Due in mid-March
This is my first baby and I’m due in mid-March! I’m a writer and yoga teacher and weirdo human being and I’ve lived in Portland my whole life. My daughter will be a 7th generation Oregonian! I live in Northeast Portland with my husband and two spastic rescue dogs.
I’ve been floating for the last 5 years or so and pre-pregnancy I have found it so helpful for managing anxiety and creating a container to experience a deeper meditative experience. When I got pregnant I knew floating would be a part of self-care practice as I make the transition into motherhood. It has been different than before in some interesting ways!
Acacia Float Session #1
Weeks pregnant: 33
For this float, I was 33 weeks pregnant – not quite in the final countdown but definitely finding it harder to move around with ease. I was looking forward to feeling weightless in the tank and slipping out of my body for a little bit, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from pregnancy, it’s that your body becomes your entire experience….there is no escaping the sensations that are constantly present and constantly changing.
When I got into the tank, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to lie on my back in the typical pose for floating. My belly had grown enough since my last float that even in the water, the pressure on my lungs and low back was too much. Ultimately I spent a lot of my time shifting around, looking for a position I could comfortably rest in for more than five minutes. It never really came. But, even as I shifted my knees from side to side, gently twisting my spine to keep my face above water without letting the weight of my belly rest onto my lungs, it occurred to me that this is probably how my baby girl was feeling, too. Just like me, she was suspended in a dark, warm, quiet place where she has to constantly shift around because she’s just a little too big and heavy for the space!
This made me smile and feel more deeply connected to my baby, knowing that both of our bodies were unable to sit still as we each prepared for a big transition.
Float Session #2:
Weeks pregnant: 37
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do another float before delivery because of the pressure on my back and lungs, but I decided to try anyway, even if I couldn’t stay in for the full 90 minutes. At this point, I was 37 weeks pregnant and I suspected that because the baby had started to drop down into my pelvis, that my lungs might have a little more freedom, even on my back. I was right. When I climbed (slowly) into the tank, and lowered my body into the water, I was thrilled to feel the difference from my previous float – I could lay on my back without feeling like I was short of breath.
I stayed in for the full 90 minutes, and I noticed that even though I was now able to lay in the traditional shape, this floating experience was still really different from my pre-pregnancy floats. I broke a couple of my own personal “rules” or intentions for floating; I usually try to lay still and allow my body to feel dissociated from the physical space. But this time I found myself in motion for a lot of the time, reaching my arms out, pushing myself back and forth, allowing fingertips and toes to ping pong my body between the edges of the space. I also usually take a few minutes at the beginning of a float to allow my brain to run through all my to-do lists and random thoughts cycling through my mind, before separating from those cycles and slipping into a quieter mental space. But this time, I decided to let my thoughts go wherever they go.
So much of the experience of pregnancy invites judgment, both from outside observers and from one’s self. I had made a big effort throughout my pregnancy to tune out that judgment, and that meant letting my mind wander in the float tank without needing the experience to be anything different than it was. So my mind ran through household projects and thank you notes to send and recipes to try and every once in a while, quieted down enough to reconnect me to my body, and to the baby girl inside who, like me, was pushing up against the edges of her container.
Sophia (Float Program Organizer)
Due in mid-June
Sophia Float Session #2
Weeks pregnant: 23
This float went surprisingly fast because I was able to fall asleep for most of it – asking for extra props for the first time (waist support, pool noodle under knees, heavy-duty neck support) made a huge difference in settling in. For once my mind didn’t need much time to calm itself, perhaps because my body needed the rest so badly. Baby kicked on and off, and a few times I had the 3D sensation of actually housing a person, rather than being so amorphous.
Getting out of the tank at the end was the hardest part – I felt the crushing remembrance of gravity, of how much pain I’ve actually been in in my SI joint and how my body feels like it’s encased in a weighted suit that takes away my usual ease and joy of movement. But as last time – the tank reminded me that another existence still lives inside me, without pressure or burden, and that this is a just a temporary (if seemingly eternal) step on the path towards meeting and raising a new human, a new descendant.
I’m thinking of a few lines from Gibran’s poem, “On Children”:
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness…
Due Late May
I’m a realtor who loves Portland and the Pacific NW – don’t we all!? My son is almost 3, and I’m pregnant with a girl. When I got pregnant with my son, I was in really great shape and continued to work out throughout my pregnancy. I love to hike, ski, travel, do yoga and was doing barre regularly. And I had BIG plans to do the same with this pregnancy. Combine a busy work schedule, a toddler, horrible morning…er, all day sickness and my plan fell apart.
This pregnancy has been harder for me, and I’m working on as much self-care as possible. When I learned that I could float while pregnant, I was intrigued. The idea of feeling weightless was appealing, and I know I need to take advantage of any opportunity I can to relax. I’ve got aches and pains already that are mostly pregnancy related, and I’m sure they will only intensify over the next 3+ months. I’m looking forward to finding relief and taking refuge while floating!
PS – I’m addicted to my phone, and I love music. I’m always listening to music. I thought I would be so bored without access to either. As it turns out, silence and complete darkness was one of the best parts about my first float!
