Labour

Our last midwife appointment was on Tuesday, Oct. 12 – 40 weeks pregnant. M wasn’t able to make it as he was trying to finish work in anticipation of baby’s imminent arrival, so I walked there on my own. It was good to have the chance to talk through my lingering anxiety over birth with our wonderful midwife – namely, that I would have to give up a lot of who I am in being a mother. Talking it through helped me let it go, and also affirmed for me that I didn’t want to stall my labour or stand in the way of this baby’s birth through my own selfish hesitation. I sent the baby lots of message for the rest of the day that I loved him/her, wanted him/her, and that we were ready for arrival. I told baby that this was going to be the biggest adventure so far in his/her life, and I wanted him/her to come whenever s/he was ready. Come now!
I stopped at the Med Market on the way home for some olives and a few treats, and was excited to tell people who asked that yes, I was due any day now.

Throughout the night I had the same type of crampy contractions I’d had off and on over the last week. Come Wednesday, however, they continued through the day. I got a few chores done in the morning, then decided to tackle one of my writing projects from the “must do before birth” list. I should note that it had been over a year since I’d worked on this – just prior to beginning my job at the university. I spent 4 hours working on it, then sent it off to friends for feedback. Finishing it was a weight off my mind and spirit. It affirmed to me that I could both write and be a mother, even while allowing me to let go of the writing part for the first while with baby, knowing baby as my main priority.

I consciously decided not to time the cramping throughout the day. I’d read too much about women who work themselves up well in advance of active labour, and then are too tired once labour arrives. So I just wiggled my hips and breathed through them when they came. My sister and I video chatted at around noon, and she laughingly noted that they were coming quite frequently – several times in our 20 minute conversation. I laughed too, knowing baby was coming, but staying calm.

After finishing the paper, I decided to walk to the library to enjoy the sun, have some free time outdoors on my potentially last child-free day, and stock up on books to read while breastfeeding. It was a lovely walk, and a lovely feeling of freedom and anticipation. I had finished and put to rest my writing for the time; the house was ready; I was ready; baby would be arriving soon.

Back home I thought about napping but it didn’t happen. M & I decided to go out for dinner, and invited our doula and her partner and daughter. We walked to a great Indian restaurant and ate our fill. Throughout the dinner it was becoming noticeable that I was definitely heading in the baby direction. I had to get up periodically to move and breathe through the waves in my uterus. Our doula T offered to come right back to the house but we wanted to watch how things progressed before she came over. Back at the house, M & I finished preparations (food out, things away) and let the midwife know that things were heading towards birth. I tried to nap around 8:30 or 9, but the waves kept me popping out of bed every 5 – 20 minutes and I gave up. I tried using hip movements, walking, breathing and vocalizing to keep them comfortable, and these all helped.

The big thing I focused on, though, was positive visualizations. With every wave, I pictured my cervix relaxing and being pulled open. I affirmed openness and positivity, and visualized a rose opening as a metaphor for my body. I used my hands to illustrate to myself how I was opening up for baby. And my vocalizations continued.

By 10, we called the doula to come over; by 11 our midwife was on the way.

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