Friday, April 19, 2013

Reflecting on the birth of my children

Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of my second born, my son Caleb.  He will be five years old.  As I write this, I am consumed by the sound of the rain, beating against the screens of my window and streaming down the siding of my home.  It reminds me of the Sunday, five years ago, when I first met Caleb face-to-face.  His round face and straight, jet black hair was all you could see.  He immediately took to my breast, and began nursing as if it was going out of style, easing my fear of not being able to encourage my infant to latch on.  But this was not the case.  And with my husband by my side being my biggest cheerleader, I knew it would work as mommy and son bonded instantly.

Caleb waited to enter the world until his big brother Jordan arrived to meet him.  While my mother was in the background snapping photos of my Va-jay jay, I focused on my pushing and was anxious to see my firstborn with his little brother.  Their bond was instant, and even now as they fight, I can smile when I hear big brother recite prayers with my pre-kindergartener before bedtime and it makes my heart dance.  Caleb was born at 40 weeks, right on the day he was due, weighing 8 pounds 4 ounces.  He shares a birthday with Luther Vandross and Stephen Marley.

Thinking of the protective spirit of Jordan, I recall the day he came into my life.

I was a senior in college, studying nursing at The Catholic University of America in our nation's capital.  One of about a half dozen brown girls in my graduating class of 1996, I had my doubts about finishing school.  But my reason for completion came in the face of my brown chubby-cheeked baby boy, who was born during the blizzard of that same year, on a Tuesday afternoon.  I went into labor early Monday morning, the day recognized as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, a federal holiday.  Concerned about missing too much school for fear of not being able to graduate, I focused on giving birth to my little person.  As I dozed off and on, I recall how my sister sat in the room with me, eating McDonald's while I starved during my laboring process, only able to munch on ice chips.  Jordan was born at 39 weeks, weighing 8 pounds 0.5 ounces.  He shares a birthday with Sade, Aaliyah, and Debbie Allen.

McDonald's was also being eaten by my husband during the labor of my third child, a girl, Gabrielle.  She was born on Wednesday morning, on an overcast day, with the night sky being lit up by the full moon that helped guide our way to the hospital.  A rough pregnancy led to an even more challenging laboring process, as my baby girl emerged face-up as opposed to face down, causing the intense back pain that I experienced before and during my labor, to include the Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Gabrielle was born at 40 weeks, exactly on her due date, weighing 8 pounds.  She shares a birthday with Berry Gordy, Trey Songz, and Judd Nelson.