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False Alarms and Trial Runs

February 27, 2011

If you had asked me last night, I was convinced that I’d be holding my newborn in my arms by now.  If you had seen me last night, you would have been convinced as well.

Labor had started, it seemed. Contractions — real, honest, can-not-be-denied contractions — occurring every fifteen minutes on the dot.  The first caught me off guard at 6 pm exactly. I was stunned by what an intense Braxton Hick contraction that was.  The second surprised me at quarter past, and I found myself rising from my chair at the kitchen table to sway through it.  The third, at 6:30, came with the realization that “oh…this really is something.”

They continued to come, every fifteen minutes. 
And I was calm.  Comfortable.  Confident. 
And excited, so incredibly, overwhelmingly excited.

My baby was on it’s way.

Swaying, laughing, smiling, I took each new contraction at a time.  For someone who faced Shane’s birth with such dread and fear, this alone felt like such a victory for me. 
I was calm, I was confident, I was capable.

After settling Shane down for the night, I called my doula.  She advised me to stay hydrated, to try to get some rest, and to call her when things started to pick up and become more intense and I felt as though I was needing her presence.

So I went bed, put on one of my Hypnobabies tracks, and sprawled out over my body pillow.  Contractions were bearable, just pressure.  I dozed on and off for hours, switching or restarting the Hypnobabies CDs when I’d wake and realize that one had ended.  Contractions continued to come every fifteen minutes, gradually increasing in frequency to less than ten minutes apart, until sometime after 2 am.

And then…nothing.

I woke again at seven, completely discombobulated.  No contractions, not even an occasional twinge to suggest that my baby was on it’s way.  Nothing.

I thought I’d be holding my baby right now.  Counting toes, caressing cheeks, bringing a tiny newborn to my breast for the first time of many.

Instead, here I sit…still incredibly, undeniably pregnant.

I’m fighting the feelings of exhaustion and discouragement and I’m trying to push aside my disappointment.  What I need is to focus on all that was positive about last night’s “false alarm.”  My baby is coming, someday soon, on a birthday of his/her choosing.  And I now know that I can do this.  That I can — and will — approach my birthing time with confidence and courage.   I’m not the frightened woman who had Shane delivered from me.

Shane made me a mother, and Shane’s birth helped make me the woman that I am today.  And this woman is not going into my second child’s birth needing to be saved.  This woman will be giving birth.  I know now that I can.

“Women’s bodies were designed to birth. That’s a simple fact.
You were designed to birth naturally. No experience or training necessary.
There’s no special esoteric mystery about it. It’s a very simple every day fact of life.
Millions of women have done it for millions of years. It’s a tremendous blessing
but it’s also completely ordinary and normal and not only for a special few.
You can do it too. I have absolute trust in that.”

~ Ingrid Baue

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