In blog 76, all Zani’s old insecurities come rushing back. Fortunately, she needn’t face the labour process on her own: apart from Vee, Miriam and Jake, there is a practical plan of action to help her find her rhythm.
Oh my word.
Is this it?
I scramble to clean up and call Jake, both at the same time as the first contraction starts in my lower back and spreads vaguely to the front.
“Jake, please come home!”
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
“Jake, my water broke …” and I start bawling, all out of control and in need of my man.
“I’ll be right there – just hang in there, my love! I’m on my way.”
I clean myself up and, still utterly embarrassed, dump my clothes in the washing machine, but forget to turn it on. I feel lost and phone Vee.
She picks up on the second ring.
“Oh, Zani, is it time?”
I barely manage a, “Yes, Vee” before the tears start again. All my old insecurities come flooding back.
“Is Jake on his way, Zani?”
“Oh, I’m so happy for you – the wait is nearly over!”
“But I’m afraid, Vee!”
“It’s only normal to be afraid of the unknown, my dear child. Jake will be there soon. Would you like me to let Sky know so she can let your friends know to light their candles?”
“No, not yet … The candles may burn out before I really need their prayers.” ‘
Vee laughs softly. “That’s my ever practical Zani talking! What did Miriam say, at what point should you go to the birth centre?”
I have entirely forgotten about Miriam, so I put the phone down – without as much as a “bye” to Vee – and call her. Fortunately, hers is one of the numbers on speed dial.
“Hi, Zani …” but before Miriam can say more I start blabbering about weeing in my pants.
“It’s normal, Zani. That’s the protective amniotic fluid escaping, because your body and your baby are getting ready for birth. Are you feeling a tightening of your abdomen?”
“Yes. Should we come to the birth centre?”
“Is Jake with you?”
“When he gets there, please ask him to time the hugs. When you feel three hugs in 10 minutes, let me know and then we’ll meet up at the birth centre. And don’t forget your bag.”
I get up to fetch the packed, checked and rechecked bags, vaguely amused by Miriam’s use of the word hugs rather than contractions. The reason is that contractions sound terrifying and sore, while hugs are comforting and that a hug is exactly what a contraction is – to comfort mom by telling her that labour is progressing and to comfort and reassure baby that he is not alone, that all is well.
Just then Jake pulls up and rushes in.
In three long strides I am wrapped in his strong arms. We stand like that for a long while before he speaks.
“How are you feeling, my love?”
“Much better now that you are here!”
“Are you having contractions, mmm … hugs yet?”
“I’m not sure, but there is a tightening every now and again. Miriam said we should time them and only come to the clinic when there are three in 10 minutes.”
“Okay, when was the last one?” Jake asks.
“It’s hard to tell … I’ll tell you when I feel the next one.”
I go over to the fridge to take a look at our plan – more to bide the time than anything else actually.
Jake follows instinctively.
Our plan says:
Immediately Jake suggests I fetch my labour clothes – a comfy, soft top and pants – while he runs a bath. He asks what I feel like eating and checks that we have all the ingredients, so that we can cook together after I have soaked in the tub for a bit.
I can hear him making a few calls and putting everything in place at work, so he can be fully present. What a man!
By the time I’m out of the bath, Jake has started the chicken soup and I set about putting together a mixed salad. As we busy ourselves, we stop every now and then just to hold each other.