Things I learned on Whidbey…

…or was reminded of in the most beautiful ways possible.

My husband and I recently had the chance to escape to Whidbey Island for a day, and while we enjoyed the beauty of the beaches just for their own sake, in my head everything relates right back to birth. I wanted to share a few of my musings and pictures with you.

Switchbacks are hard, but worth it.

When walking trails, switchbacks mean an increase in elevation…and that means that the peak of the trail is closer. The farther I go, the harder it is to climb, but oh, the view from the top is beautiful. I often talk about “turning a corner” in labor, when there has been an obvious shift in intensity or sensation, and how we can watch for those to tell how labor is generally progressing.

Trails can end at the beach.

Many of the trails that my husband and I wandered down were headed towards the beach, and they were lovely. Gentle, predictable trails that wound about a good bit with some really pretty spots, and then opened up to a wonderful beach vista.

Each birth is always so unique.

I was always impressed by the rocks along the beach; each was so individual and made up of specific inner components, and shaped by external factors of waves and sand and motion. Each birth is so lovely and unique, because the women who are birthing are all so lovely and unique, and they are dealing with specific–and unique!–circumstances.

Sometimes the beach is a bit wild.

Once, as we stepped out of the forested trail, the wind hit us with an incredible force. The waves were whipped up into a frenzy, and the whole thing was crazy. In a similar vein, I’ve seen smooth, textbook labors become a little wild at the end…a couple of families have even needed to change plans and give birth through a cesarean. It happens that way, sometimes, and I am always amazed at the courage it takes to face that wind.

Trails are just not always smooth.

Once, through no fault of my own, I tripped on a dumb rock and fell on my knees. My husband helped me up, and we had a laugh about it. Still, besides feeling a bit embarrassed, my knee hurt a bit as we kept hiking on. There can be bumps in a labor, too, whether that’s some back pain that was unanticipated or a circumstance that wasn’t planned for. They don’t make labor impossible, but they can make it more difficult and make teamwork even more important to help move past them.

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