And so I find myself thinking back seven years ago to the birth of Chase.
I was two weeks overdue and HUGE. Seriously, I looked like a bowling ball on legs!
My husband and I were impatient to meet our little guy, and I didn’t think I could take a minute more of cramps, aching pelvis, indigestion, and piddling. So we’d been trying for several weeks to help coax the little one out.
Walking – that just made my pelvic condition and my exhaustion worse.
Spicy foods – gave me indigestion
Sex – one of the nicer options, but apart from putting us both in a good mood, didn’t do a thing
Bumpy drives – just made me need to wee
Nipple stimulation – made me feel like I was in a bad porno
Frights – My husband would lie in wait and jump out in front of me. Made me cranky and brought on another urge to pee, but did nothing to bring on baby.
Raspberry leaf tea – Made me wee. (Does every non-medical attempt to bring on birth result in weeing?)
A midwife with Man Hands even did a particularly violent cervix exam, before telling me to go home and have a couple of glasses of wine to ‘relax’ the baby out.
The wine made me tipsy, but like everything else, did nothing to encourage our baby to make his way into the world.
Finally, when Chase was looking to be overcooked and my blood pressure was rising, I was booked in for an induction.
Now in the interests of not freaking out a woman who is about to push a human being out of her front bottom, I will not go into details.
Needless to say, my first experience of childbirth was a nightmare, which only ended after lots of swearing at my husband, a three-grade tear, and an episiotomy.
Thankfully, it also resulted in a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy!
But afterwards, I promised myself that I would never have an induction again. (At that stage, trust me, I wasn’t even going to have sex again!)
Flash forward two years, and I’ve clearly overcome my aversion to sex, because I’m up the duff, this time with little Harmonie.
About a month before my due date, my obstetrician began making noises about another induction. My blood pressure was high – higher than with Chase – and because of my arthritis and pelvic condition, I was in unbearable pain and could barely walk.
I was determined not to go down the intervention path again, and this time did my research more thoroughly.
I drank copious amounts of raspberry leaf tea, started acupuncture sessions aimed at making childbirth less labourious, and begged a midwife to divulge her no-fail way to bring on labour: Sex.
“Oh, we did that last time, and nothing happened!” I said dismissively.
She looked at me shrewdly.
“Did you lie down so the semen would stay inside you?” she asked.
“Er – no.”
And that was the trick apparently. For the prostaglandin-like substances in semen to soften the cervix, it actually has to stay there for a while. About 20 minutes, the midwife told me.
A few nights later, after a particularly uncomfortable day, my husband looked at me. “Are you ready to have this baby?” he asked. And I thought: Why not?
So, without going into details, we did a particularly nice doona dance, and this time, instead of jumping up and heading for the shower or the loo, we lay there and cuddled. In fact, I was so relaxed, I went to sleep.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, I will never know. But the next morning I bent down to load the dishwasher and my waters broke. All over the kitchen floor.
This time, because the childbirth was completely natural, I was able to keep pace with my body. This time, childbirth was the empowering, magnificent experience I’d been told about.
By 4 pm that afternoon, I had my little girl in my arms and felt that wonderful rush of endorphins and hormones that new Mums are supposed to get.
So I wish Sue all the best and hope she gets the birth she dreamed of too. And lots of nice sex too.