8:16. Baby girl. Mr. Villanueva. Pictures. Did you see the game?
These are the words I remember hearing on the morning of May 24th, 2016. Thanks to a cocktail of anesthetics and relaxers, my little Alina’s birth was quite a blur, at least from my side of the table. My mind fought to make sense of the blurry surroundings and the nonsensical words floating about. Little did I know that I had given birth to a healthy baby girl.
She was born at 8:16 AM. And with all the commotion, the doctor and nurses had to remind my nervous husband to take pictures. I remember the pressure, the tugging, and the constant chatter. The latter of the phrases, which is what confused me to begin with, had to do with a conversation my doctor was having with his partner as they sewed my insides together.
After the longest three hours of my life, I was wheeled from recovery into a private room to wait even longer to meet my baby. The room was cold, uninviting, and lonely. I had hoped to see my husband standing there, but no. I was greeted by a worn out couch, a somewhat recognizable television, and your typical 1990’s Home Interior painting of a woman in a garden. After a few minutes of awkward silence between me and this woman in a garden, I call to find both my mother and husband enjoying a delicious Mexican lunch at Fonda Don Martin. I, on the hand, feasted on a “filling” beef broth accompanied with a side of green jello. Seriously now. Green jello! That’s the worst of all jello. Damn hormones had me emotionally all over the place. I was sad, upset, annoyed, frustrated, and lonely. And then, as if God knew I needed a little break, there came a knocking.
There she was. My little Alina being wheeled in. I remember feeling excited and happy. The scene was nostalgic, and it brought back memories of my first child’s birth. And as the nurse tightened the blanket around my baby girl, and the memories of Caleb, my first-born, as a baby, began to flood my thoughts the room began to darken. A wave of anxiety suddenly hit me as I began to fret.
Will I love her as much? Would I love my son less? How am I suppose to love both of them? I truly couldn’t fathom how I could love anyone as much as I love him. My mother always told me that she loved both my sister and me, yet I couldn’t see how one’s love could be divided like that. One day you’ll understand. One day you’ll have your children to love unconditionally. I struggled to control my emotions as the nurse placed the little bundle in my arms. I adjusted my storm-tossed body to get a better hold of her, and as I looked down and saw the most angelic face a mother could behold my anxiety faded away. It was in that moment that I finally understood. It isn’t that love is divided among children. No, love is not divided. Love is multiplied. Love is manifold. I sat there forgetting about the pain, the hunger, the all around emptiness of the room, and fell in love all over again. I knew I loved her since the moment the pregnancy test read positive, but it wasn’t until her warmth embraced me that I knew that there wasn’t a thing in this world that I wouldn’t do for this child…for both my children.
Holding her in my arms, the remnants of my long day slowly disappeared. Joy and peace quickly replaced the anxiety, loneliness, and frustration I felt minutes before meeting my princess. I was whole again.
It ‘s interesting how children, unknowingly to them, remind us of the power of love. That’s what my children do for me on a daily basis. I’m constantly reminded that I am loved. I am loved by my mother, by my husband, and by my children. But most of all, I am loved, and unconditionally at that, by God Almighty. It is He who carries us in His arms. And it is He who reminds us that love is manifold.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16