Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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has the same sequence of stressed syllables as Guantanamo. The position is used in waterboarding. I would've been writing this in my lowered head if I'd known that while on bed rest and the magnesium drip. After I lost the mucus plug at 24 weeks, after the ultrasound, I was settling into the strange-safe-un-lonely calm of denial in a private labor room, sipping orange juice from a paper cup and thinking about turning on the TV for a bit when the door burst open and a half dozen doctors and nurses swarmed me. One took the juice, two lifted my gown and attached sensors tethering monitors to my abdomen, one inserted the catheter, and one spoke to me in restrained frantic tones, breathless but knowing, like someone who got out of his car and walked ahead on the highway, came back to tell other drivers what was causing the jam: A woman is giving birth any minute now, and it is way too soon. They lifted my feet, murmured Trendelenburg in hushed chorus, raised and back-tipped my tentacled body to keep the baby from plopping out like an inkblot. Head rush, toes pinned and needling, someone stood on my cath line until I felt my bladder would bomb apart, and amid the new beeps and chaos I began to cry and God help me I didn't want to, but I locked eyes with the one who put us there, tackled me to the ground belly first when I'd tried to go. Anchored to the tilting board of bed, the whites of my eyes lied into the drowning, told him everything he wanted to know—I need you anyway, my body isn't mine—under duress.

Stacia M. Fleegal is the author of two full-length and three chapbook poetry collections. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Barn Owl Review, Fourth River, Heavy Feather Review, Menacing Hedge, decomP magazinE‘s Best of 10 Years anthology, Best of the Net 2011, and more, and were recently nominated for Best of the Net 2017. Her nonfiction has appeared at Salon, Scary Mommy, ESME (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere), Quaint Magazine, and more, and is forthcoming at Blood+Milk. She is director of the Center for Creative Writing, a volunteer in service to survivors of domestic violence, and a lover of memoir, music, and the outdoors.

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