The Howl of a Cat

by | Oct 11, 2022 | Bending Genres, CNF, Issue Twenty Nine

A rush of warm liquid puddles between my legs
then another gushes out
saturates the hospital bed
push the red button with the white outline of a nurse
“let’s see here, honey…yep, you broke your water”
it was too early, but the baby had almost come out way too early:
late December 24 weeks
1 in 3 chance of survival
was supposed to be late April
(now it’s) late March
30 days in the hospital on a foggy magnesium rollercoaster prevent labor from crashing ahead
one in 250 babies comes early
mine fights to join that select group
hours later, my swollen body contorts into a huge ball that some evil giant is squeezing with his
oversized hands
“you won’t believe it,” the doctor says — his gloved hand fishes inside of me
“the baby just grabbed my finger with his hand”
“statue of liberty” presentation
I don’t know what that means but any movement in the direction of giving birth stalls
then: the baby’s hand is starting to swell
“we don’t want a deformity; he has to come out”
come out, but how?
baby boy is yanked out of a ripped slit in my stomach
“breathe, breathe, breathe, baby breathe, you gotta breathe” the doctors and nurses plead
massaging my son’s 35-week-old tiny see-through chest
lungs take time to kick in
but once the little creature figures it out, he lets out the wail of a cat in heat
I still can’t tell the difference
between a baby’s cry and the howl of a cat

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