eleven years ago.

it is hard for me to beleive
that it has been eleven years
since you inhabited my body.

not knowing if you were
boy or girl,
or two?

you were a week overdue.
when they told me that they
were going to induce me that
after supper,
i broke down crying
in my mom's restaurant...

they induced me
and contractions started
right away...
but that was all
that happened.

a student nurse came in at about 11:30 pm
to tell me that it
wasn't working...
i wasn't dilating.
she said they were going to give me
a needle to stop the contractions
that i had been having for 6 hours.

i was confused.
"and then what?"

"what do you mean?"

"well, and then what...
i will still be pregnant!"

"ohhhhhhh..." (little laugh of understanding)
"then we will try again tomorrow"




"NO. you take your little needle
and you go right back down to the nurse's station
cause i am having this baby TOnight."

"oh. you don't want the needle?"

"no. i don't want the needle."

and then, when it did start to happen,
when the dilating began,
and the drugs kicked in,
and breathing and the sweating
and the things i said to my mom
that i don't remember saying
and then,
just when its ready to happen,
you are on your way out,
quick! call the doctor...


and can't come to the hospital.

and tells the nurses to give me something
to S L O W
the contractions
until his pepto bismol
kicks in
and he can come deliver you.

eventually the doctor comes,
and you are now on your way,
really and truly,
but then i am pushing
but i'm so damn tired
and i have had so much oxygen
and you aren't coming the way you should
and then,
there you are.

but i don't see you.

they take you and bring you off to the side...
i push to get up, to see better, to hear
what they are saying,
i look at mom
and watch for her expressions
which i can read like a book
and will know if there is something wrong...
then i hear them page for the
and i know that something is wrong
so i ask the nurse
and she says
in a eerily cheerful voice
"she's just lazy"
which i understood
to mean
that i had
too many drugs
during labor
and they were affecting you...

the doctor comes into the hall
where they have left me
sewn together
and scared,
"have you seen your baby yet?"
"well, lets go"
and he wheels my bed
down to the nursery
where i see you
in an incubator,
bruised and swollen,

despite the strong indications
and possibilities
that you would have brain damage
due to the bruising
from the forceps
and the vacuum,
you thrive and you blossom
and you learn and you grow.
all tests come back negative
for any damage.

i can breathe again.

how can that have been
eleven years ago today?
how could that have been you?
how could that have been me?

i love you with a love
that is so all encompassing,
that sometimes
it scares me,
it winds me,
it steals my breath,
and breaks my heart
to ever think of you being sad or scared
or hurt or alone...
i want to protect you
from anyone and everyone,
i want to learn your hard lessons for you
and pass them back to you in a gentler way..

i know that i cannot do this.
so i need to accept that knowing that
you know
that i feel this way about you
will be enough,
will suffice.

my emma-wemma-bo-bemma...
emma jenkins, emma jayne,
my little onion head,
my little sweet old soul,
happy eleventh birthday.

just don't grow up too fast.