My first birth story is lit by the moon, its natural image pervading a tale that turned mostly medical when I looked away from the light.
"The half hour ride to the hospital at 2 a.m. was black, peaceful and portentous. I was becoming more aware by the second that I was taking a one-way trip out of my old life. I was attuned to every shadow, every curve of the road, every shard of moonlight that lead the way. The Dixie Chicks sung “Landslide” on the radio and I was overwhelmed. Then the hospital was on my right, and I looked at the elongated glass façade of the state-of-the-art facility that I had driven by so many times, never knowing when I’d end up inside, but always aware that I would not come out the same.
We walked in the emergency entrance as directed by the on-call doctor and signed in. A Women and Infants nurse was dispatched as our escort. On our way to the labor and delivery wing, we wound through an emergency ward of moaners, pukers and passed-out invalids presumably drawn in by the pull of that full moon. “This is much worse than usual,” said the nurse. 'I’m glad you’re not having contractions so we can just get through here fast.'”
My research now indicates that the moon's effect is focused on the amniotic fluids. Just as she influences the earth's tides, she has reach into the wet parts of ourselves. In an article about the moon's effect on natural childbirth, author David Rose writes that, as a woman's body readies itself for birth, "the amniotic sac becomes distended to the point where it will easily burst if put under pressure. Under normal circumstances, the pressure of labor contractions bursts the sac. During a full moon, the pressure caused by the moon’s effect on the water inside the sac can cause the same things to happen, but without the accompanying contractions."
He goes on to say that "natural childbirth doesn’t always move forward and with no other signs of labor present, the obstetrician may decide to induce the birth." His own study of the personal stories of women he knows found that of 8 women with births set into motion when their water broke at the full moon, there were no contractions present in five of them.
It is no official study by any means, but it sheds so much (moon)light on my own experience. My water broke in a slow trickle in the afternoon before the full moon. Absolutely no contractions accompanied the rupture until they were brought on forcibly by Pitocin 20 hours later. I was led to believe this slow leak with no contractions was a somewhat odd occurrence, but I should've trusted my body and nature more than that. Nothing is new under the sun...or the moon.