I remember when I said I couldn’t possibly love another baby as much as I love Maya. Well, I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
My heart just massively exploded and is oozing love, pride, and all that ‘head over heels’ cliche stuff that baby dreams are made of. I met my boy, and I have fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with him. More so than I imagined. And yes, I love him just as much as I loved Maya the minute I laid eyes on her. Only, it’s an indescribable kind of ‘different.’ A good different, but nonetheless different.
On September 9th at 2:53 p.m., Rocco Sebastian Buccio came into the world and into our lives—all 7.7 pounds of him. When they placed him on my chest and I felt his tiny body against mine, I let out tears of joy, happiness, culminating anticipation for this little being that I had nurtured and cooked inside me for the last nine months. He was finally here.
My heart became whole again.
And here’s how it all went down …
It didn’t really hit me that I was having a baby until the night before my induction. Maybe it was a delayed reaction, but I was washing my face and looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m having a baby tomorrow. Holy sh#t.” My stomach dropped. I was tremendously excited but also anxious, terrified and nervous. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done this once or twice before. There are still jitters, still ‘what ifs’ to combat and nerves to be calmed.
I was going to have another baby. A new life as a mom of two awaited me—awaited us.
Induction was scheduled for 6 a.m., so the first order of business was dropping off Maya at my friend Krizia’s, who would be taking her to school. It was important for us to keep Maya’s schedule and routine as normal as possible. Believe it or not, dropping her off was actually pretty difficult. For three and a half years, it’s been us three. She’s been center stage in our lives, and our attention has solely been on her. I kept thinking how this was the end of one chapter and a brand-new one was just hours away. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t cry; I did. My No. 1 girl was about to get a new sibling.
As an only child, the idea of giving Maya a brother or a sister was something I always wanted for her. I see the special bond my husband, Coco, and his three sisters share, and it’s such a beautiful relationship. I only hope Maya and Rocco get to experience that same connection. The way I see it, they need a partner in crime—someone to confide in, someone to annoy, and someone that they can ‘complain about mom and dad’ to without having to explain themselves. But that particular morning as she hugged and kissed me and told me she loved me, I was a little heartbroken. Nostalgic is a better word. We were bringing another member into our wolf pack. We would no longer be ‘Buccio, party of three,’ and I hoped that she would be OK with that.
My amazing delivery wouldn’t have been possible without my labor and delivery squad. Eat your heart out Taylor Swift, because my #squad is better than yours! Choosing whom I wanted by my side was such a personal choice. When I had Maya, I only wanted Coco with me. I didn’t want to share that once in a lifetime moment with anyone else. She was our first foray into parenthood, and I wanted that experience to be exclusively ours.
For me, it was also an emotional choice. If my mother were alive, there would be no question that she would have been in that room holding my hand and soothing me during those brutal contractions. If I couldn’t have her there with me, then I did not want anyone from my family in that room either. As close as I was to my grandmother, there was no one who could stand in and take my mother’s place during Maya’s birth.
I was slightly more open to having an additional wingman in the room with us during Rocco’s birth—but it couldn’t be someone from my family. I was firm on my ‘mom’ rule. We had invited Gina, (Coco’s sister and Rocco’s godmother), to be in the labor room with us. Unfortunately, her teaching schedule made it difficult for her to come down for the birth. Besides his sister, the only other person I wanted in that room was my best friend, Vivi. She’s my other person. She’s more than my friend; she’s my family. As friends, we balance each other out well, and I knew that her humor and her nurturing demeanor was the kind of energy I wanted in that room. Plus, with Coco on a knee scooter, she would be so helpful and hands-on. Coco and I were so happy she was able to be there for us during such a special time in our life.
There is so much more I could say in regards to Coco, my No. 1 supporter. I can’t stress enough how much I needed him during this process. Even with a ruptured Achilles and a knee scooter, he made the hugest effort to be present in every aspect of the birth. Without his encouraging words and love, I wouldn’t have powered through so easily. It’s what makes him not only a wonderful person, but also a loving husband and an incredible father. It’s the reason why, after having another child with him, I get to fall in love with him all over again.
