|Axel, 5 minutes old, 8/6/12|
In the last week of my pregnancy, I started to put faith in all kinds of old fashioned pregnancy lore. There was a full moon on the night of August 2nd, and I was more than half hoping that would do the trick. While I didn’t exactly do a moon dance, I was curious as to whether the time of the month might have any impact on my delivery date, since many doulas and doctors have affirmed that there’s certainly something to it and that labor and delivery wards are busy in the days surrounding a full moon.
That day I had a doctor’s appointment and was between 1-2 centimeters dilated and 40% effaced, which gave me some hope that things were at least progressing in the right direction. I tried not to get too caught up that news, though, since I know many women are dilated for extended periods of time and it doesn’t mean labor is imminent. After the check up, I walked up through Soho to Union Square and just took in the city, trying to be in the moment.
But still, I was feeling pretty ready and a little bit antsy. On the 2nd I did a flurry of last minute errands like buying diapers, our sling, and reading excerpts from Birthing From Within, a book recommended by our doula. I had a grilled cheese with bacon at Kasia’s, the Polish diner on Bedford. And we did get to that Woody Allen movie at Nighthawk, where we ate fish tacos and I had a few sips of Will’s hard cider.
Will had also mentioned to me earlier in the week that he was feeling “ready” and I remember that that made me feel really good. Like okay, here we go, we are in this together.
On Friday I had a pretty mellow day around the neighborhood and was feeling a little crampy. Nothing resembling a contraction, but enough to know that something was happening. I took baths and read more of my book, trying to focus on the idea that birth wasn’t anything to be afraid of. It was hard to anticipate how labor would feel, but I was trying to remind myself that pain is just sensation, and that as long as I didn’t panic, and let my body do what it was going to do, we would all be okay.
That night, Will and I had a quiet evening in, watching Friends with Kids on Netflix. Both of us couldn’t help but tear up whenever there was a baby on screen, which was kind of hilarious. What happened to these two hard-hearted New Yorkers?
I had one or two very mild contractions during the movie but chalked them up to Braxton Hicks. We had pork loin, broccoli, and quinoa for dinner and I remember thinking, ‘Well, this would be a good meal to give me some stamina for labor.’ At the time I wondered whether that thought was a ‘sign’ that I was going into labor but then dismissed it. I went to bed around midnight feeling pretty great.
At 2:51 a.m., a contraction jolted me awake, and I sort of knew this was it.