Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maya

Today, my girl is eleven. And I can't imagine having a more fantastic kid. She exudes fun and love; she is the light in the center of a crowd. She can make me guffaw sincerely, and she bowls me over with her ability to focus exactly when needed. Anyone that knows me well, knows that Maya was my first true love.

I can see her trying to figure out the outside world now with thoughtful caution just as her confidence is falling into place like perfectly laid bricks. Lately she has sprouted up into a tall athletic body and I catch glimpses of what she'll be like as a woman. This doesn't sadden me or make me long for baby-days. I only think: What a stunning and amazing and world-changing one she will be.

Maya was born at a naval hospital in San Diego. When I was pregnant and when I told people where she would be born, many cringed which makes a first-time mother feel really, really good. There were so many horror stories about the naval hospital, but you know what? I felt untouchable. I felt encapsulated, and nothing was going to happen to me or Maya.

I've described often the coming and going of the ocean's tide with my labor contractions, but in the labor room it seemed as if everyone else was in a panic; everything was fast-paced outside of my encapsulation. I felt still within a swirl of motion. My labor was not without its issues. I threw up in pans and I experimented with labor positions often enough to cause my little, back-closing gown to came off. I said, "Let's just take this stupid thing off" and I then labored naked probably to the horror of others. At one point, Maya's in-womb heart rate dropped enough to cause nurses to panic, and they ran around more and injected my thigh with something. They stuck something up me to "wake the baby up" -- I think they were making shit up on the spot -- and yet I felt so calm even when they seemed to purposefully try to worry me. Maya and I were untouchable, didn't they know?

Maya's dad, BD, was in the room as was his wonderful mother, Grandma Carmen, but I barely remember their presence. I remember Grandma Carmen rubbing my lower back with a tennis ball because a nerve felt crushed by all the goings on. The nerve thing was suffocating, but the tennis ball technique helped. She would whisper weepily to me, "Mi'ja, I've had five children, but I've never seen a birth. Thank you for letting me be here." This swelled my heart, but I even felt encapsulated from her; more like, I'm so happy Maya and I can bring you this joy, but it didn't connect me mother-to-mother to Grandma Carmen in that moment. Other things have, but not that.

I could feel a bond with Maya on the rise as she was about to enter the world. When she was in the womb, I felt more like a Grand Nurturer, a budding Goddess, but I did not feel a complete connection with the baby. But in the delivery room I could feel a force of her pending presence, and I looked around feeling like I knew a secret. I felt completely empowered. This caused a bit of disconnected from BD too. I wasn't allowing him in my encapsulation. After five hours of labor with little dilation thanks to whatever they injected into my thigh, I called for an epidural. I sat on the edge of the bed and followed instructions to stay very still and I looked down through my rigid arms at the legs of the scrub-clad anesthesiologist and of the legs of BD. As the doctor inserted the needle, I saw BD's legs buckle and a nurse yelled, "Sit down! Sit down!" I kind of chuckled to myself which is sorta fucked, but I felt that whatever he was experiencing or whatever his worry was for me or his own feelings in the delivery room were completely outside of mine.

The pushing gave me issue. After I shit the bed, I started to feel very anxious. It had been fourteen hours, including over an hour of pushing, and I wanted to see Maya so badly then. As I tried pushing again and as the nurses counted to ten, I heard yelling in the next delivery room. They were shouting, "Apgar 2! Apgar 2!" which is an evaluation score of a newborn's condition; 10 is the best. Healthy babies usually score 8-10. I watched two nurses rush by my room door bundling the Apgar Two baby. Then I bore down and pushed Maya out.

BD put his head down sweetly on a table and cried and Grandma Carmen wept in her own corner, and I all but grabbed Maya out of the hands of the doctor. She was swaddled in a white navy-issue blanket bordered in a pink stripe and a light blue stripe. Her face was swollen and red, her eyes especially, from too much time in the birth canal and her black hair was thick and matted. I wished the room away. I put my face so close to hers and we stared and stared at each other. I could feel her tiny puffs of breath against my lips. I was astounded. As I stared -- my own breath held -- everything else in the room did quickly fall away and out of focus. I saw nothing but Maya for years after that moment.

