I woke to strong contractions early in the morning on the 10th; between 4:15 and 4:30, they were seven minutes apart, but quickly went to three minute spans. By 6 we were at the birth center. By 6:55 Orion was born.
During her last visit prior to our being discharged on Monday, the midwife said, “Just spend the next two weeks like a queen on her throne and let everyone else do the work.”
I nodded and almost laughed at the image of myself on a plush purple cushion atop a gilded, elevated throne, but I knew that even having the most supportive partner–one who cleans, does laundry, makes meals, and just generally keeps everything, the concrete and the intangible, humming–the two weeks following Orion’s birth would hardly be queenly.
I was up early this morning, running on about two hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. I thought I might get some writing done before everyone woke up from their own sleep-deprived-for-days slumbers; I have a book chapter due this Friday, a big feature article due next Monday, and three other significant print magazine assignments all due before the end of the month. But nothing doing… Orion was sprawled across my chest and he was awake. Though he was perfectly calm–meaning I could have worked– his eyes were open. They and his mouth were a slow-mo flip book of expressions and all I could do for three whole hours was just be there and look at him and fall even more in love.
Francisco and I were driving in Manhattan tonight, Mariel and Orion in the backseat, both asleep. We talked about everything in our individual and shared stories that led us to this moment, and how grateful we were that each of the tiniest and most momentous decisions moved us along the path we’ve been on together and, finally, brought us right here, right now, to loves so supreme that they are nearly impossible to articulate.
We talked about the ferocious feelings of parenthood, the do anything for their sake intensity that, at times, makes you unrecognizable to yourself. We talked about why I threw myself into bed the night before Orion was born and cried for a long time– how attached I already felt to him and how worried I felt about his birth and, again– a feeling I’d had when Mariel was born– the absolute wonder of making it out alive and thriving… because there are so many moments when so many things can go wrong, even when you’ve done everything right.
If we could hold that feeling close to us through every moment, I think we just might experience the kind of transcendence that keeps us present right now, reminding us quietly but urgently that this is all we have and that it’s everything.