Waiting

Waiting for labor to begin.

 

The hours of intake, paperwork, bloodwork, nurses and midwife and doctor in and out.

 

Questions asked, answers recorded, medications tallied.

 

My body readied:

veins pinched,

hand pierced,

saline lock inserted.

Cervix checked, measured, discussed.

Ripener placed.

Contractions monitored, green line spooled across a slowly ticking black screen.

 

I marked time with vitals:

the crinkle of the blood pressure cuff, the beep of the thermometer.

 

Faced with a whole night of this, seconds magnified to hours, minutes stretched long and dark and gaping.

 

Control—

my body,

my labor,

my baby, life, future

—taken from me.

 

Absolute defeat.

 

 

 

Now,

 

waiting

 

for a chance at new life

 

 

 

Still, the midwife tells me not to track

body temperature,

discharge,

changes in the cervix,

not to look for patterns where they can’t be found.

 

My only course of action taken from me,

another defeat.

 

Three cycles. She ticks off:

February

March

April.

Assuming February, optimistic that this will be the month I bleed. But I am still waiting.

 

Time opens its dark maw.

Months as years.

I mark its passing in the drops of milk I find on each nursing pad,

hoping for one less tomorrow,

hoping for blood in my underwear instead.

 

I hold on to April.

Clutched in this dark winter, I wait for spring.

 

© Burning Eye