You had a due date. Because that’s what doctors and midwives give you. Your due date was March 9th 2016. It would have been your grandmother’s date of birth, my own mom. This year will mark twenty years of her passing and while having her birthday as your due date came with a mix feeling of “wow-that’s-pretty-special” and “wow-that’s-a-bit-intense”, I was hoping you would pick your very own day to come.
A few weeks before your birth we had decided to have a midwife be our doula. We talked over the phone on Sunday February 28th and I told her I could feel my body getting ready. The following Friday your dad Gurvan, brother Manech and I went on a beautiful walk on the beach. I felt 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, and ran into a few friends all wishing me good luck for the [hopefully] soon-to-come-delivery.
My first contraction kicked in that night 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 ten minutes apart, lasting a good one minute each time. I knew this was it. I was in labor. 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 talked to you, told you we were going to do this together and that we would be just fine.
Around 3:30am your papa needed to use the bathroom 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 is it,” with a smile. I was in a very happy space. I stayed in the shower for a good forty-five minutes then texted our midwife. That’s pretty much when the contractions changed to every two minutes lasting thirty seconds. Your dad was helping by holding me as I rested my back against his chest with every new contraction. It felt good. Our midwife arrived. We were a team. She listened to your heart and it was one of the best sounds in the world.
We were excited to leave for the hospital, even though my thoughts kept navigating towards your brother, left at our neighbors. In a way I was glad he was awake when we left. He knew what was happening and I was able to tell him how much I loved him. I went through quite a few contractions to the hospital and did yell at your dad something that went like, “Do not effing slow down when the light is green.. what the hell are you thinking? I have a baby coming down my vagina…!!” Yes, a lot of poesy.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:00am. Soon after, 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. Our midwife was an amazing coach while the nurse left us to our own devices. She 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) freak out when I felt the warm fluid flow out of my body and all over my legs. 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 my midwife 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.
At 7:00am I started feeling a lot of pressure down in my bottom. 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 my midwife, who knew I was indeed ready to push, whispered that I 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.
My doctor walked in as I was trying to get on my back and truly this seemed to be the hardest thing for me to do! I think everything had happened so fast, going from 5cm to being ready to push within 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 on my back and to open up and let you out. Your papa cheering me on as much as he could. I was having the drug-free birth I dreamt of. Two or three pushes were enough for me to get you out and up against my chest. I was in disbelief. We, you and I, had made it through the whole nine month, through the most intense hour of labor, and here I was holding 7lbs 3ounces of unconditional love. I looked down and the words came out, “It’s a girl!” Your papa and I were in awe of your perfection. Marlowe, my girl, you were born on a Saturday March 5th of 2016 at 7:32am, on the beautiful island of Maui.
Editors Note: Benedicte is one of my favorite Maui bloggers. You can see more of her beautiful photographs and musings on life at www.happy-bandits.com