Alonso's Birth Story

Alonso's Birth Story

2021-02-13 12:18:24

After what seemed like being pregnant forever, I gave birth to my rainbow baby on January 18, 2021. 

While everyone had to live through the hell that was 2020, I uniquely lived through the pandemic, my first viable pregnancy, the death of my father, a presidential election, and several other heartbreaking moments. I did this all while carrying a baby, committing to keeping him safe, dodging the pandemic,  and constantly wondering if he would come into this world in a safe and healthy way for both of us.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, people kept making comments like, “are you ready? He’s almost here!” or, “any day now!” I would instantly get freaked out when people said things like this. The truth was I wasn’t ready and I was terrified. Remaining pregnant for a few more weeks seemed safer and like a better idea than embarking on this new journey of motherhood and learning how to take care of a newborn. 

Everyone had been commenting on how big my belly was and how they thought I would go into labor early. Because of this I felt like I’d at least reach my due date, just to show them. I didn’t experience any Braxton Hicks contractions or feel anything that felt like labor was imminent. I even told my therapist, “it seems crazy that it’s just going to happen one day without warning, and all of the sudden I’ll be in labor and give birth to a baby!”

But that’s exactly what happened. On Sunday, January 17 late in the day I started feeling very tired and kind of anxious. I even text my sister and said, “I feel weird.” I went to bed that night and woke up several times, like usual. Around 6 AM on January 18 I had my first contraction. I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction or I just had to go number 2, but it was pretty painful, more so than normal cramps that come with going number 2. 

I finally got up around 8 AM and kept having the same strong cramping sensations every so often. I messaged my sister to tell her how I was feeling and she FaceTimed me. She said, “It sounds like you’re in labor Kel!” I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe her, except that the contractions were becoming more frequent and more painful as time went on. Panic mode was setting in.

I got on my computer and finished up some work I needed to get done while simultaneously recording all of my contractions and their lengths. They were starting to get to the point where I needed to stop what I was doing and breathe through them to get to the other side of each one. They were also getting closer together. I was thinking, this is it, but I knew labor could be a long process so I didn’t want to assume I’d be going to the hospital any time soon. 

Fer happened to be off that day and when he woke up I told him, “so I think I’m in labor.” Have you seen the Office episode or meme where Michael Scott is saying “Oh god, okay! It’s happening!”? That was what it was like when Fer found out. He began to feverishly finish packing our hospital bag and take his shower, while making sure I ate something.

My mom came over and sat with me while I labored through my contractions. I told my work I was in labor and would be missing meetings that day. I put my computer down because I could no longer do any work. The contractions were coming faster and harder and I used my birth ball and took a shower to pass the time.

Around 2:00 PM when my contractions were regular and close enough together I called my OB and told them I was in labor and they asked me a bunch of questions. After I gave them the answers, they said, “ok you should go to the hospital now.” So off we went to Cape Coral Hospital.

I was admitted to the hospital and because of Covid, I could only have two support people in the hospital with me. I had Fer there and my mom had to go back home because my sister was on her way over from the other coast of Florida to be with me during the birth.

I kept laboring and was checked by the nurse and told I was 4 cm dilated. The doctor on call came to see me and told me that I should try to labor as much as I could before getting the epidural. My birth plan was very basic – go into labor naturally, labor as much as I could at home, put off the epidural as much as possible, and then get it when it was time. I also wanted to avoid the other pain medication offered, but I ended up saying yes to this after my contractions became extremely painful. I am happy that my birth plan was mostly achieved.

As time went on my water broke naturally around 5 pm and around 7 pm is when I could no longer take the pain of the contractions and I begged for the epidural ASAP. After I got the epidural I could relax and rest for a bit. Around 11:15 pm is when I was ready to start pushing and I was determined to get Alonso out before midnight. With the help of my nurses, my husband, and my sister I pushed Alonso out at 11:59 pm on January 18. 

I’ll never forget hearing him cry and holding him in my arms for the very first time – it was the moment I had dreamed of and hoped for, for so long. I’d been dying to see what he looked like for 9 months and that day I finally got to see him. He wasn’t as big as everyone had thought he’d be – 7 lbs 4 oz. and 19 inches long. And he didn’t have a head full of thick black hair like I thought he might, just some thin brown hair. Immediately after birth the doctor asked me if I had trouble feeling the baby during my pregnancy, and I said yes actually, I was always having anxiety over his movement or lack thereof. He said Alonso’s umbilical cord was very short, which means he didn’t have the ability to turn or move much. Finally, an answer that made sense to me about why all the other pregnant people I knew could feel their babies “dancing,” and I was lucky if he’d move a few times per day.

Alonso came out healthy and happy and we spent our two nights in the hospital before being released to bring him home. We had picked the name Alonso because we looked for a name that made sense in Spanish and English, and wasn’t super common. Our original middle name for Alonso was Gael. When my dad died in November, Fer and I made the decision to change his middle name to my dad’s name. It just felt right to commemorate him in this way. 

And so continues the cycle of life and death. This moment – one of the happiest of my life has also carried substantial grief. The postpartum journey is not one for the faint of heart – especially when you are also grieving and living through a pandemic.

Giving birth was an amazing and difficult spiritual experience that was physically and psychologically demanding. 

Alonso Daniel you have already taught me so much and I look forward to learning from you and loving you for the rest of my days.

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