Like a form of foreplay, this long latency process (“forelabor”) seems to set up the biological and social circumstances so that all the “elements for success” are simultaneously present. Latent labor gets everyone gathered, involved and geared up to attend to the biological and emotional needs of the mother and baby. The marriage of biology to psychology with its attendant association to sociology (the right people present and the wrong people not) is necessary for physiological function. From http://www.collegeofmidwives.org/prac_issues01/MFer_01a.htmThis birth story has been so hard to write. Not because there was trauma, not because there were parts that were hazy and unclear because of drugs. It’s just that it’s a birth story that I find really hard to explain. In my mind my baby began his journey the day before he was born. A Friday. I had two of my doulas over for lunch and just to chill out and get a good feel for how I wanted my birth to go. I was feeling crampy and very blissed out. I could taste every atom in my food that day. I felt sharp and aware of every sensation. As my doulas left that night to do their own thing I felt like I was made of pure electricity. Andrew invited a friend and his girlfriend over to watch a movie and hang out with the kids. We sat up until about 11 watching old movies and just having a laugh. I was going to the toilet about every 30 minutes. I was losing huge amounts of mucous and the twinges really started to get me excited. I closed the front door at about 11.30 and went to bed with Lochlain, knowing in my heart I had a big job in the next few days. Saturday morning Andrew started work around 5am, I could hear him getting ready at around 4.30am and I remember hearing him leave and thinking that I just had to wait until his shift finished and then I could birth. I went back to sleep and woke at around 9am. Both the boys had slept in and we got up to have a lazy morning in our PJs. I got out of bed and took two steps to the bedroom door. BANG. A contraction. Ok, get a grip Brooke, this is going to be hours yet and you have things to do. Get the kids’ breakfast. I made food, and ate breakfast for myself. I got up to go the toilet. BANG. Another contraction. Or was it? Nah, it was just a niggle, I am not in labour. That hurts far more than this. I turn on the computer and log on to MSN. Laura is free to chat so we have a little rave online, and I let her know that I think I am warming up. I time two twinges while I am chatting, 8 minute gaps between them. But they don’t really hurt in my back, it’s lower and to the front, so surely it’s not even real labour. Laura asks if I need company for the day and I figure why the hell not. I tell her to get her skates on, and see if I can manifest perfection. I try to do the dishes, but the twinges are distracting me. The phone rings. Did I text someone? I don’t remember. I answer the phone. “Megan is that you?” I hiss through gritted teeth at the peak of a twinge. Shit, should have waited until the end of the contraction before I answered the phone. Don’t want to freak her out. But I want someone here NOW. Megan talks to me, I try to tell her I am not in labour, but I am. She decides to come to me. Her and Laura are both about 40 minutes away from me, in opposite directions so I know that I am going to be alone for a while longer. I decide to tell myself I am not in labour. I try to chat more online to people. Nope, can’t do that, I can’t concentrate. I put on a movie for the kids and just pace around the house. I am not in real labour yet, it doesn’t hurt enough. Time passes. I get a text, my witches are 20 minutes away. I sit on the toilet and try to read a magazine. It’s a Zoo magazine, why am I looking at naked women? Ugh. Get up and pace some more. Megan arrives. Greg waits in the driveway in case it looks like I am closer to birthing than I let on. Nope, I smile and wave, have a laugh. I am not in real labour yet. I just need company. Lochlain is extremely ill. He is screaming at me, constantly. His fever rages. He sleeps in fits and wakes to scream and cling to me. Laura arrives. We chat. We have fruit. Fantastic strawberries. And organic chocolate. Oh, and the strawberries and cream lollies too. My water bottle is endlessly refilled. We tidy the boys bedroom. Well, Megan and Laura tidy, while I sit on the edge of the beds. I go silent occasionally and the house honours me. We get the boys lunch. Or at least I assume we did. I stand lots, and just rock every now and then. But I am not hurting yet, so this is going to be hours, days even. I feel stupid for calling the team in so early on in the piece. I need help with Lochlain but he won’t go to anyone. He warms to Megan. And eventually Laura.. He is still screaming. And screaming. I need him to sleep. Someone asks where Andrew is. I explain that I am not calling him home from his shift because he finishes at 