Crack, snapple, pop. This was not the merry chorus of my morning cereal after it’s been drenched in milk. It was, however, exactly what it felt as if my pelvis was about to do at any given second. I was fully awake, having refused any pain medication, and was pushing as hard as my weary body would allow. But his head was stuck right at my pelvis, and try as I might, I simply could not push it through. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Finn was going to weigh 10.3 pounds, a weight which routinely requires a cesarean section. But I hadn’t had a sonogram in months, and judging by my size, my midwife estimated the baby to be no larger than 8 pounds. My reverie on a shattered pelvis was suddenly broken by the screams of a hospital nurse that we should prep me for an emergency c-section. She feared that the baby’s heart was in distress. My midwife calmly asked if I could give it one last try. I breathed in, as I distinctly remember to a count of 30, then proceeded to push and breathe out to an equally exhausting count. I decided to accept whatever fate had in store for my aching pelvis, and simply pushed through that inevitability.
Finn finally escaped from his jail of flesh and bones, and lay snug in my husband’s arms, as I was shaking too uncontrollably to hold him steady. It is said that you cannot feel love and fear at the same time. One casts out the other. I went from abject fear to utter love the instant Finn arrived. I looked at him and I knew I was home.
I would have had children much earlier in life, but for the fact that I did not appear to be
particularly lucky when it came to men. I had kissed my fair share of frogs in my twenties, and at
thirty was kind of laying low, doing my best to maneuver around oncoming amphibians.
Around this time, I graduated law school, found an apartment in New York City, passed the bar exam (yay!), and found a nice job with a reputable Immigration Firm. Life was certainly interesting and
sometimes fun, but not brilliant, not radiant. It’s as if I were in the black and white world of Kansas, and just couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that something vital was missing.
Then one evening after work, as I lay on my couch reading, my doorman buzzed up and told me that a beautiful tree had been left for me by a man he didn’t recognize. I went down to find a living, breathing, honest-to-goodness photosynthesizing, emerald green Ficus tree. I always wanted a tree like this, and desperately wanted to introduce some nature into my concrete existence in Manhattan. My best attempt was an artificial Ficus that happened to be sitting out on my balcony at that very moment. How on earth did this guy know that I wanted this tree? I hadn’t mentioned it to a soul. Maybe I should call this one back. (Believe it or not, in my jaded state, it still took me a few weeks to make contact).
It was a whirlwind from there. I met my husband-to-be for coffee at an Irish pub, and had this strange but wonderful feeling of coming home. We traveled to Ireland months later, and again, I was overcome by this uncanny sense of familiarity. I seemed to know and understand this country on a very deep level, even though I’d never been there before. Then it dawned on me that it was remarkably similar to a place that my family and I returned to each summer—Shelter Island. This was a place, like Ireland, where folks do not lock their doors, do not avert their eyes when you happen upon them in the street, and give you the feeling that should you ever be stranded, they would not just anonymously pass you by. And it didn’t hurt that this island, like The Emerald Isle, also happened to be home to some of the most enchanting natural beauty I’ve ever seen.