My First Mother’s Day

Its been too long since I update this blog, but you’ll understand why soon enough! I was due to give birth on April 30, 2011. We all waited anxiously, watching for any sign of labor. My father and his wife, my aunt, my mother, sister and niece traveled from Puerto Rico to be here. We dined out, went blueberry picking, tried to get my extremely swollen feet to go down. April 30 came and went and no baby. Sleep was fleeting, finding a comfortable position was nearly impossible and I was seeing the chiropractor three times a week. My mother was scheduled to leave on May 8th and I desperately wanted her to be present for the birth, plus stick around for the first few days for support. Also on May 8th, Mother’s Day, my grandparents were coming in, planning on being with me for 2 weeks to help with the baby once my Mom left. I’m very close to my grandparents on Mom’s side, as those who know my family understand, and besides my husband and mother, the other person I really wanted there was my Grandmother. I hadn’t pressured her to arrive on the due date because I didn’t want to stress her out or be disappointed myself if she was unable to make it.

Just before birth
Right before labor

The rest of that week is really a blur, I know I tried to relax and spend time my family. I went to the midwife that Thursday, she checked that I was starting to dilate by a couple of centimeters, I went to get a second ultrasound to make sure everything was ok, which it was. Finally, at 8:30am on May 8th, 2011, Mother’s day, my contractions began. I immediately started using my free contraction timer apps on my iPhone; I wanted to be sure it was real labor and not waste my time. I had my husband use it as well since it was hard for me to reach the phone each time. Sure enough, they were coming regularly every 8min or so, which meant I still had time before needing to leave for the Birth Place; I did notify my midwife, however, who advised me to keep her updated and to come over when they were 3min apart. Everything got a little crazy then, Mom and my sisters dashed around getting the house in order, going food shopping. Frankly, they reminded me of headless chickens for a bit there (sorry, girls, but its true!) the way they were going on all hysterical, bless them. I tried to remain calm and control the pain, it was still bearable. I posted on Facebook that I was going into labor and asked people not to call or text me, but that my sisters would update everyone. Phone calls were made, the world was informed that Dante Raphael was about to come into it. I actually took the time to give myself a quick enema. There was no way I was crapping during delivery! I also took a nice long shower and dressed up in one of my favorite maxi dresses. Yes, even for delivery, I wanted to look cute!

After what felt like an eternity, it was actually just 12 or 1pm, we headed out for the Birth Place. Anne, my midwife, checked and determined I was dilated 3-4cm and the contractions were coming in every 4 minutes. We would still have to wait a little, but it was definitely happening. She had me walk, drink plenty of fluids, sometimes I’d lie on the bed for a bit. At one point, I did use the birthing pool to sit in hot water, it helped to ease the pain. A few hours in and I was really feeling it. The contractions kept becoming steadily stronger, the pain in my tummy, lower back and thighs making me groan and sweat, I looked and felt disgusting. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so miserable in my life. Mom and Angie got me plenty of juices, including orchata to keep my energy and sugar up. Hubby held my hand, rubbed my shoulders and helped me move. I’ll give him credit, he was very supportive. Everybody was, really. Anne was very nice, understanding and gentle, never pushy or bossy. She kept the room as comfortable as possible for me, allowed us to use my iPhone to stream Pandora’s Spa radio station, and was fine with the constant stream of people coming in and out.

Family receiving the baby

Earlier I had expressed concern with the amount of people allowed in the delivery and waiting room. I didn’t want to feel like a big ugly circus act. Yeah, that all went out the window once I couldn’t breathe from pain. I couldn’t have cared less at that point. Good thing too, because it got crowded. It started off with hubby, Mom, my 2 sisters, 4 year old niece, the midwife and her assistant. There ended up being about 20 people between relatives and friends who showed up. Not everybody was allowed into the delivery room however, only females, the men had to wait outside. Except hubby of course, and we did let my Grandfather in after I was done. Alanis, my niece, kept running in and out, keeping everyone informed of progress, “Dante’s not here yet.” It was maybe 4pm and I was in a haze of agony, there was nothing but breathing, squeezing my poor husband’s arms, and trying to rest in between. At around that time, the most difficult since it was active labor by then, my grandparents arrived. I was so relieved, Grandma was here, the baby had waited for her. It was a miracle, the Universe had heard me, as my father would say. The midwife actually asked my Grandma to help her catch the baby when he came out, which meant a lot to all of us.

I pushed hard, extremely hard. I’ve done Kegel exercises for years, I can make my stomach muscles move in waves, I’ve got control. When the baby’s head was finally coming out, I felt like I was being torn apart, which I was slightly, burned and all I could think was, “You’re coming out NOW!” I screamed like a banshee, I’d never screamed like that before, but then I’d never had physical pain like it before either. I was later told that my cousins turned pale outside in the waiting room, my niece got scared and complained I was being too loud. It took about 20-30 minutes for the baby’s head and then his body to emerge. When it was over and they quickly put the baby on me, my first feelings were those of relief. It was over, or so I thought, I had done it, my son had been born, I’d survived and could I please go to sleep now? Obviously not. But it was fine, the baby had been born, my husband cut the cord, Alanis informed everyone “Dante is here!,” I sobbed to my mother, “I have a son.” A son that promptly got shown off to everyone, his full head of hair and good looks garnering much admiration. He weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces, measured 20.5 inches. Like my pregnancy, he was textbook perfect. I was a proud mom and it was my first Mother’s Day, one I’ll never forget.

Proud Mom
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