Papa and Me
by Kelly Williams
Hemingway wrote about the earth moving in For Whom the Bell Tolls. He said it could happen three times in a lifetime, during good sex.
He was wrong, of course, and that may have something to do with why he shot himself in the head.
I wish he could have known about the birth of Joshua. I sat in the bathtub, feeling my body ready for the passionate ordeal that is birth. Hot, clean water bubbled around me; my womb relaxed.
The lights were out. I bathed in water and darkness. I felt frightened, a little, but also trusted my body to do the work it had to.
An hour passed. It wasn’t pain, exactly. More of a passion that swept over me, over, and over. My mouth opened and shut in unison with the rhythmic stretching, stretching of my cervix.
My husband was nearby, and called the appropriate people to come. They weren’t needed, but it is the custom, and they promised not to interfere.
Open, open. My mouth stretched in soundless song. I needed nothing; I was in awe of my body. I left the tub to empty my bowels, make more room, and quickly splashed back in. Outside of the water, the contractions were beginning to hurt!
Open, open, and suddenly aaaaaah. The earth did move. My baby slid, down, through and there, was ready to pass into the world.
My husband came, and fetched a receiving blanket. It was the oldest one we had, the softest.
I left the bath, then, and entered the room our son was conceived in. I stood, by our bed and was ready. Aaaah, another push, and I sat on the end of our bed to protect my bottom. (It felt like my baby would pass the wrong way!)
Another push, then and a dark, damp lock of hair came. The head, oh, beautiful red, and shortly, his whole body passed into my husband’s arms.
Smiling, laughing, tears, and whoops of joy. The man who shares my bed and table and life passed me our child. I raised our child to my breast and kissed his blessed head a hundred times. I licked him and marvelled at his darling fat. We laughed at his large, red balls. We celebrated his first pee.
The earth moved. Papa Hemingway would have been proud.
The bell tolls, mother, for you.