The skin of her belly was taught; stretched to its elastic limit. If she had grown inside of her for one more millimetre…
“That baby wants to come out now.”
I said, having placed my hands over her pregnant bump and seen the stretch of the skin. There was no room left inside of her uterus. I knew that with the wisdom akin to an ageing midwife and the unborn child knew it too, with wisdom from the starry skies.
This was the child’s Blessingway; it was not due for another four weeks. Later over tea and sandwiches many discussions burst open about the possible miscalculation of dates. Counting on fingers. Deliberating the impossible and the incredible. To her, the uncoiled foetus, such matters were arbitrary, undetermined. This was to be the day of her birth. She had chosen. Female child.
At approximately4.30p.m her mother’s waters broke. At last. She had been kicking and punching for days and weeks now. Her stretch inside the womb no longer sufficed and her head swam to the neck of the cervix. A journey undertaken by many souls before and in the car en route to hospital her head crowned at five centimetres. Father broke the speed limit. Mother gripped her stomach and deeply breathed holding her embryo steady.
Thankfully, mother consented to the drive to hospital, in fact it had been her decision to go; the idea of a home birth was not usually waived so easily. I imagined midwifing my first baby in those gripping sixty minutes or so, right there on the bedroom carpet. They arrived on the delivery suite with thirty minutes to spare. That was a timeless, ageless two or three hours. The prickle of spirit moving between us, palpable in the atmosphere and all around.
And she came into the world and was received with love and belonging and she made little baby noises in response to our thoughts and our prayers, like she had been here before and could not wait to return. She knew we needed her here and her little noises spoke the wisdom of eternity.
I hold her close to my breast and feel a surge of love and protection. My emotions are stirred and a need to be pregnant returns like a migrating bird. Oh! Juniper, you have no idea what you have done.