A Birth Story, Part Three

So at this point, I was 41 weeks and 4 days.  I had reached the government doctor’s deadline.  I had accepted a potentially dangerous intervention, thankfully without results.  Now I was just waiting.  I am lucky that my support system was as amazing as they were!  Between my suegra, my husband, and my midwife, I was good to go!

On Monday we decided we would continue to wait.  We wouldn’t return to the government hospital, as I had been instructed.  And I was okay with that!  After all, my body knew what was right, and I had confidence in it.

I had a message from my private doctor asking how things were, and I responded with a quick, “All is well! The pill didn’t work, so I am just waiting!”  I didn’t want to tell her too much.  She is wonderful, but I felt a bit awkward because I wasn’t having her at the birth.  She was my back-up plan incase things didn’t go as well as expected at home, and additionally had been the attendant at Ale’s birth.  I didn’t want us to end our relationship with poor terms–I wanted to keep things positive with her.

Then everything changed on Tuesday.  That evening I received a message from my same private doctor telling me that she was worried.

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“We have to induce labor by Thursday in a hospital with fetal monitoring or a c-section by Friday.  I’m worried.”  My heart dropped into my stomach.  I cried alone for a while, and then began literally walking the floors.  Maybe I could convince my body to send me a baby.  Finally I woke Victor up, and explained, through tears, the message I had received.  He was comforting, and reassured me that the baby wasn’t ready.  When she was ready, then she would make her appearance.  We decided to go for a walk (at around 2 a.m.) in the neighborhood, and we woke up his mom to let her know that she might need to listen for Ale.  Then we took off.

On this walk we came to the conclusion that we needed to just calm down.  We made a plan to ignore the doctor’s message, and take a little staycation at a local hotel.  The doctor had encouraged me to go to a temazcal, and this hotel has a sauna in the pool area.  We came back to the house, and I sent messages to my midwife and my family to let them know they wouldn’t be able to reach me on Wednesday.  I was going to shut out the world, relax, and enjoy my last days with Ale as an only child.  We would try to ignore the doctor, but would keep in contact with the midwife.

The next morning, I felt a billion times better.  I received a message from the midwife assuring (AGAIN) that all was well with the baby.  She wasn’t too big.  I was healthy.  She was healthy.  We could wait before trying some interventions to induce her birth.  We were going to focus that message, and forget about everything else.  We reserved a room at the hotel, packed up Ale, and drove about 2 miles away to relax.

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Ale and Daddy at the hotel.

We had a great time hanging out at the pool–and remembering our visit there for my birthday before Ale was born.  I got in the hot tub that I had avoided the previous trip, went to the sauna twice to relax, and played with my family in the water.

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Ale loves on Mami and Baby Sis.  Mami is 41 weeks, 6 days pregnant.

It was amazing.  I even had some contractions that came and went–just like all the other times.  We went out to grab pizza, snacks, and a giant bottle of water to keep us going until check-out the next day.  I took a bath in the first bathtub I’ve been in since summer.  Ale fell asleep watching cartoons, Victor began watching the news, and I read a novel on my iPad.  It was late, but we were enjoying our stress-free family staycation.

I didn’t even think it was worth mentioning when the contractions started again…

 

 

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A Letter to My Baby on Her First Birthday

My Dearest Alita,

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies, my love

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since you brightened up this world!  I’ve spent the last three days looking at photos from your birth and those early days.  You were so small!  I see the look on your Papi’s face in those photos and it brings tears to my eyes.  He was so nervous, little girl, but oh-so-excited for your arrival.  And now, a year later, you are still his whole world.

And the first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love

Ah! kisses! You make me smile and giggle with glee when you give us kisses, baby.  Those open-mouthed slobbers are the sweetest kisses I’ve ever received.  Daddy asks in Spanish, and you happily oblige him–climbing on his chest, then standing up beside him with pride you clap your hands.  Sometimes you pat my tummy or blow raspberries on it.  How I wish we had more moments like this: laughing and giggling together.  These memories are more precious than all the treasure in the world.

