That's it! Time's up!

There is a very real anxiety that surrounds birth...and time.  "How long was your labour?" "When will I have this baby?" "How long did that part take?" "If your water breaks, and you haven't had the baby in 24 hours, well..."

And then, someone puts a big round clock right smack in your line of sight in the hospital room.

When I initially ask clients what they wish for, the most common answer is, "A fast birth."

However, after we've been working together for a number of months, most clients realize that each labour takes as long as it needs - no more, no less. Each woman's task in labour is to accept its flow, allowing it to unfold as it should. Time and space start to recede, endorphins increase, tension starts to release, and then labour works well.

To put an arbitrary time limit on any normal pregnancy or labour harms its natural rhythm. Birth is a psychosexual process. And, just like lovemaking ("Are you two done yet??"), it withers when it is pressured by time.

Ultimately, once you understand the nature of birth and its relationship with time, you settle into a pace that fits you and your baby on this particular day. It may be fast. It may be slow.

So cover your eyes and plug your ears, and you won't be rushed or ruled by the clock.

Crossing the Portal, the Old School Way

I stood still in Pottery Barn the other week, in front of a phone that looked just like the lovely heavy black phone that we had when I was little. You know, the one with the rotary dial that, when you needed to dial 9-1-1, took such a long time for that 9 to rotate. No wonder they didn't stick with the British emergency code of 9-9-9. The emergency would have been over before the dialing was done.

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An Argument for Non-Linear Thinking

I just love how our brains work. Well, I actually only know how my brain, a woman's brain, works. And it's totally non-linear. My daughter's brain works like mine, and people laugh when they hear us talking, shifting from one subject to another without any apparent link. Ah, but we independently followed the link from five minutes earlier in our conversation.

Birth is also feminine, non-linear. It works like a woman's brain. There are multiple tasks being accomplished at any one time - descent, rotation, softening, opening. Almost ESP-like communication can take place between a woman and a wise caregiver - this is the "monkey-brain" or "reptile-brain" at work. Thoughts, memories, past experiences, and current understanding are accommodated, merged, drawn upon.

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Putting the Slow in Slow Birth

I'm going to have to time the ride to be more precise, but the trip from Vancouver Doula's new home to either St. Paul's or BC Women's Hospitals takes about...4 minutes.

Add that to the fact that the majority of my clients will now live within 15 minutes of me...and the result will be even better care.

I'll be able to pop over to check on clients having long prodromal labours, do emergency breastfeeding visits, actually get to meet former clients for tea (right, Brooke?), or even walk to "meet and greet" visits on South Granville or in Kits.

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Lessons from a Happy Flying Baby (Advanced Level)

Did I tell you that I think that labour lasts as long as you need to learn all the lessons required for this particular child? There’s perhaps a little extra time added to work through some particularly tricky past life experiences. The baby’s personality has a lot to do with this...

One of the family doctors I know, said that all three of her boys had labours to fit their personalities. One came flying so fast that his cord broke. And that’s how he goes through life - flying headlong into things (both physically and emotionally). Another son takes his time, considers all his options, then considers them some more. As a result, his labour took a long, long time.

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