40 weeks, lets do this!
I know how real life works. But sometimes I live in dream world that things will work out exactly how I picture them in my head. Therefore, I had my hospital bag packed at 39 weeks, my dog sitter lined up on the babies due date, and the Housewives set to be DVRed. So imagine my shock at my 40 week appointment when my midwife told me I was not dilated at all. Not even like 1/2 cm.
That’s when we decided that we would be induced at 41 weeks if nothing happened naturally that week. I remember being really sad after that appointment. The idea of being induced realIy scared me, but after chatting friends about their own inductions I started feeling better. The night before induction day, I waddled around target and bought some fun baby things, more snacks, magazines and cried a little. I was so nervous about what the next day was going to bring and I was also feeling sad about this being my last target trip with just Ray.
So I won’t go into long details about labor and delivery because everyone has such a different experiences and mine feels very personal to me. But what I will say is that it was hard. It was way harder than I expected and I’m still in shock what women go through, and even more in shock that MY body was able to do it. I’m so proud of my strong body (that I can be so hard on, so often) for carrying safely for 10 months, laboring for 36 hours, and delivering the love of my life, baby Bowie.
With that said here are a few thoughts from the big day (or long weekend:)
Having a birth plan: I did not think I wanted a birth plan. I thought I would go with the flow and not set any unrealistic expectations for myself. But the closer it got, the more nervous I felt and I decided that I would feel better if I could have some “control” over the environment;
No "extras” in the room. This meant JUST my midwife, a nurse, and my husband (Ray.)
Low lighting: the room was basically dark with just one movable light for my midwife. It made the room feel intimate and peaceful.
Music: Ray surprised me with the perfect playlist from Beyonce to Queen and he also set up a slide show on his computer with pictures of our dog. Whenever I was struggling I would just focus on the music and watch as pictures of my beloved pup flashed on the screen. Side note: we play those songs at home now and I tear up (especially during “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and David Bowie’s “Starman.”)
An essential oil diffuser: I had lavender pumping through that room all 36 hours of labor. I’m not sure if this actually calmed me down but it was a nice touch. Sometimes the little things can bring so much joy.
Ray don’t look: I was obsessed with Ray NOT looking. Obsessed. We talked about it ALL THE TIME. He agreed. He did not want to see the miracle of birth anymore than I wanted him to see my body turned inside out.
Did we stick to the plan? For the majority of my delivery we stuck to it. Low lighting and all. But after hour three of pushing, the baby was starting to get stressed and they had to call my doctor in to help with the rest of delivery. After that, it was stadium lighting and about 15 people in the room assisting, but at that point I didn’t care, I just wanted to deliver the baby as safe as possible. I was exhausted, stressed, and wanted this to be OVER.
Did Ray look? At the end he did, I had been pushing for so long that he just had to see what the actual F was going on. Guess what? We are still happily married.
Drugs? Yes, please! : I didn’t have a plan for this either, but I secretly wanted to be one of those women who didn’t need an epidural. Than I went into labor and couldn’t believe how hard it was. I used all the techniques; the birthing ball, the bath, yoga breath work, meditating, walking, and good old fashioned crying and screaming. After hour five of non stop contractions I asked for the epidural and 45 minutes later I was sitting in bed, laughing with Ray, and watching The Office. If I was to do it all over again, I would have asked for the epidural earlier.
Meeting our baby: I had played what I thought this moment would be like over and over in my head. I had such high expectations. It was supposed to be the most exciting moment of my life. Well guess what? It wasn’t. After that final push, they placed the baby on me and I was literally IN SHOCK. I was relieved it was over but I was in no state to be holding a fragile newborn. You know those blow up things at car dealerships.? The floppy arm things? That’s what a newborn is like. He was slipping all over me. I was so exhausted and slightly traumatized, so skin to skin with him only lasted about 15 minutes . Turns out I had plenty more chances for those skin to skin moments, and it was ok.
Speaking of HE: I literally had to ask Ray “what did we have?!” Not knowing the gender added so much excitement to the delivery but I never heard anyone announce “it’s a BOY!” I think I was so out of it that I missed that BIG moment. Not gonna lie. There was a small part of me that was sad. All this work to push out a boy?! It was no secret that I wanted a girl but I had a gut feeling the universe was going to give me a boy. I thought my heart would have been broken if I didn’t have a girl but I now i can’t imagine it any other way.
Bowie? My husband has always been a huge Bowie fan therefore I made an effort and love a few of his songs but would never have called myself a fan. Until last May, when we went to the “Bowie Is” exhibit in Brooklyn and I became infatuated with just how freaking cool he was. 12 days later I found out I was pregnant and I couldn’t turn on the radio or TV without hearing a Bowie song. We played around with the name for a while and the closer it got to due date the more it felt like the perfect name.
Now, 10 weeks later, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but I’m weirdly sad that it’s already over. It was by far the hardest week of my life and the most traumatic thing I’ve even been through. I really thought my body would never feel normal again. But everyday I feel more like myself and the magic of Bowie gets better and better.