Happy Birthday Shower

I forgot that I couldn’t walk.

I’d been on high doses of magnesium for thirty-six hours and gone through a round of beta shots (steroid treatment) to reduce the risk of infection and disease to Briggs’s under-developed lungs.

My cesarean was bumped to 11:15 that morning.

A nurse dashed to my bed when she caught me attempting to crawl out.

“Wait!  Wait!,” she (lovingly) yelled. “I”ll help you, I’ll help you.  Please, please stop.”

My head was spinning – worse than any hangover – ever.  And I was scared.  I’d been nervous about delivery since I’d gotten pregnant, but now that this delivery was happening two months prior to my due date, I was petrified.  And the magnesium made it worse giving me the spins, double vision, and the loss of simple functions…like the ability to recall my husband’s name.

“I feel so bad,” I confessed to the nurse.  “I can’t have my baby this way.  I can’t have him be born to a mom that stinks with oily hair.  I need a shower.  Please, I need a shower.”

Now I was crying.  My Mom and two of my sisters arrived and they helped calm me down and assure me that the nurse would come right back with a wheelchair.

And then she did.

My family helped her negotiate my very awkward and weakened body from the bed to the chair.  Turns out the nurse was right, I really did have no control of my legs.

I can’t remember the nurse’s name.  But I do remember her red hair, and well-kept nails, and kindness.

I didn’t put it together until we were in the handicap shower and she was taking off my hospital gown that she would be doing all of the actual work.  That she would have to move me from this chair to the shower chair, that she would be the one to run the soapy cloth over my arms and legs, that she would be the one to shampoo my hair.  And that she’d have to manage all of these tasks without actually getting soaked herself.

I started to cry again.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I couldn’t do this.  I just wanted a fresh start.  It’s just.  It’s just really hard and I just really wanted a fresh start.”

She reminded me that the shower is a good place to get out a good cry.  And that she didn’t mind.  And that I deserved to feel good.

Then she dried me off, got me into a fresh grown, put my hands in hers and with pure joy whispered, “you’re having a baby.”

I smiled back, “I am.  Today, I’m having Briggs.”

I can’t remember her name, but every year since, on this day, my shower feels a little more important and her love and generosity fill me completely.

Happy Birthday, Briggs.




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