Friday, October 4, 2013

Listening: a birth story

I am sitting in my usual position on the couch, laptop perched on my knees, when she calls. Only her wavering voice betrays anxiety as she tells me her water broke and the ambulance brought her to the hospital. I hurry around like our hens chasing a cricket until Adam reminds me to go pick up Zack, and head to the hospital so he doesn’t miss his baby sister’s birth. I nod, grateful, and then worry over whether they will let me check Zack out, and if maybe I should go to the hospital straight-away so she knows she’s not alone. After Adam again calms my fretting, I head to the school to collect Zack. Together, we pull into Labor and Delivery and walk up and down stairs until finding ourselves in a cordoned triage room filled with rounded bellies on the cusp of new life.
They only let us in one-at-a-time, so I settle into a wooden armchair between bathroom doors down the hallway to watch and wait. Anticipation seeps from the room, crawling beneath blue curtains and over faded linoleum. I hear voices and laughter and moaning through contractions, moored by a loud beeping heartbeat that quickens and slows as waves of contractions pass. My own heart quickens to match, and dark flutters of worry tease the corners of my consciousness as I remember two years ago laboring Caden, and everything that followed. I push aside my fears and focus instead on the nurses’ gentle coaching, while my eyes follow Zack’s Nikes as they pace beneath the curtains.

When they tell her it’s time, her eyes plead: I cant go alone, she whispers. Zack shakes his head no way. And so I nod of course. We head back to the OR, our hands clasped together, while Zack settles into a worn-leather chair basking in the sun. They bring her back to anesthesia; meanwhile, I zip myself into a guaze-jumpsuit, pin my hair back into a cap, and cover my feet with blue elastic-rimmed booties. Just don’t faint I remind myself over and over while whispering prayers for the life and delivery of this new little one.

The doors swing open and I’m finally ushered back, where I perch on a stool next to her head, safely behind the tall blue curtain. The doctors make small talk, and I stroke her forehead beneath her paper cap when she tells me she’s not ready.
Get your camera! The doctor commands; and just like that, beautiful Zoriah Faith announces her entrance to the world with wailing. Eternity echoes the moment life begins, and I gently wipe the tears running rivulets down her brown cheeks. I steady myself behind the lens, framing her tiny body as they wash blood down in rivulets, a holy cleansing of new life and fresh start. Gently wrapping her in a receiving blanket, the nurse hands her to me and I remind my hands not to shake as I rock softly and whisper in her perfect little ear.In this holy moment of new beginning, I bear witness to creation, to consecration of community, to shared burdens and a grace birthed. Motherhood binds us, and they stitch back together the womb that knit and held the baby who now sleeps beneath dark lashes in my pale arms. I am laid-flat by the beauty of their story, of a God who offers grace-upon-grace. I hold Zoriah close so her momma can kiss her forehead, and I tell them how proud I am, that I see the hard work they did today and that it matters. In the exquisite rendering of new life, I am reminded of the ways we are gifted by listening to and laboring with others. The ways that our hearts and stomachs alike are stretched and marked by motherhood and the understanding that we really do belong to each other in tangible ways. That easy solutions cannot be the way of faith; rather; taking deep breaths and wading through together, grasping hands and birthing new life from either end of socioeconomic and racial spectrums. Because at the end of what can be painful and scary and maybe even bloody, we find ourselves staring into the deep brown eyes of new life. We recognize, even through our tears, the beauty of this gift, this grace, we have been given.

Welcome to the world Zoriah Faith.

6 comments:

  1. Love, love, love, Becca. The writing & the photos are beautiful.

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  2. Love, love, love, Becca. The writing & the photos are beautiful.

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  3. Oh my goodness. I am a puddle once again reading your blog. Thanks for letting us share in the blessings (hehe) through this post and these photos.

    PS. The photos of Zack meeting Zoriah should be illegal they are so good. Good gah.

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  4. Zoriah is beautiful as is your telling of her arrival.

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  5. Beautiful. All of it. Her name, her face, her story. Thanks for sharing, friend.

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