1.30pm. My witches roll with that. He comes home and I tell him to go to bed. I need him to sleep so he can be alert for me in the night. I tell him to take Lochlain to bed. I need a break from the screaming. Will hangs out with us. We eat, chat, laugh. I don’t remember any of what went on in the next few hours. But I certainly wasn’t in real labour yet, definitely not. Andrew arranges for his mum to come for dinner. I am not in labour yet. At least that’s what I have told him. Lochlain wakes and screams some more. This all happens around me in a blur. Megan #2 arrives with a birth ball. I asked for one apparently. Now I can’t bear to look at it. But they talk about brownies, food. So hungry. Laura leaves. Her baby is sick and needs her. I still have two crew. Two Megans. One Megan leaves, Melissa arrives. I have no idea what order that happens in. Lochlain is still screaming. I can hear Andrew snoring. Andrew’s mum arrives for dinner. I am at the kitchen sink. “I am going to have a baby tonight,” I breathe. More activity as she realises I mean I am in labour. But I am not in real labour. It doesn’t hurt yet. Someone asks about the kid’s clothes for an overnight stay. I remember having packed stuff. Where did I put it? In the car. I get more stuff ready for them, they are excited, because granddad is coming to get them. Who is here? Where is Andrew? He needs dinner. Eat dinner. All of you. Please. I am going to need you all tonight, it’s going to be hours yet. I start to pay a bit more attention to these twinges but am still able to move through them. The kids leave. I wave them off, thinking that it’s still days before I birth, and people are being far too preemptive around me. It doesn’t hurt yet. Andrew eats. A potato crisp sandwhich and a pepsi. I remember that. We are still laughing and chatting. Melissa is easing Andrew into the idea that I am birthing. He resists that I am in labour. I’m not, it doesn’t hurt yet. Time passes. Someone hands me the phone, someone wants to talk to me. Trying to focus. Hold the kitchen bench. It’s a midwife. I give her my details, and what she needs to know, then BANG a huge contraction. Grip the bench. It’s double backed. I get hit twice in row. Oh, so now I am in labour. That hurt a bit. But it’s not in my back yet. So I still have ages to go. Someone is telling me to go get in the car. I am not ready. This is not real labour yet. It doesn’t hurt enough. Would you all just let me decide. But surely they wouldn’t be jeopardising my birth. Trust, Brooke. Trust them. It’s all lining up, and apparently I am going to give birth whether I want to or not. You hand picked this crew. They seem to know what’s going on. Melissa has made a sanctuary in the car for me. Megan holds my hand. Melissa drives. Andrew follows in his car. I text my family to let them know I am going to birth. The car trip sucks. I grip the roof. I need to stand up. I can’t sit. Arrive at hospital as Laura pulls up. How did she know? It’s dark. Wow the whole day passed so fast. What time is it? Who cares? Grip signpost, gather strength. WALK NOW. I move fast in a straight line to the toilet. I need to go badly. I still don’t think I am close to birthing. This is stupid take me home. I will just sit in the toilet for a bit, I can just figure out my plan. My plan, get the baby out. Lets just do this. We get to the lift.We get upstairs. Confusion. I didn’t follow some rules. I forget where to go. People talk, doulas sort it. I prove I am in labour, discuss medication needs and get a room. Ooh a ball. Ohh even better, a toilet. Let me get there. Shit, now I am on the toilet, and I have to sit here through a contraction. BAD move. Got to stand. I hold the end of the bed and the side rail and pull/hang off there in waves. I am still talking in between rushes. I feel alive. People are talking to me, and apparently I am making sense. We are laughing a lot. I want to drink a lot. I need to pee a lot. Contractions come and go, this is still not hurting in my back. I am still sure this is not the real thing. Wait a minute. My toe hurts. What on earth? Half my toenail is torn off. Can I have a band aid please. Note to self, find out how that happened later. It’s all so different to how I expected the pain to be. I am coping too well. Surely I should be in the zone by now. Oh well, enjoy the ride, it’s going to be hours. My crew are with me two by two, helping me with cold washers on my back. Holding my hand. Grinning at me. Loving me. This is awesome. My midwife comes, she tells me she has read my birthplan. Cool. She asks if I need anything. I forget she exists and I don’t notice her for ages. I feel anxious about the fact that my membranes are still intact. I am upset and quite angry. Surely they should have exploded by now. I can’t bear the pressure. My midwife speaks, the only time I hear her. She reminds me that my body and my baby have their own