The latest book for the From Left to Write book group is Following Polly by Karen Bergreen. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at an informal get together during BlogHer and was excited to read her book. Now, I have to admit that it took me some time to get into things. Not only could I not identify with the main character, but I didn’t particularly like her. That said, I was fully committed to finding out how things would turn out, and I’m glad that I stuck with it. Overall, it was an enjoyable read. But, the goal of From Left to Write isn’t to review a book, but to talk about how this book relates to my life. Uhm… uhm… And then it struck me. There was one moment in the story that really spoke to me and that I could fully relate to. One Perfect Moment.
[There’s a bit of a spoiler about to happen… I’m not giving away anything of the mystery or even a plot point that will come as a big surprise, but it’s still a spoiler. Read on at your own risk.]
Alice Teakle developed a serious crush in college. It was a crush on a guy who barely knew she existed and that continued to the present day. A crush on a guy she called Charlie. So, after some seriously palpable sexual tension between the two of them throughout a large portion of the story, she enters his room one night to ask him for help, and he kisses her. And she thinks, “I can’t believe this. My lifelong dream is happening as I am on the precipice of prison.”
Now, I could certainly talk about first kisses and crushes and all that, but I’m not going to go there. Instead, I started to think about those perfect moments that happen at the wrong time. When the thing you’ve hoped and dreamed for comes true but, for whatever reason, you’re not quite ready to fully embrace them.
I talked about my pregnancy with Bug for my last book club blog post, so I feel a bit bad about doing it again, but it works. As you may remember, it wasn’t the best of pregnancies. We didn’t know if he’d make it for the first couple of months and that stuck with me for the rest of the pregnancy as well. I am still a bit jealous of women who don’t give a second thought to the health of their babies or pregnancies. Women who just KNOW that everything will be OK.
About 11 days before Bug was due, my water broke at about 7pm. They had me come into the hospital that evening to monitor me, even though I wasn’t having any contractions. Guess what? Leaking amniotic fluid is a sure way to keep someone awake! At about 2am, I asked them to induce me because I was already exhausted and I didn’t seem to be progressing. They started me on pitocin, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t actually want me to go into labor overnight. They must have given me a dose fit for a pregnant mouse, because nothing happened. At about 7am the next day when they upped the dosage. I had been awake most of the night at that point. Contractions started slowly and were easily manageable for the day until mid-afternoon when they started to get more intense. I opted for the epidural, although they weren’t THAT bad yet, and things started moving along. When it came time to push, I couldn’t feel a thing below my waist (including my legs), but they told me I was doing great and to expect the baby within the half and hour. I pushed. And I pushed. And I didn’t want to complain, but I was getting really, really tired. And my epidural was wearing off. Finally, I asked if the half hour had passed. It had. I had been pushing full tilt for an hour and a half and I just wasn’t sure I had it in me for more. In the end, they used a vacuum to pull Bug out, in what was a very dramatic hospital scene. (On an aside, I’m glad I made that decision when I did, as it turned out that the cord was wrapped around his neck).
So, after months of worrying, hoping, encouraging, bonding and fiercely loving this little guy, you might think that when they handed the baby to me, I’d have cried tears of joy. Not so much. I looked at him for a moment and said something along the lines of, “He’s cute and all, but can someone please get me a Coke?”
My lack of immediate maternal instinct didn’t ruin our relationship (and in my defense, I hadn’t eaten in about 18 hours and had a pretty significant infection/fever), but it’s one of those moments I look back on and marvel over. When LadyBug was born, despite some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, I remember being ready to give her my love and attention right away. It’s just one of those things. Do you have a perfect moment that didn’t end up quite as perfect as you anticipated?
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book due to my membership in the From Left to Write book club. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are my own.