The official due date of your birth was February 27th, 2013, though your Daddy and I had high hopes that you would wait until March 1st or some days after. He has been away on a Magic-Circus tour in Texas and was due to return that Friday.
I began my day at the OB’s office – weighing, measuring, monitoring your sweet little heartbeat. The past week was a big one for us – more doctor visits, constant monitoring of my weight, your heart, and any fluctuations which would cause concern. I weighed 2 pounds less on this particular day than just days before. I was also measuring smaller. I assured everyone that you would wait for Daddy to return.
That evening, the most brilliant full Moon, the last of Winter, shone brightly. I recall going outside and sitting on the rocking chair with my hands over you in my belly, “Don’t get any ideas, little one,” I chided.
I was at great peace and looking forward to this week. I felt fully prepared after so much running around over the previous weeks, in anticipation of your arrival. I made a promise to myself to simply take it easy for a change, to sleep a bit more, and enjoy these last few days of pregnancy.
I poured a bath. I listened to a podcast interviewing the translator for the Dalai Lama. I lit a candle. I read more of the many baby books which perched on my bedside table. I turned off the light at 11:30p in anticipation of the daily ritual of waking at 2am to relieve my bladder which you had been pressing upon for weeks now, as your head was low in my pelvis even several weeks earlier when I was a mere 36 weeks.
At 2 in the morning on Tuesday, February 26th, I coughed or sneezed or … and felt a sudden whoosh of liquid emerge. I bolted out of bed, certain that I had lost control of my bladder. Or, rather, I was hoping that I had… the water would not stop gushing however. Oh God, not yet. I was so delerious with exhaustion, with denial, I thought … well, perhaps I could just go back to bed, perhaps this isn’t really happening. All of my baby books said that it was a rarity for the water to break before contractions.
Moments later, I call your Daddy to let him know. Your Daddy who was many, many miles away in Texas who could not possibly leave his tour today. I off-handedly say – well, some people don’t go into labor for a good 12-24hours after their water breaks, and I don’t even have contractions yet …We both sighed and cried little silent tears as we both knew… the day had come. You had chosen your day, and Daddy … he was miles upon miles away….
No sooner do I speak these words, then I feel an unmistakable new sensation wrap itself around my back, my abdomen and a cold chill decends down my body into my legs.
I call my family to let them know. I call Daddy’s parents. They are on their way.
When Daddy’s parents arrive, we sit in the dark in the living room. Grandma times my contractions. She holds my hand. When we are three minutes apart at just past 6am, Grandma drives me to the hospital.
I call your Daddy on the way. His sweet voice reassuring us. He tells me he will call our dear friend Dan who is an RN and will act as my Doula….
We arrive at the hospital. Sallie, the sweet OB Nurse I had met when we did our tour of the maternity ward, is arriving for the beginning of her shift. She gets a wheelchair and we scurry into the elevator and up to the maternity ward…
The birthing room has a lovely view of the desert mountains. The light was so very pretty at this time of day. Sweet message upon message begin to pour in… from those lovely souls who are walking the sacred path with us… doulas, and herb mothers, and wise ones, and earth keepers, and soul sisters and brothers … all surrounding you and I with their love and their words and their light and their energy….
Sallie checks my vitals and yours and then attempts to check how dilated I am… which was a painful endeavor as your sweet head was so very, very low … my cervix is posterior, fully thinned, and a mere 2cm all the same.
Within the next two hours, Dan arrives. My parents arrive. Dan breathes with me and talks me through each contaction. In though the nose…. Out though the mouth. Think of the redwoods. Think of the redwoods.
Within a few hours, my contractions have grown more intense. We call your daddy and my heart leaps when we are able to FaceTime with him… which means Daddy has to continually locate WiFi hotspots in the middle of Texas. We are hoping you arrive before his next show….
Time seems to be melting. Hours have passed … yet no time has passed. The contractions now roar in my ears – a vast pump which has taken over my entire being – Vroooommmm Vrooooommmm Vrooooommmm…. I can hear Dan in the background … you are driving on Highway 1… you’re doing amazing…. breathe …. i close my eyes at every contraction now….
