Posted by: alegra22 | January 2, 2010

Welcoming Joaquin

I blinked and the pregnancy was over. I blinked again and suddenly there was a soft, nuzzling baby curled up on my chest.  I look over at Joaquin sleeping on the bed, his knees tucked under his belly, his butt up in the air, his breathing steady, and I think it might be possible that this moment is a very lucid dream. It has been three weeks since his entrance into the family. Three weeks feels like yesterday but now that he is here, I know that he has been with me all along. I can’t imagine myself without him.

I fall asleep with his warm weight on my chest and forgotten memories from my childhood move towards me. Memories of what it was like to be alive in a world undefined, where anything was possible. He is a magnet for the scattered parts of my experience, the parts that have slowly returned to me with each child. Joaquin gathers the last remaining pieces and the world becomes sharper in its beauty, its peace more evident.  My desire to adventure into dark forests and to dive into the deep end of the ocean returns.  In the warm milk smell of his body he has returned a generosity of spirit towards life.

I didn’t expect this.

I thought after the first two children I would be prepared for the way the birth of a child expands your heart, rewires your understanding of self and the world. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t think I could love any more. I thought Joaquin would slip into the space created by Sol and Zaviera, not creating any more of his own. Because really, how much more can a woman’s heart expand?

This blog was supposed to be about the day of his delivery. I was going to write about the way I woke up to a morning where everything was still and in that stillness a tide of bird song rose and retreated over and over.  I sat on the deck and wrote out my hopes and fears about Joaquin’s arrival. I got dressed. I made jokes. I tried not to think too much about the surgery.

I wanted to write about the way Dan entertained me in the pre-op waiting room by dancing across the floor in his scrubs. The way it took fifteen minutes to insert the spinal because the man handling the needle was being mentored, the mentoring doctor speaking in a low voice behind me, “No. Wait. Stop. Pull the needle out. Angle it. Deeper. Okay, try again. No. Stop. Good.” I had to close my eyes and visualize myself paddling into waves down in Baja Mexico at a point break named Nine Palms. It was where I started to really ride waves.

I had imagined a blog complete with pictures. Especially of the hospital midwife who had to stand-in for my midwife. She appeared to be Aughra’s (from the Dark Crystal) younger sister (Aughra being the better looking one of the two!). Even as this creature bossed her way around the OR, and tried to engage me in conversation while she inserted the catheter, my sense of peace was not disturbed. I closed my eyes and continued to surf. This blog could go on and on. But when I began to write, it did not begin where I expected it to.

My father sent me an article a few years ago about how scientists have discovered that during pregnancy and birth, cells from the baby migrate into the woman’s body, searching out areas that need healing. The cells of the child integrate into the mother’s body so that on a very real level a mother is always connected to her children. The cells heal the mother and regenerate the parts of her that need it. They become part of the woman so that she is no longer entirely herself. When I look back at the previous births and the changes that they have brought I have no doubt of this – not just on a physical level but a spiritual one.

We chose to open the door to Joaquin on a leap of faith. It was a big one for us. We had just reached a point of stability in our lives on multiple levels after some hard years of battling with my health but we didn’t feel like our lives were complete, there was another child waiting in the wings to be invited onto the stage. We had been carrying around Joaquin’s name for four years, ever since the miscarriage after Sol was born. We felt like the name had been given to us for a reason. From the beginning, Ihad always imagined having two sons.

Despite my fears, my greater fear was that I would always regret not finding out if there was in fact a third child. I would regret not finding out who she or he was. So, we stepped off the edge and surrendered to the outcome. Joaquin was conceived effortlessly in the first month we extended the invitation.

Last night as Joaquin held my eyes with his and smiled at me, I understood that this is what waits for us on the other side of stepping through our fear of the unknown and trusting our journey: a peace that surpasses all understanding and a joy that can only mean the presence of god.  After years of my own efforts to find my way in this world, it has been my children that have led me to the path that was mine all along. They were the ones able to reach those places that needed healing so that I could rediscover what it means to live.

I never expected it, but there it is.

Welcome Joaquin. The great adventure has begun.



  1. Wow congratulations Alegra! That is so wonderful. 🙂

    • It is wonderful! He is so scrumptious!

  2. This is wonderful and I felt a bit misty eyed reading. Congratulations to the entire family!

    • Thank you Jane. I am so glad to be on the other side of things with Joaquin in my arms!

  3. Awesomeness!!

    Now I’m in paddling into waves down in Baja Mexico.

