It was the gown that finally broke me.
That ugly, faded, worn so many times before me, hospital gown. After 45 hours of labor, I stepped into a sterile hospital room and looked around at everything I hated about that place. I took a deep breath and tolerated the machines, the curtains, the cold bassinet they intended to put my baby in, the harsh lighting, the vinyl floors, the IV drip I’d soon be hooked up to, the mechanical bed with scratchy sheets. But when my eyes fell upon that gown – that hideous cotton drape that was going to turn me into a patient – my heart gave one final plunge into despair.
For me, the hospital gown was the final step to making my birth medical and I feared that it would strip away everything primal that had risen up inside of me. It symbolized everything I was losing. I was never supposed to be in this room, never supposed to be told what to wear. I was supposed to give birth naked in my bedroom, in a pool in my husband’s arms. No needles. No machines. No nurses. No vaginal exams. No cold bassinet and no harsh lighting. No freaking rules. I was supposed to be at home where it was safe and peaceful – where I was in control. However, after two days at home my baby was getting weak and my plan needed to change. I walked into that hospital terrified, my body quaking with contractions and grief. But half an hour earlier I was told that my daughter’s heart tones were no longer varying, and I became a mom. So with tears pouring from my eyes, I sat down on that horrible bed and put on the stupid gown.