Day 806. Giving birth in the style of butterfly stroke (Bendegúz)
The yellow rose had opened. That Tuesday was passing quietly. Attila didn’t wake up until late in the morning. I got on well with my things: I had tided and cleaned the flat and as a rest I was doing the ironing.
I had asked the joiner not to work that day, it was so good to be alone, I needed the intimate silence. Attila was unusually silent too, and the older ones were at day care on Tuesdays. I asked Csabi to come home earlier, I hadn’t had any contractions since the one in the morning, but I wanted him to go to the butcher’s as I was going to cook broth. The kids had been longing for breaded fried meat for weeks, so it was the superb occasion. By dinnertime I was ready with it, so everybody went to bed contentedly.
It was only me who couldn’t rest because of the curtain. Last time, when I was cleaning the windows many of the fixing pins broke so now the beautiful curtain that I had received from my godmother was hanging untidily. I asked Csabi to take it off, because I had to fix it, and to my biggest surprise he took my request seriously right at once, and took it off, though I know he wanted me to choose sleeping instead. It was great that I didn’t have to convince him and explain him that it is impossible to give birth with a curtain like that.
It was nine o’clock. I sat down on the couch having the curtain in my hands, Attila by my side, Csabi sat down there too and I started to work on the two or three meters wide curtain. I didn’t want to hear the noise of the sewing machine. My abdomen had been tense all day without any pain and now pleasant contractions started. Csabi checked: they were about ten minutes apart. I sent a text to the invited ones about the changes and went on sawing. I spent the next hour working peacefully. After 10-12-10-15-10… minutes time and the needle in my hand stopped. It was after eleven o’clock when the curtain got back to its place! With the help of Csabi I had created a masterpiece. I was perfectly delighted by its sight!
We went to bed. Csabi took me in his arms hugging me, and we dozed for half an hour. It was so good that I felt I could sleep during these seemingly predictive contractions, but what if the next wave hit suddenly and my helpers would be late? I became restless; I didn’t dare to sleep, though I should have slept. I didn’t hesitate; I called Zsófi, and then Ági immediately after that to ask if they felt like sleeping at our place. I wanted to have them around so that they didn’t have to hurry if the labour started. They left for us right once, at midnight. I got relaxed, went back to bed and I thought I would have a good sleep, and Csabi could let them in when he saw I was busy resting.
In this unlimitedly airy, weightless state I heard a pop and water started to run from me slowly and quietly. “Csabi, could you peep into under the blanket, please, if the water is clear?” – I asked him peacefully, not moving. “It is nice and clear” – he said – “What shall we do now?”
He was about to leave for Zsófi. I asked him to cover me back and let him leave. I had the chance to get to know the scent and the consistence of the water at my previous birth, so it was good to have a bath in it. I didn’t have to worry about the bed, because I was lying on a rubber sheet freshly laid.
The idyllic scene was interrupted by a ferociously strong contraction, which made me get out of bed as quickly as if I had been attacked. My previously warm and wet nightdress became cold soon. I took it off and tucked it under myself. I sent a message that the water was clear and the next wave hit. It hurt me badly. Either I was a bit oversensitive or they were heavier than I had expected, but to have them until dawn would be extremely tiring.
And the top of all that, I hadn’t had a good sleep, I was a bit anaemic – and I was about to start feeling self-sorrow when the next wave overwhelmed me again. I realised that there were such elemental forces surrounding and inside me that I could do nothing else but staying with the current. I was standing in a fast mountain creek that was taking me ahead. I didn’t even try to get to the bank to get out. I felt the waves would wash me off my feet, if I changed direction I would fell over and hit myself on the stony bed. For a current it doesn’t matter if it takes me from stone to stone or if I cooperated with it we could go on together – it wouldn’t spare me.
There was no dry spot on my nightdress; it had been soaked by the delicate fluid. I stood up to change it for a towel, and as I was in the bathroom I decided to use the toilet because I hadn’t all day long. I can’t remember if I could sit on the toilet or not, I can only remember returning to the bed with two towels in my hands. One was our most beautiful one – worthy of the special day, the other had been inherited from my grandmother – I tucked it between my legs.
The door opened and Csabi and Zsófi arrived. He asked if I wanted to stay where I was. I said no. I asked for my delivery-armchair to be placed in front of the tile stove. The arms of that have experienced a lot of strain. Bent by a contraction I was escorted to the living room and no sooner had I sunk into the royal chair than I started to give orders: “This arm is wet!” – I hoped they would dry it, but they didn’t. “You’re sweating.” “ I don’t sweat.” “No, you don’t, only when you are in labour. It happened like this the last time, too. “
So the two little streams tickled my side down from my armpits to my hip and there was a little pond under my other hand as well – I yielded to it. I felt indignant about the strength of the contractions, I might have wailed or whined, I can’t remember. “Take this lump from here, it looks so untidy” – said I pointing at some children’s books on the seat of the stove. Csabi obviously enjoyed the situation, moved with a smile on his face to do as I had asked. “Thank you.” “Light all the candles. Start with that one, the sanctuary lamp over the Holy Mother.” I could see the light of that, and some time later when I looked out again there were some more tiny lights.
