• Kelly Castillo

Coffee And A Birth Story

What’s the best way to listen to (or in this case, read about) a birth story? While sipping on coffee, so that you can take a sip every time you get uncomfortable. So I’m going to go ahead tell you about Ceiba’s birth. But instead of sipping on a nice cafecito, you’re just going to have to read through this and wait until you’re eating it. Confused? Well don’t worry. You’ll just be getting a recipe to a smooth and creamy coffee buttercream soon. Anyway, back to the my birth story. So I’m going to tell about this one because I think it was the most eventful. It was just the craziest one out of the 3. There’s pain, poop, laughter, and a baby. The makings of a great story, so get ready.

She was meant to be wild and chaotic.

Ceiba was supposed to be due on Earth day, April 22nd. She came 5 days early. While my whole family was in El Salvador. My parents, my siblings, my abuelita, my tias and cousins. They all went on a fun and beautiful trip to El Salvador to celebrate my Abuelita’s 80th birthday. While I was huge, swollen, and miserable back at home. Oh, that’s my own fault, you say?????

Yes, I know and my mom likes to remind me by saying “ya sabias. Teníamos este viaje planeado hace un año atras. Para que te embarazastes? (You already knew. We had this trip planned a year ago. Why’d you get pregnant?)

So I’m pretty bummed that my family is gone and all I have is my husband. But he would just have to do. The 17th rolls around and I wake up at 6:00 am to go pee. As soon as I stand up, there’s a gush and I already know. My water broke. So I call the hospital at around 6:10 and let the nurses know that my water has broken, but that there weren’t any contractions yet. They say, “oh, you still have some time. You’ll most likely be getting ready to come to the hospital in a couple of hours, so go ahead and relax.” Okay, great. I call my husband right after and tell him to come home. He was working in Fremont, so it would take him roughly 30-45 minutes to get home. So about 5-10 minutes later, I go to start the water for a shower when I start feeling those annoying, disgusting waves of pain going over my belly. I decide against the shower. There’s a knock on the door and it’s my suegra right on time to talk my ear off. Which was amazing because at that moment, you need a distraction from this little person in your uterus that’s already pissing you off. So we sit on the couch and we’re just having small talk when the pain goes from just annoying to “okay, this shit hurts.” So I’m trying to look at her and listen through the pain and just deep breathe every time a contraction comes. Which at this point, I’m not even timing. It’s too early right, it’s only been about 10 minutes. But have you ever felt that pain that, like, makes you feel nauseous. Just that feeling where you want to double over and rock yourself with closed eyes in fetal position? I was getting there. So I start to panic a little and look at the time. It was a bit past 6:30. But I keep telling myself I have time, it’s only been 30 minutes. There’s no way. I’m not sure if I called Doug at that time because it starts getting a little blurry. Finally though, he comes home at about 6:45. I’m like “yo, we gotta go!” Luckily, Neela was asleep still and I just tell my mother-in-law to give her a kiss for me. I grab some pants and just head out the door. I don’t even think I had hospital bag. Porque la mente la tengo bien mal. My mind is just straight trash and I always forget or ignore things I have to do, as my mom, again, likes to remind me.

