I am Lord Nelson.

..’.and Lord Nelson said: ‘Well, Hardy, how goes the battle? How goes the day with us?’…’

Commas. I love them.

And also, I am winning a long-raging battle between my emotional self, Rowan and my physical self. When I signed on for Baby, I knew I wanted to commit to excellence in a non-threatening sense, and throw myself fully into motherhood. Here was the burning of motivation I had yet to feel once in all of my life; the short, combustive burst being her first ultrasound. Catharsis, here I come.

Because pregnancy was a long, soul-draining war for me. And why should it be, I would ask myself, all the way over here in my developed country with my worries about extra weight and PS3 games. Women all over the planet are working and moving and talking and living just fine, all while knocked up. I got hyperemesis for the whole damn duration of it and all food was torture. I hated everyone and everything around me, I couldn’t sleep, I peed every thirty minutes, I over-analyzed, I over-researched, I passed out, I threw up ten times a day (two on a good day), I worried, I fretted, I was vexed, I was lonely, I was tired, I was in Abundant Worry Free Time remission. Then, I was induced a week and a half early.

At first, the menstrual like pains were bearable — laughable, even. They built over time, and I sang my pain management song in response like a jailbird, certain of her innocence. But then, I was taken from my bed, stripped naked and strung up, beaten and battered and stabbed through the abdomen with a two foot wide spiked iron pole again and again in a plunging motion. I wafted in and out of consciousness while still gripping the bed rails until blisters began to form under the bottoms of my fingers and I was screaming so loudly I had ceased to hear it. My husband cried, though he tried hard to maintain strength. And finally, the medicine machine wore me down, and let me beg for an epidural.

The doctor they brought in missed the first time and the scar is still there on my back. At the second piercing, a Code Blue took him away for ten minutes — needle still hanging out of my back, me asking Jason, ‘Is he serious?’ Had he jumped out from behind the curtain and announced, ‘Just kidding!’ I would have laughed.

And then she was here and I was riding the endorphins high against the ink-blue horizon of nearly six am, no thought in my head about how natural it had been or if she was affected by anything. Her voice shattered the room, which had sounded like coming up out from underwater, or awake again after passing out. Voices snapped together clearly, as I watched them sew me back together where I had been split. She looked at me clearly when I held her, called out to me when she was whisked away across the room, and was more impossible to conceive of now that she was here than when she was merely within. She had been infinite for so long, she said, and now her infinity was over. She was alone. I was alone. Except there was her, now.

In the weeks that followed, she voiced her concern at loneliness with earth-splitting shrieks and wails. Why? Why am I out here? Put me back. I could not answer and I found the old familiar bottom-out feeling of pregnancy return, hushing and shushing, rocking and walking, crying along with her until my eyes swelled shut. She refused to eat, because lying on her back was torture of the worst kind. She spent every moment in a chair or a sling, rarely being simply held by anyone. I wasn’t much solace to her. As though she could feel my shrinking womb when I held her against me, and realized her sanctuary was disappearing. Being swallowed up by my body again, playing the part of Mary Poppins’ carpetbag, tucking it away with the lamp.

An end that began a battle fought in muddy, low trenches fueled by books and videos. One that wages on today and will tomorrow. I am chipping away at her resolve now, though. Her trebuchets trampled, her buttresses felled, her front-line infantry wounded and diminishing in numbers, her stone-cold stubbornness wooed with unfailing attack after attack; my own army being fed with love and determination, she will not see the D Day coming. The day when we are two again, and working together toward the common goal of her Life. And I will stand victorious at her side, letting her wave my flag and address my army (in the course of diplomacy). Peace will come again — some day.

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