I once read this article about Sam Beam from the band Iron and Wine. He was talking about how his wife was an artist too, but that after she gave birth to the first of their five daughters she knew she could never create anything as perfect and beautiful with her artwork, so she became a midwife instead. I’ve never forgotten that.
The birth of my daughter was different than everything I expected. She wasn’t born in June. I took the epidural. I never listened to my birth playlist during the 48 hours it took. In the fourth hour of pushing her into the world, I swore I wanted to give up and that I couldn’t do it. I begged for them to use the vacuum to help get her out from behind my small pelvis. Because of the meconium that covered her when she finally emerged, Scott had to cut the umbilical cord immediately instead of waiting three minutes so our daughter could hopefully learn to read and write sooner based on some study I saw on The Today Show. She went into a warming bed to get cleaned and examined before coming to my chest. When she did, I was in utter shock and all I could do was hold her.
But of course, now I understand what Sam Beam’s wife meant about childbirth more than I ever could. It was the hardest, messiest moment of my life and it was the most beautiful.
The day following her delivery, one of the doctors who first examined me came to our recovery room. Scott was sleeping in the corner on some chair-bed that’s comfortability and material reminded me of a restaurant booth. I could feel our first baby’s hot breath against my chest as the sun was rising behind the soft, grey marine layer and I was listening to Iron and Wine and crying because I felt all of those details like I never had before. I was different now. The doctor didn’t say anything about my tears when she walked to the side of my hospital bed. She just talked to me about how tough the delivery sounded and how proud of me she was even though we only met one night at 3 a.m. while she was examining my cervix.
“You were a caterpillar and now you are a butterfly” she told me.
And that’s the best way I can describe the experience of bringing Avalon Wild into the world.