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time, my love

When I think of your birth, there are some things I am sure of:  Having you at home was one of the best decisions I’ve made.   That first day was bliss.  I carried you next to my heart with the greatest pride!  God gave you to me–and you grew strong inside of me.  YOU are my greatest accomplishment!  I remember snuggling you, touching your soft skin in wonder, and waiting for you to wake up and need me.  Now you are sleeping soundly in your spot (mostly taking over my side of the bed) with the covers kicked off.  

The first time ever I saw your face…

A year of loving you isn’t enough, my littlest love.  I need a lifetime more.

Love,
Your Mami

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Hours after birth…

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One year older!

A Letter To My Baby

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Dear Sweet Ale,
My precious little girl–mommy is so tired. Why do you wake up early on the weekends, but you sleep so long during the week? This morning you opened your eyes and just touched me with your sweet soft hands. I willed you back to sleep–hoping to get a few more winks myself. Then I realized, my moments with you are few and far between already…

My heart flutters when you reach for me.

I came home, and there you were. Daddy didn’t listen, and you were watching the Schoolbus YouTube video…again. You saw me, and started jumping up and down. Your two teeth were gleaming as you flash that million watt smile my way. I grabbed you up–and gave you a squeezed. Thinking of how excited you get–it makes Mama so happy.

Papi said that he doesn’t let you crawl anymore. He really can’t wait for you to walk! He doesn’t understand what he is in for once that day comes… All I can think is, “Please wait, baby.” I need you to wait until I have time to prepare for you toddling around. I could make a list of tangible ways I need to prepare, but really–I just need to hold you another day, week, month…

My dear girl, I love every minute I get with you. Even though right now, it feels like you are eating or sleeping most of the time we’re together. Even at the moment, you are curled against my side and out like a light. I look forward to vacations and weekends not just because I am off–but because I get to be with you! I cling to every smile, giggle, eyebrow raise–because one day you’ll be too big and impatient for Mama’s love.

Until then,
Amorously your’s,
Mama

Life Away From My Baby

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Night number four without my baby girl curled up beside me, and I find a piece of me is missing. I lay in bed thinking of my littlest love–snuggling me while searching for chi-chi… Tell-tale sighs of adoration and satisfaction escape from her as one hand curls around her food source.

We are like one, she and I, and as I move her body shifts as well. She settles in with kitten-like mews of contentment.

We drift off.

She wiggles and I awake, searching her face for signs of distress or discomfort. I guide my nipple to her open mouth as she blindly nuzzles my arm (still asleep). “Here baby,” I whisper, although she doesn’t hear.

Being a mom is grand.

The first night I left to come to the Tri-Conference in Mexico City, Victor told me how much Ale missed me. I felt a tug in my heart. The next night, she was happy to see me, but mostly just wanted to play with the computer. Today, four days later, I arrive and she gives me a half-smile as if to say, “Eh…just mom.”

My heart was full of love and tenderness, and I carted her off (away from her daddy) to win her over again. It didn’t take long for her to realize that she could rest easy with her heifer back by her side.

Chalk another point up for breastfeeding.

A Letter to My Sick Baby

Dear Sweet Ale-Cat,
Mama has never felt more helpless than she does now. You have slept in my arms all day, cuddled up next to me breathing laboriously. You open your fever-filled eyes and look at me–and my heart breaks. Because now, I finally understand what causes Grandmama to say, “Oh, I wish it was me and not you…”

You are so amazing, and Mama loves you more every day. I can’t believe how great it feels to see you reach each milestone. When you push up on all fours–then look at me with glee, I feel so proud! This is my baby! Look what she can do now! Sitting, standing, walking, running, climbing…I know that so much lies around the corner!

Ale, Mama loves all you can do–but most of all, Mama loves your sweet little spirit. I know that God has a plan for you that is great. I feel the burden that every mom must feel: to raise you to know and love our father in heaven! I want you to be aware of God’s plan for each of us, and to listen to his voice speak to your little heart. Little lamb, who made you? Doest thou know who made you?

