my dearest Lily, (a birth story)

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four years ago today, you were still in my belly

your pai, avo Carmo, Avo Joao, avo Hayes and i were all together anxiously waiting for you

you were by now four days late past your due date (ironically enough this year we had a party for you on your due date)

on the day of november six two thousand and nine, after i spent the day walking around southbeach with avo Carmo and avo Hayes, after everyone had gone back to their own spaces to relax a bit, i was finally alone at home

i ate a bowl of cereal for dinner and then i got an ice cream craving so i walked to the nearby bodega to buy some

on the walk back home, there was still the remainder of a full moon out

i held my belly and i talked to you about what a beautiful night it was and how you should come out to see the moon

at around nine thirty pm, once home, i put the ice cream in the freezer and then, my belly got really hard and i began to bleed

i got so scared and paralyzed

what was happening was not the regular water breaking i had heard about and watched in movies

i quickly grabbed my phone and called Mary, our midwife

she advised me to keep calm, stay where i was and not clean anything up

i then called pai who was near by having a drink with avo Joao and avo Hayes at the standard

as i stood there by myself, but not really because you were with me, i tried to remain calm, to breath and i wished on every star for everything to be ok

soon enough pai was with me. and then Mary also

she checked me over, checked the blood, checked you and said that it was time

i was three centimeters dilated and you were getting ready to meet us and the world

i took a shower, quickly got my bag ready, grabbed your bag that i had ready and we picked up avo Carmo on the way to the birthing center

the car ride was quiet and fast. i had no contractions yet

once at the birthing center, at around ten thirty pm, avo Joao, avo Hayes, D, auntie K and Michael met us there

as Mary looked me over in the birthing room, everyone waited in the waiting room right outside

except for pai. he was with me at all times

after some testing, the contractions slowly started happening

and oh boy did they happen

never in my life have i experienced anything like that!!

Mary left pai and i together alone in the birthing room. we slowly walked back and forth from a walkway to the room. breathing, feeling it out

when a contraction would hit, with him behind me, holding me by my waist, we would rapidly walk to the bathroom where i would hold onto tightly to the towel rack

the contractions were strong and fast

and not to gross you out too much but i seriously did not know if i was going to vomit, faint or shit all together. all at once

no epidural. this was a natural birth mama was going for

after about fifteen minutes, Mary came back in the room and checked me over again

i was now the full ten centimeters dilated and we were ready. you and i. it was go time

we called avo Carmo, avo Hayes and Mary’s assistant into the room

we tried a few positions to birth in but your heartbeat and you were happiest with me on the bed, on my side, with my left leg up on Mary’s assistant’s shoulder

with avo Carmo holding my left hand, with pai holding my right hand, with avo Hayes with the grandest of views, after what seemed to have been five grand pushes during some strong contractions and the craziest and burning ring of fire, you came out

at two thirty seven am

you came out and Mary put you on my left breast right away

and with no problem you started breast feeding

and in that very moment, in that very instant, i looked at you and fell in love

all seven pounds, seven ounces and twenty one inches of you

pai and i looked at each other with tears in our eyes and we knew that our lives had just changed forever. for the better

with you on my breast, us both still connected by the umbilical cord, i had yet to push out the placenta

at this point i just wanted to look at you, enjoy you and not be touched. but the birth was not yet over

Mary and her assistant rubbed and pushed hard on my belly. after a lot of bleeding, a very healthy placenta came out (which by the way, we still have in a freezer in west virginia)

once the placenta was out, pai cut the umbilical cord

by now everyone was in the room. they pretty much came in once they heard your cry when you came out

with you on my breast, with everyone cheering around, with auntie K holding a flashlight so i could get a few stitches, your life began

surrounded by so much love your life began

and i hope it will continue to be just so as you grow

happy almost birthday Lily

i love you,

mama

ps- by six thirty am, after some food we were leaving the birth center and on the way home to our little apartment

pps- thank you for taking it easy on this mama. you were a wonderful pregnancy, a wonderful birth, and so far a wonderful daughter

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