Friday, September 27, 2013

Birth Day

When Mr. Moon and I got together, we got busy. By the time we'd been married for one year, we had a one-month old and a business.
Well, I had the child. He had the business.
We both knew we wanted a baby and he knew he needed to start a business in order to support us. He did his part in the baby-making and I did...uh, nothing, in the business.
This was because
(a) I had a nine-year old, a seven-year-old, and a new-born, and
(b) My business sense was in direct inverse proportion to my ability for procreation.

We were both, Mr. Moon and I, thirty-one years old when Lily was born. I thought I was a pretty experienced baby-haver and mama.

And the universe laughed and laughed.

Lily was my fastest birth. Only about fourteen hours of labor. But the child weighed over ten pounds and she had her little hand up by her head which I knew because I could feel it down there, punching my bladder for the last few weeks. It took me a very long time to push her out and when her head finally emerged, her shoulders got stuck. This is a very, very serious problem and can lead to all sorts of problems, including death. But the midwife was fast-thinking and had me flip over to hands and knees (the Gaskin maneuver) and Lily was born. She needed resuscitation. She was blue, she was still.
It was scary.
Outside the day was as beautiful as a day in late September can be. A day like today, in fact. Crystal clear of sky and air and there were lavender roses by the bed and a cradle, hand-made by her papa lay in wait.
Here's what Hank remembers about that day:

The day you were born, May and I stayed home from school. Mom was in labor, and we played out back all day. We pretended to have a traveling cart, with a team of horses, and we kept ourselves entertained while Mama did her job. Dad had made a screened porch into a master bedroom, and that's where you made your appearance. We didn't know your name until Mama used it to conjure you. 

And that's exactly what I did. While our midwife was giving my baby oxygen, she said, "Talk to her. She needs to hear her parents."
And so, even though we had not settled on a name, I called to her. I said, "Lily Rose. Breathe. We love you." And we touched her and she took a breath and she wailed and she wailed and turned rosy pink and the room became clearer and joyful and we all laughed and I took her to my breast and there she was. Perfect and fat and pink and gorgeous and sturdy and strong and given a name. 
Lillian Rose Moon. 
And Hank and May were called in from the backyard to come and greet their new baby sister and I was delirious with joy and determined NEVER GO THROUGH LABOR AGAIN and her father was so happy that when I told him we were never having sex again, he accepted that, and his parents came to see her and they were so pleased and even my mother was there and she took Hank and May to Wendy's and brought us back hamburgers and they were the best hamburgers ever eaten on this planet in the history of all hamburger-eating. That night Lily slept in the bed with us, and it was a miracle every time Lily moved and breathed and nursed and her father and I barely slept, too incredibly stoned on the sheer wonder of her being there between us. I had never loved him so much. 

And today is a day like that one was. Cool and clear and I am thinking of that birth, thinking of that baby, all grown up and a mama times two herself.  I am thinking of the sheer wonder of it all again. The love that ignited the spark of life, the pain and work of labor, the glory of that day, the fear when she did not breathe, the joy when she did. 

Every time I've ever had a baby I felt with their births as if I had been reborn myself. If there is one thing on this earth I am proud of, it is that I know in my heart that I started my children off right, having them at home where the love that got them in there got them out and they were born in love and received in love and they have known love their entire lives and are able now to give and receive love knowing that it is their birthright. 

They were birthed right. 

Happy birthday, Lillian Rose Moon, daughter of my womb, mother of my grandchildren, friend of my heart, glory on this earth. 

It is a beautiful day. And it is Vergil's birthday too. Today is the anniversary of the day he was born and who knew that a little baby boy, born on a mountain in North Carolina in his own mama's bed would grow up and fall in love with my last baby (yes, I did have sex again) and make her so happy and I just sent his mother an e-mail thanking her for bringing him into the world and raising him so right. 

Well, I'm all teary again. 

I've had a walk. There is not one cloud in the sky. My only sorrow is that I had to take down the web of a Golden Orb weaver because it was right in the path of where we walk to get to the clothesline, the hen house. 

I waited until she was safely on that red bucket and I feel bad because I hated to undo her work but I really do not want to run into her when I go to shut the chickens up in the twilight. 