    • *sigh* …someday soon! one of my dreams is to pack up the kids when they are the right age and spend several months traveling through Baja fishing and surfing (after we travel all around the North Island of NZ and the surrounding islands!)

  4. So glad everything turned out perfect, you know…aside from the lovely needle-jabs (I’ve been there…what do those people think us humans are anyways?).

    What an inspiration, and


    • Yes, after going through two other babies I was ready for the multiple needle jabs and other indignities required. I was so glad when the last of it was over!

      Thank you and it is good to hear from you. I am looking forward to the year ahead!

  5. Alegra, you have stunned me again by the heart-breaking beauty, eloquence, lucidity and raw, real power of your writing–and what is behind the writing…. Thank you for these tears (that are drawn from me as I read)….

    • awww…you always make me feel so loved Heather!

  6. You are such an amazing writer sista!! Joaquin is so special and I’m privleged to be his aunty. Welcome Joaquin and new adventures he will bring.
    God bless

    • I love you too sis! I feel so blessed by our whanau and it is going to be an amazing year together, I can feel it.

  7. I feel a great sense of peace with you through your words! As always, beautifully articulated. A nice sense of calm like the ebb and flow of the surf you were describing. I have to say though that the part with the epidural did make me squirm, yikes!


    • Oh, believe me, there were quite a few cringe worthy moments! Having a baby requires an instant loss of modesty and well, squeamishness towards needles, blood and other things…you get the point (no pun intended!) Even on the third round I really had to take my mind elsewhere until I heard Joaquin’s first cry, at that point the rest of the world fades and I could care less what is being done to me as long as I have that baby in my sights!

  8. This made me cry. Which actually isn’t that easy to do. I love the way you write. It is a true expression of Soul.

    • Thank you Jenny, truly. I am so glad that we have connected this year and I am looking forward to knowing more of you in this new year.

  9. that is so beautiful Alegra, you are such a true writer if you can write so beautifully like that with a new born.

    • Thank you so much Maegan. I don’t think I will ever get enough of wonderful feedback like this, it gives my heart such a boost and my mind an injection of courage. I am hoping that sleep deprivation helps my writing process this year ;o)

  10. I’m am glad the recent events have left you healthy and happy.

    You know, with three kids running around all the time, I wonder what will happen when they all leave to live their own lives… Somehow I can’t imagine it. These are the best years, and I know it while it goes by. These are the years I’ll look back on if I’m fortunate enough to get old.

    Good luck getting sleep now…

    • I agree. I don’t like to think too much about the day when the house will be empty! And when I do think about it, I try to hope for a future where the kids will be grown-up but not grown-away.

      It sounds like you are doing well in your life too, I am so glad. It is always good to hear from you.

  11. What a wonderful addition to start a new year with. I can’t imagine all the adventures, trials and revelations he will bring, but I look forward to hearing about them as they unfold.

    Wishing you much love and peace as you venture onwards.

    Settling-back-into-the-same-but-changed-life hugsies

  12. Considering how much you have to do these days, this blog was a miracle in itself. As I played with your children yesterday, I thought my heart would burst with so much love and beauty surrounding me but this blog has taken me over the top! I love you Eros Alegra

  13. Simply:
    You made me cry. Deep tears.

    You’re a beautiful soul and your children are as lucky to have you as you are to have them (and I bet Dan is fabulous, too).


  14. This line summed up parenting for me:

    “He is a magnet for the scattered parts of my experience, the parts that have slowly returned to me with each child”

    As always, eloquent and moving. Now I’m looking forward to #2 with even more anticipation.


  15. Joaquin was meant to be in your life and I’m so glad he’s finally arrived in the flesh! You are such an amazing woman and writer. As ever, I’m left in awe at how well you can paint a picture that conveys emotion so well that just by reading I feel more relaxed and peaceful.

  16. Hi Alegra,

    Congratulations on your new son! I remember very well sitting on the bed with my brand-new baby boy between my bent legs, calling up a friend whose baby was six months old, and not being able to say anything to her but, “Oh, my god. Oh, my god.”

    I’m actually writing to invite you to join a conversation in the comments on my blog about your writing workspace, as you discussed it on Editor Unleashed today. We’re talking about where we work, how we work, and how our space affects our work.

    I hope to see you there!


  17. Such a heartwarming description of mommy love! My experience with my 3rd son, after 14 years from the 2nd, really amazed me by how different it all was this time around.

    Sweet babies! Great blog too!

  18. Alegra, your writing and your view of life is breathtaking. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing this with us 🙂

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