Today my first born turns 16.
I naturally ruminate on the events that led up to this day, the anniversary of his birth. It was a hard day that revealed a lot about both of our most basic traits.
My pregnancy was flawless…I LOVED being pregnant. I felt powerful and sexy, the embodiment of Great Mother. I had none of the issues that many pregnant women do, as if my body was doing what it did best. As if I was built to make babies (if you saw my hips you would agree!)
I fretted about what to name this baby boy that was coming down the pike. We discussed some names, but I wanted to be sure to pick the “right one”.
One night I had a dream that I was with a grown boy, maybe about the age Jess is now. He was sitting at a white kitchen table in a white kitchen, and I was standing and talking with him. He looked exactly like Jess does now, with the exception of having very blue eyes instead of the green eyes Jess actually does have. In the dream, I asked him about his names. Do you like this one, do you like that one? He would shake his head at each choice. When I finally asked if he liked the name “Jess”, he shrugged, and I took that to mean it was the best of the choices we’d presented. I woke up knowing his name.
As I got closer and closer to Jess’ due date, I wondered how I would get this giant child out of my body. He was a big baby (I seem to grow big babies); at almost 10 pounds, my doctor was concerned that we would have to go the C-section route if he didn’t hurry it along. I didn’t know any better, not having given birth before, and not having any mothering influences around to remind me to trust my body’s knowing.
As the due date came and went, I puzzled over why this baby wasn’t coming. Was it up to the baby to decide? Was it up to my body? Was it a dance between the baby, my body, and something larger that made the decision as to his arrival?
My doctor gave me an ultimatum. We would wait no longer than two weeks after the due date, or risk having surgery to bring Jess into the world. We scheduled a date “just in case”. I asked a woman I worked with about how to choose a date, and she told me that more animals are born before a full moon than after, so I chose to schedule his birth the night before the full moon. Those two weeks I prayed a lot. Please come, Jess. Let him go, body. But to no avail.
The morning of his scheduled birth, I was so scared and sad. Scared because I had no idea what to expect and sad because I felt my body had somehow betrayed me. It hadn’t allowed the birth process to happen as it was supposed to. My body wasn’t letting this child go…it wasn’t releasing him into the world. That was a big clue for me much later in my life about my core emotional wound…the world is not safe.
The birth itself was long and hard. Pitocin to rush things along, and an epidural to keep me from losing my mind during the birth of an almost 10 pound baby. I have since learned an immense amount about the often unnecessary “medical menu” experience; my second son was born at home in the water with a midwife. But that’s another story. After labor pains of 9 hours or so, I pushed for 2 hours, lost a lot of blood, and Peter thought both I and Jess were going to die. I felt as if there were two of me; the one that wanted this baby out of my body and the one that was hanging on to him as if life depended on it.
Eventually, the me that wanted him out won by a slight margin. I remember the moment; the doctor said Jess was in distress…this remarkable baby had been moving his head in an effort to help the move down the birth canal, but he was weakening. He was stuck and losing strength. I had been bleeding and pushing for 2 hours, exhausted and freaked out because I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. The room was filling up with varied medical professionals, and a room for surgery had been prepared. I thought I couldn’t do any more. But when I heard her making noises that intimated that he may not make it, something bigger than the me that wanted to keep him safely in my body took over, and I pushed with a strength that came from Source itself. I was no longer in the room; I was the big bang. Suddenly I exploded and gave birth to the universe. And Jess was born.
He was blue and limp, needing oxygen for a couple of minutes. His poor little head was shaped like a cone from being in between my pelvic bones for so long. But he lived. Thank god for his determination.
My body was torn to shreds physically; the inner conflict I’d experienced left me exhausted and ripped open emotionally. My most basic fear had been exposed, the scab of an old, but very alive wound, ripped right off. The pulsating well of grief and fear within that was subsequently exposed took me down a rabbit hole of two years of post partum depression, and the re-emergence of my spirit back into my life. And healing.
So, in a very real way, this beautiful boy who turns 16 today saved my life. He is a teacher to me every day; wise beyond his years and with seeming nerves of steel, he has a tender heart and genuine caring for all humanity. When he decides to do something, he does it with mastery. I am amazed sometimes at the ease with which he moves through the world.
But it was his entrance into the world through my body that taught me one of my most precious lessons. No matter what our fears and doubts, no matter what wounds may seize us up and make us try to prevent flow, life wins.