In the last weeks of pregnancy it is not unusual for expectant moms to begin to get restless and impatient. Those last days can seem to drag by at a slow and uneventful crawl. Even as a doula I begin rearranging the way I think about my days and nights and place myself on “ready.” However, that does not rival the anticipation and excitement of the parents as they plan, imagine and dream of what the future will hold.

When Brittany’s due date was calculated she walked away with well…maybe the 7th and maybe the 13th.  When we met for her prenatal and talked about how the pregnancy was progressing we agreed it was likely she would begin labor prior to the 7th.  A visit to the OB and the information that she was 2cm and partially effaced, followed with a little bloody show, it seemed very encouraging. That was on March 5th.  A few days of light contractions and the hoped for “due date” of the 7th came and went. I could feel her discouragement. It was easy for me to stay open and trusting as I have been watching baby’s be born for many decades now and they always seem to be on their own time schedule, not ours. On the 9th another trip to the OB and after checking found to be 4cm and her cervix was thinning nicely. And yet…the second calculated due date came and went. I know those were frustrating days for her, trying to be patient and open, waiting, hoping, the light contractions that didn’t seem to be moving forward and  really kicking in to speed things up. Although there were plenty of contractions they appeared gentle and easily managed.

IF ONLY…in these last few days mamas could slip away into a place where time didn’t exist. No clocks, no calendars, no Iphones clicking away the minutes, no OB/midwife offer to guage that time by the progression your cerix. Even more helpful if they could turn off the phones and shut down facebook and suspend themselves in this pre-birth cocoon for as much time as baby needs. I know, well meaning friends and family check in almost constantly…are you there yet? Is is time?  Are you feeling anything? You know…tomorrow would be a perfect day, could you do it tomorrow? In fact Brittany and I had a good laugh about women not having one of those pop up turkey timers that says…I’m ready!

But the truth is…

it takes what it takes and if allowed babies come when their timing is perfect.

On March 15th…(now 6 days after being told she is 4cm) at 3 am Brittany woke up to some blood and light “cramps,” a call to her midwife reassured her that it would be a good idea to head to the hospital. We talked, she was a little worried about going too early and having to succumb to the hospital time frame. I on the other hand was throwing my clothes on the minute I got her first call thinking this was going to start happening very fast. I can’t say it always happens, but with all that early “predomal” labor I had a feeling the next leg of her journey was going to sail by. This was baby #2 and that increased the likelihood of a shortened labor.

It was a very stormy night, I drove, well I crept, through sheets of water pouring from the sky and drowning the roadway. I kept thinking about Brittany and Pete making their way through the downpour and I felt relieved that they were so close to the hospital.
I arrived a bit after them at 4:30 am. She had been in the tub and now out she was struggling some with getting comfortable and relaxed and focused. It is a transition for both mother and baby to leave the comfort of home and enter into the hospital where people are doing things to you and asking you questions and lots of distractions pull you out of the focus of what is happening within you. It wasn’t long until she was able to make that shift and tune back in to her body and her baby.

It seemed as I observed her contractions that they were coming fairly regular but not with much intensity. She might tell you a different story but from my point of view they were not hitting those longer, stronger contractions that dilate and open. I suggested we take a walk. She was able to make about three times around the nurses station, stopping to lean on Pete and sway through her contractions, walking and talking in between. She had the “look” of a woman in the beginnings of active labor. Of course that “leg” of labor can last for many hours…but I was feeling something entirely different on the horizon. Perhaps it was all the fast births I had been at lately or just an intuitive hunch but something told me she would not be at this for long. Once back in the room her breathing became much more focused, the time in between contractions was getting shorter and she was having a harder time finding a position that worked for her. She was noticing a lot more pressure. I gave her a massage, using a little essential oil (Release Blend). She seemed most comfortable when Pete was holding her and I was behind her doing the double hip squeeze and adding some cool wash clothes to her neck with a touch of aromatherapy.

I could tell by the sounds coming from Brittany baby wasn’t far away. So could the nurses, they came flooding into the room as if summoned. The time was now 7:10 am, we had only been at the hospital since 4 am. The next few minutes were very surreal. The nurse came in to hook up the monitor, but she wasn’t getting a good reading. Brittany stood up to see if she could get a better attachment and everything began to change in rapid movement. Brittany gave out a yelp and the room filled as the staff responded to the familiar and primal sounds of a woman about to give birth. The midwife swept in and somewhere between standing and lying on her side this  little girl insisted on popping her head out into the world. Pushing wasn’t something anyone even mentioned as much as just watched happen. Within seconds baby was lying up on her mother’s tummy all squishy and pink.

Time…everything in its time. My card from “Dancing for Birth” class this morning was “I trust divine timing.” Those moments just before Parrish entered the world time seemed to stop. Everything slowed down and sped up all at once.  One moment a couple working hard through labor and everything in front of them a veil of  vast unknown. In moments, maybe three breaths, a tiny pink bundle of baby girl emerged, filling that void and imbued those moments with the joyful sounds of her first cries.

Time, those days prior to her birth while those early contractions were helping her into her perfect positioning and she, unlike the rest of us…wasn’t watching a calendar, she knew her moment and wow! did she make an entrance. Her astrology chart is loaded with Aries and Pisces. The fire of Aries that will just “get her done” and says ” look out! get outa my way! I got stuff to do!”  combined with the beautiful still waters of Pisces to  throw a little water on that fire and soothe it with depth and compassion.

Welcome to the world little one. You are in wonderful hands.