I Have Homework?
As I wrote in Part 1 of Kyrie’s birth story, I had been taking the Hypnobabies class with my doula, Julie, as the instructor. The class was somewhat unexpected in that it covered a lot of basic birth information, but that was all a good refresher and I learned a good bit new, as well.
I also wasn’t expecting to have so much homework! (Though, in Hypnobabies, it’s called Homeplay. Gotta keep it positive-language and all. ;)) Well, perhaps it wouldn’t be that much if you had no children to take care of, you hadn’t just moved, and your husband (with whom I was supposed to do the homeplay/practice) wasn’t working like crazy to get caught up and ahead on work. Or if I had taken it with a greater margin of time before my due date, or…, or… Instead, I spent the first couple of week feeling guilty and like I wouldn’t be able to make it work. The second week, I was able to practice (reading/listening to scripts) with Daniel like we were supposed to, and then felt a little better. But then I got behind again, and felt discouraged. My midwife encouraged me that even if I just practiced a little and familiarized myself with the scripts, it would help; I didn’t need to perfect it.
Wrestling with Fear
So, I was encouraged, but still fearful. My last birth included more a more traumatic (to me, personally) experience than I had anticipated, and so I was fearful of similar turnouts and simply of the unknown.
Thankfully, many of the Hypnobabies scripts were also available to listen to on MP3, and so even if Daniel needed to go to bed early some nights, I could listen to those. (However, since you are supposed to listen to them in an uninterrupted, relaxed state, that pretty much ruled out the daytime with kids around. :)) Hypnobabies had a track specifically for wrestling with fear about childbirth, and so I listened to that several nights in a row. I was fearful of many things: a long labor, who would watch our kids during the birth (we had a friend who could, but would be out of town through my due date), what if something was wrong with the baby, what I had a bad cervical lip again, what if my water broke before labor and I panicked, what if labor lasted all night, what if, what if...
Before previous my births, I’d been able to get away for a day-long personal retreat to think over and pray for my upcoming birth. But due to the move, Daniel’s ER stay, and then my own health and busyness, it hadn’t happened. So I hoped that I’d go past my due date once again, and on Saturday (the first in a stretch of Saturdays that Daniel wouldn’t need to work) I could go out and have some time to myself. But before then, I began to pray, especially during the nighttime, that God would take away my fears, for all I’d tried hadn’t work. Hypnobabies hadn’t worked fully, and at this point I knew only God could deliver me from my fear, even if He were to later use the scripts I’d been listening to, encouragement from friends, or other means to keep my fear at bay.
The Best Massage Comes with a Surprise!
The week before my due date, I was able to see a chiropractor twice (both for hopes of getting aligned and to alleviate some back pain). I also scheduled a massage with Natalie at Blissful Massage. Because she was moving office locations, she was not able to see me until my actual due date. Which wasn’t an issue in my mind. I’d never come remotely close to having a baby on my due date. With this being my fourth pregnancy, I was counting on those extra days to get things done!
Friday came, and I spent the morning nesting: organizing Justus’s clothes and picking out the girls clothes for the next week. I was excited to head to my massage at 3:45p.m., and was also excited about picking up some special treats, as I had planned to get groceries after my appointment. The massage was indeed blissful, and I asked Natalie about other clients she might have had who were so close to baby’s birth. She told me about another mama who had a prenatal massage on her due date, and she had contractions soon after receiving some massage on induction accupressure points. I laughed and told her she was free to do the same for me. After all, it was my due date.
She did one on my hand, and I started having some mild contractions (or pressure waves in Hypnobabies language). It didn’t bother me at all, but when I told her, she said she’d save the rest for the very, very end, so as not to ruin my massage. After my sixty minutes quickly passed, I got dressed and ready to go, and Natalie came and worked on the induction accupressure points: on my hands, ankles, and shoulders. We finished, and I walked out as her next client walked in.
I walked out to the van, feeling really good and excited about the upcoming weekend. What a beautiful fall day… Suddenly, as I lifted my leg, I felt a mild “pop,” and as I climbed into the driver’s seat, I realized what was happening. Moments later, I flooded the seat with amniotic fluid!!! Yes, my water had broken! (While this may be exciting to some, I have experienced two births where my water didn’t break until I was having strong contractions, and I know that losing the cushion of amniotic fluid usually equals more intense contractions. Since my water broke before contractions began for my last birth, and since I’ve done reading on dangers and higher intensity of membranes rupturing prior to labor, I did. not. want. that. to. happen.
As I sat stunned in the van, my next thought was, “I wonder if I can still quickly run into the store and buy the orange juice I’ve been craving?” Cue, another gush of fluid! And then a glance at the clock to realize…it was Friday, and it was now 5:05p.m., and traffic on my route home often gets backed up. With a 30-minute drive home, did I really want to risk the possibility of getting stuck and contractions starting while I was driving myself? Um, probably not.
Nor did I want to risk walking through the store with my soaking wet skirt and dripping more water with every step! 🙂 I quickly texted Natalie and told her the news. She thought I was joking at first! 🙂 Then I texted Julie (doula), Carrie (midwife), and Megan (photographer) to let them all know, and told them I’d update them when contractions began. And, of course, I texted Daniel. And then, I started the drive home.