Giving Birth for the Second Time
Labor doesn’t start, no water breaking, no contractions, nothing. Just pressing pain. The midwife comes over especially to strip you, you like that. She comes to your house, she feels around your vagina with her hand and she’s going to open something up in there. Her fingers find their way inside you, she knows exactly what to do, it seems like she literally ruptures a membrane. She tells you she’s not a gentle stripper, but she’s very effective! You’ve got blind faith in this woman, you’ve got blind faith in all midwives. Brave women, women’s women, connected to all the other women and their deliveries, carrying, labor and feeding.
You love the midwives, how they come to your house in the middle of the night and know exactly what to do.
It’s painful but at the same time it feels good. ‘This way the contractions will come soon’, she says. She’s right, they start. This time you’re not a hero, not a goddess, you’re afraid, you can’t take it anymore. You keep calling out ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’, you hold on to your man’s wrist and arm and you squeeze him tightly. You don’t know how to do this, you feel dependent and miserable. You whimper, you can’t do it, you don’t want to do it, you’re scared to death of all the pain that can be suffered. You don’t want to connect with your body, you want to leave it, you don’t want to surrender or immerse, you can’t have faith now, you can’t trust anything.
When the midwife comes back a while later and checks everything it turns out that you’re not dilating and the baby has got a very slow heart rate. You have to go to the hospital. You look at the deer on the mantelpiece and silently you plead with him ‘help me, don’t let me do this by myself, stay with me, please!’
Suddenly everything happens very quickly. Between two contractions you run down the three flights of stairs, outside two male paramedics are waiting with a gurney, the ambulance is parked one meter away. The paramedics are about to come up with the gurney and they look very surprised when you clamber onto it on hands and knees while mumbling something like ‘oh do I have to get on this?’. Upstairs in your house there was a moment when the midwife and your man, who are getting your stuff ready, wonder where the hell you’ve gone. With the sirens blaring the ambulance races to the hospital, you, moaning and groaning, on the gurney.
At the hospital. A team of doctors and residents surround you, the forceps at the ready, and fortunately, the midwife is there as well. A primal fear takes hold of you. She feels around your vagina with her hand. ‘Oh’, she says, ‘you’re fully dilated, you can push now.’ You focus all your attention on the midwife, you trust her, you look her straight in the eyes and read her mind. ‘Come on’, it says, ‘you can do it, come on, you’re a primal being remember, don’t forget, come on!’
The team of doctors clad in green with masks and forceps and plastic gloves are perplexed. For a moment they’re indecisive and just watch this scene involving a midwife and a woman in labor. This moment of indecisiveness is enough for you. Your body remembers your confidence, your primal knowing, your existential fury, your wild feminine power is back. ‘Goddammit you can do this by yourself, you know best!’ You roar, you use your hands to pull your knees up to your chest, spread-eagled, the whole circle of green men look straight into your vagina, you feel an enormous pride, an ancient force and you push and push. Your man lets his arm be squeezed again. The medical staff can cut in at any moment but then something miraculous happens. Your body pushes out the baby in a couple of minutes. The whole medical team is flabber- gasted, they’re not needed here anymore.
You know this baby as well. This little face, these eyes, the laugh and the dimple in his cheek. A powerful little boy. Everybody is amazed when they leave you and your husband alone for half an hour and upon the nurse’s return you’ve already showered and you’re lying in bed breastfeeding your baby. The nurse checks your baby. ‘The baby is a little cold’ she says, ‘it would be better for you to stay here for a while’. Existential fury rears its head again. You say you’re cold as well, it’s makes sense your baby is cold too, you say you’re going home with your baby to snuggle up under a duvet and he’ll be warm in no time. You say you want to go home. Now. She lets you go. The baby is doing more than okay.
Later, when the midwife visits she says: you were like a deer. When danger looms and the herd is fleeing they calve quickly, so they can immediately run away.
In the end, you make a fast and complete recovery again, you can do everything you always did, you brought two beautiful babies into this world and life is good. You do your exercises, you listen to your body as well as possible but something has changed. In your lower back remains a weakness and your libido has completely disappeared. You had an IUD inserted this time, soon after the birth and you assume your sex drive will return.
There are moments when you’re breastfeeding your one baby, the other one is lying in her cot and your man is penetrating you from behind. It feels okay, but it’s also a lot for your body. You feel a bit shitty towards your man but you really don’t know where to draw from. It’s just not there. Sometimes you do it and it’s always pretty good, your man is and will be a good lover, but the passion that used to be has gone. The weird thing is that during the following years the passion, the yearning, the deep sexual experiences barely return. A long time goes by and sometimes you wonder what the deal is and why it’s gone. Sometimes you long for it and at one point you don’t really know how to approach your man anymore and you’re glad he keeps approaching you, so you do have pretty satisfy- ing sex on a regular basis. Every time you do it you wonder why you don’t do it more often, but somehow the flow has been blocked. Deep penetration whereby the cervix is touched is still painful since you’ve had the IUD inserted, like something rock solid is ramming against it. It causes a deep, sharp pain so some cautiousness is warranted. So weird how you never thought to have it removed. Somehow you thought it was part of the deal. ‘We’ll make up for it’, your sweet man says time and time again...
It takes a good thirteen years before you seriously pick up your search for female forces (and with it the female sexuality). A lot of half-baked attempts, many signals and a lot of harbingers. It took that long for you finally take action. ×