Bowie came a week early at 39 weeks. I had a feeling throughout my pregnancy that he would come early but everyone kept telling me that first time mom’s usually deliver late. But I had a feeling! I also think my trip to Ikea the day before I went in to labor didn’t hurt. I think I walked 5 miles!
I woke up early on Monday morning with slight cramps. They were light but I felt them all night. It was enough to wake me up but not enough to make me think I was in labor. Because I was restless, my husband also woke up to ask how I was feeling. I remember telling him, “it could be something but it could be nothing. ” I didn’t sleep much that night but when I did wake up, the cramps were still there. I honestly didn’t think I was in labor! We went on with our day-by chance, a rare day off together.
We spent our day off watching movies, something we never do! We are both busy bodies but for some reason we were both happy to relax at home. I was still cramping but not enough to make me want to call the doctor yet. We went to lunch and ran into a friend who was due before me. We joked we might see her at the hospital but I ended up going into labor a week before her so we missed each other. Funny how that happens!
Around 4pm, the cramps were slightly more intense and my husband suggested I call the doctor. When I finally called, my nurse was not very happy with me. I waited too long and now the doctor’s office was closed. She would have preferred that I come to the office to see if I was dilated and now she might have to send me to the hospital. I told her I was feeling good so no need to send me to the hospital yet. Also, I wasn’t sure I was in labor. She said very calmly, “Cristina, you are in early labor, dear. And those aren’t cramps, they’re contractions! Call me when they’re 5 minutes apart.”
I hung up the phone and looked at my husband. I had the nurse on speakerphone so he had heard the conversation. We both looked at one another in shock, and got really excited but remained calm. We went for a walk, I took a bath and then called my sister and brother in law to come over and pick up our pup. They stayed a while and we all inspected my belly because baby boy was moving like crazy. They left around 8pm and that’s when the contractions became more intense. Not painful but enough that we started timing them. At first they were 7 minutes apart, then 6, and when they reached 5, I called the doctor who told me I was definitely in labor and should go to the hospital. We packed the car, my husband packed his bag, and we took off. My husband called my parents and sister and said, it’s time!
The drive to the hospital was awful. Every bump we hit hurt. I thought at one point I was going to have the baby in the car. We checked in around midnight and I was 5cm dilated.
The rest of the night, morning really, is a blur! My husband knew one of the nurses on call who wasn’t assigned to me but kept checking in. She offered a medicine ball when she saw how uncomfortable I was in bed and I ended up using that for most of my labor.
I told them I wanted an un-medicated birth and somewhere around 8cm, I was begging for drugs. The nurses, who I can’t say enough good things about, listened but also told me that I seemed very confident when I told her my un-medicated plan. It was what I needed to hear. When it came time to make the decision of drugs or no drugs, I knew I could do it without. I’ve been taking yoga for years and the breathing saved me. I would forgo Lamaze class and just take more yoga!
They checked me once more, after begging them and threatening that I was going to start pushing if they didn’t, and I was 9cm. My water broke a minute later, just like you see in the movies. Everywhere! My mom was in the room when it happened and went running after the doctor to tell her. A memory I will never forget!
I remember feeling so tired. I was exhausted and would fall asleep between contractions. Like, lights out. My husband, who was the most amazing coach, was also exhausted and skipping numbers as he counted my pushes. I remember hearing 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 2…another funny memory.
Right before I pushed, my doctor of 5 years, who was not on call, came rushing in! I was so happy to see her. I pushed for nearly 2 hours and had Bowie at 7:31 am. It was the most amazing feeling to hold him and hear him cry. I was told I said, “holy shit, we have a son. What the fuck!” Ha!
I was on such a natural high and felt no pain. I tore during delivery so while I delivered the placenta and the doctor stitched me up, I watched my husband with the nurses and our baby. He helped weigh and measure Bowie and it was such a beautiful moment. We spent a few minutes with Bowie by ourselves before Michael went outside with the doctor to announce Bowie’s arrival. I love that he had that time with Bowie.
My blood pressure spiked when I was delivering and remained high so they had to put me on magnesium for 24 hours. It felt like fire in my veins and I was thirsty and hooked up to an IV machine making it even more unpleasant to use the bathroom and get around. We invited our family that was there, my parents had been there since 1:30am, to meet Bowie and after they left, it was just the three of us. I remember thinking, I’ve never been happier. That remains true.
-Mama Cristina Bocanegra
Wardrobe Stylist and Founder of Love Child Mag