Historical setting: 590 C.E. Cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil
It was a very long night. And now this disheveled morning is dizzy with sleeplessness. I add more wood to the fires. In our minds this is the good ending we were praying for. In our hearts we are not so sure. Actually, Ana and I prayed that we could find our way through this however it turned out. The idea of perfect little humans, smiling with fluffy pink checks, babies seeing us all with Ana’s eyes, for all the wonder, we really hadn’t spoken that prayer aloud. The one we did say was the “‘not my will but yours’ dear God.” And by grace, Ana is exhausted, but Colleen says she is well, and here are two little boys, red and scrawny, with round eyes like turtle’s eyes, or maybe little hatchling sparrows fallen from the nest without feathers. Ana knows they are both very delicate and tiny. She worries that she didn’t spend enough time waiting for them in the stillness of the bed. She begs me to tell her she didn’t accidentally hurry them too fast. I promised her she did her very best, and they have the best possible mother.
Colleen has more encouraging words than I’ve ever heard from her. She tells Ana she is doing well and the babies are perfect. She has prepared something of a thinned posset to give them nourishment if they can’t figure out Ana’s offering of her breast, but the first, the first born, has already discovered how to do this thing and now he is sleeping soundly, and the second is making his try. This must be very tiring for Ana but she is so hopeful to try this and she isn’t even thinking of herself right now. It all did take more time and worry than we were really prepared for. So three midwives a new father and a new mother are all-in just now.
Now this restacking wood to bring the woodpiles inside seems a peaceful reprieve. I actually find myself hoping the women will assign me more useful tasks.
The first baby has had a taste of his mother’s milk, and now the second has figured out the technique. As far as the women are concerned this is complete success. The babies are sleeping in their huge woolen buntings, tiny little promises of new life in the long carved cradle intended for two much larger-sized babies to be rocked so efficiently both at one time.