They had been waiting outside my bedroom door for hours.
Turn the lights down now.
Time to get out of the water.
One step, two steps, stop.
My abdomen squeezed any effort to walk like the wringing of a dish towel. I could only breath as I dripped naked onto the carpet.
Pain was now my guide. The midwives were simple voices blurred in the background like the candle's soft haze breaking the darkness of my room.
In this garden a little seed was planted and in this garden I would bare that fruit. Sweat dripped down my forehead and I trembled as I inched towards the toilet. I was alone. Suddenly it ripped me apart. The ability to focus was lost in a wave of complete agony. I longed to scream or cry or throw up, but even my voice was gagged in the grip of this contraction it's teeth burrowing into the secret place I reserved my will and resolve to finish this. I am in jeopardy of loosing it as I ball my fist up to punch a hole in the wall. There is no spare energy for gluttonous so I close my eyes and try to regain my ground. .
My eyes find their way back to the front of my head. It didn't get me. I held the monster off one more time. I move back to my room before the next wave overtakes my senses. There my grandmother, mother and sisters wait for me. I can see their dark shadows, outlines of the three generations expecting a miracle.
I find my bed. The voices say to push. I doubt them but do as they say.
She is stuck. The heartbeat is going down. I just want her out. I hear whispers and prayers. The baby isn't coming out. Clarity is immediately discovered in the anxious eyes of my midwife as she leans over me yelling directions. I have to do this right now. I bare down. I push I groan and push and into the world a purple head appears. Two more pushes and she is out...nine and half pounds.
Yes I did it! She is placed in my waiting arms, cheers erupt from the dark outlines. Now I can wrap up everything "they" said and throw it away with the bloody labor. I did it and "they" and all "their" stories were wrong about me and about my choice to homebirth. I finished alive with my baby completely unmedicated. My body is stretched and deep inside I find the woman I knew I was. I did something amazing that a lot of women would never dare to do in our Western culture. I won. I am the epitome of woman holding my breastfeeding baby. My son comes in to see his new sister, everyone leaves my husband and I to hold our growing family tight. He is looking at me different, and I see the world differently too. I can probably do anything if I could do that, I think to myself. Pride, wells up in me, I don't try to tame it when my friends tell me I am the "wo man!" I have to agree, I am the woman.