Two years (and a day) ago Otter entered the world after a glorious, and screamy, natural birth. I will never forget waking up that morning, about 5:30 a.m. with the feeling that this time the contractions were different. I sat on the bed watching the light begin to filter through the little wholes left by the lace pattern in my curtains and listening to my husband snore as they got stronger and stronger. Finally, around 6:30 a.m., I woke Lee up and told him it was time. He, very sensibly, suggested we go back to sleep for a while, but really, there was no way that was happening.
We got up, called the doctor, and went in to see him before I even got a solid breakfast under my lack of a belt. He checked me out and encouraged me to go to the hospital. I calmly explained that we were going to go home and walk around for a while first, because I wanted to be home as long as possible, per my doula’s instructions. He encouraged me to go to the hospital. I told him I would begin to head over there after I had a nice leisurely breakfast with my family, so I had the energy to sustain my labor. He told to me go the the hospital right away.We left his office around 8 a.m.
We began to head over, and halfway there my contractions had sped up to five minutes apart. By the time Lee got the birthing tub set up, they were under four. The hot water felt so good and relaxed me considerably. Over the next nine or so hours I spent most of my time listening to music, soaking in the tub, and dancing in the hallways with hubby as we waited for Otter to come. I stole some of his chinese beef sticks, drank some water, and got increasingly interested in what was happening “downstairs”.
Finally, I was sick of the tub, sick of the music, and generally sick of everyone, a clear indication it was time. I got up on the bed, and after a very long, to me anyway, period of time I managed to deliver an 11 pound, 6 ounce Otter. There was screaming and cursing and breathing, requests to turn on/up/off the music, and one awful moment when the urge to push stopped just as he was crowning, making me completely aware of exactly how much my body was going through. There was also this absolute certainty that every woman who had birthed a child before me was lined up behind me, stretching back to the first mother, urging me on. All my ancestors, all my sisters, all the women in time. I let go in that moment, felt lifted beyond my stressed out body and pain, and out he came. He was born a little after 5:30 p.m., twelve hours after I began to suspect his imminent arrival.
When they put him on my stomach I “oof’d” just a little at his weight. I remember thinking what a solid little guy he was. He didn’t have piles of babyfat, like he would develop later, but seemed to be all strength and muscle. A little man on my tummy, purple and wrinkly, waiting for his blood flow to pink him up. We got to cuddle for over an hour while they cleaned us up, then he was wheeled away for baby testing stuff and I was wheeled away for a shower, a meal, and recovery. Lee, bless his heart, was left to clean up the birthing tub.
Another memory of that day, clear as glass, is our first night together. Lee had taken Marlena home and Otter and I were in the hospital room, each in our little bed, side by side. I could look between the handles on my bed and see into his cradle. We lay there for hours, staring at each other through the glass, hand in hand, simply gazing. I fell in love.
Now, this little man is two years old. He can sign in full sentences, having decided that speaking, though possible, isn’t nearly as cute and effective as sign. He can eat perfectly with a fork and spoon, knows how to work the remotes on the Apple TV, and loves anything with buttons. He is a vendor of kisses, and will sweetly pat me on the head when he hugs me, just to tell me how much he cares. We celebrated his birth with a few family and friends, a strawberry vanilla layer cake, a balloon forest, and a ball pit. (Oh yeah, and I spiked the grown up’s punch.)
There were so many wonderful people there, and I have about 200 pictures of the blessed event, but as time and interest are in short supply, you get the above! It was a successful party for my little man, so much bigger than he was two years ago. I am so pleased to have him here with me, as his innate sweetness brightens up even my hardest hours. Before I had him, I couldn’t imaging sharing my life with any child other than Monkey, now that he is here, I feel as though our family has been made complete.
Happy Birthday baby boy, and many, many, more.