My son is here.
That deserved its own line. And lots of space to exhale. And inhale. And exhale again.
My son is here. In fact he's been here for 6 months, & 10 days already. This post is long overdue - after a very long (and wonderful, and crazy-good) ellipsis - but I felt I needed to pencil in the arc on this particular circle of life-- our son, Life Aloysius Lawlor, born on December 22nd, 2014, at 9:36pm, a few days before his Christmas due date.
He arrived with little fanfare, other than a strange dream involving a mouse and the waking gush of my waters breaking, early on the Winter Solstice. After a slow, drudging labor of over 40 hours, after I said mercy, at 38 hours in, numb me, induce me, he arrived. I don't know what his plans would have been otherwise. He wanted to come on his own time, slowly but surely, backwards or forwards with intense back labor, with the greatest pain I have ever experienced. After an encounter with Pitocin, an epidural, and even a brief nap (modern medicine is truly something to behold) the joy of our lives alas, came quickly after 20 minutes of pushing, with the cord wrapped snug around his neck, three times. As the doctor unwound, once, and then twice, winced, and then the third time - and laid him against my breast, we cried, and cried as he suckled.
Life -- named for a string of long-ago ancestors on his maternal grandfather's side, with initials honoring his paternal grandfather -- was surrounded by loved ones: Daddy, my mother, father, a dear friend and acting doula. We ate Chinese and welcomed a late night visit from special friends passing through en route to the island from California. I posed for pictures with the doctor, baby tucked in - so ecstatic I didn't realize till I processed them that my bosom was also completely on display - the widest of possible grins across my face. The pain, the work, the bending, the arcing, the panting, the showering, the bathing, the squatting, bouncing, hoisting -- the endurance of the past 40 hours was somewhere far, far away.
I summon it occasionally, in remembrance, in honor really, of all the women. All the women. I have cycled for over 11 hours over three mountain ranges in the Pyrenees, racing the clock and exhausting every last bit of my energy - legs, arms, back, body, mind, seething. That had nothing on laboring to bring a child into this world. Nothing. Women are infinitely strong creatures. Labor, is just one manifestation of this. But my laboring, which began so many years ago, which built this business, manifested in this one perfect, smiling muse, and birthed a love I have never felt before. It was infinitely painful; and infinitely worthwhile.
It's hard to say more. I am grateful to have joined the legions of my sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, ancestors who have brought life into this world, or nurtured it. I am also deeply mindful of the women wanting to do so, struggling to do so, or who have decided it is no longer in their best interest to do so. This could have gone so many other ways for us. But for whatever reason, it went this way. This beautiful, mysterious, challenging way we call motherhood.
On his first ferry ride home, we were greeted by a rare courting of Orca whales just off Shaw Island. I have thought for months this was a good omen for Life- being greeted by these stunning creatures, just hours after his encounter with the outside world. But it's dawning on me as I write this, that these matriarchal creatures may have also been welcoming me as I immersed myself in this new journey --another arc in this beautiful circle we call Life. My son bears witness to this. To the seasons changing - to barren branches, to buds, to blossoms, to fruit - to the harvest, that I thought would never come.
My son is here.