Pregnant, far too pregnant women meander the spaces in the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia. One’s face looks like her seafood lunch didn’t agree with her, her puckered lips and an out-of-the-ozone look in her eyes tell the story.
After a quick photo snap of her semi-confident newly walking son, the woman returns to the sick face. Did I mention I just learned she’s in labor?
Even with all the luxuries the 21st century affords, sometimes you just gotta sit on a bench, watch your kid play and let the contractions do their thing.
I remember early labor. We stopped at the birth center to change our plans to a home birth and while there I drank a tea-like cocktail that might, as the midwife put it “speed up things.” After leaving, Dave and I drove to two stores, five minutes away for a couple items we needed for the birth. In Dollar General, I bought the book, “The Road To Enchantment,” and although it was not on the list, seeing my cousin’s name on the cover felt like a good omen.
Light muscle clenches turned to medium ones in Walmart. Stopping at a children’s clothing rack, I doubled over at the waist, placed my hands on my knees, and breathed. It was like a giant wave crashing over the top of me, along with the resulting somersaults and chaos, and trying to scramble back to the surface.
I don’t remember the car ride home. I do, however, remember being belly down on a huge yoga ball and demanding Dave’s strong arm me harder in the back. Counterpressure on contractions – we learned in birth class – is like a hot tub on achy muscles.
At some point, I had a dream a hot bath would help, but all that followed was a nightmare. The constantly uncomfortable squared-off bathtub did not suddenly change, nor did it fit my lumpy, seizing-to-work body, nor did it do what Dave’s man hands were doing. So dripping wet and wearing nothing but a frown I sasquatch-walked myself into the bedroom where shortly after, two midwives and our doula met us.
I didn’t expect to discuss my labor experience, but to be fair, I didn’t expect to rubberneck a woman having a baby today either.
Well, all that said, I sure am grateful my days of having a joey in the pouch are over.
Take care. Love, Jaclynn