It seems cruel to be mean to a mama today but she can build another web.

I am thinking of all the women who are laboring right this second to bring their own babies into the world. I am sending them and their children love. I am astonished at the way this works, the miracle of it, every time. I would wish with all of my heart that every baby born, every day, is born into love.

What a beautiful day.

Happy Birth Day to us all, even as we are merely reborn into each new day, and especially to Lily and to Vergil.



  1. Brought me to tears. Happy Birthday to the world. Love, Anon. Suz

  2. Happy Birthday to all you birthday havers! xoxo

  3. Whew, I'm teary too...what a beautifully shimmering loving post. Lillian Rose Moon is absolutely one of the beautiful names I have ever heard and a perfect name for her.

    What a wonderful world we would have if every baby was loved as the Moon babies are. Thank you, Mama Moon, for shining your love upon all. I'm so lucky and thankful to be in your orbit.

    Happy Birthday, Lily and Vergil!

  4. That's an outrageously gorgeous post. Happy birthing day, Mary! And happy birthday to your Lily and Jesse's Virgil!

  5. Oh, thank beautiful. And just the loving reminder I needed to cope with my son's teenage grumps as he "individuates" from mama....his birth was and is such a gift from Heaven...and hopefully,after a little time dissolving in his cocoon he will re-emerge flying ;)

    And I loved the image of the orb spider being set so gently on a bucket...I'm in the process of writing another picture book which features a kind and wise spider -- I too have a special softness in my heart for those master weavers and storytellers...there is a wonderful NOVA special on the incredible tensile strength of spider silk - stronger than Kevlar or steel! Like a mother's love! xoxo Susan Bernardo

  6. This is beautiful, Mary. Thank YOU for bringing Lily, Jessie, May and Hank into this world. I'd be a different person without having met them and you.

    Love, Melissa

  7. Dear Mary-O those babies that get stuck and blue and they're scary while we're all holding our breaths until they take a breath and light up the room and we laugh and cry and thank life that they're born and so loved. O Mary whenever we get to meet in person, I'll know you like you know me. There's a baby coming herein the NW today. My partner is there with her on that enormous ride.

    XOXOXOXOXOXOX your Seattle friend

  8. I love this, and so glad you had those beautiful babies too.

  9. Happy birthday to Lily and Vergil. Such a beautiful post as always. Sweet Jo

  10. Oh, this beautiful post made me cry and then Beth's comment did too. It certainly is a miracle, all of it, and almost universal how time slows down and almost stops in those moments when life begins for our babies. I'll remember those days on my last here, I'm sure.

    Happy Birthday to your babies, you have filled their lives with love and they have returned the favor.


  11. I just adore your heart and the way you express yourself. It's just so soothing. Happy Birthday to those you love so much.

  12. giving birth the two times I did it was the most incredible experience of my life. the labor leading up to the birth, not so much, but pushing the baby out and seeing it take that breath and cry and be a living breathing live human being is just about the best feeling ever. happy birthday Lily Rose.

  13. Thank you for bringing your readers into your Birthday Season. Happy Birthday, one and all!!!

  14. Really beautiful Ms. Moon. You do have a way with words and thanks for sharing all of this with us today. Hope Lily and Vergil enjoy their birth day. Take care.

  15. My god, this is a beautiful post. I am so glad that I a woman and can understand the joy of birthing a baby.

  16. Happy birthday indeed. And don't worry about the spider. She will make due!

  17. Such beauty, as always.
    If everyone loved and was loved the way your family does...there would finally be peace on this earth.

  18. Well that's just a beautiful birthing story and now I'm all teary...
    Happy Birthday y'all.

  19. The way you write about your babies, your love for them, the absolute radiance of it, it's no wonder they are all such magnificent people. They were birthed and swaddled in your love. This is gorgeous writing.

  20. Yes, agreed on all of the above. Tender and beautiful.

  21. Happy belated birthday to Lily and Vergil. Just reading about the birth of Lily gives me shivers. So difficult to know that anything can go wrong. But you seem to be good at birthing and so many other things. Resourceful and strong. And your children all turned out to be the same.


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