The Part of My Birth Story Nobody Knows; Until Now.
As a child who grew up learning important life lessons from Fred Rogers, his neighbors and the land of make believe, it was important to me to be able to see the Mr. Roger’s documentary “Won't You Be My Neighbor?” in theaters. A week before its release, in my city (Bowling Green, Kentucky) my water broke without a contraction pattern. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the theater with a week old (or younger) baby, so I realized I must sadly accept that I’d now miss my opportunity to see it in a theater.
But guess what!!? I actually DID get to see it in a theater. Not wanting to worry family or friends, I told only my Midwives of our plans. I’d decided to have my husband, Les, ride with me to Nashville because it had already been released there. Nobody else knew about this secret trip...until now.
It was such a feel good movie, that it helped begin the contractions. (Oxytocin, the love hormone, starts contractions when the body is ready.) Sitting in the darkness of the movie theater helped too because melatonin synergizes with oxytocin to further enhance and strengthen contractions. So there I was, sitting in a dark theater next to the man I love watching the feel good movie of my lifetime. Then suddenly contractions started to pick up.
I decided not to leave, because if I left the contractions would stop. I also didn’t want to miss the movie I’d wanted so desperately to see. So, I sat on the edge of my seat, lightly swaying when I needed and squeezing Les’ hand when the intensity rose. Toward the end of the movie, I had a surge of pain hit me that was so intense, I felt instantly nauseous from my organs contracting in my body. I quickly dumped the last of my popcorn on the floor (preparing to get sick in my popcorn tub) knowing I’d never make it to the restroom down the hall. Luckily, it was a false call. At that point I felt an intense need to be standing. I stood along the side of the theater and stubbornly watched the last 10 minutes of the film & credits despite the uncomfortable sensations suddenly taking over my body. I wanted to finish the movie. I needed to finish it.
There I was, swaying, quietly crying (like most of the audience) and trying to process all the feelings of this moment. A moment that is now a distant memory. There on the big screen is this incredible, selfless and caring man with so much love for children. He is showing me and the entire world how to love, nurture and respect those around us — no matter how small or how different. Here I am, about to meet my newest little person, and I am on the verge of witnessing my 4 year old become a big sister. It was a beautiful and emotional moment. An awareness of all the life around me - maturing inside me.
At the finale of the movie, with tear soaked eyes, I swayed back and forth, holding my belly listening to these powerful words:
With a full heart and a smile full of hope I prayed, “let me be that person to my children”.
Despite the contractions, it was still some time before baby arrived. However, when labor hit it went so quickly I can’t help but believe I got a lot of work done, thanks to my secret field trip and Fred.