Victoria Marie Vijil Bernini
On the cold night of November 30th, stuffed with leftover turkey dinner and snuggling with my great grandma, I woke up once again to lug my giant belly into the bathroom. This time it was different though; for the first time in 10 months I saw blood! My heart fluttered, and all I could say is, “Okay baby, we are in this together, and I cant wait to finally meet you!” My partner, Junior, was still in Miami awaiting the phone call to jump on a plane, and after the call of “it’s happening!” he did just that. We met him at the airport later that evening.
Throughout the next couple of days, nothing really happened, but I could tell my body was starting to change and prepare for the upcoming events. After not seeing Junior for almost 3 weeks, we caught up on spending time together, making gingerbread trains and showing him the arctic land of Minnesota. On Monday, December 2nd, we had our 40 week prenatal appointment, and although I was having light contractions, they were far and few between. Throughout the night they started to pick up, and got more intense as the day went on. I absolutely HAD to get a couple of last minute things for the baby (nesting urges) and so we went to TJMaxx. Since Junior was very unfamiliar with the roads, ice, and I was still in a state of total independence, I drove. When a contraction would come I would simply put on the cruise control and just steer straight! I had to cut the shopping trip short due to the frequency and pain of the contractions. We relaxed for a little bit at the birth center and then again, I HAD to go get milk and other food at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Again I drove, but my method worked fine for me. While shopping I would simply hold on to Junior and breathe through a contraction, and then keep walking. We finally made it back to the birth center and settled in.
As the night went on, so did my labor! Contractions started picking up, longer and more intense. Gayle, my aunt and doula, put on my Hypnobabies CDs and although I hadn’t practiced in a while, it relaxed me and reminded me of my cues. Around 11:00pm my mother, Paula, suggested I take a shower. I was in the shower for about an hour just breathing through the intensity of my opening body! At 1:00am, I decided I wanted to get into the tub. I went downstairs and was admitted. I met Gayle and Rebecca downstairs and in between contractions they gave me a very short and sweet blessing way. I made my way down the hall into the Red Room and Vanessa asked if I would like to be checked, and of course, I wanted to know “how much left I had to go”; I was at 5cm. I got in the tub and let my body continue its work. The contractions became extremely intense, but in the (way) back of my mind, I knew it was my baby coming to me. After a few hours I got up out of the tub and tried walking around. I used the sling, the toilet, the ball; anything to try and ease the intensity! My mother sat with me, telling me to make low sounds and relax. I tried to sleep in between contractions but they were too close together to let me doze. Rosa and Jenessa were both there letting me do my thing, but right there to help remind me to breathe deeply and relax. Rebecca had put up some paintings that my 2 and 4-year-old cousins had made for the baby, and Vanessa kept reminding me of how great I was doing. Junior had left to take a 45 min nap, but was right back to being by my side. I couldn’t have asked for a better support team!
I got back in the tub and let my body continue its work. I knew I needed to keep drinking water and eat something, but I was too concentrated on getting my baby out! Water and sports drink through a straw kept appearing and sip by sip, contraction through contraction I knew I was getting closer. Gayle and Junior had to press on my hips every contraction to help with the intensity, and it was amazing how much it helped.
Around 7:00am, the sun starting to shine through the jewels in the windows, with just Junior by my side, my body suddenly started to switch gears. I bore down and started to push. Vanessa came in with some bread that she had made for us. I took a bite; it was wonderful bread, but next contraction it all came up. She was right there with a bag, and one sip of water later I was pushing again. It was the most intense night of my life, and the moment I felt my baby girl leave the cervix and enter the birth canal, I stood up, closed my legs and said, “I’m done!” I knew it was inevitable, but I also got a quick taste of what was soon going to happen. There was no way out. This was it. The moment I had been dreading and educated on my entire life: bringing my baby down and out into the world. In the tub, squatting bearing down, I was coerced to keep going. My baby was right there and I was letting all my fear, pain and excitement out into loud roars. In the midst of a giant push, I felt a giant “POP”. I freaked, thinking I had just seriously ripped my bottom. Crying out for my mom to somehow help, I realized it was just my water breaking. I was one step closer! I continued to push and brought my baby down. Vanessa reached down in the water and checked where she was, and lo and behold, my baby was right there crowning. She asked me if I wanted to feel my baby and when I did, it felt like an egg with no shell. Through a painful whimper I said “its soft!” There was my baby’s head. Vanessa, my mother and my partner right in front of me, my father, my aunt, Rebecca, Rosa and Jenessa behind them all cheering me on, with one final push at 8:01am, my baby girl was born. Up through the water, she was finally in my arms, bright eyed and calm. After growing and learning my baby for 40 weeks and 2 days, I finally met her. I did it. We did it.