Thursday, March 19, 2009

Relaxed and happy?

I returned to prenatal yoga on Saturday. Now that I'm 23 weeks pregnant with Baker's little brother, my back is creaking in uncomfortable ways. I'd returned once in the fall, at M's invitation to her regular yoga class. Before that, the last time I had walked through the door was Baker's due date, and M had pronounced me ready to have my baby. I swayed through the poses, my eyes closed and focused on the brow point, practicing labor squats, chanting Sat Nam in and out with my breath, rocking Baker to sleep in my belly. Six weeks later I called her with the news. He didn't make it. She came to the house bearing part of a lamb's ear plant that someone gave her when she lost her son. Because children like to feel the textured leaves, she said.

I felt prepared for labor. In addition to yoga and childbirth class, I listened to visualization/relaxation CDs and birthing affirmations:

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.

My body is completely relaxed.

I surrender my birthing over to my baby and my body.

Keep breathing slow and even. Inhale peace, exhale tension.

I am relaxed and happy that my baby is finally coming to me.


That last one was my favorite. When the work of labor hit hard, I repeated it over and over in my head. I am relaxed and happy that my baby is finally coming to me. I alternated with Sat Nam and eventually, when I hit transition, I could only remember I am relaxed and happy. Despite the pain, my mind was filled only with those words. I blocked out doubt and fear and let my body do its work.

And then he died. 15 minutes later? 30 minutes? I have no concept of the time, nor do we know at what point he died. I only know that when I woke up, Chris was holding our son and he was dead. And I remember feeling absurdly stupid and naive to have believed that my preparation and work would result in a living, breathing baby. Why didn't I know that he could die at fullterm after a healthy, normal pregnancy? I felt duped and assumed that I did something wrong. Later I was angry at my yoga teacher, the childbirth educator, the midwives, my family, and Ina May Gaskin for letting me believe that everything would work out.

I suppose that I've now moved past the anger. Some guilt still remains, but that is a subject for another post. There is no way to return to my old innocence, to be relaxed and happy. There is only learning to live with my new reality.


Mira said...

Dalene, I left a personal message for you at mothering dot com. This post was so difficult to read, yet at the same time so beautiful. Be well.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh Dalene, this is so familiar. My last prenatal yoga class was just a few days before my due date. I was by that stage the farthest along in the group, all the other girls had finished up. Of course I left the class telling the other girls I'd be in touch soon. I'm not quite sure how my teacher knew, but she was at Hope's funeral, just two weeks later. I look at my birth plan now, which read much like yours and was very short, in dot point form and shudder. The next birth plan will just say "life".

Anonymous said...

You are doing exactly what you need to do and I hope you find some joy amongst the worry sometimes. Congratulations btw! I'm so happy for you.

Mrs. Spit said...

It's funny, and not funny ha-ha how our plans for a next pregnancy change.

Lani said...

so much of this rings true for me. it pained me to email my prenatal yoga class to tell them the news.
i still see my prenatal yoga teacher sometimes for some energy healing work. i really really look forward to getting back to the prenatal yoga.

i think of you every day in this subsequent baby journey. you are on the path we all hope to follow.

and yes, screw the birth plan. i agree with sally- life is where its at.


Fireflyforever said...

Oh Dalene, I wish you some relaxation and peace in this new pregnancy wrapped up inside this new reality.


k@lakly said...

That was what was so hard to let go of...the idea that we ever had any control at all. I gave up all notions of it with my sub pg. I just muddled through each day and on the days that I felt happy, hopeful, I gripped it hard and tried to never let it slip through my fingers.
I hope you find many of those days in the coming weeks and that at the end of this journey you will hold that life filled hope in your arms.