Here is what happened. We were watching There's Something About Mary on TV. Contractions had started, mild, far apart, irregular. I couldn't read, couldn't concentrate. I knew it was starting to happen. The baby would be coming soon. The Matt Dillon character, trying to impress Cameron Diaz's character, tells her how involved he is in working with "retards." I cringe, as I am supposed to. I am supposed to think this guy is a jerk. I feel funnier than usual, though, because I am going to have a baby.
Fast forward to a bright sunny room, Segovia playing Bach streaming around, pain and pushing and more pain and pushing pushing pushing "Poosh the baby out," says Anna, the Swedish-Czech midwife who had also been there for our first. The baby comes out. She is on my chest. She is a dark purplish color. I make the midwife and nurse take her to get the color better. They make her pink and give her back to me. I see her face, I feel the roundness and chubbiness of her body. I see her eyes. "Does she have Down syndrome?" I ask. "I think yes," says Anna, too quickly, the wrong answer entirely, so wrong it feels like a slap.
There is a black and white photograph that I believe was taken right at that moment; I am holding the baby, a sheet partially covering my body, and the expression on my face has nothing to do with the pain of childbirth. This is a new sort of anguish, the crashing of worlds, the death of all kinds of particular visions, the beginning of a raw opening into whatever will be the future.
Sometimes we have to go back to those moments, to that point where everything changed forever. Even though it is the last place we want to go, or think our readers (if indeed we have them) want to go. So blogging it? Why not? A good place to start. I am inspired in this by Paul Guest's post , which I read yesterday and cannot get out of my mind. Sometime you just gotta write it. Memoir is life and writing is living. Wherever it happens.