My neck will probably never be the same from so much time spent gazing down at you in complete awe. A whole baby. MY baby. Whoa. I am absolutely geeked for this fourth trimester!
We’ve been in this thang eleven days as I write this. I was told at my last prenatal appointment that I’d need to be induced. That given my history and recent high blood pressure, we could not risk you going past 39 weeks. They were to call me with the date. It was as if you heard that and decided no one would force you into this world, you were coming on your own terms. My contractions began that night. More intense than ever but bearable. Close, but still too sporadic to deem hospital worthy. We packed a bag just in case, had been procrastinating on doing that. Had been procrastinating on a few things honestly, savoring each day in disbelief that we’d come so far. Due to the Coronavirus, it was not wise to go to the hospital to be sent home. It was too dangerous. I had to be sure, and I was not. The next day, at 37 weeks and 1 day, shit got real. Your daddy had pampered me. Peeped how vexed I was and created a spa day in our living room. The vibe was set with my favorite kind of moody tunes; Jhene, H.E.R., SiR, etc. He gave me a facial, had bought a foot tub and gave me a full pedicure. Massaged me. Made us nachos. I’ve never felt so relaxed and so on edge simultaneously. The contractions started kissing and I could not tell where one ended and the next began. It was showtime!
We headed to the hospital around 9pm, bumping Jay-Z of course. Rapping, breathing and squirming in my seat, I was excited and terrified. Immediately upon arrival, our temperatures were checked, and we were asked questions regarding our COVID-19 status. When we got to the birth unit, it looked sad and deserted. I broke down. Contractions hitting, masked up, I was overwhelmed by the world I was birthing my baby into. It felt eerie and surreal, but you were on the way! I could not, did not want to, stop you. By the time it was decided I was indeed in active labor I was begging for the drugs. You were coming fast and furious and I knew from previous experience with Cairo that once we were too far gone, they could not give me the epidural. Traumatized from giving unmedicated birth to a one-pound baby, triggered by the memory, I was not going. There was a hold up, but a pretty black nurse and your daddy advocated for me and the goods came just in time. Free of the pain, it seemed I didn’t push long at all before you popped out and were in my arms. (This is why I call you Pop Pop; 1. You literally popped out this thang before the doctor could even arrive. 2. You been poppin shit ever since. 3. You’re an old man in a beautiful little baby body.) Seeing your face, hearing your cry, feeling the weight of you on my chest was nothing short of magical. I am still shooketh.
This is where it gets interesting. You were perfect. A bit smaller, but not low birth weight. Alert, with mad personality, distinct features (the most beautiful lips) and hair like a 27 piece. You literally stopped crying to pose for your first picture. It was mommy with the complications. My blood pressure was alarmingly high, so I immediately had to be put on magnesium for 24 hours. This meant complete bed rest and a catheter. I also apparently had high cholesterol and started having severe chest pain. It was hard to breathe. Fearful of the Rona, my anxiety was through the roof. They began testing me for signs of heart trouble. Huh!? After an echo, chest x rays, stabs and blood draws, I looked up and was being whisked to a CT scan. Once again, I broke down. The machine was intimidating. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Shit was going left. Surely God didn’t bring me this far to not be well enough to mother you. In that moment I wanted my momma. Was angry that she couldn't be there due to the hospital restrictions because of the virus. My mask was soaked with tears. I didn't want to see another damn needle. I feared the dye I was injected with would affect my milk. I made it through that ordeal and endured a string of doctors and residents half faces intruding on our personal time. I had refused the heart monitor because there were too many cords that would hinder me breast feeding you and I was hooked up to enough crap. They didn’t like that, but I felt so powerless that it felt good to say no. What they found had nothing to do with my heart anyways, I had fucking pneumonia from being laid up in quarantine. The lack of fresh air and exercise resulted in bacteria on my lungs.
I’d like to take this moment to apologize in advance to you son. See, I’ve often felt like my mom made everything I went through about her. I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way. What I learned in that hospital bed, during the most important day of your life, your birthday, is that our stories are so intertwined it is difficult to tell them apart. The happiest day of my life, when I finally get to meet you, was the scariest day of my life! The fear of not being here to raise you almost stole my joy. I imagine we’ll have many more experiences that are yours but mine too. Moments that you hope I chill. Times you feel like I’m doing too much. But know, it’s because you are literally a piece of me. The most important one. You are the highlight of my life’s video reel. To my momma, I apologize. I understand now. I love you. To my son, be patient with mommy. We have a long journey ahead. There’s so much room for me to fuck up. But please remember, no one loves you more.