You’re here, little one.
Sixty-three hours and 13 minutes ago you were inside of me, and now as I type this, you lie next to me. Your soft, dark hair rubs against my arm. Your little chest heaves and sputters, as only newborn chests do. Everything about you feels wonderful and shocking and perfect. I cannot fully comprehend how you are here. How you are ours. It feels too good. Like too much, after so much struggle to get you here. I am weepy and emotional. My heart feels like it will beak open. Like it already has. Like I am going to choke on how I feel about you.
The day you were born I did not believe could possibly be your birthday. I even texted a friend and said I was not going to try to get you to come anymore. I was going to stop the acupuncture, the herbal tinctures, the pressure points, all the things that had been recommended to me to get you here. I was just going to rest. Soak in the day with your brother and rest. I got dressed for the first time in days, put on eye-liner and earrings and called your auntie to go shopping.
Around noon on the day you were born, I started having contractions, but I had been having contractions since I was 20 weeks pregnant with you. So while I wanted to get excited, I told myself that it was nothing. I told your dad that I was not going to be hopeful. He asked if we could be too hopeful and my response was, yes…I thought that we could. I wanted to meet you so badly, and it seemed like after all that trying to keep you in when you were not full-term and then all that trying to get you out because I could not breathe…clearly, I told myself, he will just come when he is ready.
So I cleaned the kitchen; I did some writing. Your brother awoke from nap and we ate peanut butter and apples on the sidewalk out front. And the contractions kept picking up. But I was not going to be fooled. Your due date was a week away and I had been ready for weeks with seemingly no progress. So your brother and I played with rocks on the porch and I called a friend to see if she wanted to come eat popsicles with us. But everyone was busy. We went inside and cleaned your brother’s room. The contractions got stronger. More intense. But I knew that you were not coming–that it was not the day.
When your dad got home and asked how far apart things were, I said I had been timing contractions but it was no big deal that they were getting closer together and longer. We should not get hopeful, I told him. By this time though, I was beginning to wonder. Beginning to wonder if tonight was the night. Beginning to wonder if something was actually different about these contractions. I called your auntie. We had been texting all day. She had been excited. Hopeful. She had said maybe this was it. When I told her how far apart they were she said I needed to call the midwife and let her know what was happening. I hesitated, was it really necessary. Really? She said we should, just to be safe. So I called the midwife and she said I should come in. I told her things did not seem too bad. I told her it was probably nothing. She said there was a chance that was true, but we should just check things out. She said she did not want to rush me, but that I should come sooner rather than later. So we finished getting dinner ready and waited for your “La La” to come be with your brother. In between contractions I chatted with E about how we would likely be right back.
When we arrived at the birth center the midwife I loved most was there. It was close to 7pm and I knew she was going off call at 8pm. In my heart I felt a tiny tinge of sadness. That if you did come she would not be the one there to usher you into the world.
We went back into the labor suite and she checked to see what your progress was. I had told myself I was two, maybe three, centimeters dilated, which usually means that you are sent back home, because for a baby to be born, 10 centimeters is what you have to achieve. And in her calm, and oh so soothing way, the midwife looked at me and said, “You are six, maybe seven centimeters and your bag of waters is bulging. I’m going to call the nurse and the team and tell them to come now. You’re not going to be going home.”
Not because I was upset, or afraid, or uncertain. But because I was shocked. That you were finally coming. That I would see you soon.
And because I knew things were about to get really intense.
And things did.(Thank Jesus for your auntie and her wisdom. If it had not been for her, you likely would have been born in the car.)
With your brother it was 12 hours of labor, on Pitocin, a drug which can make contractions and labor very intense. During those 12 excruciating hours I got into somewhat of a trance. I don’t remember much. I remember trying to climb a wall, I remember thinking I most certainly needed an epidural and I remember rocking.
With you little one, I went from laughing and talking with your dad between contractions(thinking we would be sent home), to an intensity I do not remember with your brother. I could not find a rhythm. It was like the contractions overtook me with a ferocity that I cannot explain. Like my body was the earth and the most catastrophic earthquake kept ravaging it. I found a vent on the floor in the labor suite that forced cool air out. I planted myself over it. They asked me if I wanted to move, if I wanted to get in the bath. I told them all I wanted was the vent. When your auntie arrived to be there with us I joked with her and told her to remember it for your cousin’s birth. That was the last time I laughed before the contractions overtook me. Then there was lots of screaming. I think I may have worried some. That they may have thought I was afraid or anxious. But I was not. I felt deep, deep peace that all was as it should be, even if my body felt like it was being torn into pieces (ask me, someday, about this story of peace, little one, it is truly a miracle Jesus did in the midst of significant fear). But screaming reminded me, somehow, that I was there. Grounded. That I was present in that moment. That it was me that was bringing you into this world and not someone else. I am sure that does not make sense now. But it did in the moment.
At some point your “La La” arrived and not long after, something changed and my water broke. I turned to your auntie and I said, “He’s coming tonight. I’m finally going to meet my baby.” And for a moment nothing hurt and my heart felt so overwhelmed that I started to laugh.
The midwife asked if I felt like I should push. With your brother I felt an uncontrollable urge to push. I remember the nurse told me to wait for the doctor to get there and I told her, “I’m waiting for no one.” But with you little one, I did not feel that way. I pushed. And than did not feel like I needed to anymore. But I could feel that you were almost here. And suddenly I realized that labor was almost over and that you were about to be born. And my heart stopped. And I pushed and pushed and your head emerged and than in one great rush you appeared. And with the midwife’s help and your daddy right there with me, I caught you as I knelt on the floor next to that air vent. And I put you to my chest and I said over and over again,”You made it. You made it. You are here. You are finally here.”
And I cried the happiest tears a mama can cry. Because after so much fear and so much worry that you were going to be born t0o soon, and then experiencing so much sickness, anxiety and pain in the last few months–not being able to breathe, hurting so badly in carrying you with me…you were finally in my arms. You were finally home. And it felt like too much. And I put you to my face, all wet and covered in blood, and I kissed you over and over again. And I held you and I knew that you were mine. All mine. And my heart exploded because the long wait was finally over.
You were born at 8:11pm. A little more than an hour after we arrived. The midwife who was to go off call at 8pm delivered you. It was almost as if you knew that you had to come quickly so that she could help usher you into the world. I am grateful for your urgency there little one. It worked out perfectly.
Today I have cried for over an hour. Because you are too wonderful. You are too perfect and I am so overwhelmed by all that life holds and how you came into this world in the way that you did. How just a few days ago I thought you would never come and how today you are here, snuggled in my arms. It feels like too much. And my joy and gratitude and love are uncontainable.