She was reaching out to me from Central Europe. Chills of excitement ran through my body like raindrops on a warm day. When we spoke, she said she was a midwife with over 40 years of experience. She said birthing is very sacred and that she would love to be part of bringing my baby earth-side. I was elated. There was an immediate connect. She really understood birthing just the way I felt about it. Yes! I thought to myself, this is just how I want to experience birthing. A sacred process of birthing my baby as I am reborn as a mother. And just like that, everything fell into place. Sylvie (name changed for privacy) was to arrive at 38 weeks, 2 weeks prior to my due date.
On the sunny Saturday morning of July 14, Eshan and I were at our final prenatal class when the teacher expressed some concern. She gently asked me when I had been to my doctor last. It had been over a few weeks. She nudged me to get checked. We were due to meet a doctor (coincidentally a stones throw away from our prenatal class itself) to explore her availability as our back-up doctor on the day of my delivery. But the meeting wasn't due until the following week. Plus, we had several plans all day long. But our prenatal teacher was quite persistent. So we scheduled a meeting with this new doctor for later that evening.
After a long tiring day on my feet for over 6 hours, we reluctantly walked into this doctor's office. She was a pleasant lady, with a very friendly demeanour. I naturally relaxed. She chatted with us, as we all warmed up to one another. We began discussing business.
Gently she asked if I was comfortable with her doing an internal check. I was 34 weeks pregnant and she wanted to make sure all is on track. I felt comfortable allowing her to do this and so we proceeded. Within moments she let out a soft "oh!" and before I could ask her what happened, she quite seriously said, "you need to be in bed right away! Your baby is nearly here. At the rate you are going you will be delivering (him) this week itself!" Eshan and I looked at each other in disbelief.
She explained that she had wanted to examine me because it looked like the baby was quite low and it was early for that. My cervix was already on its way to being dilated due to the pressure of the uterus. This was all so unexpected! She asked us to drive home very cautiously and sent us packing with a boot full of stuff to prepare us in case of early labour.
We arrived bearing all the safety measures to keep baby in for as long as possible to ensure we could still have a full term birth (hopefully at home, if it wasn't premature!). There began the drama, yet again! Somehow, I was quite calm and sure that this baby would stay in till we crossed 36 weeks. "Two weeks more to go" I said to baby and me. "We can do this. We have got to do this together!"
I was on strict bedrest with my feet raised at almost 45 degree angles (bricks under the bed and what not!). Baby had to be kept anti-gravity. When I sat up (reclining-- only for mealtimes, I could feel his head like a ball between my legs!). It was not comfortable. My pubic bone hurt from the pressure of his head bulging deep within my vagina. Doctor had decided she would visit me every 5 days (for as long as we would be able to last out). She was quite convinced we would last 5-7 days or upto two weeks if I followed all advise. The reality of it all began to hit me gradually. My midwife might miss my birth after all.
We were prescribed medicines to delay the onset of contractions/labour and also to develop baby's lungs in the event of early labour. Eshan and I both sat in meditation. We decided to caucus right after, to decide our stand about the medication. After our brief meditation, we both were determined not to go ahead with the medicines. I was sure baby and I could cooperate in maintaining status quo until it was safe for him to have the birth he desired.
Then began my intense labour training with baby inutero (little did I know this would become such a crucial module in my BURP training with parents to be!) letting him know it wasn't yet time for him to come earth-side. I kept showing him that he had more growing to do and there was time before he chose to come. At the time I had no idea about the power of what I was doing. But baby was responding. We made it through several such weekly checkups and doctor too was pleasantly surprised and encouraging. Baby was still in.
July 27 (36 weeks): Mild contractions (what I like referring to as waves) began.
July 31: Waves continue and part of the mucus plug is lost.
August 4: Mild streaking. Mucus plug entirely gone. Cervix dilated 2-3 cms. Nervousness really sets in. Midwife EDA Aug 10.
Aug 5 & 6: Back to back waves on and off all day long. Waves plans underway.
Aug 8: The longest 2 days ever. Most uncomfortable and just wanting baby out! Still aching for Sylvie to be with us on Aug 10th.
Aug 10 (38 weeks): 8 pm waves in full swing and Sylvie due to arrive! The entire team is ready to come and then it all comes to a halt.
Watch out for more in the next part...
(check out the previous post for Part 1 of our birth story)