Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paloma's Birth story

Paloma Sophia Jane


Cucurruucucu Paloma

(translated from spanish, a song i sang to Ava as a baby and Paloma's name sake)

They say that at nights
He simply went through by just crying
They say that he wasn’t eating
It simply didn’t suit him just taking (some food)
They swear that the sky itself
Was vibrating by listening his weeping
How he was suffering for her,
And even when he was dying he was calling at her:
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay he was singing
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay he was wailing
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay he was singing
He was dying from mortal passion.
That a sad dove
Very early in the morning will sing
At the lonely house
Whose small doors are widely open
They swear that this dove
Is no other (thing) than his soul,
That is still waiting
For the unhappy (woman) to return.
Cucurrucucú dove, cucurrucucú don’t cry.
The stones never, dove,
What will they now of loves?
Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú,
Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú,
Cucurrucucú, dove, don’t cry anymore

Jane: "God's Gift," After my amazing grandmother Harriet Jane who passed holding my hand only months before Paloma was born.

Nearly everyday for the past four months i have tried to sit down and write Paloma's birth story. I have thought very carefully about where to start, each time the beginning of her story starting earlier than the last. I suppose now sitting here i realize that Paloma's story started way before she was ever conceived and as my mom said the other night during one of our many conversations about my littlest girl, " I think you've always known." meaning that even as a girl i knew Paloma was meant to be mine. With that being said i think i will start with the fortune cookie my mom received days before Paloma's birth that read, " A small lucky package is on it's way to you soon." And my girl, having impeccable comedic timing came into our lives on lucky number seven, April 7, 2011.

After Paloma was born and even now i think back to myself while still pregnant. I miss the girl i was. How strange now to look back and remember the comfort i took in the idea that if something was "wrong" I didn't have to face it yet, or that the closer i got to giving birth the more and more afraid i became. I cried on the phone to my sister the day the doctor gave me my induction date, and i pleaded with my mom that i was not ready. I was truly and deeply afraid of what was coming, and every cell in my body knew the secret it was keeping from me.

So here it goes......

On Wednesday April 6th the "Mama's" Were on their way. Hugo's mom was flying into Jacksonville and my mom left from Tennessee with a sneaking feeling that it would be soon. I spent the entire day finally getting ready for Paloma. I washed all of her clothes, unpacked with great care all of my baby shower gifts, and washed every piece of dirty laundry in the house. I limped around all day with great determination and new found energy. A mother in law coming to visit can be great motivation to get one's home in order. It can also be a great motivation to take a shower, and for this i am grateful. She arrived sometime during American idol and we stayed up late talking and laughing and doting over Ava and the big girl she was about to become. That night within in an hour or so of falling asleep, my water broke. My eyes sprung open with the knowledge of what just happened, yet not wanting to quite believe it. So I did what any logical girl in denial would do and went back to sleep. Another gush only moments later and i did the next logical thing i could do and i called my sister. I remember her laughing at me and telling me to call my Dr. and then getting very quiet and saying so sweetly, "awww your going to meet your baby today."

When i got to the hospital everything went relatively smoothly. As suspected my water had broken and i was given a pill and brought to my room. It wasn't long before they put me on pitocin and my contractions started to progress. My sweet husband then took over the job of bed side nurse and rubbed my back as i sang along with Ingrid Michelson through the contractions. I am sure all of you moms and dads out there know what i mean when i say that i had to set my dignity aside for the day. Because my water had broken i was not allowed up even to use the restroom for fear of a prolapsed cord, so Hugo, my dear sweet husband took over bed pan duty. And let me tell you, when you are being IV'd, and are taking in the amount of fluids that one is given when having a baby, bed pan duty is no small task. I think the relationship of marriage is such an amazing thing. How someone could be so close to you, as to almost be the same person, and to watch you in those moments of humiliation and just be there, you know. Just be there....I remember how quiet it was, and how he moved around in the dark room. How for those first few hours it was just us two and a heart beat sounding over the monitor.

There was a point that i could no longer handle the contractions and once again i called my sister. If you haven't noticed there is a pattern here. She, in her ever knowing ways told me to get the epidural, and of course that was all the pushing that i needed. The epidural went smoothly and once again i was calm and speaking with my mom and youngest sister that had arrived. My sister Mandy was on skype and i had a couple hours to wait while i progressed. And then i felt it. You know that feeling like you hear about from other moms, that they had to use the restroom. and i knew. I knew Paloma was coming. And because i had had one other baby and one other very successful epidural i knew that this was not a very successful epidural. The nurse did the usual "do you feel this?" and of course i did, but she didn't believe me. So she checked me and i was complete and my Dr. was called in.

........My Dr. I could go on and on about how much i love my Dr. And how she held my hand through my entire pregnancy. She is an amazing compassionate Woman. I really do believe that she will never forget me or my sweet Paloma. Because she is a young Dr. and what happened next had never happened to her up until that point. Up until Paloma.. Ok this is getting hard.....

I gave a few practice pushes and my Dr. put on her scrubs, she said i was a great pusher and to be honest, i really can push a baby out. I think it is a talent that runs in my family. So i pushed maybe five six times and then after feeling a pain, like i have never felt, a pain almost sweet to the taste, out came Paloma. She was crying and purple and had more hair than i had ever seen on a baby. They put her on my chest immediate after she was born. And i held my breath, something was not right. Something was off. She was different. Why were her eyes so puffy? What was it? No......the world stopped...and i knew. They took her from me so quickly and all i could ask everyone around me was, "Is she pretty?" "Is she pretty?" I thought maybe, just maybe someone else saw it too. and that if they said, " NO she is not pretty." Then it would be like they were answering me in my secret code. And it would be confirmed. But no one understood my cry for help, no one spoke to me in code, so i waited. And everyone looked so happy and she was so pretty, so i just waited. Because i didn't feel happy. I wasn't over flowing with the love and relief that i had felt with Ava. I remember feeling a million miles away from what was happening just feet away. I remember feeling like i was in a tunnel, that is the only way to explain it really. In a vacuum of sorts.

