Sunday, December 9, 2012

Birth Day (Part I)

In honor of Henry's first birthday this Wednesday, I am writing a three-part post about, well, his birth day.

Part I - Waterworks
Monday, December 12, 2011

4:00 am
I awake to pee. What else is new? I'm huge, a beached whale trapped in a New York City winter. I pee, like, every five minutes. Why not in the middle of the night? 

I'm still half asleep as I crawl back under the covers. But wait, what's this? I'm peeing again. In the bed. And I have no control whatsoever.

I run back to the toilet.

"Honey?" I call from the bathroom.

"Grumphahumph," Rayne moans.

"No, really, wake up. My water just broke."

Just like in the movies. I had assumed that, as is the case for so many first pregnancies, my water wouldn't break until I was well into labor or not at all. 

"Really?" Rayne sits up in bed. "Should I email the office and tell them I'm not coming in?"

"Nah," I respond nonchalantly -- one might say obliviously -- "it could be hours. You should go to work."

***

I tried really hard not to be crazy during my pregnancy. I didn't eat sushi, but I also had the occasional glass of wine. I only called the doctor once during the entire pregnancy, and it was less than a week before I went into full-blown labor, during what is known as pre-labor or prodromal labor. You might recall that I spent that same week traipsing around Queens looking for a new apartment. Because I'm stubborn.

I was, however, sure I didn't want an epidural. I was worried that it would slow down my labor and I would end up with a c-section. I really, really didn't want a c-section. It's major surgery, as those who had it know, and I think people take it too lightly. Doctors included.

I had nightmares of being tethered to the bed with an IV and an epidural. I wanted to be able to move around during labor. I'm just not the kind of person who takes things lying down, literally or figuratively.

I implored my doctors to let me labor unless there was absolutely no other way. I bought a book called Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel, which I highly recommend, and wrote a two-page birth plan. Not a crazy one, in which I laid out the exact lollipop flavor I would like during each phase of labor. A sensible one, more for Rayne to be able to advocate for me when I was in too much pain to advocate for myself. 

We took a basic birthing class and a Yoga for Labor workshop at New York Yoga with the incomparable Melissa Feldman. We read through a book or two. In my last trimester, I saw an amazing prenatal acupuncturist (Erin Borbet) for pain. She was slated to come to my apartment when I went into labor to ease the initial phases and hopefully speed up the process a bit.

I was ready.

Except I wasn't. Henry's due date was December 24 (I threatened to name him Jesus, with the Spanish pronunciation), so when my water broke, I wasn't even packed. 

***

To be continued!