In the end, they had to cut my wife open to get the baby out. It happened behind a big piece of green gauze. She was calm for the first time in 36 hours. They put a big shot into her spine which paralyzed her from the waist down. There was a sound like a vacuum from the other side of the gauze. I stood up to look, and when I looked, I saw a big hole in the middle of my wife, and coming out of the hole was a grey little creature covered in some white sludge, and this was my daughter, and I felt afraid because I hadn't slept for so long, and I thought at first she might be dead.

My wife is a Muslim and in Muslim tradition, she says, when you are laboring you are close to being dead, and therefore you are close to God. So during her whole labor, which was long, my wife was trying to intercede on behalf of other people in order to help them.

Most of the people my wife was interceding for were her female friends. My wife was wishing that they would all get babies, or at the very least, men with whom they could later make babies. My wife said that it helped her pain, because she was thinking of someone else while laboring.

Sometime during the night I asked her who she was praying for, and she told me, and I asked what she was praying and she said "I am asking that she experience this hell I am in now."

The baby, incidentally, was stuck. It was what's known as a star-gazing baby. That means that the head was kind of tilted, and could not come out. My wife's mom said that during the labor, my wife had the strength of ten women. She said that giving birth was like going up to heaven and bringing a soul back down. But my wife sunk lower and lower and cried during the night and said she couldn't do it.

This was the second labor I witnessed in my life. The first labor was of my cat, Wish. Wish's first baby came out tail first and this panicked Wish. The baby was too big and it's legs hung down under Wish's tail and Wish ran around the house shouting. When we finally pulled the baby out it was stone cold dead. Wish tried to eat it. That's when I learned that childbirth was brutal. Some people say it is a miracle, and that is probably true, but in that case I will say that many miracles are brutal and horrible.

She was rushed to the hospital.

Some time after the whole birth finished someone told my wife that women always forget the pain of childbirth. In fact, many people said this. But my wife said she would probably not forget it.

She cried when they said it had to be a c-section. All the king's horses and all the king's men came into the room. There were midwives and gynecologists and surgeons and nurses and so on, and they were putting this and that finger and probe and so on into my wife, to test this heartbeat and that heartbeat. It was not going good. So she cried. She was tired, and scared, and it had been so long that she started to cry even though she had the strength of ten women, and I left the room for a moment because I was so afraid.

Every 30 seconds for two hours she faced excruciating pain that even worse than the pain of the previous 36 hours.

It just seemed impossible.

But then we went into a room with so many bright lights and machines and tubes and so on. There was a horrible time in a waiting room, before the surgery, and my wife was screaming "Please! Help me!" and I was trying to explain things about the situation to her but she had gone up to heaven and wasn't on this earth anymore. There was a man in the pre-surgery room who had been hit by a car or something. He was all gory. When they wheeled my wife in, he just looked at me and shrugged, because he could see that my wife was going in first. That was the state she was in.

My wife cried for a third time several days later. She said that she was disappointed, because the baby didn't come out in the way that she wanted.

It is a big sacrifice to labor. The biggest sacrifice, I think, was sacrificing the way she thought it would be for the way it was.

“It is hard,” my wife’s mother told her, sometime during the night, when she was up for 24 hours. “It is hard to come into this world, and hard to leave it.”

When I held her the first time I didn't know what to say so I said "Shhhhh. Shhhhh."

She had blue eyes.

OLVG. Oct. 2015