But for now, this is the story of your birth :
A few weeks before your birth, we had decided to have a midwife assist us. Her name was Jan.
We talked over the phone on Sunday February 28th and I told her I could feel my body getting ready for you. It was really just that one day. But the feeling was strong and I said I doubted you'd make it through another week-end. Her and I decided that you would be coming the following Friday because a very pregnant woman may dream she gets to pick the day and time she'll give birth to her babe.
I had my very first mild contractions on my way to pick up your brother from daycare on Monday the 29th and I knew chances were you would not be overdue. Came Tuesday and my OB appointment. I was 1cm loose...which I had no idea what it meant (the loose part). I called Jan and she said she wanted to come for a visit. She came on Friday the 4th in the morning. Nothing had changed, I was feeling pretty good and we talked for a while. She told me you were definitely down but still a little posterior. She was supposed to go to a neighbor island on my due date the following week and we were hoping you'd come before then but the truth was that it didn't look like anything was happening right at that moment and that we would have to wave our hopes for a Friday delivery good-bye.
And so we said good-bye.
Later that day Gurvan, Manech and I went on a beautiful walk on the beach. I looked like a fat white whale trying to walk on a sandy beach but I loved every minute of it - the three of us in the expectation of your arrival. I went for a swim, it felt pretty darn good, ran into a few friends all wishing me good luck for the [hopefully] soon-to-come-delivery.
We were invited for a diner at night in a house tucked away in the jungle. I had made a big salad and was looking forward to spending time with good friends. But at the very last minute, as we were getting ready to leave I told your papa that I was feeling pretty exhausted after that long walk and was going to stay home and watch a movie while him and your brother were out for diner. The truth is that I was happy having a quiet evening by myself. I went to bed around 10pm that night. I heard them come home around 11pm.
My first contraction kicked in at 11:30pm. The boys were sleeping, Manech's warm little body close to mine. I stayed in bed waiting to see if there would be more contractions to come. They came. One after the other and after a while I started timing them. 10 minutes apart, lasting a good 1 minute each time. I knew this was it. I was in labor.
Because it took 22 hours with your brother from the first contraction until his birth I decided not to get too excited too quick especially since it was night time and I didn't want to wake any one up too early. I thought to myself that I would wake your dad up around 6am if the contractions were still coming.
I loved that moment. Being the only one awake, the only one knowing what was about to happen, watching your papa and your brother sleep unaware of my contractions, everything being so quiet. I took advantage of the stillness of the night to focus on you and me, to feel my belly knowing I'd eventually miss your kicks and punches, wondering whether Manech would have a baby brother or a baby sister. I talked to you, told you we were going to do this together and that we would be just fine.
After 3 hours of labor in bed I made my way quietly to the bathroom. Seeing some bloodish mucous, I decided to text Jan, our midwife, at 2:53am to let her know. She told me I was probably thinning and opening and that it was all good. So I went on to take a long and hot shower. It felt so good. The contractions kept on coming, getting stronger but I was in control. I was in my zone. Welcoming every contraction, expecting the next one, letting the hot water run against my back, going from squatting position down to my knees and hands. I could hear my breath adjusting, sounds were coming out of my mouth, it was all extremely instinctive.
Around 3:30am your papa needed to use the bathroom (read: had to take a pee) and found me in the shower. He asked if "it" was happening and I probably rolled my eyes at him. Actually no, I think I said "yes, this it it" with a smile. I was in a very happy space. I stayed in the shower for a good 45 minutes then texted Jan again who was getting ready to come to our house as soon as I'd tell her to make her way.
That's pretty much when the contractions changed to every 2 minutes lasting 30seconds and I wasn't sure how far into my labor I was. I told her she should maybe start driving as it was a 30 minutes drive from her place to ours. She arrived around 4:30 am. The contractions were starting to become stronger and stronger. Your dad was helping by holding me as I rested my back against his chest when a new contraction would come (yes he managed to take a photo of it). It felt good. We were a team. Jan listened to your heart and it was one of the best sound in the world. She checked me to see where we were at and announced 3 to 4 cm. I could see her time my contractions and closely look at me. She soon told us that we should start thinking about making our way to the hospital, that she could see things happening rather fast. I waited some more then told your dad he should try to wake our landlords up (who happen to be friends) so that she could come and stay with your brother. The whole time we had managed to stay quiet even as the contractions were getting stronger so that Manech could sleep some more. Gurvan started gathering everything we wanted to take with us, I gave Jan the "birth plan" I had written a few days before, Michele (our landlord) arrived and started talking just a little too loud as she was sitting on the bed which woke your brother up. At that point the contractions were strong and came in one after the other one pretty fast. It was heartbreaking having to leave your brother who did not want to let go of my leg, screaming and crying. We had told him this could happen and while it was really hard to leave him behind, we did, promising his dad would be back very soon so that he could meet "the baby". I held him against me very strong, kissed him and jumped in the car. The truth is that I was deep in the I'm-about-to-give-birth-zone and did not look back. I knew Manech would be fine and most important that he was safe.
