Stephanie shared her son’s birth here a few months ago. Now it’s time to hear little sister’s. She had it written just in time fore Pilar’s first birthday. We had just posted a birth so I couldn’t time it perfectly. Boo. Thanks for sharing Steph. As always, I love your witty humor. Love, Melanie.
The Story of Jumpin’ Bean
Jumpin’ Bean’s birth story begins on November 5, 2010, when we were on our way to a weekend trip to Missouri, just the two of us. That Friday night Jack and I arrived to a quiet and peaceful hotel in St. Genevieve. The next day my friend, Sarah, was getting married at the nearby Chaumette Winery. Sarah and Ben’s ceremony was sweet, set in the early afternoon amongst the backdrop of sunshine and blue skies on the winery’s hilltop, followed by the best wedding food I’d ever had (a French and American spread), a glass or two of wine, dancing, and a tranquil drive across wine country to St. Louis where we would spend an adult evening alone.
Once in STL, we went to a quaint Tapas restaurant Sarah recommended to us, had some bravas, olives and peppers, tasty fish and jamón and drank us some Alhambra. We sat at the corner table where we felt like the only ones there—just perfect. We stayed at this super cool hotel in The Loop, so after dinner we walked up to campus, got some coffee and sat. And talked. Uninterrupted. If you’ve got kids, you know what a treat this is. We slept in the next morning, went to Mass at a nearby old church (that’s one of our favorite things to do when we travel—go to Mass at new places), then went to the St. Louis zoo (for free!) before heading back home to Joseph, who was staying in B-town with Nonna (my mom) that weekend. Do I really have to spell out for you what the result of our weekend was? Nothing inspires procreation like a bestest buddy’s wedding. Love was in the air!. Muchisimas gracias, Sarah and Ben. It is only fitting that you were Jumpin’ Bean’s first non-family visitors. (P.S.—Joseph was the result of a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. Jumpin’ Bean was the result of a trip to St. Genevieve/St. Louis. Lord help us if we go on trips to places with the name ‘Saint’ in them.)
As we pulled into our driveway I got this feeling. Were my boobs hurting already? We ran inside to greet Joseph, literally pushing each other over to get to him first, and he was happy to see us. That sweet, innocent little face. Oh, God, are we ready for two? I’m probably not even pregnant, why am I freaking out? Big monkey hugs from him as he wrapped his legs tightly around my torso. I know I’m pregnant, I just know it.
A few days later I traveled to Spain for work. In between site visits, I got to see an old friend, Padre Zazo, Joseph’s namesake. The last time I had seen him, it was the spring of 2009 and I was pregnant with Joe. I didn’t tell him I suspected I was pregnant again. I don’t think I needed to. I could tell in his face that he knew.
I came home to a mess two days before Thanksgiving. While I was gone my poor kiddo got pink eye. Then my poor kiddo, hubby and mother-in-law got a nasty stomach bug, so naturally I was bracing myself to get it upon my return. Nothing says ‘Missed you, Mommy’ quite like projectile vomiting. Instead, what I got was a wicked case of jetlag. Joseph was taking three hour naps to recover from his rough patch, so I joined him every day in hopes of recalibrating on this side of the Atlantic. My brothers and sisters poked fun at me for being such a party pooper—and my stepdad called me out when I kept declining wine. “You must be pregnant!” he said with a sly grin, as if saying it out loud would will it to happen (he loooves being a Papoo). After being home for a few days and still taking three hours naps with Joe, I realized this was not mere jetlag. It was jetlag with a pregnant punch. I was whooped, exhausted, pooped beyond words. Jack finally asked me if I was alright and I told him that I thought I was pregnant. His heart might have skipped a beat. When he asked me how long I had thought that, I told him pretty much since we had driven home from St. Louis. He knew I was being serious and I’m pretty sure that’s why he turned completely white. After the ten days he’d had with Captain Pink Eye followed by Captain Pukies, baby on board seemed a little overwhelming to him and I couldn’t blame him. We got back to B-town the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we took a test. Holy. Schmoly. Ready or not, here two come!
