Exactly one year ago as I write this I was soaking in the bath, observing my body start to prepare for the long haul ahead. I didn't know quite what a long haul it was going to be. I was excited. The first heady endorphins were flushing through me. I had waited long enough, I thought. I wanted to drop the fat, heavy, wriggly pawpaw I had been heaving along inside me.
A week earlier, sitting in the garden with my husband's niece, we were fantasizing about dates. The gynae's prediction of the 10th of the 10th 2010 had a great ring to it, but that date had passed without event. My calculation was the 17th. But 20.10.2010 would have been nice and symmetrical too. she's a kinaesiologist. I'll muscle test him, she said. She went through the days... 'It's the 18th', she said. I smiled and remarked that he would come when he was ready.
But still, on the night of the 17th I had had enough. I made a hot fragrant curry. I put on Johnny Clegg maskandi tunes and wiggled til midnight, bringing some euphoria into my weary bones. Early the next morning the (look away squeamish readers) mucus plug announced itself, dull period pain ache in my pelvis, endorphins making me giddy. I remembered what my yoga teacher had said: get in the bath for exactly one hour. The water will either bring the contractions along nicely or ease them off if its a false alarm.
The other thing she said was to carbo-load. And get some rest. I made pasta. I sat in the garden and giggled, marveling at how glorious the light was, the sunshine, the glowing green grass, the perfect strawberries in the strawberry patch. I smsed my friends and told them the early stage of labour was just like a mild mushroom trip. I started to make a cake. An hour between each gentle contraction, my heart swelling with a strong feeling of preparedness. I can do this. I have done the hypno-birthing course. I have done my kundalini preggie yoga. My body knows what a minute of intensity feels like, from those exercises where you hold your arms up in the air without moving. I've practiced my breathing. I've done the rainbow meditations. I've done my perineal massage and my pelvic floor exercises. I've programmed my mind not to think of the contractions as pain, not to use the word pain at all. Its an intense feeling that requires your full attention. That's what it is. I can do this. I'm ready to have an intense but enjoyable, fully natural vaginal birth without induction and without meds. Aren't I? Sure I am. Now where was I? Oh yes, I was making a cake...