The Day Her Son Was Born Was All Joy. The Next Day, Her Friends Came. On The 3rd Day, Shit Got Real.

Eric March Curated by

This is not your typical story of having a baby. This one is hilarious and gross and heartbreaking and courageous. At 4:00, we meet her wonderful nurse who asks her a devastating question. At 9:00, she describes what goodbye feels like. All throughout, you can hear the love in her voice.

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Mariah MacCarthy: It's not at all unusual for a mother too describe the describe the day her child was born as one of the best days of her life. But in my case it's maybe a little bit less expected because I wasn't planning on actually taking my baby home with me.

A few weeks after I had peed on a stick and gotten the two lines on the thing that means you're pregnant, I had gone to the adoption agency recommended to me by Planned Parenthood, and told them I want to give my baby to gay people. And they had had granted my wish, they had introduced me to this outstanding couple from Jackson Heights, two guys, an actor and a surgeon, and they wanted my spawn.

And we, and we had chosen a name for the baby together, they had come and seen a play of mine, we are planning on an open adoption with multiple visit a year, it was the whole thing. But they were not at the hospital with me the day my son was born, that day since the baby daddy wasn't really in the picture for me, I had kind of amassed a team of people who all had volunteered to accompany me to the hospital. So when I went to the hospital that morning for just, supposedly just some tests, and then they informed me they were going to induce me, there were a lot of people to call.

And it wasn't really a surprise at this point because I don't know if, what's the appropriate metaphor like, like a watermelon that's like been slit just a little so like juice, fruit is starting to come out maybe or like, or a balloon that like if you put anymore air into it it's going to explode in your face. Like that level of pregnant, so we're not really surprised at this point that they're inducing me.

But so we, so we call Team Mariah, all my friends who volunteered to come to the hospital and, I'm going to look at my sheets here 'cause I... OK so I, I could only have two people in the room with me at the time, because it wasn't that big of a room and there were more than two people on Team Mariah. So the other people with stay out in the lobby and just wait and then cycle in and out, and they would take pictures and video in the lobby and send them to me and I would see them on my phone and they would take naps, and like people would go and get food and switch out and people in the room with me would squeeze my hand during contractions and read to me or pass me my phone so I could live tweet my progress 'cause that was a thing I was doing.

And so eventually I reach point where I decide it's epidural time, no natural child birth for me thank you very much and that means that my friends have to be kicked out. So I am left alone with Vanessa. And Vanessa is probably the greatest person in the world. Vanessa is my nurse and she, she calls me mommy all day, she say's I like to make the mommy's laugh, and she called my butt my boom boom, so anytime she needs me to lift my butt, she's like OK, mommy boom, boom up or, or goodies, mommy your goodies are hanging out. And I just, I love her so much.

If I were Pope I would canonize her tomorrow, I'm not even kidding. And so for the epidural, the epidural technician is sticking pins and needles in my back and Vanessa stands against my knees so that my legs don't jerk to much with the shock and squeezes my hand and says you're doing so good mommy and I just breath and try not to move too much and like it, the loss of pain is like immediate, and it's magical and, and so then epidural tech leaves and Vanessa says can I ask you a personal question? I'm like sure, you know I'm, I'm pretty much an open book and she says. Why are you giving your baby up for adoption?

And I know, it's not that I don't know the answer, it's just that in this moment I don't know how to unpack the logistical and practical, and artistic, and emotional, and love based and financial factors that have gone to this decision because I'm too happy about having this baby to be in touch with all that and so I just say it's complicated, but I explained to her that it's an open adoption and that also get to know my baby and she says, well that's good as long as he knows you and he knows you're a good person, you're just too nice of a person for him not to know you.

And I don't remember what I said anything to that, I remember that then I took a nap and when I woke up, couple more members of team Mariah had arrived, one of them had brought me a teddy bear and there was more shooting the shit and I remember that the sky outside my window was like technicolor blue. I was at Roosevelt Hospital like high up and so I had my window was facing the hot sun and so eventually I have noticed that even though I've had an epidural I'm starting to hurt again, and they realize that I've gone from like centimeter and a half to nine centimeters without breaking a sweat and so she informs me, the doctor informs me that it's gonna be pushing time soon.

And my friend Emily who accompanied me to the hospital that morning 'cause that point I was bringing friends with me everywhere I was like, I'm gonna have a baby sometime soon. She hasn't really see me all day 'cause other members of team Mariah have been in the room with me so she comes up to kind of say good bye 'cause she had previously opted not to be in the room when the baby comes out, she was like I, I will pass out, I'm not good around gross stuff but she... the doctor said, comes in and said it's time and she decides to stay, she's like. No, I'm, I'm good, I'll you know appear by Mariah's head and no where in view of her vagina, but I'm gonna stay.

