When it’s all done, you are wearing enormous mesh underwear
and a huge maxipad that’s also an icepack. The emptiness shakes you
for a while, and the sleep-nonsleep of the hospital begins while you’re
still looped on whatever hormones got you through, whatever made you
think of your grandmother and wolves, whatever put you in a tunnel so
you were totally alone, apart from speech, your own voice and others’,
out of range of any soothing words or hypnotic suggestions or whatever
it was you were supposed to learn in weeks and weeks of classes that,
as it turns out, were total bullshit, completely insufficient. The good news,
the great surprise, is that you were sufficient. Now you are glad again
that your husband is here, that the chair reclines enough that he can drift beside you, pretend to sleep sitting up as carts clatter in the hallway outside your pretend door with no lock, as you pretend to sleep lying down on the pretend bed, amidst all the pretend comforts of this pretend room. There is, somewhere, your real baby, in your arms or in the plastic box. This is where
it all begins.