It's interesting how women often have a sense of how their labour will go, even weeks before the due date. Some women have dreams of a spider web (baby wrapped in cord) or a rock climber (cord again) or a square peg in a round hole (positioning problem.) Are these premonitions or self-fulfilling prophecies? I don't know. I like to think that the body is giving the woman a clue about what is currently happening, and that these dreams are reality-based, not fear-based.
The last three births in the marathon week mirrored their mothers' dreams and premonitions exactly. One had said that she wasn't concerned about the birth at all. Another had said that she had a hard time visualizing the baby coming out of her - there was some problem with that image. The third said she was feeling very patient.
Well, the first woman, a heptathlete, had the straight-forward first birth that she had envisioned - pacing around the house and hospital, squatting between her husband's legs for her baby's birth. Pure and simple. No muss no fuss. What joy!
The second woman laboured beautifully at home, made a smooth transition to the hospital, and sunk into the deep tub. Her labour had looked like it was accelerating normally, but whenever I talked about the baby sliding down, she'd jump in with..."No, don't say that." It was as if she knew it wasn't safe to imagine the baby descending. It turned out that the placenta had partially abrupted, and the baby needed to be born by cesarean to stay safe. I truly believe she had known there was something going on at an intuitive level. There's no better lesson to learn as we head into motherhood - that we can trust our instincts. Amazing.
During her pregnancy, the third woman had been so accepting of whatever labour might throw at her. She seemed so calm, trusting in her body. She had a long slow prelabour period, and surprised the doctor by showing up for a prenatal visit...at 7cm! Even though it took a further 10 hours before the baby was born, she remained patient throughout. She took in everything that I said, her husband said, her nurse said, her doctor said. She trusted her body, did what she needed to do for her baby, and it all worked! Here's her account:
"Your confidence and coaching really worked for me - I kept remembering you saying that it's all in the mind and that it's safe to go further. Every tip you gave me, whether it was working through a contraction or a push, made so much sense. I could actually imagine myself climbing up the rope when you told me to do so.
My first birth experience has been so positive and amazing, and I should really credit you for it. It's just like having a personal trainer run with you through your first marathon. And I can now speak from firsthand experience that birth itself is not unlike running a marathon. I remembered how the crowds cheering on the sidelines, the bands playing, and the water stations, all gave me boosts of energy. You supplied the bands, the cheering crowds, and the sips of hydrating water when I needed them. Somehow giving birth to Allison seemed a whole lot easier than the marathon ... probably because I had my own support team for the entire journey! Thanks so much!"
So, these three women listened to their bodies and their babies, and had the births that were "just right" for them. This was a true testament to mother's wisdom, and a mother's intuition.