We were elated, really we were. We were just kind of stunned, frankly. Joe had turned one in September, and we knew we wanted our kids to be about two years apart—but could it really have happened so fast? Turns out, after checking my charts and doing some quick math, this little nipper would be arriving to us at the end of July—the 29th according to my calculations. We’d be joining the two under two club. I also hoped that the babe would arrive late just like his/her brother, as my job requires me to essentially be ‘on call’ until all nine of my study abroad programs return to the States. The last program in 2011 was set to return July 28th. Uf, we were going to be cutting it close.
We phoned my parents and Jack’s parents right away. Thinking of it makes me smile so big. Is there any more fun news to relay than you’re having a baby? My Mom was squealing on the phone. She called my stepdad to tell him and rumor has it he started to do jumping jacks in the airport while waiting to catch his flight for a business trip. We told my brother, who was pretty pumped. My Dad replied with an enthusiastic ‘That’s fanTAStic!’ My stepmom said she knew we’d come back from the St. Louis wedding weekend with a baby on the way—and she said she could tell by the way I looked when we saw her over Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law cried. We didn’t tell my father-in-law because we knew if he did, he’d tell all of Greater Cincinnati before we got a chance to. We swore our five parents and my brother to secrecy and decided to make the announcement at Christmas. Both of our moms were bursting at the seams harboring such a secret, and lived to run in to one another on the westside of Cincy to talk about it (who else could they talk about it with?).
Before the night was over, negotiations for baby’s name were under way—and settled before we even went to bed. For a boy we wanted Jude—the middle name was still up for grabs (with Albert, some variation of Augustus/Augustine, and Aquinas all in the running—remember those saints I was talking about? We like saints. To be eligible as a Goetz-approved baby name, you have to either have been a saint or a Marian apparition). For a girl we wanted Pilar Kathryn, the name we had picked out had Joseph been a boy, after the Virgin Mary who appeared to St. James on the river Ebro in Zaragoza, Spain, and told her to build a church on the very ‘pillar’ on which she appeared—the beautiful Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is the result. It took us a few days to decide what we would nickname this little one. Joseph had been Peanut while he was in the womb. Peanut 2.0 felt like a betrayal to both Joe and his sibling, so we settled on Jumpin’ Bean for the newest Goetz tater tot, or JB for short.
Our first doctor’s appointment was on December 17th. We did the typical first visit stuff—met with the childbirth educator (“Can’t eat this, should stay away from that.” Oops, ate and drank most of what was on that list while in Spain), the financial rep (“Your baby will cost roughly $X,XXX.” Jack went white again.), the doctor (“How are you feeling? Any questions? Ready for two?” Ha. Hahaha. Ha. No.), and then, the ever favorite, the hero of that hours long first visit—the ultrasound technician. She looked at me kinda like “You’re back again already?!”, but then got straight to work on gelling me up. I don’t care how many babies a woman has or how many times she hears the swoosh and gallop of her baby’s beating heart, it’s never enough and never as special as hearing it for that first time. Tears streamed down my face, and Jack’s, too. This was for real, and we had our baby’s first photo to prove it. When we went to Cincy a few days later for Christmas, we hung JP’s ultrasound photo on the fridge, and decided we’d just let people figure it out. My sister was the first to notice the night before Christmas Eve and she cried (how I love her!). Then the night of Christmas Eve, my uncle Mike Tallarigo spotted it and asked if it was Joseph. I said ‘no’ and the people who overheard me got real quiet and their eyes got real big—the calm before the storm—then all one thousand Tallarigos whooped and shouted. Hugs, and kisses, and general loudness ensued. When we told Jack’s family the next day (my mother-in-law wrapped a pack of diapers up for my father-in-law to open), everyone was thrilled. JB was everyone’s favorite Christmas present in 2010, especially ours.