No squad is complete without the superhero crew of OBs, doctors and nurses (what do nurses do again, Joy Behar?!), specifically my OB who rocked my delivery. She was/is a superstar! She’s so cool, calm and collected, and when it was time to bring Rocco into the world, she came in and got that baby out in one fell swoop! Paula, my labor and delivery nurse, was an angel dressed in scrubs. Any nurse that can still love me after having the circulation cut from her hands (I’m almost positive that my vagina almost swallowed her hand too, Little-Shop-of-Horrors-style, while she was checking for dilation), is dynamite in my book. The laughs were continuous throughout the delivery. From enemas to placentas, there was no shortage of jokes, conversation or poop. Yes, poop. It happens.
Yes, pregnancy is beautiful (maybe not for everyone), and the moment that baby is snuggled in your arms, time stands still. There’s nothing like it. That sweet, sweet feeling should be bottled up in a jar and sold because it’s the most euphoric high you’ll ever be on. It’s nothing but pure magic, rainbows and butterflies—but then when you slowly come down back to reality (and that epidural wears off), you remember all the gory and not-so-pleasant parts of labor and delivery. Yep, I’m talking about that poop again.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had two great deliveries. Both were different, but for the most part, they were smooth and relatively easy. With Maya, I was scheduled to be induced because I was late, but I ended up going into labor on my own the night before. With Rocco, I scheduled an induction with my doctor. His due date was September 13. Because I didn’t want to risk having him on September 11, we opted for a scheduled induction on September 9.
I didn’t know what to expect. I was told at every sonogram appointment that Rocco would be huge, so I was terrified for my vagina and my hemorrhoids. I knew what natural contractions felt like, but I didn’t know what contractions brought on by Pitocin would feel like. I had already been having contractions a few days before my induction, but they were only 4-5 minutes apart and then would fizzle out. When I got to the hospital at 6 a.m., I was having some contractions, and I found out I was about 3 centimeters dilated. Whoa!
I’ll tell you what the most painful part of my labor experience was: the IV. First off, if you’ve ever gotten an IV on your hand, you know it’s actually one of the most sensitive areas to get pricked. They avoided giving me an IV on my arm since it could interfere with pushing. Well, after seven excruciating attempts at finding a vein, I requested a time-out.
Apparently I have extremely thin veins—superficial ones—which means each time they went into the vein, at some point, the blood stopped flowing. They even brought in the vein whisperer, who has a solid record of always finding a live one, and not even she could find it. Instead, she was blocked by my severely thick skin. I knew I had a figuratively thick skin, but apparently I have literally thick skin as well. My dinosaur-like tough skin wouldn’t allow the needle to penetrate all the way through. I was squirming in pain and had to take a break. My blood pressure had gone up, I developed a fever, and Rocco’s heartbeat had slowed down all due to the stress from ‘IV-gate.’ I begged for an arm IV. Eventually, they had no other choice but to use my arm. I’ve never been so happy to see so much blood.
Once the IV was in, it was time for the enema. No pooping for this girl! With Maya, I never made it in time for one, so naturally I pooped during my delivery. It doesn’t matter how many times the nurses and doctors tell you how normal it is; you still feel kind of gross. I made sure that with Rocco’s delivery, I wouldn’t miss out on that poop suppressor. Thankfully I didn’t, and oh boy! That thing was AMAZING! I’d been flushed. Unfortunately, I still pooped. So much for saving face.
Let’s talk contractions! Because I was already 3 cm dilated, they started me on a small dosage of Pitocin to kick start the contractions. They were relatively mild with minimal pain, and I was handling them like a champ. I kept saying, “This is a breeze! I can totally do this! This doesn’t even hurt!” Oh Kathy, you’re such a fool. Nurse Paula cranked up the Pitocin to four drops instead of two, and that’s when sh#t got real.
Those contractions grew more intense, more piercing and more agonizing. Where was my epidural?! They told me that as soon as the contractions got unbearable, I could request the epidural. I simultaneously crushed Vivi and nurse Paula’s hands during each contraction, and I just kept thinking of Maya to keep myself distracted. My brain kept saying, need epidural now. And just like that, the anesthesiologist and his team (one of whom had gone to elementary school with Vivi) magically appeared!
My dream team had come to save me with their magic drugs. The epidural has to be administered between contractions, and you have to sit absolutely still. Nurse Paula talked me through the contractions, and after 10-15 minutes, I started feeling the tingle in my legs. It was working!
