This is my wife taking her first look at our newest daughter, Baby Josie, born on Tuesday after a challenging labor and an unscheduled C-section. Talk about heroic efforts and the marvels of modern medicine. In the old days, one or both of them could easily have not survived such an ordeal. The cord got wrapped around the baby's neck, so when Dawn was pushing, the baby's heart rate kept dropping. When they made the call to go into surgery, this whirlwind of nurses and technicians descended into the room, threw scrubs at me, and told me to follow them. My other daughter, age 3, was waiting in another room with Granddad, and I wanted to bring her in to see Mom before the surgery. Talk about a range of chaotic emotions!
Once I got my scrubs on, I had to wait on a bench in a hallway for what seemed like an hour while they prepped Dawn. They finally came and got me. In the next room, or on the hall above, they were doing heavy construction, so as they're cutting my wife open, there are all sorts of slamming and hammering noises literally shaking the room. After a while, they called me to look over the curtain because the baby was out. She was gorgeous, but I still hadn't heard her cry. They took her over to the incubator, and seconds stretched and stretched. "Why isn't she crying?" Oh, she will, assured a nurse, she'll cry in just a second. I could see three people working on her, and my heart felt like an old punching bag with some of the stuffing bursting out of it. Finally her first little cries rang out, and our panic was jolted into uncontrollable elation. I've never experienced anything like the rollercoaster I was on that day. Everybody's fine now, and three days later we came home.
This experience, and my previous daughter's birth as well, have made me realize that every human being walking the planet is a living miracle. I once heard a Buddhist story about the likelihood of each incarnation of a human soul being like an ocean in which there floats a wooden ring. Every 100 years, a solitary sea turtle swims to the surface of the ocean, and if he happens to surface with his head inside the ring, that's the same odds of a soul actually incarnating in human form. Our lives are not random accidents. We are all connected. Each human being is, as Emerson said, "part and particle of God." And, if even just for a moment upon being born, every human being is an expression of Love. How quickly we forget where we came from!
If we could tap into and harness the power of that bond between mother and child, and remember the transforming power of birth that touches all who draw near to it, then perhaps we could begin to heal the human race. I am grateful for my wife, whose courage and willingness to suffer have stretched my love, respect and awe for her. I am grateful for the rest of my family, who have selflessly come to support us with loving help and encouragement. I am grateful for the nurses and doctors who have worked so hard to be able to do their jobs so that they can safely bring new lives into the world. I am grateful for friends and neighbors who have cut my grass, watched my older daughter, cleaned our house, fed us, and provided good company in sharing this incredible experience. Experiencing the birth of a child reminds us of the ultimate goodness of the Universe.