In many ways, my pregnancy with JB was eerily similar to my pregnancy with Joseph. I felt the same (great—but a bit more tired due to chasing around a toddler), was on a pretty similar trajectory (with their birth dates about an estimated six weeks apart, I went through the winter looking a little pudgy, like I’d eaten too much turkey at Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas, then started to get a belly in March or so, blossoming in the spring and just popping in the summer—bonus: I got to wear all of my maternity clothes that I wore with Joe a second time around since I was preggers in the same seasons), looked the same (mostly all belly out in front), and had the same zest for being pregnant (see Joseph’s birth story; Jack thought once was just good luck, but enjoying being pregnant a second time and he officially began to panic thinking we might produce an entire soccer team). Because so many things were ‘the same,’ and were ‘the same’ from the get- go, I began to think very early on that I was having another boy. And I was really thrilled about that! I’m a tomboy—I’ve always been considered ‘one of the guys.’ I was more than alright with Joe, Jack and I’s many outings playing in the mud and dirt with sticks, tossing rocks, racing cars across the tile and the like. Jack had the same gut feeling, too. In fact, everyone did—except for Papoo (my stepdad) and GG (my stepmom). So we pretty much began to focus on what the middle name would be, praying to the saints to give us a sign.
Well, a sign came, and it wasn’t the one I was looking for or expecting. But is it ever?
My pregnancy with JB went by so, so fast. Mommas of two or more out there know exactly what I’m talking about. The first pregnancy, it’s all about you, the Momma Bear. The second pregnancy you have no time to think about you because you are chasing after another one and that other one has no concept of the fact that there’s a little nipper growing inside of you, taking much of your energy, and making it harder for you to read him/her goodnight stories since he/she is getting pushed out of your lap more and more each night due to the belly, which seems to grow infinitely faster the second time around. Got morning sickness? Too bad, toddler reigns. You’ll just have to barf in a bag on the run. Got hemorrhoids? Shucks, that’s unfortunate. Can’t soak your hiney in the tub for an hour because, well, you don’t have an hour! In fact, you don’t even have fifteen minutes! Got back aches? Dang. Well, get used to it because big bro or sis still wants to be picked up, more so now than ever, mainly because he/she can sense that someone or something is encroaching on his/her territory, and soon. Fortunately, I had a very happy and healthy pregnancy, and only had one of the previously mentioned maladies. I’ll let your imagine roam—a true ‘lady’ doesn’t reveal her secrets (hahaha, since when have I been considered that?).
The point is, time flew and before I knew it, it was mid-July and we found ourselves in the same situation in which we had found ourselves with Joe—all ready to go and just waiting on baby. Joe moved out of the baby room into his ‘big boy’ room (which he rather enjoyed getting in and out of to come visit us—did I mention many older siblings tend to regress in their sleeping habits when a little one is on the way?), and one day I found myself in JB’s room, just looking around in awe. Wow, this was really happening, wasn’t it? For whatever strange reason, I opened the drawer of the changing table and that’s when I saw the sign: the rosary of the Virgen del Pilar that I had bought when mom and I went to visit Zaragoza so that I could show her the Basilica that would be my daughter’s namesake, should I ever have one. I had been wondering where that was—it was tucked away in the back of the drawer, with just la Virgen’s head peeking out. I literally felt the breath knocked out of me. I think I actually sighed out loud. Shivers went up my spine, the hairs on my arm on end, the way you feel whenever you know that God’s telling you something. I had been wrong about Jude all along. I hung the rosary on the wall and smiled, then sealed my lips. This was the kind of sign not meant to be shared.
