The Birth Of Mr. Sweetie

Friday, November 2014, began just like the 284 days before it. I woke up and was still pregnant, still waiting on the arrival of my little son. I had cramping in my abdomen, exactly like that experienced during a period, but this was nothing new, as I had felt it a few times over the past several weeks. I had been awake for a couple hours at 9 AM. My husband, Cisco, aka Papa, was getting ready for work, and I decided to take a walk around the block. It was four days past my due date, so, I reasoned, it couldn’t hurt, right? I headed out for the fifteen-minute trip.

When I returned, I came in and sat down at the kitchen table, to a sharper, more intense, cramping feeling that made me wince. I sat still for a few minutes after it passed, wondering if I had imagined it, if the baby was okay; if somehow, this time, this was it. Cisco walked into the kitchen to give me a kiss and hug goodbye, and, as he was holding me in his arms, I gripped him tight for a few extra seconds, feeling the sharp cramp again. He looked down at me, slight concern in his eyes, and I said, “I think I am having contractions, Amor. You might be coming home early from work today.” He nodded and said, “Just let me know.” Then he left.

I was alone in the house, just me and my cramps. They continued, but now they were strong enough that I had to stand up every time I felt one. They all seemed to last for the same amount of time, and come at pretty much the same intervals. So I started timing them. After an hour had passed of scribbling the end times, and the time between, they were all about a minute long, with about four minutes in between. I realized that this was the point when I should be calling the midwife, but there was a part of me that still wasn’t sure it was for real, and I didn’t want to call her unnecessarily. So I sent a text message, explaining what was going on, and she told me to continue timing them and get back to her in an hour.

I paced around the house for sixty minutes, stopping whenever I felt a cramp. By this time, they were strong enough that I was making noise with every single one, breathing myself through it. They had stayed the same, consistent, and I reported in with the midwife. She told me she was coming to check on me, and would be to the house in thirty minutes. I was getting excited, and a little anxious, but still not convinced that what I was feeling was really the real thing. So, instead of calling my mother, Koolma, who was going to be present, and calling Cisco, to tell him to come home, I sent a text message to Koolma saying that the midwife was on her way to see me, and that I would let her know how it went. She told me she was going to leave work, and asked if I need anything. I told her, “Yes. Tacos. Nine tacos.”

She arrived with a hefty bag o’ tacos shortly after my midwife, who was listening to one of my contractions while I stood next to the front door. She headed to the kitchen as the midwife and I headed to the bedroom; she wanted to check and see how dilated and effaced I was. At this point, I knew that it was The Day; the ‘cramps’ were contractions, and were steadily getting more intense. By this time, it was around 1:30 PM, and my stomach rumbled as I lay down on the bed to find out about how far along into my labor I was.

My midwife looked surprised when she said, after a brief look, “You are 8 centimeters dilated, and 100% effaced. You’re doing so well, Mami!” I thought she was talking about my progress, but she continued, “You are so strong; you made it all this way by yourself!” I nodded, deciding it was okay for me to feel a little proud of myself. From what it sounded like, I was pretty close to being able to meet my little Mr. Sweetie, and, even though the contractions were starting to build in strength from where I had started a few hours before, I felt like, if this was labor, it wasn’t too bad, just a bit uncomfortable for a minute periodically. I had been a little nervous as a first-time mom, wondering how I would handle it, but, always, the feeling that resonated with me, reassured me, was the complete faith I had in the capability of my body to do what it had been born to do, made to do. This was a big part of the reason that I wanted to have my birth at home. I knew that my body and I were strong, and I wanted to have the complete experience; I wanted to feel everything. I wanted to know my resilience in a way that I had never been able to test it before. I wanted to feel like a true woman for the first time since I had gotten my period, since I had fallen in love, since I first experienced sex, and since my marriage to Cisco. Birthing to me was the next marker along my road of getting to know myself, and life via proxy. I had already known that the best experiences aren’t always comfy, and I wasn’t about to let a little pain or intensity cheat me out of being fully present, with no drugs in my body, during such a wonderful event.

I was getting excited. “How long until he’s here?” I asked. “Should I be calling Cisco now?” She nodded. “Mr. Sweetie will be here today, within four to six hours. And you should definitely call him.” I went into the kitchen and handed Koolma my phone, asking her to call. By this time, I felt like there was a den of starving lions in my belly, so I donned a robe over my underwear and plopped myself down at the table to eat. I was still there when Cisco burst through the door, looking flushed and excited. “Are you okay?” He asked, touching my shoulder, as I set down a taco to breathe through a contraction. “Yes, Amor,” I replied, when it had passed. “Mr. Sweetie is coming today.” He sat down next to me, holding my hand, and I asked if he wanted a taco, retelling the story of Koolma asking if I needed anything before showing up like Santa with a giant sack of tacos.

My midwife walked into the kitchen to check on me, and saw me sitting there, eating, smiling, and laughing. “Wow.” She laughed, too. “I can’t believe you’re eating right now! It’s wonderful, just not typical.” I gave her a taco grin. “I’m super-hungry!” She smiled. “It’s good; you’re listening to what your body needs. When you’re done, I would like to check you again.”

