I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the ‘power’ of the mind. How I can control my reaction to something and create a new situation. Like the saying goes, “You cannot change others, you can only change how you react to others.” This has been on my mind because of our situation with Violet and how I react to her when a tantrum begins/is going on/ends. Today, as I was dwelling on this yet again, I suddenly remembered John’s birth and the power of my mind in that situation. It was, and I think, still quite amazing.
When Sarah was 3 months old we got pregnant. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I was due 1 day before her first birthday. While trying to cope with a colicky, refluxing baby and a 2 1/2 year old, I slowly started to wrap my mind around this. And just as I accepted it and became overjoyed, we lost the baby. Obviously we were heartbroken. We were told to wait at least 2 cycles before trying again . . . however I never cycled and we found out we were pregnant again. Sarah was almost 5 months old, Violet was 3.
As my due date came closer I began planning, again, for a drug free birth. I’d done it with Sarah and was completely comfortable with going drug again.
Around March 5 I began feeling uncomfortable and contracting quite a bit. As I had delivered Sarah in 2 hours — from first pain to last push — I was hyper alert for labor. Between March 5 and 7 we made numerous trips to the doctor so I could be checked, put on a monitor to confirm I was in early labor and be sent to the hospital. They sent me home every time. Even though they were convinced I wasn’t in early labor, I knew differently. We called my in laws to come down so when I was ready to leave we wouldn’t have to do anything with the kids.
On the morning of the 8, I woke my husband up around 4 and said it was time to go, even though I wasn’t having heavy contractions. Being the intelligent man he is (and remembering how I yelled, “I need to push!” while on the way to the hospital with Sarah) he got up and we left. When we got to the hospital I was comfortable but insistent that I was in advanced labor.
The eye rolling that went on! Especially since when the nurses checked me they couldn’t even find my cervix because everything was still so high. The gymnastics that took place in order for them to finally determine how many centimeters I was dilated were comical. I kept saying,”I’m not going home. I’m at least 7 centimeters.” When my doctor arrived she was able to determine my dilation — 7 centimeters.
So we labored. My husband and great friend and L&D nurse, and my doctor were all in the room with me. Things started to pick up, but only when I was walking. I’d sit down to take a break and the contractions would drop back. So I paced and squatted and paced and squatted. I was in a lousy labor pattern and had been at it for some time, when my doctor asked me what I’d like to do. She said we could continue as I was and just wait for the pattern to even out, or I could get some pitocin and jump start things a bit. I was getting very tired, but I knew if I had pitocin the chances of me then having an epidural increased greatly.
I remembered all the words of all the natural birthing books I’d read, the words of my friends Rachel and Anne (who both gave birth med free and told me I had the power and ability to do it), and asked for 20 minutes. If things hadn’t picked up then I’d do the pitocin. I know my friend and L&D nurse thought this was pretty funny, but I was going with my gut.
I pictured my baby moving down and out of me. I remembered what it felt like to be in heavy labor with Sarah. I even ‘visualized’ my cervix as a flower, opening up and letting my baby come out (That would have been thanks to Ina Mae, an incredible author and mid wife).
I was using my mind to change a situation. Controlling my reaction to a situation to create a new one.
And 20 minutes later my contractions picked up like crazy and I began transition. John was born shortly after.
Because I had the power, within me, to control what was happening.
(am I saying that this is what a woman should do and then viola! your baby will immediately be born? Not at all. It’s what happened and worked for me. Me only.)
Now I need to dig deep and draw on these same things. To deeply understand that I have the power to change a situation while in that very situation. To control my reaction with Violet when she begins to get ramped up. I need to see what I’m doing as I’m doing it and know that I can change it.
But honestly, I think making my body contract was easier.