Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ready or Not

The girls wanted shrimp dumplings.  It was a Saturday--the last day of November--and the day had started out on a pretty mellow note.   The regular weekend routines had commenced, so we were all moving about doing regular things like cooking, cleaning, playing, gardening, discussing, and generally just being.  The day before is a blur at this point, but I do recall my husband and I giving in to the girls' request that day, telling them we'd be sure to take them to a particular nice Chinese restaurant to indulge themselves the following day.

At a Chinese restaurant for dim sum January 2, 2019.  It was the littlest ones birthday. Read to the end of this blog post to see what had just occurred on December 31/January 1.  Very similar circumstances to the birth story!

I was feeling fine, but when I woke up that Saturday morning, November 30,  it was clear to me that by December 1,  we would be a family of five rather than four. Late that afternoon light contractions started. They weren't too serious--just consistent enough to confirm that the due date of December 5, which was five days away, was truly just a projection.  The baby was ready.

Around 4 p. m. a friend stopped by to visit with my husband.  On his way out not too long afterwards, he passed me up in the kitchen as I stood at the stove cooking a random pot of black beans.  It was my determination that day--no different than it had been every other day that I had cooked black beans--to get them to the texture and consistency of the ones that had been served at my favorite Cuban restaurant back in the day--a feat I'd been aiming for in all my years of soaking and cooking black beans.  On this day I really got it! And how I just figured out that a simple bay leaf would take a pot of black beans to the next level is beyond me. 

At about 4:30, when my husband's guest passed me up in the kitchen on his way out the back door, I was stirring the beans for the last few times as my protruding belly made distance between the rest of my body and the pot. He asked, "Any day now?" I replied casually without taking my eyes off the pot, "Probably tonight," with a smile.

The contractions, though not overly painful, were consistent.  I casually went and started putting clothes and things in a bag.  An overnight stay at the hospital was imminent.

Around 6:30 pm, we were all dressed and heading out the door.  We stopped by the drugstore.  I went in and came out in the midst of contractions that were still occurring at irregular intervals but were happening no less.

At the restaurant, things were intensifying.  The intervals were becoming more regular, and I was also having to regularly stop and breathe deeply until each contraction passed.  Still, the pain wasn't terrible. I was able to eat and have a good time with family despite being in active labor.  Then, a trip to the restroom confirmed what would inevitably happen that night. 

Not sure at what point this picture was taken. I really don't even remember this moment at the restaurant, but I was in labor. 

On the way to the car, my then 2-year-old decided at some point that she needed me to carry her.  As if walking myself to the car while having contractions were not enough, I hoisted her up on my right hip and we all made our way.  Every so often, I had to stop and breathe through it.

Thinking back on it, I recall carrying her--sleeping--all the way from the car into the restaurant as well. where she slept spread out on two chairs for the first 15 minutes that we were there.

The baby was surely coming.  As such, one would assume that we'd be making our way to the intended place for the birth (a hospital in our case).  But guess what?   The restaurant that we'd just left did not serve dim sum at night, and...the girls wanted shrimp dumplings! I mean, that had been our primary motivation for going out to eat in the first place.  So, our next stop was not the hospital. It was another restaurant.  We called on the way to place the order, and once we arrived my husband and girls went in to get the food while I stayed in the van holding it together. I don't like doing too much laboring in the hospital anyway, so the delay was cool with me.

We've got several pictures of her at different ages outside of the restaurant in front of this horse.  And yeah. we even stopped to take pictures as we left the restaurant.  I would have posted the one of me and the girls standing there with me smiling and looking casual like it was any other day, but I don't like how my feet look in the picture, ha!

Now, my tolerance for pain has always been pretty high, and I'm relatively calm in general.  As such, my experience with this--being a woman in labor in a vehicle--was nothing like it is often portrayed on TV, with the laboring individual screaming in the back seat while cursing out the driver and threatening to deliver a baby right there in the middle of traffic.  In fact, my second child could have surely come in the car during the 50 minutes or so it took us to get from the house to the hospital when I was pregnant with her, and that was a pretty mellow car ride. Despite the strong urge to push her out on O'ahu's H-1, I managed to keep her in until about 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

They came out with the food, and we drove not far down the road to the hospital.

Things were pretty laid back in the delivery room. As was the case with my second pregnancy and perhaps the first as well, a point came when a few people were standing around in scrubs telling me they were waiting for the doctor.  Meanwhile, I was beyond ready to push and felt as though I might transform into something other than human while they're telling me, "You're doing so good. Don't push yet. Doctor is almost here. Just breathe." My thought hearing all this in the moment: "Y'all crazy."  Yet, with each contraction I held on to the bed railing super tight nearly breaking it I'm sure, breathed, moaned/yelled loudly when the breathing wasn't sufficient, and waited. 

Fast forward some amount of time, Baby was here, and I was being praised for handling it all so well without medication.  All I know is during the most intense moments, despite how I appeared to be handling it externally, internally I was telling myself--despite a high pain tolerance--I won't be doing it again! But, one thing about it is when it's over, it's over.  One minute the pain can be so intense it feels like your body will not withstand the delivery. Two minutes later, the birth is complete, all of that pain has subsided, and you've got this precious little being.  It's really special, yet I think that with three of these special moments, I'm good.  :) People ask if we were trying for a boy with the third one or will we try for a boy. To both of those inquiries I say nope and nope.  A third little being was determined to come through to us, and succeeded about one month shy of a year since I miscarried on January 1, 2019.  I was unaware that I was pregnant then.  We're just feeling blessed to have gotten through that and to now have another healthy baby!

Baby Makara on January 1, 2020

About the name...
Makara: derived from Maatkare,  title given to female pharoah Hatshepsut. Pronounced Makare/ra. Then we realized this name is relevant in Hawaiian as well, but with an 'l', as there is no 'r' in the Hawaiian language. 



Maatkare/Makare would have been roughly translated to mean Maat (the goddess of truth) is the life force (ka) of the sun (ra). We've translated into our own meaning, very similar to the original, though.



Also, Makala = to set at liberty

All of the research we did around the name Maatkare/a, learning that Maat was or maybe was pronounced Ma, and eventually settling on the name Makara left me wondering if the name of Egyptian goddess Ma'at--whose name I and everyone else I know who says it have been pronouncing just how it's written--was actually pronounced as Ma by the Egyptians.  Hmmmm...we may never know! But this is something I'm interested in researching further.  Either way, Makara fits Babygirl perfectly!

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