Tuesday, November 9, 2010



24. There are 24 hours in a day. To think of a day you might have to think in terms of hours. Hours that are then broken down into minutes, and minutes into seconds. Seconds are like breaths.




Taken in one by one. None less important than another they help to sustain life.  Life that is measured in years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

Morning comes like it comes for anyone else. The same way that night might come for one man morning comes for another. Today morning comes for another life. A life that I wasn’t prepared to share with mine, but nonetheless he comes. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t time. That doesn’t matter at all.

It’s exactly 4:23 am when he’s decided to make his arrival without any further delay. I’m not ready but there’s no chance that will stop what’s coming. Arden’s flight home won’t be until tonight so I leave a message after giving his itinerary on the nightstand another once over. Calling Eddy won’t change what’s happening but I make the call anyway and tell her to meet me at the hospital before telling her to please call Arden again. And it’s after I leave another voicemail for Arden that I realize Eddy doesn’t have his number. Even with this realization I’m getting out of bed accompanied by a bit of pain below my waistline that isn’t as he shifts against my bladder.

6:00 am brings the completion of a cab ride to the emergency room of St. Mary’s and a man named Allan who can not stop screaming long enough to get me out of the cab. The level of my panic is more apparent on the face of Allan than on mine. Even down below he’s not reacting more than a kick or two into the base of my ribs. I tell the man it will be a couple more minutes before reaching into my bag for the fare. My impatient passenger decides when it will be time to arrive, now rather than later immediately before I exit the cab with quick downpour of water that falls between me and the exterior of the cab.

7:42, 7:43, 7:44, 7:45 is spent sitting in the lobby of the emergency room while waiting in a wheelchair for an hour and forty-two minutes. Eddy has yet to arrive but phoned to tell me about phoning Arden at least thirteen times after I’ve been received at the walk-in entrance. During the time that’s passed a helpful intern has placed me and my broken water into a wheelchair to wait before making efforts to assist. One of the many things I wonder about during my wait is broken water. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s neither broken nor water when my intern returns to assist me after assisting others. She is helping when asking for my street address instead of asking the name of my ob-gyn. She’s helping by asking for a signature instead of calling my emergency contact. She is helping while my impending joy decides to press downward with a burst of energy. An overwhelming urge to move things along presents itself while the intern continues to ask unnecessary questions that have already been answered. Then she tells me it will be twenty-four minutes until my room is ready before asking me if there’s anything I need to make this “waiting” more comfortable.

24. Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear it. Tell me what you’re thinking of?

Have you ever played that game with a therapist before? The one where they show you the picture and you’re supposed to say the first thing that comes to your mind. It’s that awkward moment when the therapist holds up a picture of a man holding a naked baby and instead of something practical all you can think of is a black swan dancing with a red unicorn while a herd of wild mustangs cross the plains because this is your mind resisting the constraints of the exercise. In this case if you tell the therapist you’re thinking of two dozen then your mind is immature and bound by restriction because you’ve given it a constraint. On the other hand, if you say something like ‘red’ or ‘white’ pony, your therapist will know you’re being insolent and tell you that you don’t respect authority figures. It’s then you think, “I don’t need this” and in that instant you might be right.

At 11:45 am I’m counting the seconds while I’m strapped a bed resting next to a couple of heartbeats, there’s one for me and one for him and both are steady as a clock ticking in time. The pain comes and goes in waves that remain constant but never changing. The nurse is speaking of time and tells me that there’s a chance that the doctors are taking their time at golf games and celebrity mixers because they only come when it’s time. It’s not time. There’s no one to come and administer the drugs because it’s not time. The drugs aren’t the real problem when Eddy finally shows up freaking out when Arden can’t be found. I’m still pretty calm when the little boy below is waking up with a kick or two at the sound all around.

“It’s not time…”  At 1:33 pm, the nurse takes a look below before she tells me three inches and that we’re not ready to go yet. As she exits the room there’s a man on the television slapping a woman and telling her how there’s not enough time when that couldn’t be further from the truth. The sound of his voice is louder than the monitor that continually measures my raising heartbeats per minute. Arden hasn’t phoned but the nurse keeps reassuring me that he won’t miss a thing because we have a long way to go. My doctor has finally stepped in and out to look at the chart instead of me before saying that it’s not time. It’s now 1:49 and all I want to say is that I don’t need the drugs but I won’t because it’s not time.

