Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Birth Story: The Week Before

Williamsburg, 2014

My labor with Axel was 48 hours, from start to finish (although I’d say only about 12-16 of those hours were truly active labor), but in the weeks and months before Oscar’s arrival I became a little anxious at the idea of a really quick delivery...stories like this one, about a woman giving birth on a Manhattan crosswalk just a few days before my due date, didn’t especially help. 

Everyone from my doctor and the midwife and my doula told me that this time, as soon as I was in a regular pattern of labor, I should go straight to the hospital. It was pretty much exactly the opposite of the advice I was given for my first labor, when it’s suggested that you labor for as my plan was to labor for as long as possible at home in the hopes of having an unmedicated birth. 

Because of the cold, and because of my slight worry that I’d go into labor at any moment, the last few weeks of my pregnancy were pretty odd. I didn’t want to talk to anyone but Will, especially, or stray too far from home. I’d feel a little worried when he left for work in the mornings, in case he got stuck in a meeting with his phone on silent, and I was so worn out in the afternoons I’d stay inside, conscious of every possible sensation that could signal that something was about to happen. I had tackled everything on my to do list and was even avoiding well meaning "Any news?" phone calls and e-mails because I was just so ready for this baby to make his appearance.

For much of February (incidentally one of the greyest and snowiest on record), I joked that I was starting to feel like a Victorian invalid...I went to Vittoria for lattes and to work on my freelance projects but generally spent lots of time in bed and around the house, as the pavements outside were slick with ice and neighborhood old timers were beginning to stop me and tell me to be careful (I must have looked verrrry pregnant.) Somehow, it felt like I’d been pregnant for nearly 20 months since my pregnancies with Axel and with Oscar, so close together, had begun to blur in my mind. It had been a long winter and that’s a long time to be pregnant…

In the week before Oscar’s birthday, I’d go to bed most nights, feeling crampy, and think ‘Surely, this must be it…”

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