Labor & What’s Next: A Few Notes

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I woke up Wednesday morning thinking, “This is the day.” I had what I thought were contractions, which were spaced evenly at every seven minutes. I sat down at the computer, did some work, went back to bed for an hour or so, and then watched a movie with Mom. By 3 in the afternoon-when Francisco was out doing errands-the contractions were every 3-4 minutes, of at least 1 minute each, the magic combination for going to the hospital.

And just about then, the doorbell rang.

It was the super, along with the new owner of the building, who wanted to talk about some details about the rental agreement. “I know it’s not the best time since you’re going to be having the baby soon,” the super said… “Um, yeah, real soon. Like later today,” I said. I could see the owner doing a mental calculation: Talk money now because I really want the money or talk money later because I’d be really freaked out to see this goy drop her kid right here, right now.”

Thankfully, he decided on later and I shut the door in their face.

So… Francisco was out doing important things, like buying chocolate mousse at the bakery. As I paced between the bedroom and the bathroom, Mom talked by phone with the midwife and wondered how much longer Francisco would be… which is right when he burst through the door, dropped the cake on the table, and we took off for the birth center… in the super’s Pathfinder… in UN General Assembly traffic in Midtown.

Mom reported later that we were en route when he said, “I don’t remember anything I learned in the birthing classes” as he ran red lights… and then left the Pathfinder in front of the hospital with the lights on.

*
We arrived at 4:30 and were admitted to the birthing center. Earlier in the day, I’d started becoming aware of what it means to truly lose all inhibitions, but labor–the active part–takes you to a place where you have no inhibitions. You’ve got to get to work, and to do that work–and to do it right–you really can’t be worried at all about anyone else or what they think. You’re aware that other people are around you, but you go to this very solitary (not lonely) place and see everything outside dimly. Later, people tell you things that happened– like you kicked the delivery instruments off the bed–but you don’t remember them.
*
When I said “I can’t,” I didn’t mean I couldn’t. I meant “I know my body and I need a few seconds to regroup.
*
Labor was fast, all things considered, especially for being a first time mom. By 8:16 PM, Mariel had entered the world.
*
I don’t know how anyone does this alone.
*
A placenta is a gigantic, frightening, and ultimately miraculous thing.
*
Breast feeding: There are few experiences in life more humbling… and few that will cause you to generate as many theories about what you’re not doing right.
*
You never know exactly how many people care about you until you have a baby.
*
It’s true: you can look at your baby for hours and not get bored.
*
You will receive even more unsolicited, competing, utterly contradictory, and sometimes totally useless advice once you have your baby than during pregnancy. These pieces of advice are surely from the same women who stuff their 4 year olds full of soda and Cheetohs, so nod, smile, and walk away as quickly as possible.
*
Everything else becomes a little bit less important. Piles of unfolded clothes? Who cares?! Half finished blog post on your pregnancy-turned-parenthood blog…? Well….IMG_0663

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22 responses »

    • ๐Ÿ™‚
      There have been lots of those here, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait for you and Urban to meet Mariel… and to start working on her playmate!

    • Likewise– though I think it’ll necessitate us coming to visit you in Argentina. (Which is no problem- Mariel’s passport application is already on my desk).

    • Thanks, Staci- and thank you for all of your support and advice throughout the pregnancy, especially during the stress of the glucose test drama!

  1. she’s lovely, and incredibly fortunate to have the two of you as parents. I hope you continue to kick instruments out of bed, supers out of apartments and foolish advice-givers out of your space. Hope you’re settling in well.

  2. Muchas felicidades a los tres! Itยดs been such a pleasure following you on this journey–we re looking forward to watching Mariel grow up–hope she and our little creature (any…day…now…) will play together one day before too long!

    • Gracias, Tere e Ibis! I can’t wait to hear about your experiences of labor and birth and new parenthood. And I really can’t wait–though I guess we have to!–for our little ones to meet up in Mexico!

  3. Pingback: Best Sentence I’ve Read All Week: Julie Schwietert

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