When I was eight months pregnant, I watched a documentary about a lesbian couple whose baby was born without an anus.
“Hey,” Katy whispered in the dark. “I’m not sure this is the best thing for you to be watching right now.”
“I’m okay,” I said, “Shh!”
I was perched on the edge of the seat, heavy belly balanced awkwardly on my thighs. I couldn’t shift to a comfortable position until movie baby emerged from successful reconstructive surgery.
Later, I began to obsess on the possibility that our baby would be born with the same condition.
Katy tried in vain to assuage these fears. What was the likelihood, she asked, that another lesbian mom would have a baby with the same rare malady that she’d seen in a movie? But worrying about a baby with no anus was about focusing my energies: instead of worrying a little bit about each of the thousands of things that could go wrong, I worried a lot about one particular thing.
When the nurse placed Waylon on my chest, my mouth fell open. I should close my mouth, I thought, but a noise like chirping crickets was swelling in my ears, a wall of sound between thought and action.
Finally, a familiar voice distinguished itself from the din. “Paige, he’s beautiful. He’s beautiful, Paige. Paige, he’s beautiful.” Katy’s words were a trail of breadcrumbs; I followed them back to the present.
At that instant, a black lump slid across my belly.
It was meconium, the first shit. I looked at Katy: “He has an anus!” Joy and relief and love washed over me in waves. He was beautiful! And healthy! I was so absorbed that I didn’t see the puzzled looks on the nurses’ faces.
“She saw a documentary, you know, about a baby who was born with no anus,” Katy explained. “She was worried.”