24. How is that measured in length? Do you see two feet or twenty-four inches. Is it longer to think about or visualize?

There are times when the day isn’t long enough and the night is far too short to accomplish anything. In twenty four minutes you can travel approximately three miles by foot depending on how fast you walk. The distance of time can be measured in a thousand ways. There are 60 seconds in a minute and every minute ticks off the clock dropping these instances as the breath escapes my mouth.





“Keep Breathing…” is what they tell me at a quarter to 6. It’s far past twelve hours and the night is arriving much like the morning. The Nurse and Eddy have found Arden who is finally arriving on time from the airport. And somehow according to the Doctor its five inches but still not time. They keep talking in a whisper about my untimely little man who’s yet to make his appearance today. The pain is not any closer than it was at 11am and there are a handful of people entering and exiting my room with the same face of panic as the man named Allan pushing me out of his cab this morning. After she takes another look the Nurse confirms the Doctor’s assessment and ushers the others out of the room.

Arden looks to the right when there’s no one around. He keeps trying to avoiding the monitors and eye contact leaving him with no where else to look. There’s a problem at 8:15 pm and no one wants to look. As I adjust myself in the bed the wave of pain intensifies with the moment. When the little one is kicking and pushing I’m reminded that I can still hear the beat of his heart and feel the quickening of mine. I reach over and touch Arden’s hand that rests on the bed for comfort while he keeps looking right. He finally looks over and into my eyes before touching me back.

24. What’s in a day?

The day is only a 24 hours because we allow ourselves to see it that way. We are governed by a 24 hour cycle only because the world operates around us in that cycle. The Earth fully rotates every 24 hours. It’s coming whether you want it or not. The day will continue no matter what is done. You may be in it or out of it, but that won’t keep it from happening. You can pretend that it’s the far worse that it really is but that won’t do any good. Looking into the future that hasn’t happened isn’t the same as living in the dream that hasn’t happened.

Three pieces of ice are stuck together inside of the cup at 10:35 pm. It’s a little late for moodiness and they tell me that a man with drugs may arrive to help the growing wave of pain if the need presents itself. Before leaving me with the pain, the nurse takes a look and tells me that there’s a chance this will be over soon. I tell her that soon is not an answer for these circumstances.

Sometime around midnight we are walking and talking with the staff of the maternity ward while waiting for two inches. I’m spread legged and staggering down the hall with an IV drip and Arden following close behind. He doesn’t like the way this is taking so long. He feels nervous in a way that I can not understand. There is a tiny life inside of me that is waiting to come home. It is a moment that is coming without stopping. A moment that will happen and become permanent. Unchangeable. Something that is both tangible and secure in time. I reach back and grab for Arden’s hand to pull him closer. It’s the only thing I can think to do while this moment is taking longer than can be expected.

2 am brings the night shift change and along with the doctors there is an arsenal of new nurses ready to attend the arrival of my bundle of joy. Nurse 2.0 is taking a look and making another assessment that seems to be in our favor. Arden hasn’t roused from his deep sleep in the corner of the room. It’s a corner filled with balloons and flowers that arrived nearly six hours ago with the mid-evening rush of last minute visitors. Six hours earlier when both my Mom and Arden’s father are both convinced that the doctor could have made this all happen sooner while Arden’s mom and my Father step outside for a quick smoke even though they aren’t smokers. They walked out when the flowers arrived late by mistake and the man left them in the corner next the chair where Arden is still out and I’m finally beginning to make progress.

It’s been more than 24 hours at nine minutes after 4:23 am when my little man is making his entrance in the world. Entering the time constrained life as humanity knows it. As I’m screaming and pushing without the drugs, without the twenty other hands that were in and out of the room and without any more delays, he is born 6lbs and 5 ounces of animated life. Alive by his breathing and movement.  Deep. Loud. Each second more significant than the previous. In this small hour of morning I can’t recall the reason for yesterday only that today will be more alive than yesterday with the emergence of this life.

24. A day. A little older. A little wiser. Resurrected. How about Reborn? A friend of mine recently was given a second chance to re-experience life through a different perspective. And I honestly couldn’t be happier. Really great guy. Anyhow… You are only bound by the rules if you allow yourself to be. This is similar in life. The rules are merely a guideline. Think outside of the box and bend the rules. Think larger. Enjoy! kisses. m.

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