It’s the middle of the night, the moon is almost full. An hour ago I could see it – Round and heavy like a woman’s belly in her last days of pregnancy but now it is slipping to the other side.

I sit beside a her. She is on her knees gently rocking back and forth, her full-moon belly held in her arms. She is far, far away…somewhere between the moon and the sun, somewhere between the worlds. The only sounds I hear are the deep long breaths she takes in rhythm with each contraction.

She’s up now, pacing, eyes closed, hips swaying, dancing her baby through her hips, she is the reflection of all the mothers before her. Dim light from the glass votives throw soft shadows across her body.

I walk outside. The cement is still cool but the air is getting warmer, the cinnamon scent of incense from the Hindu family’s temple next door lingers above me.

The silence is broken by the sound of morning prayers. They echo through the village from the mosque. Her water breaks. As the prayers build with intensity, so does her labor.

The prayers finish. It seems as though they were calling up the new day. In response the sky begins to glow pink in the distance.

It is a good omen to have a labor that crosses paths with both the moon and the sun.

She gets in the birth tub, her partner joins her. They move together with each contraction. The Doula and I kneel beside the pool, whispering words of encouragement.

We take slow deep breaths for her to mimic. She squeezes our hands through these last few contractions. It feels like too much, this last little bit is so hard…. The papa rubs her hips and gazes on her with loving affection and admiration.

The neighbors rooster paces behind the bathroom wall. He counters the sounds of labor with his cockodoodledoo.

The baby is coming….

The head emerges as the sky turns light. Ah, relief. The pain is gone. She relaxes back into her partners arms. She pauses before one last push, a new life slips into my hands, born into the water.

The rooster welcomes the new day, the mother and father welcome their new baby.