Thank you for breastfeeding - Part 5
One of my current writing projects is a semi-autobiographical play about my pregnancy experience. In this excerpt, the expectant mother's doula wants her to forego a C-Section and hire a midwife to deliver her breech baby in the kitchen. The expectant father is perplexed by this turn of events and tries to shed light on the gravity of this decision,
Thank you for breastfeeding - Act 1 Excerpt.
Read additional scenes.
Eliza - Expectant mother in her mid-thirties
Paul - Eliza's husband
Lauren - Eliza's Doula
It is late afternoon. Eliza is about 37 weeks pregnant and is sitting at the kitchen table with Lauren, her doula. They are drinking tea. Eliza looks visibly anxious.
Lauren: Here...take my hands. [Lauren reaches out for Eliza’s hands and starts massaging them] I know you’re nervous, but you have to trust yourself. Close your eyes and visualize your baby traveling through the birth canal...do you see her? [Eliza closes her eyes]
Eliza: I’m not really good at this sort of stuff.
Eliza: Yes. I think I see her.
Lauren: Great. Now just focus on the vision you have of her. Isn’t she magnificent? --[Eliza nods yes]
Lauren: You can do this. Now, repeat after me: “I can do this.”
Eliza: [timidly] I can do this.
Lauren: Now with a little more conviction.
Eliza: [less timid] I can do this
Lauren: “My body is a temple.”
Eliza: My body is a temple.
Lauren: “I will worship its strength”
Eliza: I will worship its strength.
Lauren: Remember this if you start feeling anxious.
Eliza: OK, I’ll try.
Lauren: There’s no reason to worry. You are in control of your body. [Eliza nods] We’ll make sure you have the natural childbirth you’ve envisioned.
Eliza: I don’t know what I would do without you. It’s all so confusing and there’s so much to take in. I just want to do what’s best for my baby girl.
Lauren: You’re doing the right thing. Women have been giving birth for centuries without epidurals, cesareans, or forceps.
Eliza: I know.
Lauren: You just need to trust your body and the wisdom of womyn. You’re not alone--we’re here for you.
Eliza: I’ll try. [pause] So what’s the next step?
Lauren: You just keep doing your yoga poses and try to relax. I will reach out to this wonderful midwife I know and explain the situation. I’m sure she’ll be happy to attend your birth. Will your bathroom work?
Eliza: It’s kind of small.
Lauren: No worries, we can always prepare a birthing pool somewhere else. Maybe put it right here in the kitchen.
Eliza: Ok, just give me a list of what I need to get. I have next Thursday off and can run a bunch of errands.
[Paul enters the side door]
Eliza: Hi honey. You remember Lauren.
Paul: Of course. How are you doing? [Paul takes off his coat and sits down with them at the kitchen table.]
Lauren: Things are good. [pause] Your wife is so strong.
Paul: Yes, she’s a rock.
Eliza: You want more tea Lauren?
Lauren: No, I should be going. I have to get home and finish up my herbal supplements. I’ll be in touch soon though.
Eliza: Sounds good. [Lauren gives Eliza a long warm hug before she leaves out the side door.]
Eliza: I think we might have a new plan.
Eliza: Lauren and I. For the birth.
Paul: Shouldn’t we talk about it?
Eliza: I told her the baby is still breech and she gave me a few options to consider other than a C-Section.
Paul: But I thought you were comfortable with the C-Section. Didn’t you like Dr. Wilkes? I thought she had a good head on her shoulders.
Eliza: That was before I knew there were more natural options that might be better for the baby. Lauren said we could hire a midwife to deliver her here at home. She knows one that’s delivered a bunch of breech babies.
Paul: Like, how many is a bunch Eliza?
Eliza: I don’t know, like a bunch. If our upstairs bathroom isn’t big enough, Lauren said we can create a little birthing pool here in the kitchen.
Paul: Here? In the kitchen?
Eliza: Well it’s the only other place in the house with a tile floor and hot water.
Paul: And what about everything Dr. Wilkes told us?
Eliza: That’s just doctors trying to scare me. I mean, I was born breech--
Paul: And your mother said you were born all black and blue because your oxygen was cut off during delivery. Remember?
Eliza: But I’m fine. And Lauren said the baby will be fine. [Eliza closes her eyes] I can do this, my body’s a temple and I worship its strength.
Paul: Seriously Eliza. And if she’s not?
Eliza: Not what?
Paul: Not ok. [Paul’s voice gets increasingly louder and more agitated] You’re willing to put our daughter at risk just so you can fulfill some crazy notion of personal validation. [With sarcasm] ‘Great job Eliza--you’ve won a medal for the most amazing natural childbirth.’ Too bad your daughter needs to be in a brace for a dislocated shoulder.
Eliza: Paul, don’t be mean. You’re just trying to scare me.
Paul: No Eliza, I’m trying to be realistic while you’re off in la-la land with the doula.
Eliza: You don’t believe in me.
Paul: I don’t believe in ignoring our doctor or your midwife team at the hospital.
Eliza: I just picked Wilkes because she had a nice smile in her website picture. She doesn’t even know me.
Paul: And Lauren does?
Eliza: I feel more connected to her.
Paul: That’s her job. You hired her to be your own personal cheerleader. The doctor’s job is to keep you and the baby safe--
Eliza: And avoid lawsuits.
Paul: Come on Eliza. Give them a little more credit. There’s a reason why no doctors at the hospital will deliver a breech baby.
Eliza: This is my body and I don’t want it cut open. You can do whatever you want with your body.
Paul: [Sarcastically] You are incredible! I just want what’s best for the baby. Back when we were making decisions together, I thought you did too.
[Paul storms out of the room and Eliza is last seen in the kitchen rubbing her belly]