MW First: My Pregnant Client's Water Broke on My Massage Table

     It goes without saying this is one of the coolest things that has happened to me in my 10 years of being a massage therapist.

- Guest Post by Jacki of Massage Williamsburg.

"Jane* has been a regular client of  Massage Williamsburg for some time now. She has been coming to see me every week for prenatal massage for the past few months. This is her first pregnancy, and to hear Jane tell it, it's been a breeze. She's had the standard low-back achiness and tightness through her hips, but she dodged other common complaints like swollen joints and calf cramps. Our sessions were always 90 minutes, with the majority of the massage performed in side-lying, and the last 15 minutes with Jane propped on numerous pillows in the "Mom's Throne" set up. 

Mother's Throne position

When Jane booked her appointment for Wednesday the 9th, she told us that it would be her last prenatal, as she was scheduled for C-sectionon Friday the 11th. Due to other bookings, I only had a 60 minute session available. Jane booked it, and said if there was any change in the schedule which would allow for a longer session, she would gladly take it. A client scheduled later in the day (a pregnant woman who also comes faithfully at least once a week), offered to push her own appointment back so as to accommodate Jane extending her appointment time, which she gladly did.

     Upon arriving on Wednesday, we had our pre-appointment health discussion as usual, just to make sure everything was going well. Jane didn't report anything strange, only that she was looking forward to enjoying her last prenatal visit with us. We began the massage in a comfortable side-lying position, with Jane resting on her right side. Even though Jane seemed as serene as ever, I knew that the next few days might be stressful for her, so I focused not only on working her tight muscles, but also using long, flowing strokes to help her relax. We spent a little bit of extra time on her back, particularly her interscapular area, her erectors, and of course her lower back and sacrum, connecting each area with rhythmic effleurage, gently sliding up the lats and serratus to create space in the ribs and encourage deep, calm breathing. Before having Jane turn over to her other side, I finished this side with some gentle rocking along the length of her leg and torso, ending with some gentle sacral work. Jane turned over, and I began the second part of the massage with a similar greeting: gentle rocking from shoulder to foot, and then back up. I applied gentle pressure to Jane's sacrum again, a technique which she has reported enjoying immensely every time we have used it in the past. This time, I felt a small twitch, not in the hand on her sacrum, but the one resting on her shoulder, as if she had shifted involuntarily. I paused for a moment, making sure she was still comfortable.  I began undraping Jane to work on her back when she said, "I am sorry, I feel so strange right now!" I asked her if there was anything I could do, did she need the bathroom, or a drink of water, or perhaps just a minute alone? She began giggling a little bit and said, "No no, I am fine, but I am so sorry, I think my water just broke!"  
   Jane was excited but also a little embarrassed, though I told her there was nothing to apologize for. In fact, once she pinpointed why she felt "weird", I was so relieved and excited for her that I cheered, "Alright!!!!!"  I asked her if she felt steady enough to get dressed by herself, and she said that yes, she would be alright. After making sure that she didn't need us to call anyone for her (her husband, her doctor, a car service or medical transport), I told her we'd be right outside, and to call for us if she needed help at all. She was very smiley and excited when she left the room. She kindly refused the bathroom, but we did get her to drink some water, which she sipped while putting her shoes on and calling her doctor and her husband from her cell phone. We made sure that she wasn't walking home, as she normally did (she wasn't, she had her car, and she was going to drive 4 blocks to her apartment where her husband would take over driving duties).  She waved to us, holding up her hand with her fingers crossed, saying "Wish me luck!!" as she walked out the door.
     It goes without saying this is one of the coolest things that has happened to me in my 10 years of being a massage therapist. It never gets any less satisfying to relieve people's pain and lessen their stress, but sometimes you can lose sight of exactly how directly this work can affect someone. I feel very lucky not only to have had Jane trust me enough to see her through her pregnancy, but also to have been present for such an important moment."
*Client's name changed to protect her privacy.

JackiJacki is a licensed massage therapist, certified in prenatal massage. She graduated from SUNY Orange with an A.A.S. Degree in Massage Therapy and receiving her NY State license in 2004, and has worked with various charitable organizations, volunteering her time and skills to provide massage to people who would not be able to access such therapy. Jacki has developed her massage therapy skills over the last 10 years by working on a widely varied population, including athletes, expectant mothers, the elderly, and cancer battlers and survivors. As a runner and skater, Jacki knows the value of keeping the body in excellent working order. She combines modalities including Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point therapy and stretching in an empathetic and compassionate way, with the goal of increasing the client’s holistic wellness with every session.