They told me to expect euphoria.
So here I lie one day and six hours into my journey. The dawn is breaking and if I can gather my strength and bring you into my arms I will have reached it. The top of Mt. Everest, The Pinnacle, The Peak.
And I want so badly to see it, you, to breathe in that moment I've earned and I deserve. Every text book, and story, and film I've done nothing but absorb for nine months has led me to this and we're so close now.
I've kept the visions of that glorious ascent into the best moment of my life so clear that all of this pain will have been worth it. The very moment I've dreamed about since I can remember having dreams.
So I push, I push and I sleep because that's all I can do. My attendants look on with family and friends knowing I can do this.
So inch by inch I bring you across the veil until one mere push is all that separates you from me. With all that I have left you slip into this world and for a few brief moments nothing has ever been more right.
I reach the top and see a vision I've only been lucky enough to imagine in my dreams and now the image seems like maybe it was only a mirage. Because before I can breathe you in, we're falling.
And just like that you're gone.
Gone from my arms and slipped back between my legs and onto the bed and all I can do is watch in silent horror.
They said it wasn't the only important thing. That the experience would change a woman and she deserved the process to be respected. That a healthy baby is what the doctors use to threaten you into submission. That you matter too.
But I'm here and I'm in it and he is all that matters.
Tiny lungs soaked with poison fight and fail to inflate, seconds tick by feeling like hours and I watch in horror.
Call them, Call the ones who we've fought to avoid, let them save him.
I'm still clawing at The Peak. Fighting to regain our position at the top, fingernails bloodied and broken at my attempt but we won't see it again because we're falling.
Why am I tingling?
Perhaps it's the overwhelming urge I have to lay my own life down in exchange for his breath.
Bags beneath me begin to fill in a warm fluid so familiar yet strange because I've never felt so much of it on the outside of me. Bags drop into a trash can beside me and I see that the very thing that pulses through my veins is now exiting my womb at a rate I'd not ever known possible.
Another blood filled bag hits the can.
We're both fighting for our lives now and I watch in silent bewilderment, could this moment in time possibly be real?
Maybe I will die and he will live and that would be better than what might be.
Tingling, burning, as they fight to extract the very thing my body is refusing to expel because it sustained you for nine months and four days and like a mother sending her baby off to school for the first time, maybe it's not ready. Maybe you can just go back there now and be safe again. But it pools out of me and with it our attachment is severed in ways I won't fully understand until later.
Men, maybe angels appear and bring us closer to the one place I think will save us.
The moment I haven't anticipated comes as we arrive at the hospital and they wheel me away from you.
You're screaming now as my body wretches at the first feeling of being so without you.
I'm not falling now, I've landed on the ground with the stark reality that I'm alone and the top is gone forever.
These people are supposed to save me but in the end only cast a scornful eye my way. I lie in a river of my own blood willing myself to live until my will escapes me and now I'm the one slipping. So easily and comfortably asleep until I'm abruptly woken by the sound of anxiety for my life that has filled the room around me. Bodies hover over and when I ask my own mother if I'm going to die she responds, no, but there can't be certainty in it.
Hours pass before the ones who were supposed to help me, give me the thing my womb gave up, while my body refused to give up my baby. Four bags of someone else's blood are passed into my veins and suddenly I don't even feel like me. Almost a full day has passed and I am so grateful for my own life that I almost forget what brought me here. My own son lies alone on a mat under lights so harsh they chap the skin on his toes. He's lived a full day without the touch of his mother and yet he is thriving.
I think when I see him again we'll be back on our mountain peak together at last. But the first time I glance upon his face my mind is so dulled by my situation that I can't even recognize him. Instead of the baby I held safely in my womb, I see a stranger and I'm sure if his eyes weren't so blurry he'd see one too.
I cry now for so many reasons but mostly because I know we're going to be ok. The next climb won't be a familiar one but we'll get there together, growing stronger in love everyday as our bond becomes real and my body fights to sustain his, I offer him the only thing I have, my milk.
It doesn't happen right away, my mind stays cloudy from the memory of our descent and for so long it's all I can think of.
Then something happens as we make our way up a new unfamiliar path.
One by one he replaces those images for me, until one day, I close my eyes and his face is looking back at me, now familiar, and he tells me it's ok. And I know that it's going to be, even though it wasn't on a day, not so long ago.