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Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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March 13th, 2011

And Then There Were Four

 
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thenwere4-flashIt’s logical that the more you do something the better you get at it but it’s very strange to me that you can actually get better at giving birth. I did recently, giving birth to our second baby, Maria Catalina.  I handled the contractions much better and this time around it was a totally natural — no pain meds, no pitocin, not even an IV to stay hydrated.  It was a slow and long labor but we made it.

Our nursing situation was almost comical.  We had an awesome nurse at first but with a shift change 2 hours later we lost her pretty early in the game.  Then we got 3 nurses – a supervising nurse, a new nurse, and a student studying to be a nurse on her OB rotation.  It was quite the party in L&D Room number 7.

Our “new nurse” kept having to go ask the supervising nurse how to do stuff because it was so uncommon for her to be working with a woman that didn’t have an epidural.  That part was pretty annoying.  Um, I’m not sure if we can take the heart rate monitors off, let me go ask.  I’m not sure if you can drink Gatorade instead of water, let me go ask.  I’m not sure if you can walk around, let me go ask.

After 11 hours I actually did give in and told her I was ready to talk to the doctor about some kind of medicinal intervention as I was getting too tired and things were progressing too slowly.  By that point they told me it was too late, all that was left was to push.  I was completely and totally exhausted.  I really didn’t think I had any fight left in me.  The doctor told me to start pushing.  I have never felt so absolutely positive that I couldn’t do something as I felt at that moment.  I could barely lift my arms much less birth a baby.  I can remember saying that I couldn’t do it over and over every time a nurse or the doctor gave me an order.  Then one of the nurses said, “It’ll just take one push, I promise.”  Sold.  And Baby Kraft was born.

We named her a couple hours after she was born.  It was the feast day of St. Scholastica.  Generally we have agreed that we would like to name our kids after whatever saint’s feast day is near, but Scholastica?  Good woman, but we just couldn’t do it.  Oh, St. Scholastica, forgive us.  The next day was Our Lady of Lourdes.  Brandon didn’t want Lourdes so we settled on Maria since it was a Marian apparition.  As for Catalina, we just liked the name.

They took us to the room we’d be staying in for the next couple days.  Lina was taken to get a bath and lounge under the heat lamps and Brandon went to watch her through the nursery windows.  It was a beautiful sunny day, our room was nice, and I sat in the hospital bed feeling accomplished and relieved.  I thanked God for getting me through another birth.  I also thought, I never want to do that ever again and I am so happy to not be pregnant anymore. I can remember thinking the same thing right after Olivia was born.  I mean, I’ll do it again if it’s in God’s plan for our family, but, at the moment, I don’t want to.  Of course, though, I am already picturing what life would be like with 3 or 4 children.  For now I’m content with the thought that I can have a glass of wine again or beer with my pizza.

And Baby Lina, well, she’s a dream.  She sleeps well (for a newborn)  and eats well.  We are just so thankful.  Loopy from sleep deprivation and tired but truly grateful for our little family.

 
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The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and three daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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  • Sarah

    Hi Vanessa, I just read this piece in the Houston Catholic Worker and it made me smile. I’m expecting again in Feb. with my second child and it’s funny how your birth story reminded me of the birth of my first. We had an all natural birth and it was a very positive experience. But I too remember thinking that I could just not do it near the end. I laugh now as I remember telling the nurses that I thought I needed a c-section because I could just not push any more. They essentially told me…you’ve come this far. You’re doing this. I am praying that the second will come much quicker, though. Blessings to you and your family! :-)

  • Catholic

    So sweet! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

  • Marie

    Congratulations! God bless you and your family…

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