You’re playing on the floor now with your giraffe, and I watch you with wonder. How could God think that I should be entrusted with a treasure as precious as you? There are a lot of things in life that Mama used to be proud of–but none of them are noteworthy now. You. You alone, sweet baby girl, make Mama’s heart swell.

Every day with you is something of a marvel, and oh! how I long for the moment that your eyes are free from pain. Until then, my love, cuddle your Mama. Let me love you up, mi hijita.

With a heart full of love,
Mama

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My Mexicans

Before my husband was my husband I sent him on an important trip. He was heading to San Cristobal for the day, and I wanted him to buy a pretty hand-embroidered dress for my friend’s new daughter.

They are very delicate, girlie, and quite lovely! Usually white, flowers of purple and pink are embroidered on the front and around the bottom.

Instead, my husband returns with some kind of woven jumper…

I took it home laughing, and when I found it this summer–I decided our daughter should wear it. This is what I came home to:

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A Letter to Baby on Father’s Day

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Dear Sweet Baby,

You should know, your daddy loves you more than any other man ever could. Someday, if your path leads to marriage, you will began looking for a husband. I am hoping that day will be when you’re older–and wiser about what you should look for in a mate. Oh! how I wish I could tell you to hold out for the right man! But if you’re anything like your mama, you’ll have to find him the hard way.

A couple days ago, I asked your daddy, “Victor Papi, what’s the best thing about being a dad?” He paused for a moment, and replied, “Having a daughter.” My heart melted. You are his treasure, he’ll do anything to give you the best (not the most expensive) things in life. That doesn’t mean toys and electronics, baby.

Nope! That means that he is willing to stay in Mexico as long as necessary, because you need to speak Spanish proficiently. He can’t wait for you to learn all the things a good Mexican (woman) knows.

“Someday,” he tells me, “I want you to teach my baby how to make tortillas. And she needs to learn to put things where they go. I don’t want her to put her things all over the place.” I can’t wait to teach you how to be a Mexican, my love. But you must learn to be American too.

So if you choose to have a Mexican husband, you should let him make tortillas every once in a while. Let him change the diapers, cook the supper, and mop the floor. Because a good American woman lets her husband share household responsibilities.

Giving you the best means that he is willing to stay home with you all day long–even when he’s going crazy being stuck in the house. It means that he washes your cloth diapers Mami bought you, because he wants the best from your head to your toes bottom! It means that he will go with you to get your shots, even though he starts to tear up when you’re in pain. It means that he is willing to cut a trip short to see his parents, because he doesn’t want you to be hot and covered in mosquito bites! Oh, honey, you are so loved.

I see the way your daddy looks at you–and the way you light up when he talks to you. You’ve got a good one, Bebita! Be nice to him, okay? I dread the day you’ll be embarrassed to kiss him goodbye. Or if you become embarrassed about being Mexican. I know teenagers get a little weird, but please be sweet to your daddy always. Give me your mean and snarkiness, I can take it…

Actually, Sweet Pea, if you could just stay loving, that would make us all happy…

Someday, my love, you will realize all that your daddy has done for you. You will think him all day with a heart full of love. When that day comes, don’t forget to call him on Father’s Day. That’s only something your mommy does…

Love,
Mami

P.S. Happy Father’s Day to the first man that loved me. XOXO

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Something to Smile About

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I made my way to the highest point I could, and I waited.

The anticipation builds, but your eyes stay glued to the horizon.  A tiny pin-prick of light appears on the other side of the dark mountains in front of you.  It spreads across the sky as if the sky is cracking open–lighting up the clouds with beautiful blues and purples.

It takes your breath–and you can’t look away for fear of missing something extraordinary.  I used to think that there was nothing like a Tennessee Sunrise in the morning.  Until now.

By far, the best thing about sleeping with my baby is when we wake up.  This morning it was with eyelashes fluttering against my arm where her head was rested.  Some mornings it is with her rooting for something good to eat like a little piggy–soft snorts and whistling letting me know how hungry she is.

Sometimes my baby wakes with a startling cry–and I wonder if she had a bad dream.  Maybe a nightmare that she was all alone (because bad guys with guns don’t exist yet in her world).