So let me tell you. The ride to the Kaiser, which is about 15 minutes. Just hell. I was grabbing on to the little handle that’s on top of the door (I have no idea what it’s called and I don’t feel like closing my notes app and googling it) like I was going to get ripped out of the car at any moment. Now that I think back, the contractions were literally like a couple minutes apart. When they ended and I felt that tiny moment of relief between them, I was asking myself why I didn’t appreciate every moment before this one that I was not in pain. We get to the hospital and my darling husband decided to find parking in the parking lot. Which there weren’t many available, so he parked, like, in the third fucking row. I WALKED MY ASS ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PARKING LOT AND UP TO THE THIRD FLOOR. Now I did have to take a few breathers along the way, I’m not fucking superwoman right. I think at one point, I told him I was just going to stay in the hallway because I couldn’t go on. But he helped me get to the third floor, finally. I mean. It was the least he could do. So I waddle through to the labor and delivery and get to the front desk. I’m like “I. Phew. Called. Sighhhh. Like. Phewww. An. Uhhh. Hour. Ago.” Like hella out of breath and about to fall over because I couldn’t even talk through the pain. This bitch. This bitch of a nurse/receptionist whatever the hell she was. Has the audacity to ask for my kaiser card or ID. I can’t even look at her because everything is like blurry and so Doug is trying to explain that I’m in a lot of pain and to try to get me into a room. Finally a nurse walking by helps me get into an observation room and everyone starts scrambling because I’m telling them “I feel like I need to push!” They’re like running in and out, trying to get equipment in the room. They were looking for a doctor or midwife, I think, because no one was available at the moment, so they were just telling me to wait and to not push yet. Lmao. Just thinking about it, I can’t believe how chaotic it was. So they’re telling me to lie down, so they can check me and I’m telling them I can’t, I have to move because it hurts so bad. But all of this is kind of a blur. It’s kind of like when you blackout from drinking and everyone tells you what you did the next day. The pain does that to you and you recall bits and pieces. I do know at one point, I was squatting on the bed, kind of like Spider-Man. I think the nurses were telling me to get down. I know I pushed and I pooped like right in the middle of the bed. Too much info? Don’t care. This was my life okay! Anyway, I am only telling you because Doug was so embarrassed. He thought that all I had to do was poop. That this whole ordeal was just from a stomachache and I just had to use the bathroom. Like I look at him and he has a face like “was that it???” LMAO but literally a few minutes later, Ceiba came out in like 2 pushes. She was born at 7:36 am. So literally an hour and a half after I woke up and my water broke.

I have diagnosed myself with having precipitous labors, or rapid labors. Which is when you give birth after less than 5 hours of regular contractions. The doctors didn’t tell me this, though. I had to find this out myself. Because all 3 kids were born in 5 hours or less. And I wish I would have had someone tell me that this was a possibility because, although it was fast, I was not prepared for such a fast delivery. I wasn‘t planning on getting any type of pain relief either, but I still wish I could have been a bit more prepared for my body to go from 0-100 so quick. That shit is tough. Labor should be slow and, I believe, is intended to be slow, so that your body builds up the pain slowly in a way that is manageable. In this case, one minute you’re waking up after a great night’s sleep and the next, you’re in the transitional stage of labor. That is not okay! But anyway, it was a beautiful labor and delivery. She was a gorgeous, red, 8 pounder. I’m just happy that it was her that caused all that ruckus and not just a poop. So with that, I’ll leave you with this coffee buttercream.

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

170 g egg whites (approximately 6-7 large eggs)

230 g granulated sugar

1 lb/454 g of cubed room temperature unsalted butter

Pinch of salt

1/2 C cooled strong coffee


Candy thermometer*

This might look like a long, complicated recipe, but it’s totally not! And once you get the hang of it, it’s easy and so much more delicious than your average American buttercream.

Make a double boiler by getting a medium sized pot (one that a heat resistant glass or metal bowl can fit right on top of), fill it up with an inch or 2 of water, and set it to boil. Grab a scale. Weigh out your egg whites and sugar in that glass or metal bowl. Put it over the boiling water and heat it until 180 F, whisking constantly. Or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, heat it until you feel absolutely no graininess in the egg white/sugar mixture and it’s hot between your fingers. When it’s done, pour the mixture in the bowl of your mixer and start whipping it at medium/high speed. Whip until you have your meringue is shiny, glossy, and thick, about 10 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment, if you have one, and turn the mixer to low. Add your cubed butter one piece at a time and let the butter incorporate before adding more. This is about letting all the ingredients one together at the right temperature, so that you don’t have to do any extra steps at the end. But it’s totally okay if you end up having to. Which I’ll explain at the end. When you’ve finished adding your butter, you can turn the mixer a little bit faster to medium speed and continue mixing until it is light, fluffy, and delicious. Once it’s at the right consistency, add your coffee by the teaspoon until it’s to your taste. Add the salt and mix again until everything is blended. If your buttercream looks too watery and loose, chuck it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes and then try whipping it up again. If it looks curdled, it might be that the butter was too cold, so just run a rag under hot water, squeeze the water out, and put the warm rag against the bowl while it’s whipping, it’ll eventually come to a good temperature to get nice and fluffy. This buttercream is really forgiving, so it should work and come together at the end.

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