I kept this sign in the back of my mind for the last few weeks of my pregnancy. My spiritual being knew better than to doubt it, but the logical side of me was still convinced I was carrying a JAG. Or maybe it was this: I was petrified, I mean scared to my core, to have a baby girl. Why, you ask? Well, I feel like it’s taken a lot of hard work, a huge community of support, and about 25 years (out of my 30 on this earth) to officially come into my own as a woman. Dang…that’s a long journey! I do not regret a second of it and if that’s how long it took for me to be who I am and who I was meant to be (which, I believe, is still a work and progress), then it’s well worth the wait. Perhaps in a different era or a different time, the journey to feeling comfortable in my own skin would not have been as long—but in THIS time in which we live, gals have it tough and the journey simply takes longer. We are being taught to be virgins on one channel, to use contraception on the other, and how to be sexier/skinnier/prettier/add any adjective with ‘ier,’on the end, which implies that what we are currently just isn’t enough, on yet another channel. Ugh, mixed messages anyone? So while I know that women can come out of all that mess with strong voices, strong careers, and strong senses of self (I like to think I’m one of them—and I know so many more), I also know that there are some major growing pains, moments of self-doubt (and sometimes self-hatred), and feelings of inadequacy along the way. What a daunting task to think about bringing up a baby girl in this world! On one hand, it’s what I wanted more than anything: to feel the kinship with my daughter that I’ve always felt with my mom, to have the special bond that my mom and I have with a little Pili, to go on Momma/Daughter trips like so many that Mom and I have gone on before. On the other hand, I just felt like I was better wired to raise baby boys. I’m NOT saying boys are easy breezy, because that’s certainly not the case. I’m also not saying that boys aren’t spoon-fed mixed messages, either. I just feel like boys have less inherent baggage to carry (I know that sounds awful, but I can’t think of another way to say it without saying what I mean) and less pressure on them to meet certain (mostly unrealistic) expectations. I know that I wake up every morning thankful I am a woman and that I a woman empowered. I also know, however, that Jack wakes up every morning thankful he’s not a woman—for many of the reasons I list above.
Yup, that was it. I was afraid to have a baby girl. So I prayed only to la Virgen del Pilar for the remaining weeks of my pregnancy, asking her to help me be the best mother I could be, regardless if a Jude or Pili arrived to us.
I also prayed to la Virgen that JB would wait until after my programs ended, not because I couldn’t handle it if he/she arrived before then, rather because I didn’t want my little child to ever have to compete with my work on his/her birthday. Ever.
July 28th came and went. Phew! Even though I still had a project that would have been nice to finish up before JB’s arrival (the launching of our program’s new promotional video), I gave JB a special pat on the belly and told him/her that he/she could come out whenever he/she wanted at this point! I took Friday, the 29th, off of work and treated myself to a massage (the only one I got with JB—in the month leading up to Joe’s birth, I got one just about every weekend—see paragraph above on being a second time Mum), a trip to Hobby Lobby to put together Joseph’s ‘Big Brother Bag’ (a slew of goodies—books, stickers, paper, markers, etc.—a care package, if you will, to remind him that he’s still a special boy) and a movie, yes a movie!, all by myself, complete with Twizzlers, popcorn and a soda. I saw ‘Midnight in Paris’ and it was just perfect—light, funny, whimsical. It fit the mood of the day just right.
That Saturday we took Joseph to the Monroe County Fair, which is right up that kiddo’s alley: chickens, pigs, cows, horses, big trucks and trailers and…of course…John Deere tractors. The little guy was in heaven. Jack and I looked at each other at one point when Joe was climbing in and out of the tractors and somehow had a sense that this was our last weekend together as a family of three. In fact, I remember Jack commenting to me what a difference a year had made, given in 2010, we went to the Fair and Joe was barely just walking and rather stroller bound. Fast forward to a year later, and he was climbing like a monkey on tractors, so articulate for not even being two, and about to become a big brother. My comment back to Jack was…can you imagine what next year’s Fair will be like?
Saturday night, after Joe was nestled in bed and I had found my usual spot on the couch, I started having some cramping. Familiar cramping. It was around 11:00 at night, and I told Jack I thought something was happening. We both went to bed soon after and slept peacefully, all faired out.
Sunday (JB’s due date) I woke up and the cramping had increased, but had not become what I would call contractions. Still, my gut was telling me that change was on the horizon, and since we have no family in B-town and my mom was pretty much just waiting for ‘the call,’ I phoned and told her she might want to think about packing her bags. And I also told her to pack them as if she wouldn’t be returning to Cincinnati for a while. As the day progressed, the cramps turned in to full-on contractions, but were very, very infrequent (one every few hours). Also, I noticed that JB wasn’t moving as much and that always freaked me out, especially given that both Joe and JB (up until that point) were active kiddos in the womb. When Mom got to our house, I called the doctor and after describing my occasional contractions and lack of movement, they wanted to be safe rather than sorry and had me go up to the hospital to be monitored. While ‘the bag’ was packed, I didn’t think this was ‘it’ so I didn’t bring it along. Jack and I left for the hospital and left Joe and Nonna behind.
