My rushes (contractions) began in the morning at the Saturday Farmer’s Market and I lost my blood-tinged mucus plug that afternoon, but went about my day as usual. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I talked to the baby, telling him that I was ready for him to come whenever he felt ready.

By Sunday the rushes slowed. Confused, I went to see my midwife for a checkup. When I got there she essentially said, “You’re not in labor yet. Early labor, yes, but baby isn’t coming out today”. Energetically, I don’t think I was in the right space to be Mom just yet. She suggested I go to the beach and kick my legs in the ocean – let the energy go and trust the process.

I left her house sobbing. I wondered, “If this isn’t labor, will I be able to handle the real thing?” But I trusted her entirely, and headed to the beach.

[I had two big fears going into pregnancy. One, that my baby would be too large, and the other, that the baby or I would die during childbirth (both common). To process, I spoke openly and honestly with my birthing team. I trusted them all with every fiber of my being. I also borrowed, ‘Birthing from Within’, which helped me work through some issues, and found meditation and visualization to be powerful.]
Ben and I got in the ocean; he held me while I talked about my fears and hopes. The rushes slowed for the rest of that day, but were back in time for bed.

By Monday I had exhausted myself. Luckily, my good friend Robin asked if I wanted to be a model for hapai massage. I was so excited to both be massaged and in the presence of such a powerful woman. Robin massaged me and baby, then concluded the class by surrounding me with love and light. She said, “Remember, this is YOUR birth. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what YOU want and need. You get to be selfish. Don’t worry about hurting anyone else.”

That was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, and I went home sobbing, again. I continued to prepare myself emotionally and spiritually. I journaled. My husband and I went for our final walk as two. I embraced the wind and rain, reminders that all the power of nature was also within me, and I was made for this.

That afternoon, my rushes were 45-60 seconds long and five minutes apart. Soon, the only way I could get through a rush was on the birthing ball. At dinner, I sat at the table between the intervals while my family looked on in anticipation. None of us were sure if I was having contractions that would soon lead me to childbirth or not, so we stayed cautiously hopeful.

After dinner, our doula Sonya, came over. I was having minute long rushes every five minute interval. She recommended I try to rest, but I spent the next few hours deliriously rocking on my knees while Ben slept in the guest room. I lost all sense of time and space going deep inside to get through the rushes. It was happening!

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Haley has always had an innate passion for birth and mothering. She earned her Masters in Social Work with a Child and Family emphasis, and is well connected on island. Born and raised on Maui, she is rooted in island culture and values. Haley enjoys being outdoors and playing with her family. She brings passion and heart to everything she does. She is currently a doula (studied under Tina Grazero and DONA program) and can be reached at 808 281-8723 or haleysrabago@gmail.com