It's hard to reduce this birth story to just a handful of photos. I drove down to Cecee + Chris's house (about an hour from my own) on a Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to miss the birth. Miami traffic is NO. JOKE. and the last place I wanted to be when Cecee was in active labor, was sitting in bumper to bumper traffic along the Palmetto Expressway. So when I got the text that she was at 6cm and the midwife was on the way around midday, I jumped in the car and let them know I would be in the area and to give me a call when she got to 7cm. 3pm, 5pm ... 9pm. Traffic built up and eased again. Still at 6cm. The midwife anticipated a baby in the early hours of the morning. We made the call for me to head home. I set alarms every hour through the night. Sometime after midnight she reached 7cm but we were now anticipating a longer birth. No updates through the night. (this is scary because you don't want the radio silence to be due to the baby being born! My mind goes into overdrive scenarios of 'the baby started coming quickly' 'no one was able to grab the phone to let me know.') That was not the case here... It's now Friday at 6am. I send a text for an update. I get back: "She's at 8cm. Midwife says you could head down in about half an hour." I drop off my kids with my wonderful family. Hit the early morning traffic. I arrive as the sun is rising gloriously in the room. Cecee, who is looking relaxed, beautiful and calm paces around the room with a smile on her face. Chris, (who, let me tell you, has to be among the most supportive husbands on the planet) is standing beside her ready to hold her when the next contraction peaks. I stay several hours. Quietly documenting the day. I leave to grab something to eat with the understanding that I'll get the call back when things begin to intensify as Cecee is still at 8cm 12 hours later. 7pm, 8pm, 9pm. We all agree it's best I go home while they get some rest. Cecee and Chris have now been awake for 2 days. Things are progressing slower than expected and I wanted to give her the space to calmly progress while sleeping in between contractions, and there wasn't much use in me keeping them awake with a camera shutter as I take photos of them sleeping, using up the hours in their agreement. Saturday morning at 1am : "Things are getting intense. You should come now." Everyone was a little more tired this time round. Family members waited expectantly in the living room. By 8am the midwife checked again for progress. 9cm. Still not quite ready yet. The strength Cecee showed was something out of this planet. The sheer endurance across three days with back to back contractions. I myself felt discouraged for her when each time she was checked it still wasn't time. But it didn't seem to phase her one bit. She just kept rolling with each wave of contractions. and when everyone's strength was failing, and Cecee was trying to count down the contractions herself, I knelt by her side and counted for her. 1, 2, 3, ................ 29, 30 "count another 30" The contractions were lasting longer. After 3 days of labor. It was time to push. The sun came up but the blinds stayed down. Family flooded the room and surrounded the bed with excited whispers. Chris maintained constant eye contact with Cecee, reminding her to breathe. The moment we had all anticipated... On Saturday morning, the day before Cecee's birthday, Abigail made her appearance. She first opened her eyes and looked up at her Mama, with an "I know you" look as if to say "I'm here now."
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