They hooked me up right away to a monitor and once they had me do a non-stress test, we came to find that JB was moving around just fine (precocious little stinker—waited until he/she was hooked up to start moving again!). What they did notice was that I was pretty dehydrated. So they gave me lots and lots of liquid through an IV, and I had tons of ice chips and water. Three hours later or so, they released me. We got home after midnight. “Maybe tomorrow,” I thought.
Joe went to daycare and God love Mom, she helped me do some last minute nesting at home while I was at work. Yes, work. Mom came and picked me up from work, then we went to get Joe together from daycare and took him to the Mall to burn off some energy. Since it was so bloody hot out, playing outside was not an option. Also, the doc recommended I not have a repeat of the recent dehydration bout. It was August 1st. Just like with Joseph, I was bound and determined to walk JB right out, so I was walking/running after Joe at the Mall as much as Mom would let me. I went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time that day and, lo and behold, my bloody show greeted me in the terlit. That hadn’t happened with Joe until I was at the hospital, so I was encouraged that JB might actually be more motivated than Joe was to meet the world on the outside (for those of you that know JB, this should not come as a surprise). We got home that night, all had dinner together, and then after Joe went to bed I checked my e-mail. The promotional video with all the most recent edits was waiting in my inbox for me to review. I watched it one last time and it was just perfect. At 9:50 or so, I sent the e-mail signing off on the project, saying it was good to go. Green light. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. I fell asleep almost instantly…
…and was woken up by a wandering Joe around 5:45 a.m. “Uppy, uppy,” he kept saying (in case you are not fluent in toddler, that’s a command for “Pick me up, dummy!”) I scooped him up and we snuggled right away. He rubbed my hand and played with my fingers before nodding off back into sleepy land. I, however, remained wide awake because they had started. Contractions every ten minutes or so. It’s like Joseph knew. He wanted to spend a few last hours with me as my only child and I adore him for that. I also adore JB for allowing its brother to get one last snuggle-with-Mommy-moment. I think both Joe and JB probably realized that I needed that moment perhaps more than they did—Big Joe’s world was about to get rocked, yet I was the fragile one. The contractions did not hurt in those moments, with the security of my little baby boy cuddled up against me. I just breathed through them—they were about a minute long—and focused my energy when they came and relaxed when they went. I cried softly as I held him, not because I was in pain but because he was soon going to be a big brother. As I breathed through each contraction, I hoped and prayed that he would still feel loved, and special, and needed, and cared for when JB came along. All of these silly thoughts entered my head: Will Joe resent us for creating him a sibling? Will JB ever feel loved the way Joe did, given he/she has to share us from the very start? How will my heart possibly be big enough to love two children the same and so very much? Without saying a word, Joseph comforted me and made me feel calm, much like his Daddy always does. Those first few hours of labor were—dare I say it?—blissful.
When Joe woke up around 8:00, it turned from blissful to—intense. The contractions had picked up to every seven minutes or so, but were not lasting long at all now. What the? I called the doctor, who suggested I come in later that afternoon to get checked and see how I was doing given I had been at the hospital two nights before. So Mom called my stepdad, Jack called his mom and I called my dad to let everyone know that these were the kind of contractions that lead to the main event. In the meantime, I took a nice, leisurely shower, finished packing JB’s stuff into ‘the bag,’ and by that time, Bill had arrived. Jack, Mom, Bill and I decided to have lunch together. Since it was probably going to be my last meal before JB arrived, it was my pick and I chose Scholar’s Inn. I’ll never forget eating our lunch there, and reaching across the table to squeeze Jack’s hand every time I felt a contraction coming on. Jack was my rock, just like he was when Joe was making his entrance. Bill was on his cell phone to all of his business pals, bragging that he was soon going to be meeting his new grandchild. When the waiter caught wind of that, he looked at me kinda crazy. “I’m in labor,” I told him nonchalantly. He said he was honored that I chose to have my last pre-baby meal at Scholar’s Inn. Little did he know I only chose Scholar’s Inn because I didn’t choose Mother Bears since I was looking forward to getting pizza delivered from there post-delivery.
