We are not on a boat. Nothing boatly about it. I keep finding pine needles in my pants. Welcome to northwest Washington, where blackberry bushes out-populate people.
After selling our fair sea dragon, C and I zoomed here via chop-chop-haul-ass road trips. We arrived homeless, jobless, and directionless. First we found a midwife (whew!). Then we housesat for a month. Next we inhabited my Grandparent's RV which was like living in a beige hamster tube. By this time C had found work tree trimming, and came home after 15 hour days smelling like a chain saw and looking like a bobcat scratchpole.
Then, a Craigslist Miracle:
The hobbit community of the far flung Shire obviously read the blog and love our story, because they arranged for us to have one of their cottages on the shores of Lake Samish. Lucky for us our landlady loves sailing and babies! Now, in the company of daddy-long-leg spiders, we watch the clouds sweep over the lake every morning from our cabin in the cedars. It's not as dashing as plying the Atlantic. We do feel ashamed of our creature-comfortness. But also I was six-and-a-half-months pregnant by the time we moved in, and ready as hell for some comfort. Especially because...
SEA MONKEY CAME EARLY!!!
36 weeks and 2 days. C, me and my beach ball belly went to bed. Around 1 am I woke to pee for the seventieth time. Ahhh, but hold on a sec... There sat I upon the porcelain oracle, staring down at my soaked anchor-patterned panties and the fluid that trickled down my legs. Surely not. SURELY NOT!!!
Being a first-time mum, all hands on deck assure you that you are statistically set to 1. Go past due date, and 2. Have an arduous 30+ hour labor, so = DON'T GET EXCITED. Rest, and don't be one of those frantic crazies who shows up at the hospital too soon.
So I shoved a bath towel between my legs, waddled back downstairs and rolled like a manatee into bed. Contractions commenced immediately. Oh bother. Aren't you supposed to time those things? Aren't you also supposed to have a bag packed, a birth plan, and a place for the baby to sleep? I lumbered upstairs to download a contraction app on the sofa while those beefy bitches rolled in 4-5 minutes apart. By 2 am I began to holler C's name, at which call my valiant lover came blinking and stumbling upward.
"I think this is happening," said I, swallowing the flapping butterflies in my throat, "I think my water broke!"
So we bumbled around like the two stooges, throwing whatever-the-heck in a bag and scribbling a birth plan out in ballpoint pen. It was a black and blustery night, with just a hint of moon to illuminate the tree boughs thrashing in the wind.
Everyone said: write a birth plan, and then throw it away. Whatever you think is going to happen: won't. Ideally our plan was a home birth where I gracefully groped a yoga ball and ultimately brought forth our very own Simba at dawn on the deck to the chorus of birds chirping. Perhaps that was an overly cinematic vision, but if you're gonna dream why not win the Oscar? At second best our plan was the Bellingham birth center. However, birthing before 37 weeks legally necessitates a hospital. Grunt.
Jumpy as giddy grasshoppers we called our midwife, expecting her to say it was not, in fact, an impending expulsion of a small human, but probably something I'd eaten, or a meddlesome moon phase. She assured us it was indeed happening, and called the local hospital. We arrived about 4 am with a cervix 95% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated (Thank the gods I had showered that day). The nurses hooked up an irritating IV and monitors which I HATED, and insistently offered fruit juice which was about as appealing as slug guts. I began to grip the sides of the bed as if they were monkey bars over a pit of pirrahnas.
Contractions, as best I can guess, feel like being possessed. There is no YOU. There is only the pain possessing the shell of your body. They rise like a flash flood, then ebb, only to immediately rise again. By 8 am when my life hole was 8 cm dilated, I could not have told you what planet we live on. There could have been pole dancing polar bears in the room and I wouldn't have known. Was I naked? I can't remember. How many people were clustered around the bed? My mother, sister, midwife, C, Marie Antoinette, Ghandi... It's a pain train that has run off track, fallen headlong over a bridge and is plunging down into an infinite abyss, into your vagina.
Until all of a sudden, it isn't.
And then it's time to PUUUUUuuuuush!
My thunderstruck body somehow knew what to do, roaring like a lioness and burning like a volcano oozing fire. Voices of the doctor, midwife, and C trickled through the wall of hot lava, contraction after contraction. Someone said, "We can see a dime-sized bit of the head showing!" A DIME??? I wanted to take that voice and shove it in a dime-sized gun barrel. Then a quarter. Then someone pushed my own hand down to the netherlands to feel that soft warm plum which instantly reduced me to tears. An hour later a wet, squishy creature thrust its way into the world and onto my chest. A boy. A tiny little boy universe, expanding in every direction and exploding our hearts into smithereens.
C cut the cord, and Mr. Sunny Bowline Martin came into being.
Yeah, we know spelling it with a 'u' is confusingly unisex, but we're sun worshippers, not diminutive male nickname worshippers. Bowline is an ancient sailor's knot, pronounced Bow-lin, not Bau-line, because sailing lingo don't make no sense, and they love to smoosh together words like Topsail (tops'l) and Mainsail (mains'l) and Bowline. We didn't exactly make it easy for him with a name like George, but we also didn't name him Dolphin or Pancake, so he oughta be grateful.
Of course, I still call him Monkey.
Sunny sleeps in a grass green farm crate beside our bed. He grunts, squeaks and gurgles like a gassy jalopy, and pees all over everything. We get even less sleep than we did on a stormy night at anchor on Drakka, wow! For the first week baby jaundice ruled our lives, my boobs exploded like a milkshake fountain, and we rode the oxytocin rollercoaster (i.e. cried at everything). Somehow C still manages to make jokes, dance, and sing, for which I adore him madly. As usual, we have no idea what is coming next, or where we are headed in life. What's the use of plans anyway?
Some options are:
1. Start a cricket farm
2. Take over a miniature remote-control sailboat building company
3. Move to a private island and learn French
4. Yet to present itself
This post has taken me two months to parse together. Two months of bleary-eyed poop analyzation, woeful ice cream avoidance, belly roll lamenting, breastfeeding head-banging, and love. I never knew I was capable of so much frustration, self-reproach, wonder, and LOVE.