And I push for three hours yeah, and I vomit a couple times from the pain but I don't even care, I'm just like go, go, go like anytime the doctor tells me to do three pushes in a row I do four. Anytime I'm taking a break, I'm the one who decide the break is over, I'm just like get this baby out of me.

And by our three the doctor is like OK, we're gonna put a suction cup on the baby's head and pull while you push, and I'm like yes, yes, you are. And pretty much instantaneously like as soon as they decide to do that it just takes like two big pushes and like baby out, and it looks like an alien covered in chalky green slime, and Midula and Emily are both crying and Vanessa who has stayed two hours pass the end of her shift to meet my child, cuts the cord and Emily is like he's perfect and I haven't met him yet 'cause they're cleaning him up while they saw up my vagina and deliver the placenta and that lovely stuff, I'm sure you all wanted to hear about tonight. And, and so I'm just in shock, I'm just relieved not to be pushing anymore and then they stick this thing wrapped in like blanket it's in my arms and he's all like clean and beautiful and he looks up with me with his big dark eyes and cliches are true, they are absolutely true. The minute you meet your child you are just fucked, you just in love, you are just done for, there is like nothing you can do.

And so I spent a lot of the rest of the night seeing if I can get him the breast feed me just kept passing out on my boob and so I eventually decide to get some sleep too and send my last visitor home. And the next couple of days are all joy. Like the day my son was born there was, there was no sadness, there wasn't even bitter sweetness it was just joy, it was just I've... I don't know if I'd ever felt as surrounded by love as I was that day.

And the next day is the same thing there was a constant stream of visitors, my friend Lauren brings me a card that says congratulations on making a baby with your genitals. And I, I get to hangout with my baby and my friends, and I'm generally just really happy. The third day is when shit gets real, because the third is when my son and I will have to leave the hospital separately. I've opted for a program called Cradle Care where a volunteer takes care of the baby for up to 30 days after childbirth while the birth mother makes up her mind, done like nothing is sign yet and she can make the decision when she is in like a stable frame of mind. Not you know, hormonal and immediately post partem and crazy.

So this is the day when the volunteers going to take my baby home and I will go home separately. But I don't... it still isn't hitting me, like the first moment when I start to realize just what a big deal this is, it's in the morning when I'm holding him in a rocking chair and I'm looking into his big dark eyes and I say you know are you sad 'cause today we have to say bye bye? And my heart kind of twinges and I'm like. Oh, this is gonna suck isn't it? And but it's still like nothing is hitting me yet, and you know there's still a lot of visitors that day and you know, it's pretty much the same as the day before but with a little more paperwork since we're leaving the hospital that day.

And then the time comes when my social worker says alright, it's time. My social worker from the adoption agency who was taking my son to the volunteer who lives in Long Island and, so my friends who are there at the time kind of crowd around my son to say goodbye to him and my heart starts twinging again I'm like. Guys can I get a moment and I kick everybody out and I wish I could remember exactly what I said to my baby in that moment. I remember saying over and over I don't want to do this, I remember walking him over to the window and showing him the world outside and saying, it's a big scary world out there, but I'll always be here for you. And I remember telling him over and over that I loved him and, and then I remember just running out of words and just holding him.

Eventually my social worker knocks very, very, very gently on the door and pokes her head in and it was like. Okay, and she straps him into a car seat that she's brought in and I look at her and I said this was really hard, she say's I know, and she leaves with my son and the top half of my body suddenly remembers that gravity is a thing, and I just kind of fold in half, and I'm sobbing, and my two friends who are with me, kind of catch me and, and help me sit down in bed where I'm crying harder than I've ever cried in my life. And later I will introduce my son to his new daddies and it will be a joyous occasion and later we we'll have Thanksgiving Dinners together and me and the dads will talk about Carlos Danger and my son will be baptized and there is so much joy that awaits us, but I don't know any of that in this moment but as soon as I can talk again through my tears I find my self saying, I still think I'm gonna do it. Thank you.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

This incredible, hearbreaking/warming story is an excerpt from Mariah MacCarthy’s autobiographical solo show, “Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People,” premiering Aug. 18, 2014, at Dixon Place in New York City (get your tickets!). Mariah is a playwright, burlesque artist, rapper, and all-around badass human who tweets here and makes theater here. Also, this interview with her would be good for you to read. Mariah performed this story for BugHouse SPIN, and you can watch many more like it on their YouTube channel.

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