Welcome Rafael

April 25, 2008

It’s been way too long since the birth of my son and my last post, but here is a 5-minute recap of the last two months.

Rafael decided to come two weeks early, just like his big brother. The pain started around 5 a.m. on March 7, a Friday, and I tried to dismiss them as false labor so I could squeeze some more rest before having to go to work. Granted, I’d already been feeling so uncomfortable in my 9th month that I’d started working from home. By 6 a.m. I realized the pain wasn’t going away. Carlos and I called an on-call doctor, because as chance would have it, my doctor had gone away for the weekend with her family.

We got to the hospital a little after 7 or 7:30 a.m., honestly I can’t remember now. At this point we still thought it was a false alarm. The nurse checked me and let me know I was close to 8 centimeters. For those who aren’t familiar with labor lingo, this basically means the baby is about to pop out. We had very little time to do anything. We hadn’t brought my overnight bag, and dragged Diego with us in his pyjamas because we honestly thought we’d have time to go back home. HA! Our dear child care provider picked Diego up from the hospital for us, and Carlos and I got ready for the delivery. I requested an epidural, but found out there wouldn’t be time for it. The on-call doctor showed, and he got me pushing pretty soon after all that. Except we weren’t having much luck with it. I think my mind and body shut down communication a bit when I realized this would not be pain free. I felt exhausted from pushing, combined with the pain, and could tell weren’t making any progress. So I asked if I could quit the pushing for a bit and just rest. Except resting doesn’t fit in real well with labor, and the contractions kept me from even catching my breath. I started clutching Carlos’ hand more vigorously, and even tried pulling my hair to distract from the pain in my abdomen.

The doctor had to run off for something, just as I decided to start pushing again. The nurses had to fetch a doctor from somewhere else, and for a moment I truly thought Carlos and Itzul would be delivering the baby. I couldn’t tell much of what was happening from my vantage point, but I believe the next doctor ran into the room and had just enough time to put a robe on before catching Rafael as he came out. Carlos later told me the doctor didn’t even have time to put on gloves, and had to use the scrubs over his hands instead.

The pain was incredible, and I screamed and cried out loud like I never have before. Getting Rafael out felt like a great accomplishment as much because it made the pain finally end. And here he is:

The hospital stay was extended a bit because Rafael was born with the cord around his neck and a bit blue. His face was bruised badly. It was nice to be pampered though and have food brought to me all day. It’s amazing how much quicker I recovered with the natural birth compared with Diego, who was virtually painless thanks to the epidural, but left me in considerable pain for weeks after delivery.

The birth hit Diego the hardest the first few weeks. I think he felt especially insecure and vulnerable thanks to this little arrival. It must have been obvious to him that mom and dad weren’t going to pay 100 percent of their attention to him anymore.

On the upside, he’s not going to daycare these next few months and gets to play with mom and baby brother all day each week. Great for him, exhausting for me.

Rafael is seven weeks old now, and is a happy, pudgy baby.

And with big sister Itzul.