This time, when I lay down on our bed, Cisco was right by my side, my hand in his. I winced as she looked around, feeling a contraction building. She reminded me to breathe, Papa squeezed my hand, and my water broke. I could feel it running down my body, taking with it the familiar feelings I had gotten accustomed to up until this point in my labor, and replacing them with much sharper, more urgent contractions.

By this time, it was shortly after 2 PM. I had been keeping my two lady friends, due within days of me, abreast of the happenings of my labor via text message, cheered on by their words of encouragement; but, at this point, I no longer had the ability to concentrate on anything other than what my body was doing and feeling. All around me, everything was fading out of focus; it was just Cisco and I, and my body, each of us silently preparing for the moment when our son would arrive. Cisco walked with me a little, through Mr. Sweetie’s room, through our room, until I told him I needed to get in the shower, and asked him to keep me company.

The next few hours were exactly like a hazy yet vivid dream. I had lost touch with all time. My past and future selves had both checked out, and I now existed only in the present; in my contractions and breathing, in the animalistic moans that rose up out of me like a flurry of birds taking flight in slow-motion, the deafening, deliberate beating of their wings a heartbeat that echoed within and without me. It was mine, it was Cisco’s, it was our son’s; it was a roaring howl that came from a place so deep within me that I didn’t recognize it as me; it was the only thing I knew for sure anymore. I felt like I was leaving my body, and yet, with every contraction, dragged so far back into it that I was being driven underground. I felt like a beautiful caged beast; I was restlessly moving in the shower from my knees to my feet and back, trying to escape from a place where there was no exit door. Cisco stood close by, wanting to free me but unable to do so, watching as I stamped the floor and tossed my head.

I had the inescapable feeling of constantly needing to change positions, so I got out of the shower and moved into the bedroom. The midwife instructed me to squat next to the bed, and asked if I felt like I wanted to push. “I don’t know,” I answered truthfully. I didn’t want to wait but I didn’t know what I was waiting for, so I tried it. I felt like I was being ripped in half, and stopped, saying, “Ow, ow, ow.” She then told me to go sit backwards on the toilet and breathe through at least three more contractions. It was so excruciatingly intense that I felt tears spring up in my eyes. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done, making myself stay on that toilet for what wasn’t more than a minute but felt like an eternity. I returned to the bedroom, and knelt down next to the bed. My whole body ached with exhaustion, and it took an immense amount of energy and focus to keep from lying down, defeated, unable to go on. “I can’t do it,” I said, almost sobbing. “You can!” They chorused, trying to reassure me. I felt lost in the middle of a mudslide, trapped and slowing. But I knew that this would not be over until it was over, and, suddenly, as if it could sense my inner despair, my body squeezed all the air out of me. My heart jumped. “Do you want to push?” The midwife asked. “Yes,” I replied, and tried, as hard as I could, to move my baby out of me. But nothing seemed to happen.

“Are you pushing?” She asked. I nodded. I continued to do what I thought was pushing for a few minutes before she said, “Imagine you are trying to go poop. Use those muscles.” I shifted around a little and moved up onto the bed, on hands and knees, and bore down, pushing hard. I suddenly felt the end in sight a few minutes later, when the midwife said, “Keep going! I can see his head! …Do you want to see it?” I shook my head ‘no’. I felt like I needed to focus all my energy on my labor. It didn’t feel like I was making any progress, and then, suddenly, my midwife said, “Flip over onto your back right now and push, harder than you think you can, one more time!” I did as she instructed, pushed – and Mr. Sweetie was born!

He entered the world, perfect and beautiful, on our bed at home, after only nine hours of labor. He was eight pounds 4 ounces, 21 ½ inches long; born with a mohawk, and a strong set of lungs. When I first saw him, I knew that I had grown a masterpiece inside of me; I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. This was the most difficult, incredible, beautiful, and most empowering, thing I have ever done in my life, and I wouldn’t change it in any way if I could. My experience of birth as a natural event, in the comfort of my home, surrounded by the people that love me, was invaluable, and I now know I am capable of anything. Being a mother is a huge amount of work, but it is the best decision that I have made to date, and it has helped me to finally shed my girlish frivolities and challenge myself to grow and change for the better.

This blog is dedicated to my son, the most precious of treasures, el tesoro más precioso. Right now, you are a tiny glowing star, but one day soon, you will grow into the most brilliant sun. I can’t wait to know the incredible man you will be. You’re the best, Mr. Sweetie!

Mami

Mami is an artist, aspiring entrepreneur, and first-time, full-time mother. She enjoys long walks with Mr. Sweetie, good food and cooking, her family and dear friends, writing, arting and crafting. She doesn't know everything, but wants to learn, and loves to do research and share what she finds. She thinks life is like a box of puzzle pieces: you keep trying until it fits, because every piece has its place. She owns and operates whatever she sets her mind to, and knows that the sky is only the limit if you haven't left the ground yet.

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