It's been a few days since my last post, but I have a pretty good excuse...as many of you know my son was born last week He was three weeks early.
Last Tuesday, I went to work; accomplished a good deal, but was pleased at the end of the day that I still had plenty of time. I had set a self-imposed deadline. By the end of a set date, I was going to have everything set at work and "good to go." Meaning my fabulous colleagues would, at the least be able to pick up where I left off, figure out where things were, and better yet - not scramble to get things done. I would be in the office after that date. I would work hard, support my team, but try my best to not over-commit. I was certain I was ahead of the game.
Ahhh, the best laid plans...
Chris had called mid-day and asked if I would like to go dinner. We wanted to hit BLT Steak for our once-a-year hedonistic joint birthday event. Yes, apologies to my vegetarian friends, but there is little pleasure like a shared porterhouse. I had agreed and we hit the restaurant around seven thirty. The place was packed and Chris proposed he make a reservation for the next day. But I said I wouldn't be up for it. So Chris explained to the host that his pregnant wife was craving steak. We were told we could be seated within the hour. In the interim, we wasted some time in the bookstore across the street.
Dinner was wonderful - big surprise. And we went home with full bellies and happy hearts.
Once we were home, I was restless, but feeling pretty good. Then, it happened. My little one kicked hard, I stood up, and ran to the bathroom. The water began to gush. I was in shock. There was no way this was happening.
Three pairs of pants later - and I think I only own three pairs of maternity pants - we were heading to the hospital in a livery cab.
Chris and I had a plan. I wanted a very specific kind of birthing experience, which was supposed to begin with spending my early labor at home - hanging out on the pilates ball, listening to music, eating chicken soup. But within two hours of my water breaking we were sitting in a triage room, I was hooked up to fetal monitor and being hydrated through an IV. I suppose it was because I wasn't quite full term (my labor had started minutes before midnight, and the start of my 37th week) and everyone was being cautious, but I was being treated as if I were ill - exactly what I didn't want to happen.
I had hoped for a natural, medicine free birth. But, I was having a difficult time managing the pain. I had hoped to be "stronger"; to be the nature-loving earth goddess, that I had created in my mind. But I'm afraid I folded and after five hours of active labor with zero progression I asked Chris if it was okay to get an epidural. In that moment, I was so worried about disappointing him not realizing that he only wanted to not disappoint me. I had told him long before we were at this stage, that I knew I might have moments of weakness and that I would need him to remind me of our plan. I realize now it was a great deal of pressure to put on him. He didn't want to see me in pain, any more than I wanted to be in it. And when the doctor said that she thought the only way I might get to the next phase was if my cervix would relax and that this was something that would only happen if I could ride out the rolling contractions - I knew that the epidural was the way to go.
A few hours later, after an epidural induced nap, I asked to be taken off the drip so I would have feeling back for pushing and delivery. And an hour or so later I gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb. 11 oz. baby boy.
What I learned from my birth experience is to trust myself. Not only in childbirth but in all things, your mind and body will guide you through the peaks and the valleys of life. People keep asking, "do you think they just got the due date wrong?" After all, how does one deliver an almost eight pound baby at 37 weeks? And the answer is, no. We're pretty certain that this little one was due in early April - it's just he and his mama knew that it was time for him to arrive.
Yesterday evening, my boss called and said, he only wanted to know one thing - what did I think when I looked at my son for the first time. And my answer was that it was like the moment you realize you're falling in love with your life-partner. Like falling in love for the first time...no not even that. So similar and yet worlds apart. Even if I were a poet - I would fail to put this feeling into words.