I'm writing this from my hospital bed in New York City, encased by two sturdy, raised, side bedrails and a rolling tray with ginger ale, orange gelatin, (whatever that is) and some beef broth I know from experience tastes like day-old bathwater. My glasses are somewhere around, perhaps buried in the rumpled white sheets I have managed to tangle round and round and round my bare restless legs. I am wearing the stylish, backless, cotton gown they give everyone to wear when they are admitted. Too lazy to search for the glasses, I'm squinting at the computer screen and trying not to feel sorry for myself. After all, I did this. I chose this lonely, single path to motherhood. And regardless of how certain I feel most of the time, I can't escape these moments when I am overwhelmed by the many obstacles I continue to face as I press forward, pregnant and without a partner.
This is my sixth visit to the hospital in three weeks. The nurses on duty have become old friends. We greet each other by name when I arrive at the Labor and Delivery ward at 4 a.m. or midnight or 10 in the morning or 5 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon. We make light of my knowing the routine. They rub my feet and remind me that they last told me not to come back until I am at least 35 weeks along. We all laugh, but we all know how critical it is that I come in when there is blood or contractions or any of the 900 things that can go wrong when you are in the process of making another human being to deposit onto the planet we are so rapidly trying to destroy with the amount of plastic and oil and chemicals we pump into it everyday.
It is almost midnight. I cannot sleep and I am weak with loneliness.
One set of friends dropped me off yesterday. Another will pick me up tomorrow. Yet another will spend the night to make sure if the blood gushes again in the dark I will have company to make the hurried but familiar trip to the hospital. They all make me food. Some do it well, while others can only be thanked for making the effort. No one is doing this because they have loads of time to spare. It is a labor of love, and