Due Late May
Grace Float Session #2
Weeks pregnant: 27
I was really excited to get in the tank this time. It was a particularly cold day and I found myself craving the warmth of the water. I managed to stay on my back for most of the float this time. I think I even fell asleep at one point, but I’m not sure. I felt satisfied and relaxed after about an hour, so I ended up getting out early and taking a long shower. I went home and went straight to bed, and slept uninterrupted for nine hours. It felt amazing! It was similar to the feeling after I get a massage, when every muscle feels tension-free and my mind is a relaxed blank.
Due Late June
Kendra Float #2
Weeks pregnant: 21
Well this float was a little challenging. I’m not sure if it was the already sore body I felt throughout the day, the pie and scoop of ice cream I had two hours before, the float itself, or the effects of the full moon, but either way I had a hard time staying present and comfortable throughout the ninety minutes. I found myself relaxing and dropping in quicker this time, but then about half way through I felt I need to get the pressure off my low back. I felt I need to get up, stretch out and move my body around. I sat up in the water and felt an immense heaviness. Was it my body I was feeling? My energy field? Something needed to release. I took some deep breaths and laid back down. I dropped back into the void, but then felt cold. Whenever I moved my body or stretched my hands, fingers, limbs, I felt cool water cradling me. Here I was conflicted again. Would it be better to get out and have warmer water, not sure how long I had left and worried I would waste valuable time rinsing off, getting a robe on and finding someone to help. Or if they made it warmer would I overheat and then be uncomfortable again?
Again I sat up, this time actually standing in the water and stood there trying to figure out how to help myself. Eventually I opened the door and slowly climbed out. I checked the time and realized I only had about 8 minutes left. I decided I would just shower and end the float early.
Afterwards I spoke with one of the employees and explained my concerns about being uncomfortable on my back for that long of time. She told me that they have props that can be used to support other positions. I look forward to trying some of these options and seeing if this is helpful or maybe floating just isn’t my thing for this pregnancy.
Due in mid-March
L’Keisha Float Session #3
Weeks Pregnant: 36
I did this float earlier in the day and I remembered to take Tums before I went so I was very proud of myself. We had just done a lot of cleaning the day before so I was really looking forward to having some relief from my back pain. I went immediately to my back when I first got in which was actually a little uncomfortable so I switched to my stomach for a little bit and then back to my back and that felt a lot better the second time.
I didn’t have any anxiety this time, and I again had the gentle feeling of baby girl moving and “guiding” us through the water. Her movements were more comfortable when I was floating on my stomach rather than my back. My favorite positions to float are on my back with the halo floaty under my butt and the noodle under my neck or on my stomach with the halo floaty under my tummy and resting my crossed arms on the noodle. It’s hard to say what effects the floats are having overall, but I haven’t had any swelling and the aches and pains I get are mild and usually don’t last too long and I’m very grateful for both of those things.
Due in mid-April
Taylor Float Session #3
Weeks pregnant: 30
Instead of doing a float in the evening, I tried a midday float this time. It was what fit my schedule and it was an interesting contrast to floating later in the evenings like I had been doing. While I prefer the evening float, I took this as an opportunity to notice differences in my thoughts and ability to relax and let go.
I noticed that I had more racing thoughts. I had just come from an appointment and picking up some groceries (at Costco, yikes) so I anticipated needing some extra time and effort to calm my nervous system. I started with my go-to breathing exercises (3 counts in, 5 counts out) and whenever I noticed a thought pop into my head, I’d identify it as “thought” and refocus on breathing. While this cycle continued for some time, I was eventually able to find a place that allowed me to clear my head and embrace the sensory-deprived state.
Most thoughts were trivial, but I did notice one that felt meaningful. In our yoga and meditation-based birth class, we talked about how birth works best when we surrender and trust our bodies, and it can often feel very lonely and intimidating because it’s not something anyone else can do for you. When I first started floating, I felt intimidated and alone. Am I doing this right? It would be fun if my partner could do this with me, together! What am I going to do for 90 minutes? It’s so dark and quiet in here… This time, I felt a little ping of loneliness creep in, but when I acknowledged that feeling of loneliness and vulnerability, I was able to move forward and feel comfortable being alone in that space knowing that it was safe and a wonderful opportunity for self inquiry.
Physically, I noticed that the weight of my growing belly offered the perfect counter-weight on my sacrum and low back, without making me feel short of breath. It offered a balanced lengthening that I was only able to obtain in a few movements and yoga poses outside of the floating experience.
Taylor Float Session #4
Weeks pregnant: 33
I was feeling particularly tired today. We had just had family in town for our baby shower and I was feeling mentally exhausted. I was very much looking forward to this float. I fell asleep pretty quickly. I dozed in and out of consciousness, intermittently forgetting where I was. After some blissed out time, I noticed that I had some pains developing in my hip flexors. I had been hiking a lot lately and neglecting my (often sporadic) yoga practice.
I noticed it felt good to gently sway my hips, crescenting from one side to the other. Throughout this pregnancy movement always made my symptoms better and this was no exception.
I also noticed during this float that my transition from the floating state to the real-world gravity state was pretty abrupt. It felt like a huge shock to my joints and served as a reminder of my growing body. It made me wonder if I’d really enjoy having water to labor in.