Once upon a time, on a snowy winter’s evening, I met Josie Lane Hiday. Little Josie was hidden away, safe and snug and deep within the love of her mother and her father, Lillian and Alex. On that magical January night, Josie’s presence was scarcely discernible – her tiny heart pattered only faintly in our ears – but even just that slight evidence of her life sent a rush of joy through each of her listeners.
It was such a privilege to witness Josie’s miraculous growth as the days passed into weeks, and the weeks into months, as well as to experience the faith of her parents in her, in her mother’s physique and inherent wisdom, and in their love and regard for one another.
Winter transmuted into spring, and spring into sunny summertime, and Josie grew heavy and ripe within her mother, till she was at last ready to emerge.
On one of those summer days, Josie felt it was time to make her way into the light. She began her journey on an early Sunday morning, and her parent’s called for Hannah and me to join the journey toward the turning of the night. We came along to them under a glorious, waxing moon, and arrived to find Lillian in the grip of Josie’s labor, and Alex in the grip of Lillian’s arms. Grandmother Phyllis was there, reverent and ministering to the little family as needed. The birth pool was filling and Josie’s sack of waters burst and gushed all over the bed just as we walked through the door.
Soon after, Lillian entered the pool and began pushing gently. Over time, and with one long, brown arm wrapped tightly about Alex’s neck and her free hand cradling her sacred parts, Lillian brought Josie’s head down, down, down to the flower of her opening. Lillian moved then from the pool to the bed, and, curling her body to match the curve of her passageways, Lillian worked with her powerful pains, shifting her daughter forward one wee bit at a time until, with a mighty surge of strength, Josie emerged like the dawning of the morning sun!
Josie’s birth was a sweet thing for me, personally tender and poignant. I’m always enthralled with the birth of a new family, and, as ever, I was thrilled to witness Alex and Lillian and Josie enter fully into familyhood. However, this birth was uniquely enchanting for me. Lillian, like my very own Hannah, really not so very long ago, had been born at home, tended by Jean Balm’s skilled hands and beautiful soul. So many times through the wee hours of Josie’s birthday, I looked over at Phyllis and thought of her bringing Lillian forth as I had Hannah, as Lillian was bringing Josie forth, and as Hannah
would, one day, bring forth another. So many times my heart overflowed with emotion at the sight of the three women working in silent harmony to see earth’s newest woman appear. My soul bathed and was renewed in the sight, I rejoiced to observe generations of women strong and wise enough to select roads “less traveled,” and I imagined Josie one day choosing a like rare road, possibly even with Hannah standing next to Lillian and Phyllis at her side in unobtrusive support.
It was wonderful to be part of Josie Lane Hiday’s birth. It felt as fresh and otherworldly as the very first birth I ever was part of.
Many thanks to the Hiday family for inviting me to share in their special day and, now, for allowing me to share their beautiful story.
by Kim Woodard Osterholzer
Some names have been changed.
Photos provided by Lillian Hiday
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Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife and Author
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