I thought your coming was imminent every Saturday for three weeks before you arrived. One of those mornings, I woke up and everything seemed brighter and more beautiful. The light streaming in from the skylights. Your daddy’s face. Everything seemed to shimmer. We went out for flowers and candles and snacks to celebrate your coming. But you did not arrive that day.
We set up an altar for your birth. On it, Sappho’s wood Mother sculpture in the center, surrounded by a circle of stones for the eight directions. Also, the gold bracelet your grandparents gave you, the root chakra gemstone crown, the celestite I dedicated to you, a large rose quartz, the magical candle, and seeds blessed by Amma. The altar cloth came specially from Avalon for you.
Your halmoni came to New York for your birth. I knew I would want my mom with me when you arrived. For many weeks you hovered on the verge of being born, but you held on inside. So she tried to coax you out with some acupuncture needles. The room filled up with a new scent; she said she could smell baby. So we smelled you before we first touched you.
Then, early on an enchanted Sunday morning, bloody show and broken waters. A last hurrah for daddy and me. We waited for contractions, but at noon, everything was still quiet. Anna came over and we had more acupuncture. When she did the tree of life on my sacrum, I could feel your spirit coming in through the needles and filling my womb and your little body. It was so beautiful. I had a first, mild contraction as I was getting off the table. The three of us hung out and ate strawberries.
I asked daddy to start filling the birth pool. Really? he said. YES! I answered. He started kettles on the stove to boil and pumping up the tub. But he was right, we expected maybe we’d be doing this for twelve or more hours, and we didn’t want to start too soon…
Kristen, our midwife, still hadn’t replied to our texts and phone messages, so we tried her again at another (the right!) number. She picked up! How far apart are the contractions? We didn’t know, so we hung up, and halmoni started keeping track.
7:20 - 2 mins
7:25 - 1 - 7:26
7:29 - 2 - 7:31
7:34 - 1 - 7:35
7:37 - 1 - 7:39
7:42 - 1 - 7:43
7:45 - 3 - 7:48
7:49 - 1 - 7:50
We called Kristen back!
Then, I felt you kick off my liver and jacknife yourself into a downward dive. You were so strong even then! So I wanted to push! But Kristen wasn’t here yet, and we weren’t ready to deliver you by ourselves. So I jumped into the pool instead, and instantly, I felt so good! Bliss.
It was getting dark, and the house felt quiet. Someone lit candles. I pushed and roared few times in the pool. The water was warm, all was perfect.
Then, Kristen came in. She was amazing. She came in quietly, like she was gliding, put her things down, came over to the pool. She did not make a sound. Everything and everyone was quiet. The whole house was hushed. She used the doppler to find your heart beat. It was so beautiful, strong, and steady in the silence. Still no words. She watched me push a couple times more. She felt for your head and she found it. Finally, I asked her how things looked. She said you would be born in a few minutes.
I panicked! I wasn’t sure! Was I ready?! A baby!
It wasn't for a few whole minutes before I realized, too late! Here you are! And you’re coming!
So I decided, and I pushed for real. Real hard. Daddy came into the pool. In between, I rested my head on his knee. It was so nice. But there was not enough space, so he got out. And then everything happened so fast. He went up to the room to dry off, but I shouted DAN! and he ran down, and so he was there when I pushed from everything I had, and still it wasn’t enough, and even though I was out of breath to push with, I kept pushing from a dark place where I found my power lives, and ROARed, and I could feel your head passing through.
Do you want to touch your baby? Kristen asked. She guided my hand down, and I felt your sweet, soft, hairy head for the first time. It was the nicest thing I have ever touched.
I pushed more and more and more, pushing myself inside out and pushing all twenty and a half inches and seven pounds of miraculous you out into the water. Kristen said, Reach down and take your baby. And I did!
I swooped you up from between my legs and sat back and suddenly there you were on my chest. I held you close, and there we were in the birth pool, soaking in a soup full of warm water, amniotic fluid, blood, saliva, a little vomit, a little poop, but no pee. You were so alive and present and vocal and sweet. Your beauty broke my heart. Daddy’s too.
You were just born, but somehow, you felt so old and powerful.
It was just after nine that night.