I remember I was lying on a hard bed in the surgery room of the maternity ward. A male nurse put a mask on my face and asked me to count backwards from ten. I blacked out at nine. Then, I remember someone shouting out at me and me not being able to respond. I could hear my own voice but soon realized that my lips weren’t moving even though I was speaking. A huge palm of a hand landed on my face, but I didn’t feel anything. My head turned to the other side though because my blurred view changed. Slowly I came to.
My first words: “How is she? Is she ok? Is everything ok?” A nurse was holding and stroking my hand, telling me in a soft soothing voice that everything was ok. My head was throbbing. Such pain, I had never experienced. I told the nurse and she checked my blood pressure, which was very high. Suddenly, five or six people where all over me, fixing my tubes and the medications issued. The headache slowly subsided. “I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I want to see her first. Make sure that she’s ok.” Tears running down my cheeks and sobs coming out my whole existence. Panic. Sheer terror. “I DON’T WANT TO DIE BEFORE I SEE HER!!!!” The nurses were trying to calm me down – apparently used to this kind of reaction – and finally I gave in. All I had to do was wait in that horrible monitoring room until they made sure I was all right and then they would take me to my room.
Her smell was the first thing I noticed as they brought her in. I don’t know how that’s possible but that’s how it was. Her smell. That delicious, familiar smell. Then, this small, red creature in my arms. A part of me, being inside me for nine months, now in my arms. My tears wouldn’t stop. If I were a cartoon there would definitely be a lake on the floor and me in a boat. Although she was so tiny, she was the BIGGEST thing I had ever witnessed. I felt so relieved that I made it. I was now holding her. Now I couldn’t die. I had a cause: to take good care of her; nurture her; bring her up; die FOR her if necessary. I was no longer the leading lady of my life. SHE was and I was deliriously happy about it. “Unconditional love”. This is what I felt at that moment. I realized its meaning. Giving your life for somebody else’s didn’t sound so fictional anymore. Motherhood. Now I knew.