Don't I have a wonderful brother for making the happy announcement so soon after the event?
So? I guess I'll just dive into the story.
10 ish Tuesday night: I notice the contractions are regular, about ten minutes apart. I'm pretty sure this is it. So I take some castor oil to get things moving. I am happy, dancing, pacing the floor, sitting on the ball and getting very excited.
Around midnight things are definitely happening, so I call my mom. After sitting on the couch tensely for about ten minutes listening to my happiness and excitement, she tells me that this morning, she saw the latest birthing suite schedule. Turns out the midwife was wrong, there was one 12 hour gap in the schedule in two weeks. And I had gone into labor in the middle of it.
At this point my inner bitch came flying free. Why didn't she tell me earlier? Why didn't she tell me before I took the fucking castor oil?
1 am: I talk to the midwife, who listens to me through a contraction, and tells me that I she'll meet me at the hospital. Fuck. Now I notice that the contractions end with an unpleasant bone crunching feeling in my back. Because the baby has been well positioned at every check-up, the possibility of back labor doesn't occur to me.
My sister-in-law Kristen meets us at the hospital. They triage me, and find me to be four centimeters and in active labor with contractions every four minutes. They are very accomodating, they put me on "low risk protocol" and bring me a birth ball from across the street.
I realize that my hatred of the hospital is not helping my labor or my support people, and I need to find a way of getting my head together. After the first bag of antibiotics goes in, I take the birth ball in the shower for about an hour, where I give myself a pep talk. I could let my anger take over, I could continue to be bitchy to Josh, Kristen, the nurse, the midwife and everyone else who crosses my path, or I could pull myself together and make the best of the hand I was dealt. It's not so bad, I can pace the room, I can use the ball, the birth center would open at 7 AM, and I could go through transition in the tub and deliver in a real bed. Even though 7 AM was still five hours away, the thought cheered me. I came out of the shower in a much better mood than I went in. I put on my labor nightie and continued to dance and pace and bounce. I started to feel happy again.
7 AM rolled around, and I had progress to six. I could only walk during contractions now, bouncing on the ball didn't help too much, sitting or lying down was absolutely unbearable. We walked slowly through the underground tunnel to the birth suite, me dragging another IV pole with the antibiotics.
I got right in the tub. It was not the relief I was hoping for. The jets weren't very strong, the water wasn't quite warm enough or deep enough. I stayed in for a long time, squatting, listening to music and occasionally singing. I burst into tears a few times.
I thought I'd have progressed more in the tub. When I got out I was 7. And this is where things get really blurry. I knew it was transition, the contractions where hard and strong with no break. My back felt like it was being crushed, and the feeling lingered between contractions. I was probably crying. I was losing it. I slowly paced the room with a warm tube sock full of rice on my back. I got down on my hands and knees and someone rubbed the right spot.
I could hear little conversations going on around me. They were concerned that I wasn't vocalizing. Every once in a while, one of the students observing the birth would ask a question, and the midwife would explain why I was doing something or choosing a particular position. I heard the word posterior.
I was frustrated, I felt like I wasn't making any progress.
The nurse suggested I get into the shower and make some noise. Because the shower worked so well on my mental state last time, I nodded, and got in. Josh told me later that the nurse and the midwife sat just outside the bathroom, quietly listening to my sounds.
I cried in the shower. What happened to my spiritual, sexy birth? What happened to trusting my body and being strong? At this moment, I HATED Ina May Gaskin.
This baby was never coming out. I wanted that epidural more than I wanted anything. If an anesthesiologist had walked into the bathroom right then, I would have fallen on the floor and kissed his/her feet. I never felt weaker. I am tearing up, two days later, thinking about how I felt in the shower. There was nothing to do but moan.
I don't know why I decided to get out of the shower. The confined quarters were comforting, the water was good, and I knew walking would be worse. It was worse. It was hell. I couldn't stop thinking about the epidural I could be getting across the street.
The midwife checked me, and I was 9. She had me push during an exam and she moved the cervical lip out of the way. I didn't believe I was complete. They started setting up for the birth, and it annoyed me because didn't they know this labor was never going to end?
I began pushing before I realized it. I was crawling around on the linolium floor. I crawled into a corner of sorts, and butted my head between the bed and the bedside table. Someone got me up on the bed where my water broke in the only place they didn't have plastic. There was some giggling, and the mw commented that it's much easier to care for a confined woman. Through the darkness, I had a burst of pride that I wasn't a "confined woman".
Pushing was loud. Pushing was tearful. I couldn't feel anything happening and I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall. Why is this kid so hard to push out? The others practically shot out of me. She must be bigger, I thought.
I don't know what ancient animal visited me, but the pushing changed. She started to move down. I rolled from my hands and knees onto my butt and my back, where Josh supported me as I half hung off the bed. Half of her head was out, I could see it and feel it. She was facing my thigh. When I pushed the rest of her head out, there was her hand, up against her face. A few more pushes and I felt her slide all the way out.
There are no words...I wouldn't trade that moment for all the epidurals in the world. I had delivered this girl after so many hours of back labor, facing sideways with her arm around her head. I did it all myself, and there are no words for the pride I feel.
Oh, I never did feel the, uh, effects of the castor oil.
Next up: postpartum, or when I finally get some good drugs.