September 5, 2013
I dreamed I gave birth and labor wasn’t so bad. I laid there in a bed in a cabin at summer camp and they came and told me it was a girl. I got up and could walk around. I met Anna and I told her it’s a girl! I was sure it was going to be a girl! I was proud of my intuition. She didn’t really care about that though. I was a little disappointed, because this was actually a virgin birth and so there would be no dad around, and I realized then that I had kind of hoped Anna would help me bring up the baby, but now I knew she wasn’t into that at all.
So Anna and I went off and did stuff all day. I came back to camp in the evening and I had sort of forgotten about my kid, not forgotten but just kind of been like, eh, she’s fine. And then I got worried and felt guilty, I was meeting all these people who were like, congratulations! and I saw Mom and she was like, hey, where’s the baby? And I kind of laughed and I was like, I don’t know! Anna and I have been working all day! And then I was even more worried because I hadn’t fed her all day, and what about colostrum, that’s for people too right, not just cows and goats? when did the window close for giving your baby those vital nutrients in your milk? Why hadn’t I read the baby books, why didn’t I know? Why hadn’t I just stayed with the kid, or at least fed her before I left?
So I went to the nurse’s cabin and there were all these cute fat happy babies that I kept seeing in decreasing age order, and I knew mine was the youngest, so I kept looking past all these blond baby girls and then inside a little kinda bassinet baby-shelter thing there were the youngest babies and I rummaged around for the smallest baby, the smallest one must be mine. I found her and she had lots of black hair cut short like a little boy’s, and she had dark skin, like maybe someone from India would have. This confused me for a second, I guess I expected a pale baby, but then I thought, Well, I have no idea who the father is! This makes as much sense as anything!
She was emaciated skinny, with sad eyes. She was definitely the smallest but she looked older in her face, like an old man. like sometimes you see those heartbreaking pictures on TV of starving kids with old old faces. I felt even more guilty. Maybe I had completely screwed up this kid for life. So I pulled up my green t-shirt (I know exactly which shirt it was) and just as soon as I picked her up I gave her my nipple not to waste any more time. It felt very natural and proprietary, holding her, like “yep. this is my baby.” I was sad for the hours I’d already missed of her life. And she was hungry, she drank, thank god. She immediately shat the milk out into my tiny russian shoulder-strap purse (I know exactly which purse) and I was a little worried but mostly relieved. Like, oh good, the plumbing works! And her eyes looked brighter after that, although I kind of wished she would get fat and happy before my eyes. I thought, If I’m lucky I just have to be patient and keep feeding her and she’ll get fat and happy and stop looking old.