My little sister was in labor for forty-five hours.
These last weeks I've kept the phone by my side, my cell charged and fingers crossed that I'd be one of the first ones to know that my sissy was in labor. Maria, my sister, is nine-ish years younger than me and has been dreaming of this day forever. My brother and I had babies years ago and I've always felt that she has been standing at the sidelines, watching her nieces (our family has girls, now six of 'em) be born wondering when it was going to be her turn. She's been a great auntie, so when she became pregnant, I just couldn't wait for the day when she could hold her own first born. That rush of love, the biggest high you will ever know, the deepest sadness you will ever feel, all wrapped up in one moment as this new soul is placed in your arms. Your world is broken open like a cracked egg. It is the best, most special feeling ever, and I was so excited for her to experience that.
Back in the middle of last September at a family gathering, I noticed something different about Maria. Her face was more relaxed, the glances between her and Sergey (her hubby) were longer and more frequent, and every once in a while I'd see them speak in a quick hushed tone. She had a secret, and I was pretty sure I knew what it was. So, in private I sided up to her and said " So, how are you feeling?" She shrugged and said, "fine." And I said, "no, how are you feee-linggg." more of a statement, looking her square in the eyes. She caved, and told me she was preggers. It was hard to quell my excitement because she didn't want anyone else to know yet. Sooooo, I had to keep my lips sealed from everyone till Halloween! Not an easy task.
Halloween is big at our house. It is tradition for a big gathering of family and friends to meet up at our house for dinner and ghoulish desserts after trick or treating. I look forward to it every year and this year my sister was planning on spreading the news on that very day. Her way, though, was with no words.
|My parents still have this hanging on their fridge. : )|
It was a fun, celebratory evening, and finally, the secret was out. Ahhhhh....
Fast forward to last Monday, after months of a thankfully healthy normal pregnancy, my phone rings at 4:26am. In my sleep I hold up the phone to stare at it in the murky light. In my sleepy haze I can't figure out how to turn the dang thing on.
So, I hold the ringing phone staring at it until it stops ringing. Wake up!!!
Oh ya, that button that says "talk" ? press it. Ring tone. Too late.
I scroll to see it was my mom and call her and yes! She's in labor, they are picking me up in forty-five minutes to catch the next ferry.
I get ready and my mind is excited and I can't wait to see Maria. How is it? Is she able to handle OK? My little sister is in labor!
We get to the eastside and meet her at the birthing center. Sister wants no hospital, no drugs. I keep my mouth shut. I can respect that.
|Birthing ball + Doula = Good thing|
|Coconut water, energy bars, blocks shots, someone has to organize it, right?|
|Introducing the Tarasov family.|
|"Beanie" wearing a beanie.|
|Can't take her eyes off her.|
So Maria and Sergey have entered the fabulous, heart wrenching, soul stretching, breath taking, love drenched path to parenthood. I wish I could give them good advice, but judging from the labor, they already know what to do. It is already becoming second nature to them. Plus, you kinda have to blaze your own path. And Maria has joined the league of superwomen who can add that jewel on your crown: giving birth au naturele. My hats off to you.
So I will be here, Maria, to be your sounding board, when nights and days blur together, when you don't feel human in the days that follow, when crying that doesn't stop turns into tantrums in embarrassing places, when crawls turn to steps, when babbly sounds turn to words, when first smiles melt hearts, when your blood stops because you're so mad, when somehow the love deepens, when you don't think you could possibly love more than you already do, but you do... I am your big sissy after all. Love you.