From lunch, I went straight to the doctor’s office while Jack went to the house to pack his bag. I was eerily calm through the whole first part of the check-up (they took my blood pressure which was looking good, did another non-stress test to which JB responded well, checked me and I was 2 cm dilated), then the doc made a suggestion: “How about if you report to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and then we’ll go from there?” Calmness and poise out the window. I literally laughed out loud, followed by a rather resolute, “NO!” If Joseph’s labor and delivery were any indication of how this one might go, I could labor for hours and hours (and hours) with no progress—didn’t the doctor check my records? Um, hello, did he not remember the 25 hours of labor with Joe? He was rather taken aback, and then offered a much more palatable suggestion: “Okay, well you can go to the hospital, but they aren’t going to want to move your labor along at all.” “That’s fine,” I said, knowing that if I showed up at the hospital they weren’t gonna turn me away without a baby. So, I left the doc’s office and went home to pick up Jack. Just like with Joseph, I took a long look around the house and knew the next time I set foot in it, it would somehow be different—homier, sweeter, fuller.
Upon arriving to the hospital I was delighted to see that Dr. Cook was on call, who is the same doc that delivered Joseph. Dr. Cook seemed to understand Jack and I’s relationship (and banter) as well as our outlook on this whole labor and delivery thing, and right away after I got my lovely gown on he asked if I wanted him to break my water. “YES!” I responded. And laughed inside at the other doc’s comment “They aren’t going to want to move your labor along at all…”
From here, my memory gets really fuzzy—I don’t remember exactly when things happened, but I remember the order in which they happened. Contractions picked up after breaking my water. Mother-in-law showed up. Mom, Bill and Joe came up after they took Joe to dinner. Epidural. Yessssss. Dad made it in from Cincinnati. Mom took Joe home to be with our sitter (big shout out to Casey Biggs!) and then came back. Ice chips, tons of water, popsicles. Lots of residents accompanying the docs and nurses (I felt like a human guinea pig. Also my undercarriage was getting lots of exposure. Yay for being preggers in a college town.). Finally, around maybe 11:15 or so, they came in to ‘empty my tank,’ (can’t tinkle myself when I have an epidural so another resident had the honor of inserting a catheter) but didn’t proceed to check me afterwards. I looked at the nurse kinda funny. “Aren’t you going to check me?” I asked. During labor with Joe, they emptied my tank and I dilated from 7 to 10 cm just like that. “Dr. Cook will be in to check you before midnight. If you need anything, just press the button!”
She left the room and suddenly it felt like I had to, well, you know, relieve myself through the non-catheter end. I knew what that meant…it was time to push out a baby. So I pressed the button and in she came. I told her the dealio and she sent the entourage behind the curtain so she could check me. This was what she said, I kid you not (I can’t make stuff like this up): “Okay, close your legs. I’ll be back with Dr. Cook.” Cheers erupted from behind the magic curtain. I glanced at the clock. About 11:30 p.m. JB had less than a half an hour if he/she wanted his/her own birthday—otherwise if he/she arrived on the 3rd, JB was going to have to share its birthday with my Aunt Julie. As Dr. Cook made his way in and the family entourage made their way out, I heard Bill tell him that he’d slip him a 50 dollar bill if he could facilitating JB getting’ born in under the midnight mark. That was of less concern to me—my biggest issue was keeping this baby from creeping out before Dr. Cook could get his catcher’s gloves on.
Jack and I had less time to get our thoughts together than we did with Joe. We did say a quick prayer together, though, and then it was go-time. They reviewed pushing with me again, and I gave it a whirl. One push. Two push. Three push. Born. Like a Dr. Suess book. Yup, JB came out in three pushes—Dr. Cook was stunned, Jack even more so. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the big reveal while Stunned 1 and Stunned 2 can’t believe a baby just came out in less than five minutes. “It’s Pili!”
