Sunday, March 6, 2011

Part II

Here is the intro to part two of my memoir, which is now in the editing stage and will be shopped again among agents.

My mother couldn’t have children, or so I was told. According to my Aunt Catherine, my two older sisters came from the Church. That put an odd picture in my mind of babies available in the back, on the way out, after Mass. My mother told me she once thought she had a tumor, but the doctor told her she was pregnant. That was my brother Danny. She had a Cesarean – one for him and then, less than two years later, one for me.

When I was pregnant in 1977, I went to natural childbirth classes where I learned to breathe as I had never breathed before. I didn’t finish the series, not pregnant anyway, but I did attend the last class in a wheelchair – my son Matthew upstairs in the hospital nursery.

I had an emergency Cesarean to treat preeclampsia and bring down my extraordinarily high blood pressure. My doctor told me “We are going to terminate your pregnancy.” I thought it was cruel they let me see a bassinet in the operating room. They were terminating the pregnancy; there would be no baby for me.

“Helen, Helen. Wake up! Matthew’s here.”

Someone was yelling at me. I was being shaken violently and pulled away from being with my mother. (My husband would later tell me no one touched me. The nurse was talking to me, but not yelling.) I wanted to stay with my own mother, but I also felt a new responsibility.

“Matthew? He’s here?”

I held my baby, looked at my husband, and just lay there totally confused. The Little Girl Who Went Without had become a Mother.

Within five years I had two more Cesareans and two more children. Matthew, Luke, and Brigid – my trifecta.

My three reasons for being, for staying on Earth.

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