|Dahlia from yesterday's market|
The baby was born in the apartment below us on Thursday. I was on a hike all day long and heard from Smart Guy about the strange sounds emanating from their apartment. I knew the baby would be born at home, because they had hired a midwife. Midwives don't get to work in hospitals, unfortunately. Our next-door neighbor filled me in that it was to be a "water birth" and was apparently quite successful. I saw pictures on Facebook after the birth and learned that a little baby girl was born at 7:15pm, so all was quiet by the time we went to bed on Thursday night. I'm so glad it was a girl; I'm not at all sure why. There was a picture of the baby showing four generations of women; all three mothers were wearing exactly the same smile.
I was present at a home birth once, many years ago in Boulder. My friends had invited me to attend, and I was a little nervous but glad to be invited. By the time I arrived, their doctor was present who was a friend of the family. They already had a three-year-old boy, Lev, with whom I had spent a great deal of time, babysitting and the like. He had been born in a hospital, and the parents decided that a home birth might be less traumatic this time around.
Although I had no actual duties to perform for the birthing, I was able to help with Lev until the time came for the actual event. It was an amazing sight, to see this infant emerge into the world. He was blue and didn't cry out at first, since the cord was wrapped around his head. The doctor cleared his nasal passages and he began to cry, much to the relief of everyone present, and he turned pink immediately. He looked huge to my eyes, and it turned out that he weighed almost ten pounds! The mother, Rochelle, was a tiny thing who didn't weigh much more than a hundred pounds herself. But once it was over and mother and baby were cleaned up and wrapped in warm dry clothes, the radiance on Rochelle's face was what I remember the most. It was a transformative moment, experiencing the presence of a new life in the world.
We humans have been giving birth in various fashions since, well, since the beginning. As I wrote about my own experience last week, the fifties and sixties in the United States were among some of the more unsettling occasions, where the mother was removed from the event as much as possible, turning it over to doctors and nurses. I suppose it was thought that this would be better for all concerned, but I sure don't think so. When I think of the difference between coming into the world in a warm nurturing environment and the bright lights and sterile environment of a hospital operating room, there is simply no comparison. Our first moments of life separate from our mother should be sacred and cherished. I never even got to see my son for several hours after he was born, much less hold him.
Yesterday's weather didn't allow for any skydiving, so I went on the Saturday walk and enjoyed a cup of coffee with the ladies afterwards. The weather today is a little better, and I've looked at the web cam a couple of times wondering what is in store for me today. My week is always better when I've been able to get in a skydive or two, since it's an activity that I enjoy so much and know that the days are numbered for us to get up in the air. By the end of October, the season has shut down in this part of the world, and September is right around the corner. I saw a maple tree yesterday that has flame-red leaves already. So soon? It seems so quick, the summer season winding down. In October I will travel to Lake Elsinore in California for one last flurry of skydiving for the season, and then I'll decide whether or not I will continue the activity in 2014. You know I probably will, but I'm reaching the time when I need to carefully consider whether it makes sense.
Now I realize that those of you who never had made a skydive might think it NEVER makes sense, but that's because it's not familiar to you. Being in freefall and flying my canopy are events that are as commonplace to me as driving a car is to most of you. Remember when you were first learning to drive? It was terrifying, at least it was to me. Until I learned how to navigate that powerful machine and became accustomed to highway speeds, I was in a state of hyper-awareness whenever I was driving a car. I still feel that when I need to get on the interstate and travel at speeds higher than my comfortable around-town pace. It's easy to become complacent when we are behind the wheel of a car, and that's dangerous. I spend three hours on the highway when I travel to and from Snohomish, probably the most hazardous part of my day. Really.
Okay, that's it. I lifted the lid and that's what came out. Now I can begin the rest of my Sunday, as my tea is finished and my partner continues to snore softly next to me. My laptop will bring me the news and the blogs that my friends have written since I last checked. Then I'll read the Sunday funnies online and continue with the rest of my day. My morning meditation is complete, and my thoughts are turning to other things. At this point, I always offer a quick prayer to the universe to give us all another wonderful day on this beautiful blue globe we call home.