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by Deirdre

Caleb's birth story written on his bday 2005

6 years ago today, I went into labor and gave birth to our second son.  He was born at Alta Bates at 10p, February 19 th , 1999.

The day before his birth, I was cleaning like a mad woman.  I still had 5 weeks until I was supposed to give birth, but I was nesting like crazy.  I carried heavy boxes and scrubbed and polished every millimeter of my house.  I remember calling a friend and her mother answered.  I told her what I was doing and she said, "oh you are nesting."  I said, "no, I still have 5 weeks."  She chuckled, knowing that babies choose their own schedules, and I naively thought I had more power over when I would release my child.  So, I went back to cleaning. 

The next morning after a good heavy sleep, I awoke to slight cramping.  I didn't think much of it.  I thought it was probably Braxton Hicks.  I'd never had them, but I'd heard enough about Braxton Hicks to know they can feel like labor pains.  As the morning progressed, the cramps started to get a little stronger so I called one of my Midwives.  She said to just take it slow.  I decided I better get out of the house, so I took my then 1.5 year old Jeremy to play group.  When I arrived the cramping was more intense and I let them take care of my son, while I laid in bed.  I decided I better not go on the walk around the block if I didn't want to go into labor.  So, I laid there and did visualizations of my cervix opening like a flower thinking this was a good chance to practice. 

Well, I guess my visualizations were a little too good.  After play group, Jeremy and I headed home and had dinner.  After dinner, I really started feeling the pain and called my midwives again.  They told me to take a bath and have a glass of wine and to just relax.  I prepared the bath and the wine (hadn't had any wine in 8 months!!) and went to take my long awaited soak when I saw blood. The mucus plug had come out.

At this, I was terrified.  How could this happen 5 weeks early?  Was I ok?  Was the baby ok?  What was going on?

I called my midwife and she came right over.  She checked me and calmly said I was 7 centimeters.  "7 centimeters?," I thought, "How could I be 7 centimeters?  That took 35 hours with my first child."  I probably said this out loud as well.  I was a bit nervous and since Caleb was early I asked her to take me to the hospital. 

On the way, she called Jerry and in his tradition, he invited half of his men to come and be there.  He also invited our chiropractor who was at the first birth.

I went into the hospital, and they checked me and put me in a room.  They attached every gadget they had to my body (I'm exaggerating, but it felt like it) and told me to lay on my back.  I remember laying there thinking "There was no way in HELL I was giving birth to my child on my back.  It is NOT going to happen."  I told them I wanted to get up and take a shower.  So I did.  The labor got a lot stronger, so I got out of the tub (since the Nurses were freaking) and started to push.  They weren't too happy about me pushing in the bathroom, so once again I was on the table.

There was a Nurse midwife (by request) and I was told a doctor was outside the door who wanted to come in.  I was a NO to a doctor and so they midwife had to have a couple consulting meetings outside the door.  Thank GODDESS my Home Midwives were there.  They were the calm in the storm.    

After the last consulting meeting, the Nurse midwife told me that if the water doesn't break they will have to break it.  My Home Midwife looked at me and said, "Deirdre, it is time for you to break your water.  If you don't do it, they will.  All you have to do is push."  So I did, I pushed and alas, the water broke.  It reminded me of the movie "Like Water for Chocolate," when the water breaks all over the kitchen.  I imagined it looked something like that ;).  Once the water broke, the labor got more intense and I got onto my hands and knees.  Needless to say, the nurses weren't sure what to do with me.  I was going to have that baby in whatever position I wanted to have that baby.  I could break the water, damnit, I could have that baby on my hands and knees!!!

So I did.  After much pushing and crying and release and anger (birthing is the best transformational course), Caleb DeAquino Candelaria came out into his fathers hands at 10p.  He was 5lbs 11oz.  I took him to my breast right away.  The nurses wanted to wash and weigh him, but I wasn't going to have them take him right away.  I wanted to smell and give him nourishment.  I held him in my arms and after a short time a very hypersensitive nurse (who was monitoring him the entire time) said he wasn't breathing well and took him from me.  They said he had water in his lungs (or something like that).  My chiropractor followed them to make sure they didn't do anything I didn't want (like give him vaccinations) and watch over him the entire 2 hours he was away from me.  I was sent to a private room.  I started to feel excited relief and I could feel a little detachment since they took him away.  I guess that first couple of hours is really important in the connection.  But, when they finally brought him to me, we never left each other's side. 

It was weeks later that my Midwife let me know I was further along.  I could have given birth at home!  Even if she had told me, I still would have chosen the hospital, since I was feeling nervous about him coming so early.  And, I'm glad I went there.  The Nurse Midwife got to see a woman choosing and she was really happy to have that experience and I appreciated all her care and willingness to work with the dr. and let him know what I wanted.  I also felt stronger and more powerful in my decisions about my body and knowing that I can do anything!   

So, today is his day!!  Today is Caleb's special day and he is SO excited!!!

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"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."
Sandra Day O'Connor

"One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade."
Chinese Proverb

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once
she grows up."
Pablo Picasso


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Reprint from "Mothering" Magazine

During times in our lives when we feel oppressed or dominated by others, it can be difficult to remain hopeful or to feel powerful. The early days and weeks of motherhood are one of those times. We love the baby madly, but mourn the loss of control over our own lives. In order to regain a semblance of control, we learn new attitudes and habits for tough times. -- More>>

Acknowlegments...how to acknowledge our loved ones? More>>

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