At 9 o’clock on Sunday November 1st 2009, the day before Max’s due date, Günter brought me out to the fire escape to show me a beautifully round full moon. It confirmed our prediction that I would go into to labor that night. Three hours later I woke up to Max’s excited movements. They were strong, quick and seemed reactionary. It was as if he were trying to tell me, “Wake up mama, it’s time!” That’s when I noticed the contractions. After months of hourly Braxton Hicks, these surges were much stronger and came with a distinct pressure sensation as if his head were being forced down with each tightening. I lit a candle, grabbed my phone and began to time them.
A Peaceful Early and Active Labor
I remember watching Günter sleeping peacefully, happily even, and deciding to let him stay that way because it would be a long, long time before he got to sleep like that again. I began to practice the slow deep breaths and visualization techniques I had learned. Every cell in my body was filled with complete joy and calmness.
For the next seven hours as the contractions grew stronger and progressed from 5-6 to 3-4 minutes apart, I continued my relaxation techniques, focusing on the candle, talking to Max, and at times swayed on the birthing ball. I felt completely connected to Max and felt my peacefulness become a comfort to him. He continued to move with each surge but his movements were calmer. It was the most peaceful, focused, happy and purposeful 7 hours of my life.
At 7:30 am Günter woke up. As he headed for the shower I said casually, “Guess what? It’s time to go to the hospital” He continued to look through his closet for a moment before my words sunk in. Then he did a classic double take and said What? No way!!! He ran to tell his mother who was staying with us in anticipation of the baby. Even as the excitement in our house grew, I felt sedated and calm as if in a bubble. I showered and then, already being ultra-prepared, waited for everyone to get ready. We called Dr. Sassoon. Since it was a Monday morning he was already on his way to the office, so we called a car service headed over to meet him.
It was a perfect New York autumn day. The car was pristine and our driver was courteous and relaxed. He was a cautious driver, and in spite of the fact that it was rush hour, there seemed to be no other cars on the road. We arrived at Park Ave and 77th from Williamsburg in 40 minutes flat (which never happens). In the car, my contractions slowed briefly and picked up again once we arrived at the office. A quick exam confirmed that I was 4 cm dilated and at the beginning stage of active labor. With a genuine excitement, a huge smile and a hug Dr. Sassoon said “Your ready!” and we were off to Lenox Hill hospital which was just around the corner. Read more…