On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Do you like to drive? Whenever you get into the driver's seat, you are in control. Your hands are on the steering wheel. You determine the direction of the vehicle. You step on the accelerator, and drive faster. Or you can step on the breaks, and stop. The choice is up to you.

Have you ever sat in the passenger seat, and felt helpless as the driver took you on a bumpy ride? Either they drive too fast or slow, were not courteous to the other drivers, or put you in a dangerous position. All you could do is sit there and pray for the ride to be over.

Your birth choice — either natural or "under the influence" – puts you in the driver's seat or passenger seat. Where do you like to sit?

I like to be in the driver's seat. I turn the key, and start the engine. As I drive, my purpose and direction are clear. I know where I'm going and am determined to get there. If I encounter roadblocks, obstacles or detours, I'll get back on track. I will be flexible, and adjust my approach. Whatever happens, I'll keep going until I reach my destination. Inside me is everything I need to accomplish my goal.

As I'm driving down the road, my water breaks, marking the sunset of labor. I am on the racetrack now. Physical sensations grow stronger and stronger. It is "pain with a purpose." I am not afraid. If I grow it, I can birth it! I breathe in all that is wise and wonderful. I push with all my strength and courage. I do what my body intuitively tells me to do. I will speed up, slow down, pause or keep going …. But my eye is on the finish line.

Of course, there is an alternative to being in the driver's seat. An epidural would make me numb from the waist down. That way, I would not be able to drive. I would not be able to feel the pedals and push them. I'd be "under the influence." Someone else would have to take the wheel. Relinquishing control may cause me to feel trapped or frustrated. That's why I want to be an active participant in the birth process. I'm in control of my vehicle, not other people or circumstances. I feel good about that.

Behind the wheel, I am squarely in control. Feelings of power, determination and happiness flow through me. I am at peace. I feel terrific about myself. As the baby's head crowns, I cross the finish line. I am a champion! Yes, I won the race. My prize is a beautiful, healthy baby to love and bond with. Now that I've captured the trophy, I will never be the same again. I am no longer an ordinary driver. I've gone on an incredible journey, kept my wits, and won the grand prize. I am an extraordinary person. I am a mother, with a little passenger in the back seat. Baby, we're going to fasten our seatbelts for the ride of our lives. Look out world, here we come!