And then the long slow work of the long hard road began. I walked and wrote. Talked and read and more than anything else really, just cooked. Filling the ice box with salad after salad and fruit and anything I could possibly crave or desire after the work of her labor was in my hindsight. But I am getting ahead of myself. Very very far ahead of myself.
Slowly. The unfolding of this labor was a slow burning flower of magenta and gold. It was a gently tended tiny fire in the palm of my hand that with small whispered breaths and tiny encouragements was finally, becoming the engulfing flame I needed it to be. 12 hours after my water broke at 5:30am in a tinkling trickle that left me no doubt of the impending arrival of my daughter, the real work began. Drizzling honey start. Maple syrup at the bottom of the bottle rolling like lava in the thick of time beginning. Moving at the pace of glaciers she was. Talking with Rufus and my family in easy laughter and anticipation not knowing what I was really in for this second time around. Not even in the slightest.
And then. Then. The Mack truck. The train of fury and pain and dizziness that nearly leveled me took hold, without abatement or reprieve, for the next 2 hours. And I sank into the dark. Alone. Eyes closed. Animal breath. Keening and shaking. Cresting and tumbling and trying to remember that this work, that this consumptive and tidal and black and burgundy blooming behind my eyes work, was the most difficult work a woman can be faced with. I held onto the ribbon of husband's voice. Felt the solace of his hands on my back. His encouragement and the gentleness of his eyes keeping me in this present place reminding me with each crashing break of what felt like bone and skin and all that was human in me, I was going to make it across the divide of this into the new and waiting light. Work. I was doing the work. Hands reaching out to comfort and soothe. Drink this. Breath. Walk. Rest. Sweat. Cry out and don't try and swallow the words. Remember that you are alive and take the moment and be in the thick. Be in your body. Sway and hang on. You won't drown though that's what it feels like. Trust in it. Twist. Bend. Yell and hit and moan like the dragon you are. Roar. Push. Weight. Wait. Water bursting. Pressure. Breaking. Tears. Blood and blood and wet everywhere. And then, release.
Small slippery body pushing with all her tiny and ferocious might for that first breath. Perfect evolution of ten fingers and toes. Your eyes disbelieving. Your heart bursting. Your body, exhausted and proud and resilient. Your husband slowly like a meteor shower, falling in love. Baby. Daughter. Welcome to the world darling sparrow. Welcome home.