That’s what Damiano says every time he kisses his baby brother. He seems to react to his baby features just as we adults do: melting. But he’s also a bit jealous. The problem is mostly with me and not with the baby. The baby is fine, as long as I don’t dare take away attention from Damiano to give to him, in which case the baby needs to have his eyes poked. This photo was taken without looking into the viewfinder because I was holding my breath terrified of what was about to happen. I am probably a little too overwrought when Damiano gets too close to Santiago and I am sure that our whole relationship will improve with time, but as for now this photo will make do.
10 days ago I was screaming in a birthing room in the hospital. They’d had induced Santiago’s birth because I was already 9 days late and my blood pressure was so high I had blurred vision all the time and I was simply fed up at the whole still being pregnant. I entered the hospital on Wednesday and was placed amidst three other women that were already in labor, and I started to shit my pants. Oh, the howls. They seemed incredibly uncomfortable and helpless. For a second there I thought heartburn and swollen feet weren’t that bad. One by one, these poor creatures were taken to a proper birthing room and the screams became more desperate but cushioned by the layers of sliding doors. In the end, a blonde expecting twins and I remained in the room. They plugged us both with a tampon soaked in hormones, and we were told to wait 24 hours. HELLO!!! If I wanted to wait 24 hours, I wouldn’t have come for an induction mind you. I want my baby now!!! Well, I didn’t have much time to complain since I started feeling awful right away. And you could see those hormones were working because the blonde went from looking fine to looking fraught. She wanted a natural delivery for her twins, but one of them had the cord wrapped around his neck so after 20 minutes they took her away for an emergency c-section. I felt so sorry for her, and started to dread that my fate would’ve been the same. Damiano’s birth was a terrible event in our lives, unexpected and the outcome unpredictable. I remember it with anxiety still today, and what made things worse, in a way, was the fact that c-sections suck ass big time. I remember waking up from the anesthesia feeling like dead. And it took me days to feel half alive again. I didn’t want to repeat that experience: once was enough. And I lived this whole pregnancy with this fear on the brain.
Well, that day nothing happened, except me being in pain every three minutes and scared of the pain that was to come. A midwife took pity on me and let me have a two hour bath in a labor ward, which was oh amazing. After the bath I had grown scales but felt great. The evening came and I was still pregnant, having awful contractions of false labor. I screamed out of my lungs to relieve the pain only to get scolded by the doctor on duty for it. She told me she’d give me a painkiller and a drip to end those contractions. I didn’t want to at first, but she scared me. She said that if I kept screaming I’d be pooped by the time the real contractions came and I’d have a much harder time pushing the baby out if I was too tired. Reason had abandoned me long before, but thankfully my husband was there to say: YES PUT THIS WOMAN OUT OF HER MISERY AND MY EARS, TOO. The next morning, it all started again.
At 7.30 AM I got induced again, this time with a more powerful concoction. Then it all happened pretty fast. At 10.30 the contractions started again. I knew I’d see my baby that day, after 289 days of anticipation. I managed to complete a couple crossword puzzles and nap between contractions, and at 3.30 the midwife that would deliver my baby convinced the doctor that I needed to have my water broken in order to speed up things. The doctor warned me that at the slightest complication or stall a c-section would have ensued. That’s when real labor began and everything got beyond uncomfortable. The midwife was very young and very self confident, which prevented me from completely liking her, but reassured me at the same time. I did what, as I learned in years of therapy, I’ve always done in hard times. I gave myself up to fate. All of a sudden I stopped worrying about the c-section, about the baby, about the pain. The only thought I kept was “tomorrow this will be past”, and boy it was.
After a while labor had progressed but Santiago was not in the birth canal, so the midwife told the doctor I needed an oxytocin drip to keep things going and around that same time my friend Katie arrived. I’m usually very happy to see her, but that day I was overjoyed.
I am squatting on the floor of the birthing room, hurting, sweating, cursing, and there she is, one person that can understand me. Michele is there with me, he is sorry but he cannot closely imagine what throbbing pain I’m feeling, and the midwife keeps addressing me with my middle name and she has no children whose births to recount.
So yes, I was overjoyed. And things went pretty fast and pretty well from there. I have already forgotten the pain I endured, I only remember feeling a great sense of respect for every woman who had been through it. And also comfort at the thought of the billions that had done it and had survived. I thought I’d make it, too. And I did. Not without pooping my pants and saying and thinking preposterous things, like: oh this is how you get haemorroids, I’m going to die, just grab his head and pull him out, etc.
In the end, it ended. Sooner than I thought, he was out, blood and fluids and poop everywhere, but my baby in my arms.
Ich will mir ein Wort ausdenken,
ein nigel-nagel-neues Wort.
Und es dir schenken.
mit dem ich dir sag,
wie sehr ich dich mag
Forgive me for the belated post. Santiago and I came back from the hospital on Sunday and these days have been hectic. He’s an angel and I’m smitten, but looking after two little humans is harder than just one. I hope I’ll have the energy and time soon to write about the great experience that this baby has been so far and how lucky I’ve been. Plase hold.
Santiago, 14.05.09 h. 19.44
10 pounds (4550 gr)
22 ” (56 cm)
tomorrow I have an appointment at the hospital to see how things are going with the little lazy belly-dweller, and I’m taking my bag with me because I really hope that I go spontaneously into labor while I’m there, and if not, I will ask beg for some sort of chemical-pharmaceutical-medical-technological-magical help.
I’m leaving you with a cellphone photo of my enormousness, holding my friend Katie’s girl Norah.
Posted by sol in life
Life’s circumstances left me without a mother at a very young age. She didn’t die, she just left. And se left us, my brother and me, to a substitute mother who subtly let me believe that it was better that way. And not so subtly. She would threaten us to send us back to our mother, and though we didn’t know why this would be bad, it was enough to hear the tone of her voice and dread that possibility. It is one of those things that make you want to go back in time and have the wits and the gut to answer back and fight, or at least question. But since that is not yet possible, you are left with an enormous rage against those who abused your childish innocence. My friend Enrico once told me that children must be kept in the children’s room. They ought never to be exposed to adult struggles and resentments. I guess we are friends because we both know what it means to be pulled out of the children’s room. And once you are out you can never get back in.
However, for those of us that are cheerful enough, life’s circumstances are never black or white, and it is easy to find in other colors or shapes what we have been deprived of. That’s why throughout my life I’ve found many amazing women that have been mothers to me along the way. Thinking about my own mother has always left me in a sad and bitter blur, but I always resort to the memories of the love I’ve received and keep receiving from women that have seen in me a daughter.
Happy mother’s day to you all.
Dear Santiago, your daddy and your brother are very impatient to meet you. Please please… get out!