Sweet Ella is due in less than a month. I can’t believe it.
As I prepare for her impending arrival, I’ve been reminiscing about the day Winston was born. I never wrote down his birth story, and I figure I better do that now before Ella comes and all the details get mixed up.
Josh and I “prepared” for Winston’s birth by reading several books about the Bradley method and by taking a Lamaze/Bradley class at the hospital. I know people tend to knock hospital birthing classes, but we really enjoyed our one-day intensive. The instructor took us through the various stages of labor and described natural pain-management methods. We took the class two weeks before Winston was due, so all of the information was fresh in our heads as we went through my labor.
My wonderful mother came to be with us for Winston’s birth. She arrived in NYC on New Year’s Day, and we spent a few days exploring NYC’s landmarks and museums. We did a LOT of walking in hopes that it would send me into labor.
The night before Winston came, we ate Halal food from The Halal Guys—best halal in NYC!—and walked around the MoMA for a few hours. If Ella tries to stay in my tummy for too long, I might go on a search for Boston’s best halal. You never know what might work!
Around 6am on January 5th, I woke up to a minor contraction accompanied by pain in my lower back. I had experienced a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions in the months leading up to Winston’s birth, but this contraction felt different. I let myself have a few more contractions before I woke up Josh and told him that I thought I might be in labor.
We were both excited, but we were also dubious that this was really “it.” My labor progressed slowly all morning, at times stopping entirely for 15 to 30 minutes! We took our dog Wilber on a walk to the local park, and I was craving a burger and fries so we stopped at our favorite burger joint (Burger Heights) for lunch.
After we got back to the apartment, I continued to have inconsistent contractions for most of the afternoon. During each contraction, Josh would help me relax and count down from 10 while he massaged my lower back. He was the best birth coach! This part of my labor really wasn’t too painful, as long as I relaxed through each contraction.
Eventually my contractions began to pick up in intensity, but their timing was still pretty wacky. I’d have one contraction, wait seven minutes, then have two contractions within two minutes, and so on…
My mom made us an early dinner around 5:30pm, but I was so focused on my labor at that point that I didn’t feel like eating much. That was the sign we needed that we should pack up and head to the hospital.
We took an Uber to the hospital (#NYClife) and got there around 7:00pm. I’m not sure if the Uber driver knew I was in labor… I was just happy my water didn’t break in his car!
After a brief triage at the hospital, I was told that I was already 8 cm dilated and would probably be pushing very shortly. I was admitted to The Birthing Center at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.
I took a warm bath in the jacuzzi tub in my room, and by the time I got out it was almost time to push.
The second stage of labor (aka pushing) was definitely the hardest part of the process for me. I was so flushed and out of breath that I almost passed out a few times. I also pushed inefficiently, so I burst all the blood vessels in the top half of my body. Whoops. It took a few weeks for all the red splotches on my face and shoulders to go away. I’m hoping that with Ella I will push more efficiently!
Finally—right after I loudly proclaimed, “I don’t think he’s going to fit!”—Winston decided to make his grand entrance into the world! He came out with one arm squished up against his face, which is part of the reason it took so long to push him out.
I can’t even explain the joy that I felt at the moment of his birth! Everything after that is a blur of staring into his beautiful face, trying to get him to eat without falling asleep, and breathing in his sweet newborn smell.
Babies are just the best!!!
Our precious firstborn son Winston James Craddock was born at 11:25pm on January 5th. He weighed 7lb 2oz, and was 20.25 inches long.