By 2pm, your good Doctor Ofori, a man born in Ghana Africa checks my dilation…. Dan and I are both certain based on the intensity of the pain, and the frequency of the contractions that I am surely at 5cm or possibly 7cm… he assures me that 7cm through 10cm goes very quickly… I can do this… I can do this… I can do this…
I am again in massive pain when he checks…. and receive the first devastating blow… after 12 hours, I am merely 3cm dilated. 12 hours … increasing pain…. no water to absorb the pressure, no cervix thickness to absorb the contractions…. and only 1 cm more than when we arrived. I cry. Dan FaceTimes Daddy…. I can hear him say I love you… but I can no longer speak. I love you too, I think but words are now trapped inside me.
Shortly after, everyone, every sweet face there to accompany me on this journey surrounds me… please get the epidural. Please … we are so worried. You are so close to passing out…. please. If only I had been closer, dilated more, nearer the finish line…. but… I can’t tolerate another 12hours of pain… I am so tired already, so lost in the pain…. Ok…. I cry. Ok.
I can barely sit up when it’s time to receive the epidural. The contractions are so severe, coming so fast, blinding me, I can barely answer the anesthesiologist… He attempts the epidural injection just as another contraction blindsides me… and I gasp in pain while looking at Dan and the good Sallie who hold me through the sobbing and the pain…. I crumple.
I can no longer feel the contractions. The pain slowly ebbs far away from me… I am now connected to the fetal monitor and the IV. I don’t remember conversations. Periodically, we call your Daddy….
I am dilated 7cm by 6pm. 8+cm by 8pm…. but then the nausea starts… I sit up… your heart rate dips significantly. The Doctor comes in… They place me on my side. I am given Oxygen to super oxygenate our blood supply…. your heart rate returns to normal… it dips…. returns to normal…
Then we have the conversation. At 9pm. The baby, he tells me, is in distress. We are monitoring this closely. We may have to do a C-Section if you aren’t fully dilated soon. Dan asks if we can give me another 30minutes… Yes, of course…. but we are monitoring this… and…. I suddenly feel lost and despair begins to take over ….
Dan calls your Daddy to let him know. Your Daddy (and everyone in the room) …. it’s ok, it’s ok, healthy baby, healthy mama, that’s all we want, I know you wanted this to be a natural birth, but it’s ok, it’s ok… Darling, he says, I love you, and it’s ok. I can no longer speak … on my side with the oxygen mask on… tears stream down my face. I understand, I say… I love you too….
Several minutes pass as I stare at the clock, the sounds of your heart beat reassuring me… yet I feel that I’ve let us down. Then, out of a reserve somewhere deep within me…. no, don’t give up, don’t give up… you can do this… we can do this…
I begin to focus my entire will into you. Come on, let’s do this together. Let’s push. Let’s do this… please, please, let’s … then…. I feel something… A twinge of wanting to push… the tiniest flicker, but, it’s there.
I tell Dan. He gets Sallie. She checks, again… and… “You’re going to have a baby, sweetie pie.” I cry tears of joy… Dan calls your Daddy on Facetime so that he can watch your birth. I can hear his voice in the background… Legs now in stirrups… she begins to prep me for doing this… Now… take a deep breath in, exhale, inhale … now… now… PUSH. And again…. And again…
You’re doing so good, she says. I can’t feel my legs. I can’t feel myself pushing. Am I doing a good job? I can’t tell… but I am going to do this…
When the Doctor comes into the room, he is paying close attention to your monitor… In… exhale… in… now PUSH…. and again… and again… then I hear him say – “I’m going to cut.” I see the scissors…. I know he has made the cut… then…. out you come… and the umbilical cord is around your neck, and the doctor deftly frees you and … there….there you are… there you are… there …at 9:56pm… the world welcomed you, sweet little prince.
Now here on my chest…. your sweet arm extending… your umbilical cord still connecting us…. cameras all around…. suctioning and wiping you… and touching you for the first time.
Your sweet little cry. Your sweet little body. Your body close to mine.
Oh, hi… hello… hello… hello…
You weigh a tiny 6lbs 6oz… 20″…. 9 on the AGPAR….. big feet, I hear someone say, big hands…
You are bathed by your grandmas… slowly everyone filters out. It’s just you and I.
The nurse cleans me off…. and brings us to our room.
I cannot stop looking at you, touching you, so in love with you.
Sweet little prince. The love of my life. Hello. Hello.