And then someone walked through that tunnel. I looked up and saw my Dr. She said, and i can still see her face, "I need to talk to you and your husband." I am not quite sure what i said for sure, but i think i said, "i already know, please tell my mom." and then Hugo was there, at my side and my Dr, told him and my heart fell apart. I will never as long as i live forget how he looked at me. He turned his head from my Dr. looked and looked into my eyes and we exchanged a thousand words. He feel into me and i to him. I never felt so ashamed, i never felt so broken. I felt as if i had failed the only thing he needed me to do, deliver a healthy baby. Only we knew how hard the pregnancy had been, only we knew of the struggles we had been through that year...and here we were watching the others heart break. I felt so devastated for my husband. For my husband who sacrifices it all for his family, who works sixty, eighty hour work weeks, who was wishing just to have his wife back to normal and for life to move on. My young beautiful husband who too had just had the floor swept out from underneath him.

......and then some one asked if i wanted to nurse my baby. My baby? and before i could speak my mom, knowing in that mom kinda way that i needed to hold my baby said so gently and so loving, "April, you need to nurse your baby." I am embarrassed to say now that i did not want to nurse her. That i did not want to even touch her. That i was wishing her away. But instead i said yes. and they put her in my shaking arms.

So much of this part is a blur. I know that when they put her in my arms, she nursed. I know that her eyes were not able to focus yet and i remember her searching my face. I remember just hurting. Everything just hurt. and time stopped. and i asked them to take the baby.

And then....Ava.

My beautiful sweet Ava. My perfect big girl who had dreamed of a sister. And could i have let her down so. What about the sister i had promised? Ava and Paloma were to be a younger version of my sister and myself. Phone calls, sharing clothes, sleeping in the same room, singing,....and now? My beautiful sweet Ava.....

This is where it gets ugly. This is where all of my regrets live.

I think i made it through the first night. and the next day. It was the second night that i broke.

You know how sometimes, it only takes a statement, one well meaning sentence to unleash it all. Well, that is what happened when while on the phone with my mom, she said it, she said, "everything is going to be ok." and i lost it. I let out a guttural scream like i have never released before. I screamed and shook and fell to the floor, and Hugo with me. My lungs refused to allow me to breath I could not talk and was paralyzed with grief. Somewhere through the hurt i could hear Hugo and his voice saying, "baby.." "baby please." I know he was there, but i could barely move to touch him. I was nothing but hurt. When thinking back, all i can really remember being able to see was color. The dull orange glow of the room and the cold hard wood floors that i had collapsed on. I laid there and screamed, i screamed and screamed and waited for someone to run threw the doors and save us. I begged and begged to hear from someone who knew. Some one who knew that i was going to love my baby. Some one who could tell me that i had had a baby a real baby that needed me and would love me. If i could know that this baby could love me back, then i could do it. I would do it. I screamed and begged for what seemed like an eternity and I watched almost as if from the outside as my husband wept like a baby and held his broken wife. We both wanted to go back to the way it was. Just the three of us. It was perfect, Ava was perfect. What if we just ran away? What if we just left? But we didn't. We cried there together and we lived it. We breathed it, we felt it, we were there. And never ever will we go back.

It was some time the next day that Hugo offered me an olive branch....Home. And it was sometime that day that i fell absolutely in love with my littlest girl. My sweet Paloma.

Leaving the hospital was hard. I Knew that once i stepped out of that building, that that was it, that i was Paloma's mom. And everything that that meant. I was afraid because i knew that there was no turning back, but then again there never really was. Wasn't that why i refused the screenings? Because it didn't really matter. and besides, i walked in that hospital with Paloma and by golly i was walking out with her too. And Hugo was right. Home was just where we needed to be...and where Paloma needed to be too.

I can't say that it wasn't hard at first, or that i still don't feel that feeling starting to creep up on me every now and again. But when it does, or when i feel it, i just run and grab my sweet girl and we get through it together. I can look back and say with pure honesty the way that i felt during those first few days, because it was real and because i do not feel that way anymore. I wish i could be that person for that girl and her husband on the floor crying, to say,"hey you will love your baby, and she will love you." "She will wake you up with a smile every single day and fill you with an excitement about her life that compares to no other." " You will feel lucky to have this baby, and she will make you the person that you were always meant to be, Paloma's mommy"

I wish i could wrap my arms around that new mama, and hold her baby for her, and love her baby for her, and guide her out of the hurt. I wish i could remember more of Paloma's first two days. Did i hold her enough? Did she feel loved? Was i a good mama to my new girl? My mom said i was....... and when i wasn't able, when it got to be too much, she was there to love her for me.

So there it is, after four months i wrote it, i got it out and i'm sharing it with all of you.

The story of my littlest girl and how she broke my heart to pieces, only to give me a new one...a better one..... a one capable of more love than i had ever thought possible.

So heres to you, my small lucky package. One small lucky package indeed.


  1. You are such a wonderful Mommy, and I am so very proud of you! I know it was hard to put your heart into words, but you did a fabulous job! Paloma and Ava have the perfect mommy for them, and are the perfect sisters for one another! :) I love you so much... you are very special to me!!!

  2. a beautifully told birth story. I am still working on mine, i can do it orally but putting it to paper has been daunting, still, even at 16 mo.

  3. Beautifully written. It's raw, brave & vulnerable. Thank you for sharing your private thoughts & feelings with us.