End of pregnancy. So much waiting.
Is it time? Is it not?
Big enough￼ to bump into things with the belly.
How much longer? When are you due?
Cramping on and off. Discharge. Nesting.
How big is that baby anyway? What does your midwife think?
Well…we don’t really have a midwife here. Actually, we are on a road trip.
A road trip?! When your baby is due? Are you crazy?!
Crazy. Yes. This whole pregnancy has been a little that way.
My husband had to do a trip and I wanted to come along. Actually wanted isn’t quite it. I got tired of the gossip and the questions back home.
So we started out. On the donkey. At least he didn’t have a breakdown. I might have had a couple, but I swore Joe to secrecy.
Traffic was a mess. And I had to stop and pee every little bit. It was slow going for sure.
Don’t get me wrong. There were moments of sweetness. The stars for one. Seriously! This one was up there just for me I think.
I really thought the baby was coming at the last rest stop. The sign said you can’t stay more than 8 hours, but at that point I could have been good with a barn.
Which is sort of funny, looking back. After we did the government forms in triplicate, which was the point, you guessed it. Nothing but “no vacancy” signs.
I was starting to get that Crazy of pregnancy, I am now going to tip over the edge feeling.
I have to get off this beast! I would rock a little, then stop and away. At that point, I lost all sense of time.
At the height of the surge, I would do a little squat. Joe was getting nervous. He would try to talk to me, just as things got intense. I waved him away.
Finally, he walked off, probably looking for the Midwives. He came back, palpably relieved. “Come on Mar…”
We followed a path barely visible by starlight. A rough shed was around back, dry and warm. It smelled like, well…
I was just grateful. I moaned and swayed, an ageless singsong chant without words. I’ll never forget this cow looking at me with her big eyes.
Then the song changed. A lower, open vowel, with a grunt at the peak. The barn cat circled nearer.
Joe locked eyes with me, dancing with me in slow figure eights. There was so much pressure, but a bit of a longer break between now.
And then. It felt like the power of my mother and my grandmother guided me into a squat. I could feel a deep sense of “yes”. There was no going back.
I felt down there, and something warm and wet and “other” met my fingers. My eyes came open, and I saw tears in Joe’s eyes.
And then, with a primal roar, I surrendered. It wasn’t a poetic “be it done to me as you say”. It was raw.
But time stood still. I was outside of time. It felt like, looking back, that the veil between what is seen and what shimmers just beyond got really thin.
I pulled the baby up to my chest, crying and laughing all at the same time. “Oh baby, baby, baby. I thought you would never come!”
I nuzzled the conehead, smelling the musty sweetness. Joe wrapped me and the baby in long cloths.
Finally we looked. It’s a boy! The name was chosen before I even knew I was pregnant. “Oh, Jesus. You are finally here!” He looked up at me with those old soul eyes.
The reverie was broken with another surge. I came up into a squat again, and Joseph grabbed a milking bucket from the stall next door.
The placenta slid in, followed by a trickle, the cord still attached to the baby.
I leaned back, utterly done. I felt so much love coursing through me. My son was nuzzling now, crawling up my belly as if he knew just what to do.
I looked down, watching him nurse. Joseph curled up behind me, whispering in my ear as we gazed at this creature.
So much wondering. What would the days ahead bring? I felt so inadequate to parent this wise soul. I know Joe did too.
But for tonight, it was enough. Enough to just be.
Welcome, baby. Welcome. Welcome to this world.