plan, that’s it’s all unfolding as it should. She reminds me that my baby knows what he needs and that she has no intention of interfering and if I want to break my waters I have to get on with having a baby. Andrew reminds me to just TRUST. He seems really calm, sane and rational, like he KNOWS that the membranes have a purpose. I move between the toilet and the bed. That’s it. I rock and sway and dance a bit. Hands in the air. Tip my head back. This is awesome. Am I meant to enjoy this? Do I want a bath yet? No, it’s still too early, didn’t we only just get here? It doesn’t hurt enough yet and I don’t want it to all stop. It’s not going to stop Brooke. This is real labour. Someone hands me a warm face cloth. Put this on your peri. Huh? You want something of me. I know it. I can see you want me to do something with this cloth. I don’t understand. Oh, ok. I go along with it. Hmm, give me a few more contractions. I am coping. Megan and Melissa convince me it’s time. Fill it up, it’s going to take a while. It’s ready. Ok, lets get it on. Time to get this baby out please. Take a deep breath. Barrel down the hallway. Clothes off and in I get. Holy shit. Oh no. It’s too hot. Cool it down. Wait, hang on. This hurts NOW. It hurts. I am splitting open. I can’t catch a breath. BANG, whoa, this is hard work and I want to go home. I can’t do hours more of this. It’s too much. It’s too hard. Take me home now. I call out, help. HELP ME. HELP ME. I am in a dark room, in a warm tub. I have smiles surrounding me, calm, grinning faces. I can’t do this, this is insane. Who the hell wants to have a baby? Right now it intensifies about 1000 times and I am hit hard. I feel like if this lasts more than one more hit I will die. Oh, that’s right. This is transition. It will end. Melissa would you stop smiling at me please. Wait a second, I need to push. Uh oh. Andrew, where is he. Shit, I see the midwife’s feet. I am gripping someone, I think it was Megan. Push whoa bear down hard this rocks but wait aren’t I meant to push in bits, this is one long huge push and geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez, what the hell was that? What do you mean it was just the membranes rupturing? NO WAY. What? The heads out? I thought that was just the waters breaking, what do you mean he’s half out. Who’s holding him? No I can’t hang on, deep breath. I am coming. HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I just had a baby. Shit that was quick. Hey look, he’s out. Tristan. Wow. He is behind me, so I loop my leg over and grab my baby. Oh my god. That was awesome. Lets do that again. Wooooooooooooohooooooooooooooooo! Andrew has his hand on my shoulder. I feel really warm. He is big, and oh wow he looks so much like Will. I am getting cold and I let the crew know to keep me warm. They remind me to stay present and not let this take me away, I feel a pull to close my eyes. Nope, must stay present. I have a load of hot towels and stuff on me and we drain the bath. The water won’t go down because the caul is stuck in the plug hole. The time to move is now. I need to get on with getting this placenta out. I hand my fresh baby to Megan and her colour changes. I get in the wheel chair. I am warm. We get out into the hall and someone congratulates me. I beam. I have my entourage. Megan holds my baby while I contract more as the placenta moves out. I am really not liking this bit at all. I want to enjoy my baby. But this is kind of uncomfortable. Look at that giant long cord. I am getting impatient with this placenta and feel myself forcefully pushing. I try to hold up on doing that and eventually it comes away easy. Ahh relief. Who is going to cut the cord. I hadn’t picked anyone. Melissa caught him, Megan has held him as his placenta is born, Laura cuts his cord. I am so happy. So, so happy. We weigh him, Andrew is keen to pass on the size when he calls family. What’s his name? Tristan James. He weighs 4.78kg. Andrew leaves relatively soon. I have a shower. This is the first time ever post birth I have showered myself. I stand there. Watching the water and just cry. This is amazing. I climb into bed. I am still high. I talk to the midwife about my blood loss. She is happy to leave it for a bit longer, I am not. I want to relax now. I ask for a shot of syntometrine. She estimates that I am already at 500mls of blood lost and I just want to sleep without worrying about more gushes. She is happy to give me the shot, and if it doesn’t work we will go from there. I have the shot, and then I get comfy. My doulas are still with me, all on a high. The room is abuzz. After a while Laura leaves, and later again Melissa leaves, Megan camps in my room. I think someone set her up on the floor. I drift in and out of sleep. My baby feeds. He smells divine. I feel like I am radiating my high. This is how birth should have been for me all along. This is what makes a birth addict high.