I am nine months pregnant and on my third day of labor. Walking is great to bring baby down and out so my husband and I are at the dog park, walking walking walking, hopeful that the labor that started two nights prior will come on full force. He is loving as contractions hit, rubbing my low back, supporting me. We leave the park and head home; I’m out of energy and being out in public feels surreal and odd.
At home, John dutifully records the start time of every contraction. He’s looking for a pattern to see how many minutes apart they are and how long they last. He likes having something concrete to do during a time where we are all held by the unpredictable force of nature. Although it’s still considered early labor, I want to be in the birthing tub we have for the intensity of labor and the birth. He gets to work, setting up this ginormous pool in our Flame Room, the room where my altar sits and where I have gathered many, many times with circles of women for ritual and ceremony. He runs the hose from our basement so we can have a mix of hot and cold water for the perfect temperature for me. Once the pool is filled, John lights the candles on the altar and all the candles in the house and puts on my favorite Goddess-y music. I relax in the pool, warm water soothing the pain spreading across my low back. I am so relaxed I could sleep here.
We decide to go to bed early since we don’t know when the baby will finally make his appearance and we have already been up for days. Around 1:30 a.m., I wake feeling like a freight train is thundering through my pelvis. I’m gasping and crying out, “Babe, babe…” and in his sleep, he tries rubbing my back to help ease the pain but there is no easing this pain. I jump out of bed and head for the birthing pool. He’s dead asleep but coming down the stairs right behind me to put more warm water in the pool. He lights the candles again, puts on the music, but this time, there is no comfort. He calls the midwife and doula and they both say they are on the way.
Labor is intense. This is my second child but it has been ten years since my first birth experience. I can’t seem to get on top of the pain. It rips through me, blasting past my pain threshold and rocketing beyond, beyond what I can handle, beyond what I think my body will allow and I cry, “Nooooo,” as the doula encourages, “Yes…this is what we need to bring the baby.” She encourages me to open to the pain, to breathe through the pain and certainly not to resist the pain. They decide to get me out of the pool to stand so gravity can help us. John holds me and I hang on him, in another world…I’m on Labor Planet and there is only pain and exhaustion. They put me on the birthing ball and John is there to help me balance. They put me on the Torture Chamber Chair, a metal contraption with no seat, just rails for me to sit on which is supposed to align my pelvis and let baby come out. Nightmare. No matter what position, John is right there, loving me, soothing me, a calm, steady presence even though I’m sure it scared the crap out of him to see the woman he loves in the worst pain of her life. With his help, I get back in the birthing pool and the midwife decides to monitor the baby. We hear the thump thump thump thump of the heartbeat and I cry with relief. John kisses me on the forehead. I’m so tired, I’m slipping lower and lower into the water. “Let’s get her on the couch,” the midwife says. With everyone’s help, I stand to get out of the tub. I am completely surprised by what feels like the sudden burst of a balloon in my womb. My water broke! Leaning on John and the midwife, I move to the couch.
I am hooked up to oxygen and laying on top of all kinds of protective waterproof pads for when the baby comes. The midwife says, “Kim, we need to ask your permission to do something.” I eagerly respond, “Cut me?” because I so wanted them to just cut me open and pull the baby out. “No,” she answers, humored by my response. “Massage the perineum.” Of course. Whatever. Anything-everything that would make baby be born. Contraction hits, I push and push and push. It feels like forever but they see the head and I am so relieved I am actually making major progress. I had already pushed in that Torture Chamber Chair forever ago and nothing happened. The midwife and doula call John over to see his son emerge. They were wanting the first hands on our baby to be his Daddy’s. John cradled the baby’s head in his hands as I continued to push. Finally, Logan Dean Macy came into the world, making John Paul Macy a Daddy.
This man who was so supportive of me throughout three days of labor and a truly difficult delivery has been supportive since the day we met and continues to be supportive almost nine years later. He always walks me to the car and opens the door for me. When we first started dating, his friends joked about it, “Wonder how long that’ll last” they said. John’s answer was, “My dad did that for my mom until the day he died.” And John still does it to this day. When we are with Mom Macy, he still walks her to the car and cares for her like his father did before him. And now our little boy offers to walk Grandma to the car when Daddy isn’t present!
He supports our family, getting out of bed at 3:30 a.m. six days a week to go to work. He encourages me in my work, my play and my friendships. He is the first to tell me to take a rest when I need it and to truly listen to all that is going on for me. And he ACTUALLY LISTENS! Once I was preparing for a client who needed intensive cleansing work, he saw my elekes (necklaces that serve as energetic shields that protect the wearer) and said, “Don’t these need to be soaked in milk and placed on your altar overnight?” I was stunned. I share things with him in passing but never expected him to remember. I think one of the best things about my husband is that he knows how to stand strong beside a strong woman. He doesn’t let me roll over him and I totally would if given the chance. I secretly want him to stand up to me, to call me out on my stuff, to know and trust himself so well and love me enough that he can tell exactly what I need even when I resist it. I am a strong, capable woman and it is so so nice to partner with a strong, capable man.
He is my parenting partner. He backs me up completely, reinforcing to our kids that we are a united front. When I am frazzled and fried from parenting all day, he comes home from work with patience and love. When I feel guilty for needing time to myself, he encourages me, telling me that it’s completely normal and I should go have some time away. He’s happy for me to teach my classes, play with my friends, take trips-whatever. If I’m happy, he’s happy for me.
He LIVES the stuff that I teach. He is my Buddha Boy, my Jedi John. Wise words fall out of his mouth every time I’m conflicted and searching. To be able to see this man share his love, his strength, his stability and his wisdom as the father of our kids is such a gift to me! His strength of character and thoughtfulness is in action every single day we spend together. For Mother’s Day, he built me a raised garden bed complete with luscious, rich soil. For Father’s Day, I got him cologne. He always puts so much thought into gifts-he is definitely better at that than I am!
When we were first dating, he made mix CD’s for me, telling me through songs exactly how special I am and how much he loves me. One of the songs he chose became “our song” and was the song we danced to at our wedding. The song is The Luckiest by Ben Folds and it goes:
I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know
That I am
What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?
And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know
That I am
I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you
Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away
I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know
That I am
On this day, celebrating my husband for the wonderful father he is, I am most certainly the Luckiest.