Occasionally, she’ll start cooing and talking.  Sometimes a bit of whining.  Every once in a while, I will feel her hand slapping against me with erratic movements–as if to say, “Hey, Mama! It’s morning!  Time to wake up!”

Today it was eyelashes.  So I opened my eyes and stared lovingly into her great big brown eyes.

“Good morning,” I said softly, “Good morning, sweet angel.”

Then, it was the moment that I wait for.  A little twinkle appeared first, then the sweetest smile spread across her face lighting up the room.  And I couldn’t look away for fear of missing something extraordinary.

It used to be mountain morning sunrises.  Those sunrises have got nothing on my sweet sugar’s smile.

Dear Baby From Mama

Hi My Sweet Little Girl,

I am watching you smile sweetly at your daddy.  He’s whistling and making funny noises at you while he tickles the space between your eyebrow.  I am glad you still have space between your eyebrows, but I am thinking that won’t be the case much longer.  I won’t pluck them though–not until you’re old enough to care about them.  And if you turn out looking like this we will celebrate your beauty.

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I see you getting bigger and more observant.  And I feel the pressure.  Because, Baby, I want to be the best mama I can be.  I know I’m a novice when it comes to being a Mama.  But to be the BEST?  I know what that means:

It means that even when I want to save you, I have to let you fall.

It means that when you fall, I show you empathy and give you a shoulder to cry on.

It means that I will continue to sit in a closet and pump you bottles for as long as I can, because I know it is the best nourishment I can give you!

It means that I will swallow my jealousy when you flirt with your Papi–because every girl needs a daddy like your daddy and my daddy.

It means that I will sing “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” to you, even when you begin to request “#1” every time we sing.

It means that I will make sure you get to meeting, even when I think of a billion excuses for myself.

It means that I will set you up for failure now while you are young, so that I can “Love and Logic” you into a successful adult.

It means that I will support your Daddy when he gets after you (even though it isn’t the way I would do it).

It means that if you want to be a car washer, “starving artist”, or bicycle mechanic, I will support you.

It means that if you want to be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or indian chief, I will support you.

It means that if you want to quit your job and move to another country, I will support you.

It means you will have my unconditional support (this statement is invalid if you ever decide to drop out of high school, smoke cigarettes  or do anything harmful to your body.)

And when you do stupid things (because I know that you will–even though I am dreading the day that happens), I will still love you–but I will (try to) allow you to suffer consequences.

It means that when you get hurt roller skating down a ramp, I will rush you to the doctor and love you up.

It means that when you’re sick, I will clean up your throw up without letting you know that you’re disgusting–and I will sleep next to you to be there in case you need me.

It means that if ever you do need me (while you’re living your own life in some remote place), I will move heaven and earth to be there.

And, Lord help us all, when you start getting hormonal–I won’t make you feel like an alien.  Even though you will most assuredly act like one.

It means that I will probably embarass you one day.  There is no way I will be the “cool mom,” and you will pretend that you don’t know me.  But I will show you how to love yourself by not caring what others think.

It means that I will teach you to love unconditionally: the old, the sick, the weirdos, the unfortunates, the privileged and the poor.

And when I get old, I will hide my weakness from you–to give you extra time to love your Mama.

It means that when our roles are reversed, and you’re giving me a bath–I will probably complain and worry that you’re wasting your time on me.

When I look at you, Ale, I see how perfect God made you.  And I mean it when I sing, “I really think that God above created you for me to love.  He picked you out from all the rest, because he knew that I’d love you the best.”  I love your chubby cheeks, and if they stay chubby when you’re 29–know that you are beautiful despite what the magazines say.

I know that one day, you will grow too big for your britches.  Your Mama won’t be the light of your life.  You’ll make plans to be the complete opposite of me in every way that I annoy you.  But if there is one thing that you should accept and adopt–let it be this love I have to you.   Because THIS love is a legacy.  I come from a long line of loving ladies, and like it or not, that love is concentrated all on you.

Love always and forever,

Your Mama

babyMy baby at 7 weeks.