The Beginning of the World

I was born on the day the world was created. I grew up as an only child, the sun around which my single mother and doting grandparents orbited. I was never entirely sure I wanted a baby because having children would surely mean giving up my place as the center of the universe. So when my labor began on a Saturday in late October, the urgency and intensity of the pain felt like treason. One part of me was betraying the desires of the other.

The discomfort seeped in before dawn and rose with the daylight. The throbbing came and went, and then it came. A rope tightened around my abdomen and lower back. My organs had been taken over by a complex system of pulleys and ratchets. The bedroom walls we had painted in summer closed in on me with their ugly beige-ness. I gagged at the smell of cereal on my husband’s breath.

“I don’t want to do this,” I told Dave, shaking my head as a contraction gripped me. “You do it.”

When we bought our little foursquare house on a shady block in Minneapolis, I chose the paint colors and picked out which of the three bedrooms would be ours. The other two rooms became our separate offices. Dave got the smallest room, a tiny closet-sized space. “This could be the nursery someday,” a friend said when she saw his room filled with amps and stacks of guitar cases.

“I’m not sure if we’re going to have kids,” I said. I had been repeating this for several years. I was happy with Dave. I wasn’t convinced that a family needed a baby.

From OH, BABY! True Stories About Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love. 
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