It was all kind of like a dream. I was sleeping on a cot next to your mom’s hospital bed, wearing ear plugs. I awoke to the murmuring sound of your mom talking with Tanya, one of our midwives. The room was dark, and I lay there half-awake for a few minutes, listening for any urgency or intensity in the conversation. There didn’t seem any, so I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes more. Finally, I got up and stood by your mom’s side. Apparently she was having contractions, and this felt really good to know since it meant she wouldn’t have to take the hospital’s options for labor/inducement (pitocin, epidural, c-section), and this was very relieving. It meant things were going to be more on our terms. The whole time we were in the hospital, I felt like we were out of our element. Going to the hospital wasn’t what we planned or wanted. But hearing these news of your mom’s contractions and your likely natural delivery brought me a deeper sense of peace, and I could hear that deeper sense of peace in your mom’s voice too. As she already explained, our kissing is what brought you out into the world. Poetic, yes? There was a full moon outside (I can’t remember seeing the moon itself outside our window, which happened to have a nice view of Madonna Mountain), but the moonlit sky outside added ambiance into the quiet, dim, room. Our other midwife, Marissa, afterwards explained that your transit out of the womb happened during the planet Venus’ epic transit across the sun. More poetry.
And then, suddenly, you left the womb to join us. Just like that. There had been, what seemed to me, a brief period of your mom expressing deeper contractions, the nurse not really believing it, and your mom letting everyone know that you were coming and they had better get ready. I didn’t even have time (or the full awareness) to grab the video camera. I had planned to catch you with the assistance from the doctor, but you arrived sooner than he did, and the nurse who was in charge seemed to be struggling with the whole thing so I thought it too risky to confuse her even more. You came out really fast. Slip-n-slide fast. When you arrived, I remember there was this intense moment, like the breath had been taken out of everyone in the room. Like the room itself had gasped. And there you were- surprising us and everyone else in that room with your immediate, sudden presence. You were vulnerable but ready to meet us in a new way.
You had a good amount of hair- dark hair- and you looked like me. I remember the nurse fiddling with and untangling the cord around you and clamping it; I cut the cord which felt a bit counter-intuitive but my lack of sleep probably desensitized me somewhat and it wasn’t a problem. I held you and spoke your name; I wanted you to recognize my voice. When I held you against my bare chest, skin to skin, I remember your lightness of weight.
You still feel that way to me now, one month later. I’m writing this memory of your birth under that same full moon. With the dimness, sleepiness, dreaminess, that night feels like a long, long, time ago— longer than a month, longer than a year. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t grab that video camera, since my memory, preserved in these words rather than in digital data, will hold your birth as dream-like poetry. Mila, I will hold you in this way.
7-2-12 11:50 p.m.