I am going to do some clairvoyant fortune telling about how my labour is going to go. The countdown is on now to my due date, less than a month to go, which, as everybody keeps pointing out, means it could be any day now.
I’ve done a lot of reading and preparation, and this is the process as I see it for myself:
Realise that it’s all beginning thanks to some obvious but bearable and well spaced out cramps. Pop some Sex and the City DVDs on to distract myself, have husband Garrett paint toenails between mild and totally manageable contractions. Enjoy a selection of fruit cocktails and chocolate lovingly prepared by aforementioned husband to keep my energy levels up. Feel positive and excited. Doze off a couple of times, taking advantage of the opportunity to relax before it gets underway for real.
Contractions do start to become what could be described as uncomfortable. Manage the pain by taking a short walk and practicing the birth skills / relaxation for a natural child birth / calm birth / yoga breathing techniques that I have been reading about for months. Husband gallantly supports me while I focus on minimising the pain, giving helpful words of encouragement, and rubbing my back, shoulders and expertly timing contractions, which are all part of the body’s natural and amazing life giving process. I am able to embrace the pain as part of a wonderful experience and even manage to have a pleasant but short conversation with my mother in law overseas about how her hydrangeas are faring.
Getting to the hospital.
I live at the top of a hill, on an island. Contractions are now five minutes apart and the community rallies to help me down the stairs and down the hill to the waiting water taxi. I manage to keep completely calm and pain free during this process, so much so that the locals wonder if I truly am in labour. Garrett retrieves the car and we make the ten minute trip to hospital completely within the speed limit and singing along to our favourite Neil Young songs. We have Neil Young tickets booked for March – we’ll just take the baby along, it will be totally fine, there is no chance that Garrett will go with one of his mates and I’ll have to stay home with the baby.
We get to the hospital and it turns out I skipped what the midwives traditionally recognize as the out of control and hugely painful transition phase where all women plead for an epidural, a blow to the head, anything to numb the pain. I am 9 centimetres dilated so all that remains to do is put on some nice music, hop in the birthing pool and get ready to push. Garrett continues to say all the right things, giving me strength and courage to continue. I am in some pain, but visualizing my happy place and saying ‘Aaaah’ during each contraction makes it all bearable. The midwives are amazed at what a remarkably connected couple we are, and how incredibly we are working together to bring our child into the world.
Instinct tells me it’s time to push, but I am so calm and focused that it doesn’t feel hard at all. After a couple of minutes it feels like the baby is coming out naturally with barely any effort. The head appears, Garrett looks at me in awe and with tears in his eyes, holding my hand and encouraging me while our first born finishes the journey into life. The baby is placed on my chest, beautiful, healthy and in no way squished and funny looking. Garrett repeatedly tells me how proud of me he is and that I never have to wash the dishes again – I’ve done enough hard work for one lifetime.
Third stage – afterbirth
I don’t even notice it. And it’s not gross at all.
The baby feeds with no trouble and then goes to sleep, and so do Garrett and I, after all it has been a very busy four hours.
I stay in the hospital for three days but find I have the time and energy to blow dry my hair and put a bit of makeup on before visitors arrive. The baby feeds perfectly to schedule and hardly cries. The midwives declare they’ve never laid eyes on such an exquisitely beautiful child. The calm birth process I created for myself means I feel completely healed after barely even a day. I pop on my skinny jeans and get ready to leave the hospital and we set off for home with the new love of our lives bundled up, feeling nothing but excitement about the future.
So that’s my prediction for myself. I will be able to tell you which exact parts came true in just a few weeks, so watch this space!