No one told me about the pain,
or maybe they did but without experience I couldn't listen.
It comes in waves that I cannot escape,
building to a point so intense I think I might,
no...I think I want to die.
For me, it never settles into a rhythm I can anticipate.
Sharp, excruciating, breathtaking pain.
The intermittent relief marred by the certainty of return.
I should walk or soak or rock or squat,
but screaming steals my energy.
The midwife urges me to breath, encourages me onward,
until finally I sense the end.
But I'm not done yet.
I must push, through the fear and the pain, I must push.
But this life inside me is already large with plans and dreams and destiny.
She can't come gently.
She rends her way out with a force that nearly ends me.
After her initial screams of protest at the shock,
when they lay her in my arms,
we gaze at one another
and wonder "now what?"