Made it to the ER entry since it was too early to go through the main entrance. I had a hard time stepping out of the car and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. Of course the fun part was having to check-in even though I had pre-register. I did my best answering the secretary 's questions in between two contractions. We couldn't help but smile. Then went through the quiet emergency rooms where doctors and nurses waved at us with encouraging looks, through corridors and elevator, more corridors and finally made it to the delivery room.
I changed my clothes, jumped into the sexy hospital gown they provide and laid in bed for the nurse to look at me. She announced 5cm. It was 6:30am. Jan said it was great, "1 cm an hour, good job", while I thought to myself that it meant I probably was going to be in labor for another 5 hours minimum. I was still hoping for a drug-free delivery.
Jan and I decided I’d go for a shower and try to walk around but I never made it out of the bed. Instead the contractions became very strong and all I could do was to hold on to the bed while making all kind of scary slash painful faces for your dad to photograph for my posterity (I’d ask for it) (glad I did). Jan was an amazing coach while the nurse really didn't seem to care much about what was happening. It was the end of her shift and she was probably looking forward to going home, can I blame her? She did try to hook me to an IV in case I was going to need some fluids but couldn't find the veine and gave up pretty quick. I laughed. I guess my nerves were laughing. At that point things were becoming very intense. Each contractions were getting harder to handle. I'd squeeze the bed's rails looking for a comforting look from Jan and your papa as the pain was escalating thinking to myself I wasn't going to have the energy to keep on doing this for another 5 hours, little did I know what was happening inside. Jan kept on rubbing my back and my feet while I could hear your dad snap more photos.
We were left alone for a moment and this is when my water bag broke as a new contraction came. It took me a second to realize what it was and I did (very slightly hum hum) freak out when I felt the warm fluid get out of my body and all over my legs. Jan told the nurse my water had broke and I did my best to lift my body so that they could clean me up a little. From there it all happened very fast. It felt like I wasn't much in control anymore. My entire body started shaking. I looked at Jan and she told me I was probably in transition. She came by my side and looked right into my eyes telling me it was all good. This is when I knew everything was okay. She had assisted hundreds of women before me and gave me the extra strength and confidence to go through the next few contractions, helping me adjust my breathing.
7am had come and our nurse seemed busy giving the heads up to the new one, not really realizing things were moving rather fast on my side of the room. I mean she had checked me half an hour before and I was only 5cm..she probably thought that she would be home and sipping her coffee by the time you'd come into the world. Right.
I started feeling a lot of pressure down in my bottom (the kind that makes you want to scream the sexy "I want to poo!!!" luckily I did not. Poo. I promise my baby, I did not) but I knew it meant that you were making your way out. And soon after I became that woman screaming "I gotta push N O W". The nurse looked at me and said in disbelief "control yourself"...I mean wtf was I supposed to control here? But Jan who knew I was indeed ready to push whispered to my ear that I knew better and should let my body do whatever it needed to do at this point. This is when the nurse decided to check me again and realized that you were about to make your grand arrival. She rushed out to find the doctor (whom I had not seen yet) and this is when the new nurse came in. Jessica. Such a happy friendly energetic woman. I felt instantly blessed and thankful to have her in my team. Especially when some unknown OB doctor walked in with the most grumpy face I had seen in a long time. Everyone looked at each other wondering what the heck was wrong with him. Turned out that no one could find my doc and they had to wake this one up. Well sorry Doc, but isn't this why you are spending the night at the hospital and getting paid..?! Anyways, everyone became very busy around me finally realizing that I really had to push. My doctor did walk in as I was trying to get on my back and truly, this seemed to be the hardest for me to do : get on my back and open my legs! I think everything had happened so fast in the last 45 minutes that my body had a very hard time responding to my brain's commands, lost in the roller coaster of emotions and pain. It took each and everyone's encouragement to get me to open up and let you out. Your papa cheering me up as much as he could.
You breastfed soon after and your papa and I were in awe of your perfection. 20 inches of perfection.
Marlowe, my girl, you picked your date, you picked your day. You were born on a Saturday March 5th of 2016 at 7:32am, exactly an hour after we had arrived into the delivery room, on the beautiful island of Maui.