Ophelia Bloom -- born at home on the most perfect July afternoon.
On the days leading up to her birth, I was starting to lose my cool. I just wanted her here with us already. I was sick of being pregnant and was doing everything I could to coax her out, but nothing seemed to work. She already had a mind of her own -- and she picked the perfect day to come.
The day before she was born, we spent what was to be our last day as a family of three. We wandered the upper east side, got lunch at one of our favorite places, afterwards we had ice cream and visited with Michael's grandparents. The perfect summer day.
I was going to walk all the way home in hopes that it would trigger something, but decided against it. I was already tired and didn't feel like exerting tons of energy to only be disappointed. Instead, when we got home Michael and I had a corona and listened to Dr Dre's, The Chronic. We danced and joked and I bounced up and down while eating hot cheetos.
A few hours later, at around 12:30am, my water broke. I was excited - overjoyed and full of so many nerves I felt like I was going to burst! THE BABIES COMING!
I called my mom right away.
I wasn't having contractions yet so I took a shower and started setting things up just waiting to feel the first one. They did not start. My mom arrived at the apartment and we all went back to bed. Throughout the rest of the night they started coming slowly -- I slept. Only waking up as they came and went.
By 7am they were coming regularly. We filled up the pool. Had coffee and breakfast and waited it out.
By 10:30am I called the midwife.
Olive was wide-eyed and curious with excitement.
Olive really wanted to get in the pool with me. She couldnt believe it -- a pool! In the living room! As things started getting a bit more intense -- she decided to take a bath. When she was ready, she came back out.
Right before the baby came out -- she went into our room and just stood in front of the mirror, looking at herself. I wonder what she was thinking --
Everything's a blur, but I remember her presence -- everyone's presence. Olive was kind and gentle -- pouring water on my arm, wetting a cold wash cloth to drape over my head. My husband was my strength and comfort -- the feel of his skin on my cheek and the strength of his embrace. My mother was my reassurance -- talking calmly and soft. And my midwife was there to guide me. She never interrupted the flow and gave me space so that my body could guide me.
I remember my mother giving birth. I remember sitting and waiting. I wasn't afraid. And neither was Olive. I hope that I have given her a respect for birth - respect for the strength of women - and the power of bringing life into this world. Birth is intense, messy and loud but there is so much beauty and power within it. As my sister said "you are moving the earth" The most incredible gift. Life.
Connect with Mary Grace through her Instagram @msmarygrace