Labor and deliveries are always bien dramaticos.The stories we ladies exchange are so extra! Y por supuesto que our story is the best/worst experience. When we relive the experience it magnifies, suddenly the pain level of those contractions are off the chart! The messy water bag breakage covers the entire house.
Pues, here’s how I remember my second labor and delivery 30 years ago.
Our second child was another boy. My two older sisters wondered and hoped I would get a girl, since we all had only boys. Pero during my ultrasound the technician kept referring to the baby as “he” and while I was disappointed, I was also relieved. I had a secret fear of little girls, frilly dressy, high pitched crying and whining hijole! What the heck was I gonna do if a girl came into my life?!
Except for one scare early on, it was an easy peasy pregnancy and except for the anxiety of going past my due date, everything was really really good.
Then my due date came and went, un dia, luego dos. That last week of September, I was waddling along doing life impatiently. Finally that last Sunday morning as I walked down the stairs to the bathroom again, lo and behold! The process had begun! I was in labor for sure as I stared down at the plug! Asi es, lil Joshua would most likely arrive by that evening of September 27th.
I walked as quickly as I could, just imagine a combination of a duck and a penguin walking. I had to be careful, what if the baby slipped out right there on the stairs? I was excited, we rushed home to call the doctor, acuerdense, it was pre-cellphone era, we were sure he would say “rush over to the hospital, I’ll meet you there.” I didn’t get through to the doctor right away. The call center would relay my emergency call. I waited and waited and waited, an eternity of 20 minutes. The doctor asked a couple of questions about my contractions, and I wondered, heck yea! I’m in pain, I felt like I was gonna start my period, it was so bad! How did I feel? Sick and tired, ready to get this baby out. Then he said “Hopefully, you’ll have the baby soon. We’ll see how you’re doing tomorrow after your sonogram and measure the baby.” Que? Manana?! I was still going to be pregnant tomorrow?!
I was forced to wait and watch all through the evening and late into the night. Slowly I began to feel what the real contractions were. Then, I think I was recognizing a pattern? Yes, it was definitely a pattern, Ben had to wake up. I called the hospital, I told them they were coming in strong and close together. Yup, it was about every 5 minutes, I’m sure. So they said come on in so we can check you. Ahora si, Ben got up and dressed and off we went to have our baby.
An hour later, midnite. It was officially tomorrow and I was still pregnant and on my way back home. At home I couldn’t rest, the baby was active, quietly laboring while Ben snored, bien agusto. I sat miserable in the living room, trying to get comfortable on the couch. Y de repente! Pop! Not heard but felt. That! Was not pee. On and on it gushed out, all over my sofa and carpet. Vamonos! They wouldn’t send me home this time and they didn’t. My coaching team was there to support me, sort of. My older sis, Lupe and Ben were there. She was telling me not to tense up because it was only making things worse. Screaming wouldn’t help anyone, so I didn’t, crying didn’t make things better either. The secret to enduring the contractions was to relax by breathing. Relax? When your belly is suddenly in a vice grip contraction? Pero pues, I coped and my breathing technique was to whistle through a contraction, I would handle this pain. with smiling eyes my sister silently chuckled at how silly I looked, Ben smiled only with his eyes, he knew better. After 12 hours I was desperate and at 1 centimeter dilated, it would be the end of me. If I wasn’t given pain meds soon, Ben would have to take baby Joshua home alone. I got the much needed relief through an epidural and feeling only the pressure of contractions I was able to laugh with my sister about my whistling. De repente! Something went wrong and the epidural wasn’t working. I went from no pain to horrific shocking pain every few minutes. The nurse said “It’s not pain, it’s pressure” Que pressure! I was having shocking pain. It was discovered that the catheter wasn’t delivering the meds. My body was distressed and so was my baby. By the time the problem was fixed, the focus was on calming my baby down. Hijole! 16 hours later and dilated to 3, the doctor said my baby’s heart was racing and it was measuring at a dangerous rate. The verdict, another C-section delivery. I cried. I felt like I had failed. Ben was with me and tried not to look too hard as the doctor pulled that little human out of the womb, just a little messy. I felt no pain, the epidural was doing it’s job. I was very aware of what was happening, but I couldn’t see anything. A fat little baby had been squeezed out nice and plump, a healthy 9 lb. 6 oz. baby girl with dark hair. Such relief. Wait! A girl?! Una niña?! Hijole! Sugar and Spice and everything nice? What was I to do? Ben took hold of our baby girl and knew exactly how to love her. Me on the other hand, that first day we met, I was a nervous wreck! Did I have to hold her differently?
Por supuesto that I loved her immediately, but how would I show her? Would she ‘feel’ and accept my fierce latina love?
Daniella and I
I had no idea what I was doing. Pero, gracias a Dios that he was with us. I quickly discovered that my girl and I were night and day! Yet we have a good friendship. What I didn’t know then I know now. My sweet girl was stronger than I thought. I forget that sweet doesn’t mean weak. What I discovered immediately was how smart and beautiful she is. Hay si! Every mother says that verdad? Pero pues it’s true, Daniella is like her father, she can fix most things when they break or need to be assembled. Y, in her strong latina fashion which is laced with the English blood she loves her family well.
This week we celebrated our daughter, the gift she’s been to us all. Her dad and brothers still keep her a princess in her own rightful place and she wears her tiara with quiet dignity, even sharing the princess dust with her nieces.
Que Dios te bendiga hija, and like your tata would say, “echale ganas!” Let this new year, this new decade be prosperous and may God fulfill his will for you my love.