Happy Birthday, my big girl baby. I love you so much.
You are amazing and a world-changer already.

27 comments:

acumamakiki said...

Wonderful. I adore reading birthing stories!! Happy Birthday dear Maya ~ she seems like an amazing young lady.

Melinda said...

Sigh.

Marigoldie said...

I always wanted to hear her birth story. Happy birthday Miss Maya R R!

ESB said...

happy (belated) birthday to your gorgeous girl.....

Nessie Noodle said...

Holy Crap- I am crying- this is an amazing post. Haven't had babies yet, but this is how I think it is supposed to be, just you and the kido, ya know?

Happy Birthday Maya- and Happy Birth-day to you too mom.

now go eat some cake!

lovegreendog said...

those tiny first puffs of breath, something as a mother you never forget. loved your words. hope you both enjoyed the day :)

amstar said...

I am full of tears.
happy birthday to Maya!

Lizi said...

this story makes me want babies...something that i've never thought about. happy (belated) birrthday to your amazing daughter!

Maven said...

Cry released! Not that it was wedged, man; it's never wedged. Happy birthday to Maya.

madness rivera said...

Cry released and blog hole filled! You guys are great.

SUEB0B said...

Stop making me cry!!

Janine said...

Such a wonderful, beautiful post! Happy birthday Maya, and congrats to you Madness, so much of who she is a reflection of the amazing woman you are.

irene said...

Happy, happy birthday to a wonderful daughter. and happy day to an amazing mom.

Michelle Fry said...

Your recounting of Maya's entrance to the world, made me cry like a baby. The world doesn't hear enough stories about wanted children, about cherised children. Maya is gonna take the world by storm.

andrea said...

birth stories are meant to be told and you had me right there in the room with you (many similarities between maya and ava's birth stories except I ended up having a c-section, uuuggghhh).

little people coming in to the world... it's a stinking miracle, man.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAYA!!!

yolie said...

Happy Birthday Maya!
What a beautiful shot of her. That's that photographer friend yes? Stunning.
And great birthing story too.

Server Girl said...

what a sweet story...happy birthday maya!!!!

Alexandra S said...

May I suggest you link this to Sunday Scribblings' topic this week which just happens to be "first love?" This was so beautiful- She sounds like a magnificent daughter but you also sound like an equally amazing mother.

Sunday Scribblings said...

What a great post -- every time I read your posts about your daughters, I want to have some of my own on the double! Thank you sincerely for that inspiration. We worry and wonder how to fit parenthood into our lives, though it's never a question of "if." And I was so glad to see your name when I was updating the links on Sunday Scribblings! I hope you'll participate again!

Laini Taylor said...

Oops! (That last post was from me.)

paris parfait said...

Hi - Visiting from Sunday Scribblings. What a beautiful tribute to the wondrous young Maya! Thank you for sharing this lovely story - and great photo!

Sonia said...

What a beautiful story. Brought tears to my eyes. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl.

Heather said...

I have tears running down my face right now, that was so beautiful, it makes me even more excited and eager for that moment i'll meet my new little one. Happy birthday Maya!!

navylane studio said...

wow, such an intense story! there's just nothing like childbirth. i remember feeling so empowered and connected, too. the instant my daughter was born i immediately understood my mother and every time she had said no or made me clean my room or told me crazy stories about the the easter bunny or fairies and all that. suddenly it all made sense. the things i thought i had had a grasp on, but then i became a mom, i was part of this amazing miracle, and i realize i had no idea. giving birth, becoming a mom, it's a truly extraordinary journey, isn't it?

sweet memories said...

I found this link from somewhere, speaking of your Maya...This is a beautiful story and it comforts me to know that there are others out there that have these beautiful thoughts about their childbirth..It brought me back to mine, how connected I was with it..it is just amazing that we can go through this and not die! we must be so strong...thank you for sharing our story

Jen said...

wow... what a beautiful story to post. you're girls sound so special and lucky to have a momma like you. i can't wait to have babies of my own one day.

and happy birthday to maya!

rowena said...

This was a beautiful entry. It made me cry.

Maya is gorgeous. It makes me think of what my little boy might be like, he's only one, now.