There have been so many memes of all the things that went wrong in 2020. Daniel and I joked that being stressed out was normal for us. A pandemic? Wildfires? Murder hornets? We got this. After all, we’d been through a lot in the previous years. Working from home? Been doing that since 2018. Working from home while parenting from home, too? Yep, did that, too. Lost jobs? Twice in 2019. Hoping to avoid hospitals? All the time.
Anyone who has ever been pregnant with their first child probably knows what it’s like to dream about how it will be. Capturing all the special milestones: first steps, first words, first birthdays. Of course, the sleepless nights and endless diapers. But that’s expected, right? How about first surgeries? Second surgeries? Missed milestones? That’s never part of the dream.
It’s National Michelada Day, and you want a really great michelada, but you also want good (aka authentic) Mexican food. However, you’re in Durham, North Carolina, which makes it a little bit of a challenge. After growing up in Los Angeles and Mexico, then spending eighteen of your adult years in Austin, and one year in San Antonio, you kind of took these things for granted. It’s possible one of the bona fide taquerias will have a michelada, except these places rarely have a website. It’s a gamble.
There’s a hip taco place in Durham, which actually happens to have really tasty lengua tacos just the way you like them. Moist, tender, flavorful, and falling apart. And you think, if they can get lengua right, surely, they have a michelada? They just rebranded their website. They have mojitos, margaritas, and milkshakes, but there’s no sign of a michelada on the menu.
“C-section babies are born with perfect heads,” my boss at the time would say. She knew I’d been dreading a C-section and would say this to reassure me.
When Lucia was six weeks old and finally breastfeeding, I began to notice that when she’d lay on her left side, she looked like a normal baby with a flawlessly shaped head, a proportionally placed eye and ear, and a well-rounded cheek. But when she’d lay on her right side, the left side of her head looked a little off: a slanted forehead, a slightly twisted ear, her cheekbone flatter and the area around the eye stretched out.
Mind flipping through memories like thumbing through a card catalog at the library, back to the days after Lucia was born. Red marks on her forehead. “Why where there red marks on Lucia’s forehead?” I’d asked the obstetrician. Forceps. I clearly remember he said something about forceps.
The summer Lucia was born, it seemed a lot of women I knew were having babies. Pictures going up on Facebook and Instagram, round babies with perfect heads, mothers with bright, sparkling faces. We’re happy to announce the arrival of our baby girl or boy, can’t wait to head home to our color coordinated nursery with prancing elephants and magical butterflies. And oh the breast milk! Breasts overflowing with milk for baby!
The bright fluorescent lights and cold air sliced through the operating room. No soft lighting from the lamp on the nightstand. No gentle breeze from bedroom ceiling fan. No walks in the backyard under the giant oak tree through hours of labor. An emergency C-section. She wasn’t supposed to be born this way.