with a feeling of absolute joy and hope and delight, a feeling of utter abandonment into overwhelming, breathtaking, passionate love for this little creature wiggling and kicking around inside of me. My baby. My little flesh-and-blood reality tucked safely beneath my ribs. The delightfulness of my delight was beyond words. Where before I had felt fear and doubt, even an occasional desperate wish that I could rip this child from my womb and be done with it all, I now feel every bright hope of my life being fulfilled. I have fallen in love . . . and I did it wandering through the mocking, empty halls of a dream.