“I need to poop.” “That’s good, it brings the baby too” – Zsófi encouraged me when she saw that I thought I was still in the labour phase.
After some time I looked out again. I could see Zsófi in front of me wearing beautiful nice clothes. I was glad that she was so beautiful. As I was admiring her she made a vague movement, she made a step to the right, and to the left. She couldn’t make a poultice for me. I had a hot water bottle on my lap, I had planned to buy the clary the following day.
“Zsófi, aren’t you afraid?” – I asked her. Looking into her eyes I realised that my question might have been a bit embarrassing, so I didn’t wait for her reply, I sank. It didn’t matter. Inside me there was quietude and surrender, the answer couldn’t have any effect on me.
“Don’t massage me, only hold me” – I told to Csabi. Soon his hands started to move downwards on my shoulder. I warned him again. I needed a standstill. During the next wave of contraction Csabi looked down at my abdomen. “Your belly is so beautiful and globular.” – he uttered the words rejoicing. It was so moving for me that the praising words kept spouting from me. I can’t cite them, something like this: “Oh, my sweet darling, you are so beautiful. Every little bit of yours is perfect! I love all your moves…” I tried to look down at my belly but I could only envision it. The muscles in my neck didn’t let me do it, but my eyes wouldn’t open either. It didn’t matter, I could see it inside.
“Would you like some water?” “Yes, please.” Csabi made me drink without a straw. He was doing it so well as if he was drinking himself. “You’re doing all right, Réka, good girl, getting ahead.” – Zsófi said. How pleasant can be every nice word. I was grateful for them, they gave me strength.
“Now I am pooping. Get me out of the chair. Ouch, don’t. OK, now!” I was lifted out, went down on my knees, I put my elbows on the seat of the stove on a pillow. There were soft pillows under my knees, too. It was good.
“What time is it?” “About quarter to one.” “Exactly!” “Twenty five to one.” I felt 10 minutes to be long. I thought I couldn’t wait that long for Ági. I felt my perineum to be very tense, my heart to be peaceful, and with my hand I touched the baby’s head, I said he was coming. Seeing that my perineum was cambering Zsófi rushed for some cold water, because she found the prepared water too hot. Csabi had been waiting for a doo-doo, now got ready for the baby, but called out for Zsófi so that she could be there to greet our baby.
So he arrived. The scenting, oily touch on the perineum had the message that everything went smoothly, the baby would be welcomed to a warm, soft, smooth world. Ági was present in the scent of hypericum, as she had made it. I felt the baby was physically close. The little head was out, and came further and my little baby spoke to me on a delicate, soft voice. I felt I should have done something, he was asking so nicely. “Shall I press?” – I asked between two waves of contractions. “Yes” – I heard Zsófi’s blurred voice. “Csabi, caress her nipple!” – she said excitedly.
I pressed without a contraction and experienced flabbergasted that human strength itself was too little. Soon the heavenly help arrived in the form of a contraction and our small baby was born. He cried out on his kind voice, Zsófi sucked, and gave him to me. I took him under my leg, we were helped back to the chair, tucked up and we were hugging each other shivering.
“Csabi, call Ági and tell her he has been born. She is the last number in my mobile.” Csabi phoned her, but at the same time could see her driving to the house. Ági came to us, smiled at me kindly, and I could see pleasure mixed with disappointment in her eyes. I was overwhelmingly happy. I looked at my new-born baby then at Ági and I was calm and I felt secure with her. The pleasant discussion was like the delivery: sometimes I was part of it, sometimes I was admiring my baby apprehending nothing of the outside world.
After the observing time we said goodbye to Ági, we left our baby to Zsófi as long as we went to the bedroom. I felt so fit that I left alone. Csabi warned me to take his hand and we laughed. We woke up the siblings one by one, then my brother too and they cherished this little, fragile creature again and again and then we went to bed.
I couldn’t sleep, we were making friends in the semidarkness. It was a strange delivery different from the others. Last time it was like submerging into the ancient ocean, I ceased to apprehend the outside world, and let the outer control to you. We were washed by the waves closer and closer to the beach and finally we arrived and landed in your protecting arms.
This time I was swimming in the butterfly stroke downstream. One stroke underwater, then breathing on the surface, then I sank again: in and out in full harmony with the current until in a bend where the silt settles we landed on a soft sandy bank.
Bendegúz, our fourth son was born on the fourth day of week forty, in the fortieth minute of a labour full of contractions. Thank you for being with us.
B. R. M.
Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.
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