I got a text at 7:18 this morning from Jessie saying that she was having some contractions and this might be it and she was making pancakes and...
So for the next hour or so we all texted back and forth and I thought I'd make soup and then I got the feeling that she wanted me to come on over and maybe Boppy could come and get August?
So. Off we went in separate cars to town and when we got there, Jessie was cleaning up from the pancakes and August was running around and Vergil was tidying a few things here and there and this is what Jessie looked like at 10:18 a.m.
She was actually having a contraction in that picture but obviously, it wasn't a hugely difficult one. Boppy and August settled in to read books.
I started cooking the chicken in Jessie's kitchen.
May was trying to get someone in to cover her at work and Lily was waiting for Jason to be done with a dentist appointment so that he could take Maggie and so for a while it was just the five of us, hanging out and I kept listening to Jessie and I could tell that her contractions were coming on fast and were getting harder. Jessie had talked to Diana, the midwife, and she had an 11:30 appointment and was going to come by after that but I thought that Jessie ought to just let her know that she needed to come on now and so Diana changed her plans and called her students who would assist her to come on too and they got there in a little while. Diana listened to Jessie having one contraction and agreed with me that it was not going to be that long.
The ladies set up all of their equipment and May got there and then Lily got there and Boppy took August off to play at a playground and go have lunch and before you know it, Jessie was honest-to-god ready to have that baby and she pushed for about 2 minutes (and I am not kidding you) and out came that little guy who does not have a name yet and so we can still call him King Richard although I was calling him Precious Peanut Peaches before I left the house.
Jessie is just a goddess. That is all there is to it. And she and Vergil are the best team you can imagine. I actually got a video of one of Jessie's last contractions which is not meant to share with the world but I had to get a recording of the way she was singing her way through the pain. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. It is the sound of the creation and deliverance of life. It is the sound of the strength of all of the woman who have ever lived.
And at 12:26, she pushed that baby out and Tanashia, the same woman who delivered Magnolia, caught him and put him on Jessie's chest.
A tiny bit over two hours from Jessie cleaning up the kitchen to Jessie holding her new baby.
And he is gorgeous. He wailed and cried and he turned pink as the inside of a conch shell and for that moment, the world was absolutely perfect.
The boy seemed astounded that all of this had happened. Where was he? Who was he? What in the world was going on?
Soon enough, however, he figured out how to nurse with the ease of someone born to it (as he was because we are mammals) and then suddenly, there was Boppy and August who had just woken up from a nap in his car seat and was a bit dazed. And also, maybe confused because when he fell asleep, he'd been pretty sure that he was heading to Boppy's house with his grandfather and suddenly here he was confronting this situation which, although his parents had tried very hard to prepare him for, he was not sure about at all.
What two-year old truly is prepared for a new baby? Who is that alien being suckling on HIS mama's nursies? Why IS his mama cuddling this...thing? Baby Brother was fine and good when he was still inside his mother's belly. But this? What the hell?
So he mostly took the path of ignoring the baby for the most part although he did ask some questions. Mostly like, "Baby doing?" "Mama doing?"
I hear that this morning, when August woke up, he got out of his crib and came into his parent's room and got in bed with them and they had a beautiful morning of snuggles with their big boy. A very special time before the baby came which Jessie and Vergil will never forget.
And when Hank and Rachel got there, August did say, "Brother! Brother!" to Hank, and I'm sure that soon enough, he'll be happy to have that amazing thing- a brother. And to be one, too.
We all got to hold the little boy and after his original wailing, he became very quick to calm and he looks around with big huge eyes to see what is before him, to take in as much as he can, and then to fall asleep in whosever arms are holding him.
What a joy. What perfection, what glory.
He weighed seven pounds, seven ounces, and is 21 inches long. He is perfect in all ways. He has a lot of dark hair and his eyes are blue-gray and he does and does not look like his brother.
He looks like who he is. And we are all completely enchanted.
For some damn reason that I can't figure out, some of the pictures that I've sent from my phone are not arriving into my email inbox which means I can't post them. Here's one more that I was able to receive.
Tanasia getting a set of vitals after the birth. Oh, how I love her and Diana who have safely and beautifully helped my daughters bring four of my grandchildren into this life.
Once again, I have to tell you that I am more than grateful for the fact that I and my daughters have been able to have home births. The difference between giving birth at home and giving birth in the hospital are like the difference between giving birth on earth and giving birth on the space station.
Okay. That's not quite right.
But. It sort of is. Instead of being hooked up to and surrounded by beeping machines and having strangers attend to you, you are at home, in your own bed, in your own environment which YOU control, where you can drink and eat what you need and want, where the people who love you can be with you and love on you, where instead of monitoring your progress by looking at a strip of paper coming out of a machine you are monitored by someone listening to the sounds you make, to the way you react to the contractions you're having, to the listening to the baby's heartbeat with ears instead of eyes, and when it's over and the baby is safely and joyously placed on your chest, you are home in your own bed and your sisters and your brother and your father and your mother and your son can all hang out there with you. Your mama can make a big pot of chicken and dumplings and you can take a shower in your own bathroom and put on your own clothes and your baby is examined on the bed where you gave birth and the cord isn't cut until you are ready. And there are enough hugs and tears and kisses to fill all of the space in your heart that a new life has created.
And then everyone goes away and you and the person you created this life with along with your first child can be together in the quiet and the wonder and the peace and the joy.
I'll post those other pictures when I can. And I'll let you know his name when his parents decide what it is.
Can you believe it?
He is here. Shove over, universe. There's a new boy in town.
Love...Ms. Moon, Grandmother of Five