Once the epidural set in, it was a waiting game. Having the right people in your labor and delivery room makes all the difference. The ambiance was laid-back, relaxed and really funny. (Joking really helps pass the time.) I made sure my playlist was set in the background. Having my music during labor is a must for me! In between telling stories and trying to feel something in my legs (seriously, it’s like I was missing the bottom half of my body), I was feeling constant jolts of excitement (and nerves) knowing that in a short time, I would finally get to meet Rocco! The moment would be here shortly, and I could hardly wait.
I started shivering uncontrollably even though I had several blankets, and I let nurse Paula and Dr. Bonilla know. Sometimes shivering means birth is imminent. Dr. Bonilla checked me, and I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to push. Wow, that was quick! OK, breathe. This WAS happening. As in, baby is coming now.
Everyone got into position, and we started with a practice push. In my first try, Rocco’s tiny head popped out. Dr. Bonilla and nurse Paula told me that I needed to push really hard using my abdominal muscles because the epidural had me completely numb from the waist down. I took the term ‘labor’ to new heights. We collectively felt my vagina deserved her own hashtag (#amazingvagina) for her awesomeness. Coco and Vivi held my left leg while nurse Paula covered the right, and they transformed into the best cheerleading squad a girl could ask for (sans pom poms).
Coco is all about getting up close and personal during the birthing process. He wants to be in on all the action (he’s got a bad case of FOMO), and he was giving me a play-by-play on what was going on in my vaj chambers. He thinks the whole process is just absolutely beautiful, and I love him for that. Not many men can do what he does, which makes him that much more amazing. I’m not sure I would be able to watch all that happening. I didn’t really want the front-row action. At Coco and Vivi’s insistence, I reached down and touched Rocco’s head as I was pushing, and that was enough for me. There’s only so much bloody slime I can handle.
After 14 minutes of vigorous pushing and cheers, I felt that little man come out of me. It was the most powerful, out-of-body sensation ever. Rocco was born to Coldplay’s “Fix You,” one of our favorite songs. He literally took my breath away, and I cried. I cried because I never thought my love for another human could double in size. I cried because my world got exponentially bigger and better thanks to the new man in my life. I was done in. I would spend the rest of my life loving, worrying and fiercely protecting another cub. And in that moment when he laid on my chest and I looked at his face, all that pain, all my worries and all my anxieties melted away. Our son was here. I was enveloped between the two main men in my life and my heart was happy. We had our little boy, and seeing Coco become mush as he held Rocco in his arms, kissing him and staring at him, was beautiful to watch.
My heart had officially burst with unconditional love. I would never be the same again.
When I delivered Maya, Dr. Wu had to cut me, so I wouldn’t tear through my hemorrhoids. And because I pushed for two hours with Maya, I had a good sized episiotomy and terrible hemorrhoids to show for it, which made for a not-so-fun recovery. Thankfully, because I pushed for such a short time with Rocco (yay me!), my tear wasn’t as large (I tore the same scar), and my hemorrhoids were on their best behavior (Hallelujah, sweet Jesus). The epidural helped mask the pain for the next couple of hours.
Our adventurous afternoon didn’t end there. Maya came to meet her little brother—we couldn’t wait to see her reaction. We had her sibling gifts on hand, and we made sure there was nobody in our room except for Coco and I. She walked into our room and made a beeline for Rocco. She climbed on the hospital bed and asked to hold him right away. She kept telling me how cute and how soft he was and she asked nurse Paula if her best friend, Sofia, could come in and meet him. When Sofia came in, Maya motioned for her to come close and said, “Sofia, come meet my brother. Come here. Come touch him. He’s not a monster.” (Did she think I would give birth to a werewolf?) She was beaming with pride. Then she looked at me and said, “OK, mommy, let’s go home.”
As I watched their interaction, I couldn’t help but think how wonderfully blessed I felt at that very moment. These two small beings were part of me—part of us, and we made them. We have the privilege of getting to love them, to mold and shape them, and to teach them about kindness, love and compassion for the rest of our lives.
Getting to bring a child into this world—not once, but twice—is truly a blessing, and it’s one I don’t take for granted. I thank God every day for the gift of motherhood. All the exhaustion, the sleepless nights, the laughs, the tears, the struggles, the ‘not knowing,’ the endless hugs and kisses that take your breath away, they’re are all worth it—every single one of them—because that’s what life is all about.
Follow Kathy’s latest adventures at freshlysqueezedfashionista.blogspot.com.
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