July 26th. My labor day.
Waylon popped his head up this morning and smiled at me with sleepy eyes, and I said to him, “At this time last year, you were just beginning to make your way down.” My water broke around 6:00 am, and the day was just as I had envisioned it: sunny, warm, quiet here on the farm as Edge and I spent the morning slowly walking across the field and back, stopping every few minutes as a contraction came on. And it was so much more than I could have envisioned–how can you ever prepare for the intensity of a child passing through you? There is an element of mystery that no birthing class can touch upon, and it is beautiful. Now, as I call up my memories of labor, I know it was painful, but I cannot remember the pain.
This is what I do remember: a circle of breathing, in and out, ohm; Edge’s hands always in mine; my cousin Amy’s crystal blue eyes soothing me in a moment of pain; pushing, breathing, pushing, breathing, resting; a glass of water with a straw; fresh peaches; herbs–hops, passionflower, so many nervines–and a sip of beer from the midwives; a candle in the darkness of the yurt; and that long last stretch of breathing that pulled me to a place beyond time and physicality until I heard the words put your gloves on, this baby’s coming!
And then he was here. Cone-headed, squinted eyes, and wet. It’s a boy, I said before anyone else could speak. He was here, and just like that labor was over.
His head settled back into its shape, his eyes opened, and the midwives dried him off and wrapped him in blankets. There is a picture of him looking up at me, and though it’s blurry in my memory, I like to think it was our first look into eachother’s eyes. Even after a year of pictures, it’s my favorite one.
I’m 35 pounds lighter than I was on this day last year, and Waylon is about 16 pounds heavier. He’s out with his Papa right now, harvesting flowers. I’ve learned to savor these quiet morning moments alone, though sometimes when he is still sleeping, I can’t bring myself to turn away from Waylon’s perfect face as he dreams. I thought I learned the lesson of letting go when he was born, but it’s one I must relearn each time I drop him off at his grandparents’ house, each time I say goodbye. It’s a constant conflict, wanting time to myself and wanting to wrap Waylon up and smush my face into his plump little cheeks. It’s a conflict I’ll take.
Today is a bit hazier than it was last year, but warm. The birds are singing as the sun slowly heats the air, and it feels like rain is meandering its way toward us. There is so much to do. There is always so much to do. But today I remember labor, and that magnificent first moment of meeting my baby, and I think, I can do anything.