Jack said, still stunned. “The rosary…” I thought to myself and cried tears of sincere happiness. It was 11:49 p.m. Still August 2nd. Miss P had her own birthday, by golly. Now that I know her, well of course she wasn’t gonna be born on the same day as anyone else. She’s a feisty Leo and wasn’t going to share her 24 hours with nobody, God love her.
My fear of how I would find enough room in my heart to love two children was washed away in an instant as my heart just grew. I literally felt like the Grinch in that ending scene when he’s so happy that Who-ville got to celebrate Christmas—you know, when his heart grows too big for its chamber and it just bursts?
And what happened then? Well, in Who-ville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day! And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches…plus two.
To be clear: I am not likening myself to the Grinch (stop snickering, Jack), but I can think of no other way to describe how my heart grew three sizes in a day, and by virtue of Miss P simply being born, how I found more inner strength than ten Griches, plus two…more inner strength than I ever thought I was capable of, but was certainly going to need in the weeks, months, years to come.
They handed Pilar Kathryn to me on my chest, a squirrely, wiggly and writhing 7 lbs, 4 oz. and 20 inches long. She was screaming. She didn’t stay on my chest long because she pooed on her way out (that oughta tell you the spunk she was born with) and had to get cleaned up. When she was ready to go, I got to see her for real. Big, pensive eyes. And this mate de pelo (head of hair) that was to die for—fuzzy, and with blond highlights! I mean real highlights, like the kind people pay big bucks for. She just looked at me, and I at her—and I felt this instant connection, this instant camaraderie with her. With Joe, I had an instant connection, too, but with more of a Momma Bear protective instinct kind of feel. And he nuzzled right up to me and snuggled. With P, it was different. We just seemed to ‘get’ each other. There was less nuzzling and more mutual understanding, more looks of complicity, something that just happens among females who have that chemistry, something that you just can’t describe. We just clicked. Sounds bogus, but I know what I felt. I still feel that way with her. It’s beautiful. I know it will inevitably cause us some strife and possible discord in future years, but I look at her and relate to her so much already, the way only Mommas and their Daughters can.
While I don’t know what Jack felt in that moment, I had a good idea based on the look on his face: he loved her so much already it hurt. And he was bracing himself for a lifetime of moments with her in which he would fear for her knowing she would have no fear, want to protect her knowing he couldn’t, and tell her, much like my Dad has always told me, that he’d be the first man to ever love her and the only man to love her for her whole life. Also in that moment, I sensed that Jack would be perfectly happy if Pili became a nun, as the only men she would then have permission to love would be her dad, her brother and Jesus. Jack has since confirmed for me my last suspicion, declaring that he thinks Pili would make an excellent Carmelite nun, or perhaps a splendid Poor Clare Sister. I think P has other plans.
Bill tried to slip Dr. Cook a fifty, but he graciously declined and instead told him to treat the staff to pizza. Bill did as he was told. From that moment forward, we became the hospital’s favorite guests that night. The family was of course thrilled about the astute little girl who arrived just under the midnight hour. We ate pizza, laughed, and all marveled at little Miss P. I had a daughter! I wondered what Joe would think of his new sister when he met her the next day…
Pili Kate is a rock star. A dream come true. How could I have been afraid to have her? Now I can’t imagine life without her. She’s my Pilarina chiquitina, Miss P, Pilicakes, my Pili Pili Punkin’ Pie. She is a firecracker of pure spunk, yet at the same time she’s incredibly easygoing. Fantastic combination. She melts all of our hearts on a daily basis, especially her Daddy’s and her brother’s. And of course, she puts those two on a pedestal. She rocks her brother’s hand-me-downs, rocks her gushies and naturally always rocks that mess of hair she has that just keeps growing and growing. She is her own person and has been since she came out kicking and screaming. She’s independent and strong-willed, free-spirited and be-bops to her own tune (literally—she moves her little hips and bumsy to the songs in her head). She needs wide open spaces. She’s like I was when I was turning 20. Except she’s turning one. Uf. I think we might have a boat-rocker on our hands—but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Birthday, Sweet P, Apple of my Eye and Keeper of my Soul. Feliz Cumpleaños, mi chiquitina. You are my sunshine—and the sweetest pea in the whole pod.