The Source within you holds steady to your goodness and your well-being. Abraham-Hicks
It had been a torrential downpour, a half-hour of floodgates opening, and the rain was rushing through the streets of Boulder on Sunday evening. But now, the setting sun was bursting through the thunderheads and there was something special forming as I looked out the window in the room at Boulder Community Hospital where Shel had been laboring for nearly twenty-four hours. “Look, Shel! A rainbow! A full rainbow arcing its way over your room! All is well! It’s all okay!”
I remember our first birth plan, how we intended to stay home as long as possible, wanted to give birth in the labor room with no glaring lights shining into our baby’s eyes. And then my water broke, and then the back labor began, and the eighteen hours of hard work were not what we’d signed up for, and, when Pete finally was born under the florescent lights in the delivery room, he was whisked away and tested because of his pale skin. We didn’t see him for what seemed like hours, but was really minutes, and, when we did, none of it mattered, our ideal birth plan gone awry, because there he was, our baby, and he was perfect, beautiful – cone-shaped head, bruised skin and all.
Because of the leaking amniotic fluid, labor had been induced in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the pitocin, as powerful as it is, wasn’t doing the trick. The contractions were hard and incessant; yet, Shel’s body just wasn’t dilating past three centimeters. It was a little after ten that night when the phone rang and it was Pete, telling me that they were scheduling a C-section. A short time later, Shel’s parents, Marv and Audrey, joined me in the waiting room, and we were ushered through the inner doors and into the space where Pete and Shel and Baby would spend time bonding after the birth. We sat on chairs and a bed and we watched as our kids, all gowned up in sterile blue paper, were rushed past us through another set of doors. It was 11:37, almost the next day, when Marv thought he heard a baby’s cry.
And I’ll never forget what happened next, how Pete, in his blue paper scrubs, pushed the door open and walked through, walked through carrying a tiny bundle. And no one can prepare you for moments like this. No one can tell you what it is like to watch your son, the one you pushed out into the world over thirty years ago, holding his son in his arms, his tiny seven pound ten ounce son in his arms. No one can tell you what it is like to watch the two of them, your son and his son, locking eyes, in those first moments after birth. And they did. They locked eyes. This little bundle of baby looked up at his father and his father looked down at him, and the words poured easily from father to son. “Welcome to the world!” Pete said. “You are so beautiful! I love you! I love you! You’re perfect!” Don’t we all want to be welcomed like that?!? Don’t we all want to hear those words?!? Isn’t it all really perfect?!?
Before long, Shelly, swaddled in warm blankets, joined us in this room of bonding, and Baby, now swaddled, too, in his tiny cap, was passed around from grandparent to grandparent to grandparent. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was the best thing in the world to hold my grandson, to have my own moments of locking eyes. And although I could have held him forever, and I really could have, it felt right to hand him back to his father, who then placed him onto his mother. It felt right to stand there witness to the three of them nestled together, to say my good-byes and my I love you’s and to walk out of that room, out of that hospital, out into the after-the-rain middle-of-the-night mountain air, to breathe it in, the freshness of this new day.
(And oh, by the way, before leaving the three of them alone, we grandparents learned our grandson’s name. Viren William Ruspakka Remien. Viren, after the Finnish long-distance runner, Lasse Viren, and William, after our favorite bard, William Shakespeare. Welcome to the world, Viren William!!!)