“Breathe!” Yelled the midwife. Kalera had been present for many births in the village and came highly recommended. In fact, she had delivered the mother-to-be herself, seventeen years prior.
“I am breathing!” Lilly snapped back but started to rhythmically breathe again as Kalera had taught her. She was in a tub full of warm water, the surface churning with jasmine, orange blossoms, sage, and lavender, as she moved. The dimly lit room was illuminated only by a small fire that highlighted the walls covered with dried herbs, flower blossoms hanging upside down, tied with silver string, beeswax candles, and fur. A window opposite the head of the tub was covered with a cloth to give them some privacy.
Lilly’s belly was full, and her body was in the throes of birth. The contractions were close and strong now, and she was preparing to push. Kalera noticed it was time and dipped her fingertips into the water. A subtle golden glow like spider threads issued from her fingertips and palm, infusing the water with her own Weave. She had learned it from her mother and had added to it accordingly to suit her practice and forty years of experience. Each generation of daughters adding their own spin, slowly perfecting it. Or so her mother had told her.
As the wave rolled in, Lilly pushed and let out a scream, throwing her head back. The spell took effect, the pain eased, her child started to move through her more effortlessly. She nodded at Kalera in gratitude. She took a deep breath and squeezed again as the urge overtook her; the pain was less sharp this time but acute enough that she gritted her teeth.
“I can see the head!” Kalera called out joyously. “One more big push, girl!” Her Weave would ensure a safe and healthy delivery, but the mother still had to do the bulk of the work.
Lilly took rhythmical breaths preparing for the big one, and as the final wave rolled in, she pushed with all her might.
Kalera reached into the water with both hands to help guide the baby out. “A boy!” she cried out and brought him up by his two feet, giving him a gentle slap on the bottom. As he started crying, Lilly let out a sigh of relief.
Kalera wiped him off and wrapped him in white cloth, gently lowering the infant to his mother. Lilly sat up in shock, gazing down at her newborn, and asked in a hushed tone, “Did you see his eyes?”
The midwife came near. “No, let me look?” Accepting the infant from his mother, she raised him to the fire and studied his face. “The left eye is dark brown, almost black, the right silver, light blue, maybe? That’s unusual, but nothing to worry about.” She offered a small encouraging smile to the new mother, handing him back to her. “What are you going to name him?”
Lilly relaxed into the tub and accepted her offspring again, making sure to keep him out of the water. “Ian,” she smiled. “Going to name him Ian.”