Heartbeat of The Camino


Luckily, Emily and I are both fast walkers. Whether on cobbles or boardwalk, our matched footsteps pulse quickly and steadily like the liquid heartbeat of an unborn baby. It makes me think of all the weeks I spent in the hospital before Coulter was born- always relieved to see the nurses light up when they heard his extra strong heart beat. They’d call over other nurses to listen to it and gush about how steady it was. This was a huge comfort to me during a very precarious time. My water broke at thirty weeks while I was carrying a salt block to the barn. I suddenly went from a normal, low risk pregnancy to a hospital bed. I was positive for the hep B virus so the longer Coulter stayed in, the higher the chance he could be infected. But the sooner he came out, the more complications there would be for him as a premie. With each change in hospital shift, came new advice. Every 24 hours, Mike and I would be faced with a new set of warnings and instructions from a new doc. Induce- get him out. Hold tight- keep him in. I felt like a rubber ball being bounced between the personal fears and perspectives of different professionals. Meanwhile, for six more weeks, through a thwarted induction and a dire shortage of amniotic fluid, Coulter’s heart beat held steady. Even after he was born and had to be fed through a tube, every nurse that heard his heart would comment on how unusually steady it was. That quick rhythm remains a comfort to me as I hear it now, 19 years later on the Camino. The echo of such steadfast life- passed down through generations and unwavering- throughout time.