14 November, 2013

stealing joy

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything here. The longest yet. I've been thinking a lot about writing lately - writing or reading poetry and short stories, writing as a means of understanding medicine and human interactions. I want to delve into the newly-discovered world of narrative medicine. I should have some time to do so in the coming months, so we will see how far that goes.

In the meantime summer ended. The farmer's market made it's transition from strawberries and asparagus, to every green thing imaginable and berries, to squash and apples, and now it's gone. A chilly August was followed by a warm September and October (relatively speaking), but November  was ushered in with a freeze and I harvested all our potted herbs. The rosebush remains, two buds debating whether or not to bloom. My cooking followed the market trend. Transitioning from salads and things like these noodles to roasted squash, bean stews and all kinds of things with miso. The leaves turned and have almost all fallen, sweaters have migrated to the front of the closet, and I've initiated a daily ten minutes of sitting beside my SAD lamp. Autumn is verging on winter and I am determined to enjoy it by relishing in coziness as much as possible. I'm talking double socks, fun hats and scarves, casseroles and cookies, bubble baths, steam room at the gym, hot tea, poems like "November Night" by Adelaide Crapsey:
Listen. . 
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

We already had our first snowfall, just a few days ago, it collected and stayed on the ground the whole next day, despite the brightly shining sun, deceptively not warming things up.

Actually, the first snowfall I saw was in October, but most people were asleep and it barely touched the ground before melting. I saw this beautiful snow - barely a fall at all, really a light drifting down, like a feather or crepe paper confetti - because I was up in the middle of the night on the labor and delivery floor of a community hospital, helping/learning how to deliver babies. Delivering a baby is one of the most magical experience I've ever had, and I struggle to describe it adequately. One doctor said it was like "stealing joy". There is something accurate about this, as it indicates that the doctor is still somewhat removed from this new family being formed. An integral part of the experience but ready to transform into bystander as soon as the whole visceral process is over. If you think of joy as something that is not diminished by being shared, but rather increases, then it sounds even more fitting.

But it's more than just the joy of new life (what a presumptive thing to say, just). It's the entirety of this most ancient ritual, born of complete necessity, drenched in blood and vernix (lit. 'fragrant resin'). The hours of the mother contracting, dilating, effacing, breathing. Teaching your gloved fingers to feel blindly for cervix and station, like digging through a bag  of cotton balls trying to find the one that is slightly softer. The absolute miracle of a newborn maneuvering through the cardinal movements of birth, filling his water-clogged lungs with air, remodeling his entire vascular system. A fish becoming a bird. When things go perfectly smoothly, it's seems the baby would have slithered out whether your hands were there guiding him or not (which does occasionally happen even in a hospital!).

That night, minutes after the baby was born, the nurse looked out the window and remarked, we had a little snow angel on our hands. I've delivered four babies so far. And yes, I am most definitely keeping count.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea behind "stealing joy" and that when joy is shared it only expands, it doesn't diminish the quantity or quality from the origin! I think it's a great example of the Father's love! Everlasting and ever-expanding love! So happy you started writing again!!! =)


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