Overcoming Fear: Our Birth Story, Part 1

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is about facing and overcoming fears. When I read the prompt, I wasn't sure what to write about. I considered taking the easy way out and writing about the zucchini we harvested from our garden last week. I went back and forth between before settling on the obvious choice.

My daughter's birthday is this week and I've been rereading her birth story. I wrote it in four parts about a week after she was born. In retrospect, I realize I was scared. I had researched everything I could get my hands on, I'd read birth stories, I had complete faith in our midwives and my husband, but I was scared. Even though I felt prepared and ready for labor, I was terrified to let go and let my body do what it needed to do.

I was scared of not being pregnant anymore. I was scared of having the responsibility for a little human being who was in my arms instead of my belly. This wasn't a conscious fear but it was there. Once I recognized that fear and faced it, when I realized I had to surge ahead regardless, there was no turning back.

This is Part 1 of our birth story:

Sunday, November 15th, 8pm. The evening before my first official day of maternity leave.

I was relaxing on the settee when I had a very small, crampy contraction. It felt different than the Braxton-Hicks contractions I'd been having. I sat up and felt warm water rushing out of me.

I turned to J. and said, "babe, I think my water broke."

He said, "are you sure?"

I said I was pretty sure because I couldn't think of anything else that would result in so much fluid and asked him what it was supposed to smell like when your water breaks (it was the only question I could remember from the little check-list of how to tell).

J. responded, "well, last time my water broke..."

This made me laugh, which just made the water pour out even faster, which made me laugh harder, which made the water pour out faster, and you get the picture. I called our midwives and told them what happened. They said that labor usually starts spontaneously within twelve hours of the water breaking and that we should just try to get some sleep.

Instead of going straight to bed we went to storage (remember we were living on a small sailboat at the time and had a storage room for stuff we didn't need immediately at hand on the boat) and got the last few items we needed to take the birth center. Storage closed at 9pm and we didn't want to risk going into labor over night and not being able to get what we needed. We filled the car of up with gas and went home to rest. All the while I was leaking water and trying to contain my excitement. J. and I had a good laugh over the fact that it was dark, rainy, windy, and a super low tide. We'd always joked that the baby would come at low tide and in bad weather...

I had a few more contractions between 3 and 4am but nothing very strong, nothing progressive, and nothing that stuck around. Nonetheless, we got a few hours sleep and woke to find that we were still not having regular contractions. It had been twelve hours since my water broke and we consulted with the midwives. Then we set out to get labor started.

To be continued...


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