Three o’clock in the morning, Little Boy and I are making a wee bit of progress, 2cm, enough to fill out paperwork and move upstairs to a birthing room. I smile at Dee, so perfect a triage nurse, she has been keeping my mind level and positive, I remember to breath because of her. Wheeling me into the elevator my thoughts won’t stop pouring out of my mouth. “Do you know how many nights the past two weeks I cried into Charlie’s shoulder because I didn’t know what to do about giving birth to our son? My first was delivered via emergency c-section, my miscarriage was natural.” I pause. “I knew my body could do this, I’m so glad I waited.”
To Charlie’s dismay I didn’t end it there, “I took a shot of castor oil yesterday afternoon, not even the chaser of Sprite helped...it was so freaking disgusting. One gulp down, barely. I wasn’t about to do another. I have never had that much of anything come out of me! Good Lord! The only thing that helped me through it was laughing with my Mom and daughter about putting it in a pie like Minnie did in that one movie and serving it to someone I highly dislike, if you know what I mean? Dee laughs. As the elevator doors open beautiful photography of women and babies make my eyes begin to tear. For being a maternity ward it is an extra beautiful place to have a baby.
“You’re all hooked up and free to continue walking now,” my sweet new nurse tells me. The look on my face and my twelve year old curled up on the oversize chair snoozing must have made it clear that it has been some time since I was last in the hospital to give birth to a baby. “Ohhh, kind of a newbie. Well, you’re setup with no wires to allow for better mobility during the laboring process. More walking, squats, the birthing ball...”
“Zumba!?!” I interrupt her excitedly, “Can I turn on a Zumba video and dance?” She smiles and nods her head. “What better way to begin his birthday than some hip swinging, booty swaying, and some get out of my body squats!?”
Charlie looks as sleepy as our kiddo, Sydney, so I grab my Mom’s hand and ask her to take the first round of Get This Baby Outta Me dance marathon. I can see in her eyes she is beyond happy and I try to match her sparkle in my own. Our bond will become stronger as she witnesses the first birth of her sixteen grandchildren. Squeezing my hand we set off toward the nurse’s station where we got smiles, ‘Good Lucks!’ and even a salute.
“That was squat number 600!!! How is he not out of me by now?” I said fully flabbergasted, “You’d think with all this pressure I’m putting on him, he’d volunteer to come already!” I had been checked once around 10AM, only 3cm, which made me feel disappointed for a split second before I realized that was completely silly. I should rejoice every centimeter, it meant I was on my way to a natural childbirth like we hoped for.
Now holding Charlie’s hand, I turned to face him, “Thanks for taking over, my Mom was a trooper, but I knew she was getting too tired to continue.” A few seconds pass, “I miss Chrysanthemum. When I saw that positive pregnancy test I had never felt so freaking scared, like ever. Not even when I was in the process of giving birth to her.” He squeezes my hand. I know this is a heartbreaking topic for him, he cried for the third time in front of me in our 14 years together, but I needed to talk about her. I needed to talk about how much I want this little boy about to come into this world. How worried I had been pretty much the entire pregnancy and how scared, being completely honest with myself, I am to have a natural birth with a full-term baby. All the unknowns. “Thank you for being my rock, my love, and an amazing father. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else.” He winked at me and kissed my forehead.
“This is where you need to be headed instead of walking around all day!” Dr. Garcia is pointing up at the surgical sign. My cesarean was scheduled for 9:30AM today, coincidentally with him. I smiled, nodded no, and continued on my path like that did NOT just happen. How nice it would have been to have given him the bird. Let’s just do it quick and easy, get that baby out so he can still go play golf at 2PM. Charlie definitely knew I was internally mocking the jerkface doctor and on the verge of crying because he almost immediately wrapped his arms around me, told me we are on the baby’s schedule, and nothing else mattered.
Back in the room, Charlie exclaimed, “You’re having a contraction right now and you’re acting as though it’s nothing! How is that possible!?!” I shrugged and went back to discussing all the foods I wanted after I had Little Boy with Sydney as she finished her third popsicle.
My nurses come in the room followed by Dr. Jerkface; it’s almost supper, time to get checked again. I dread this part, it has been the most uncomfor...”Oh my Godddd...ahhh.” I begin to cry, “What just happened?” As Garcia snaps off his gloves he tells me I’m still at 5cm, and leaves the room. I turn to Charlie, “He hurt me, he really hurt me...” Between sobs I repeated, “Jerkface did that on purpose.” Tears fall as he rubs my hairline to soothe me. Dee is back on shift and suggests I try to sleep to build up my strength.
“Mmm” I sigh and open my eyes blinking a couple times to let my eyes adjust. I can see that I am having a contraction, yet I barely feel any pain and apparently I slept through many. An odd feeling overwhelms my body, I sit up, and woosh, my water broke. “Charlieeee! My water just broke, oh gosh, it’s almost time. Oh my God! Charlie, I need a mop!!!” In an instant, shit got real. The pain increases, as does my low moaning. Except, instead of a deep hum as I was doing previously, now, now it was more like a dying cow. Waves of intense, body crippling pain sweep through me with little time for recovery. My body isn’t my own and the only way to make it through I know is to give myself to it. Embrace it all and as they keep reminding me, RELAX.
Well into the night my favorite person in the World is back to see my progression. “Ten centimeters my dear, let’s have this baby.” I close my eyes to pretend he is someone else because he will not ruin this breathtaking moment for me. I’m surrounded with support, my hands being held, nurses by my feet. I hear, Push like you’re trying to poop, those are the muscles you need to engage so you don’t tear.” Then, Yeah, Mommy! You can do that! Wait, tear. Tear what!?!
Push number five crowns his head and I’m asked if I want to feel him. “I can touch him? Yes, I want to, please!” Dee guides my hand to him. His head is soft and so fragile. I feel another contraction coming, bear down and push through. He is almost in my arms, just one more they say, one more big push. “Okay, okay. I can do this. Oh my God.” I whisper, “I can do this,” and push.
Feeling him on my skin, in my arms, his little cries and coos, I realize how much strength and courage I had to muster to be given the blessing I hold in my arms. Throughout my life, I have never felt the tremendous love and appreciation for what my body is capable of until this occasion. Charlie kisses me, caresses my cheek, and leans back in, “Thank you. Thank you for giving me my family,” We smile and soak in this moment and he continues, “What do you think about the name Everett James.”