Essay: One Sonday Afternoon

I distinctly remember Sunday, December 14th, 2008 being a cold and blustery day to those on the outside. Wading through mountains of snow and bitter winds, completely oblivious to the lives that were changing for those on the inside. On the inside, smiles provided the warmth and hot tears expressed happiness instead of sadness. I was certainly one of the many lucky ones whose life had been forever changed. Transformed. You could easily say I was reborn, if you believe in that sort of thing.

The day before that day I would always remember began like any other. It was a Saturday and there was a morning as usual, a noon naturally and a night that was more than unforgettable.

The day started out in a typical way. Simple really. Simply typical to be exact but with a slight overcast of five-day old agitation.

Sharp crackling sounds of bacon sizzling along with the inviting aroma of maple syrup tickling the tiny crevices of my nose had me chewing on imaginary scrambled eggs in my sleep. The breakfast wake up call my husband was preparing for me that morning was pleasantly perfect. The salty sweet feast he soon presented to me in bed had me both nostalgic for what was quickly coming to a very exhausting end as well as extremely mindful of what was quickly approaching us at any given moment.

My husband had been at my beck and call, upon his own choosing, for almost an entire year; give or take a month or three. During that time I expanded beyond my limitations in every way emotionally and even physically, unfortunately with some semi-unflattering results. I dwelled in a cocoon of contentment. This fantastical world of helping hands and perpetual kindness that strictly revolved around my growing needs and me was like a slice of heaven served with a side of fire and brimstone. Being waited on hand and sneakered feet was more sweet than my dentist would ever allow, and the growing discomfort was more hell than any sweet tooth would have eventually put me through. No foot massages or back rubs or saccharine-laced compliments would ever, well maybe not never, compel me to sublet my cocoon of contentment again.

The greasy goodness of breakfast soon bled into a lip-smacking lunch as the day dragged on painfully slow. Between the watchful eye of my husband, the hovering of my family and the vast nothingness airing on every single one of the 500 plus channels, courtesy of our wonderful satellite company, I was bored to near death. I had eaten. I had slept. I had eaten some more and slept again. I paced holes the size of craters in our beige carpeted floor. I walked up and down our stairs so many times causing the wooden railing to loosen with each grip. The refrigerator door now creaked from the numerous times I opened and closed it, and I guarantee that little light stayed on once the door finally closed.

The lip-smacking lunch shortly bled into a doubly delicious; meaning double the burgers, double the fries and double the shake of the milk just for me, dinner that I barely got a chance to taste. The day that once began typically simple like any other precipitated my unforgettable night that nearly drowned me in a sea of my own making, literally. That five-day old agitation that once foreshadowed a typically simple day was swiftly turning into a fresh batch of nervousness by the second. Erupting with an ebb and flow of mini tsunamis ten minutes apart…seven minutes apart…three minutes apart…it was time.

IT WAS TIME! I calmly stated to a napping husband who, in a state of confusion, looked like a dog chasing his tail around. His tail soon caught up with the rest of his body and he was in full-fledged father-to-be mode. The trek from our house to the hospital was met with various speed bumps. Stopping for gas led to cleaning the windows which then led to putting air in the back left tire, and that probably would have led to changing the oil if I hadn’t stopped him. My husband’s excuse was making sure everything was in tip-top shape. I accepted that and secretly chalked it up to manly nervousness.

Once we reached the hospital it became the waiting game. A game that I didn’t particularly enjoy playing, not only because it didn’t involve dice or fake money, but mainly because my patience was rapidly thinning. I waited though, for nearly 16 plus hours wide awake as my husband slept loudly beside me.

As Saturday officially turned into Sunday, our bundle of joy whom had overstayed his welcome by five days was ready to move out; amniotic sac, placenta, umbilical cord and all. A going away or welcome home party was getting underway to mark this occasion and only five people were invited.

My husband found a kindred soul or Sunday football fanatic to put it more accurately, in my very female doctor. Their concentration was equally divided between the Green Bay Vikings and the Minnesota Packers. Or was it the Cleveland Steelers and the Pittsburg Browns? I couldn’t really say for sure. My brain was temporarily disconnected from reality along with every single nerve ending in my five foot three body, courtesy of the hospital’s wonderful anesthesiologist; I was more flexible than a Cirque de Soleil performer.

I was soon persuasively encouraged to push during commercials and reserve my energy during football plays. Labor is a long, laborious sport in a way very akin to football. There is blood. There is sweat. There are tears. There is teamwork. There is even the possibility of bodily harm. The position I was contorted in vaguely resembled the football goal post, as my doctor became the quarterback, my nurse was the defense, my husband was the offense, and my mother acted as coach while I declared myself the referee.

Once the nurse placed our son Alexander in my arms for the first time, my husband looked at me and I looked at him. We communicated silently with one another using heavy eye contact and warm smiles. Tears of happiness sprang forth from my eyes. Trailing a path of past decisions from the corner of my left and a path of present realizations from the corner of my right. Intersecting one another at the underside of my chin to form a single path of future expectations. Trickling down unto my one true accomplishment that occurred on a Sunday afternoon on December 14th in 2008 after a typically simple day followed by an unforgettable night.

© Patrice Washington

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