Last year at this time you and I were not quite separate yet. You were still curled in the dark thrumming space of my belly. I was in labor with you all night, sleeping between contractions, willing you to turn yourself around. But you continued to face upwards, the back of your head pressing against my pelvic bone, and so I walked and walked about the house.
I watched the sun rise, a smudge of red and pink out the bedroom window. And when the day came it was warm, and I walked around the deck holding onto your daddyâ€™s shoulders. The air smelled like spring. Like birth. Thawing mud and the sudden up-springing of sap.
I was exhausted. For the two days before I went into labor, I had been vomiting---fighting the worst stomach flu Iâ€™d ever had. I hadnâ€™t eaten in a day and a half and was almost certainly dehydrated. My midwife gave me fluids, and I drank, willing them to stay down. But after fifteen hours of labor, sometimes in the tub that we had set up in the warm cocoon of our bedroom and sometimes on the bed, we decided to go to the hospital. The homebirth Iâ€™d wanted for youâ€”for meâ€”was something I was no longer capable of pushing for. I needed fluids.
Your doctor, who knew we were coming and who had supported our decision to try for a home birth, met us at the hospitalâ€™s front desk, smiling. I was hooked up to an IV drip, and almost immediately I felt a surge of energy. I started to laugh. But still you didnâ€™t want to leave me, and it took more hours of pushing and finally pitocin to help my exhausted uterus to push you out. The sharp pain of your entrance into the world was immediately replaced by the most intense joy I have ever felt.
There you were. Wet, small, and big-eyed. I pressed you close to my skin, and warm blankets were wrapped around us. I held you by my heartâ€”suddenly outside of me, suddenly your own small self.
And now a year has gone by. The most amazing year, filled with the wonder of watching you grow every month. You are a delight, a rascal, a risk taker, a love. You giggle, you are silly, you make mischief, you love to laugh. Because of you, your daddy and I decided to move north, away from the suburban tangled sprawl of the tri-state area.
Because of you I stopped teaching and stay home with you instead. It is a new kind of job---one that I imagined I might resent, but do not. Great abundance has come into my life this year, as I spend my days with you. I have found my creative self again. I have begun to write and paint and draw.
Your presence in the moment has taught me how to return to the moment. To right now, here where your heart beats next to mine. You are more than I could have possibly dreamed of or imagined or hoped. Happy birthday, my little one.
For a photo narrative of Bean's first year, go here.