in which I tell a birth story
So last week when I was reminding you to hold your nerve (for lots of you this seemed to be just where you were at), I also mentioned how tough transition can be. I also said I would write more on that another time. No time like the present, hey?
When I had my first baby, 18 years ago (yes, I am still marking this milestone, sorry) I was pretty young, pretty inexperienced and pretty excited. I hadn’t got tons of life experience but I had collected 6 nephews at that point and so I was quite comfortable with babies.
I hadn’t, of course, had one of my own. And I hadn’t experienced labour.
Don’t worry, I have no intention of traumatising anyone with my birth story. I will say (for the benefit of any women reading that are yet to have a baby) that for me it was quite wonderful – I appreciate I fall into quite a lucky category of speedy and complication-free for each of my boys’ labours.
Anyway, there was one part of my labour experience that has stuck with me as a life lesson that I continue to draw on over and over again.
There’s a stage in labour called transition. I won’t go into the biology, but it is basically the time when your body is getting ready for the final stages, and baby is well and truly on its way. The thing is, your inexperienced mind and body doesn’t know it is in transition, and it is often the moment when women can lose a bit of a grasp of the situation (that was a euphemism).
Even through the drug haze (gas and air is quite something), I remember it really clearly.
My incredible, knowledgeable, experienced midwife knew what was going on, even if me and my other half didn’t. I looked at her, right in the eyes, and said,
“I can’t do this anymore.”
Obviously, labour continued (you can’t just stop, just because you don’t want to do it anymore), and I remember Lisa (midwife) gently explaining to my husband (she was addressing him rather than me as I wasn’t fully present) that I was actually really close now.
She explained that although I thought I was still hours away* and the level of pain made me feel like I just couldn’t go on, I was indeed coming through transition, and Noah would soon be with us.
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
This experience, these words from someone with experience, have stayed with me ever since. In some of my most challenging moments, when the change I have hoped for, or the positive outcomes I have longed for seem really far off, I have remembered this. It’s transition.
I hope it can do the same for you, too.
It’s transition. It’s painful, disorientating, agonising at times.
New seasons don’t come easy. Anything that you are trying to birth (a new business, a new direction, a new outlook, a new season, a new perspective, a new career, a new relationship…) takes time, effort, hardwork, pain, doubt and perseverance.
You can’t go back. You’re too far in now.
See the signs for what they are – it’s transition. And like any transition (meaning: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another) it isn’t permanent. It will pass.
What you are looking for, what you have hoped for, planned for, invested in, prayed for, worked hard for, is coming.
Don’t listen to your own, inexperienced thoughts.
Listen to Lisa. You’re actually really close now.
*by the way, about this point, a second midwife came into the room. She had had NOTHING to do with my labour, she took one look at me, and said, “oh, she’s got HOURS to go yet.” Needless to say, I was livid. Noah was born 45 mins later and we were home 4 hours after that. Reverse psychology? Maybe. Annoying? Definitely.