Thursday, February 7, 2013

The One About Birthing. Part II.

"On a scale of 1-10, what is your level of pain?" 

Before January 18, my level 10 of pain was when I broke my toe. I was 15 and tripped over my brother's guitar amplifier. Or maybe it was when my face was mauled by a dog when I was 2 (or was I 3) but I don't remember that pain. 

The thing about pain is that it is relative, it is personal. No one experiences pain the same way just as no one experiences music, art or life in the same way. Sometimes pain is beautiful and in the moment it doesn't seem that way, but looking back it is the most beautiful feeling.

This was one of those times.

After I recovered from the intense trauma of receiving an IV (click here to read Part I, detailing the traumatic event of getting an IV) and antibiotics, I began laboring the way I had planned. By this time, I was having contractions that were extremely uncomfortable but were manageable through slow, even breathing, silence by those in the room (including nurses...I was not hesitant to tell a nurse to give me a second if I was working through a contraction) and by focusing on my labor playlist. For me, during centimeters 4-7, music was the greatest help, singing through the contractions helped them pass more quickly and relaxed my body and mind. I found that worship music was the best.

While not hooked up on the monitor, I was able to use the birthing ball and walk the halls to help labor progress. I visited our family in the waiting room and went by the nursery to look at the cute babies and remind myself why I was doing what I was doing. 

At about 5:30, Joseph encouraged me to get up to walk the halls... again... despite my reluctance to do so. I wanted to lie in bed but he won out in the end and I began my waddle down the halls that went like this: waddle, waddle, waddle, stop and lean on the rail, waddle, waddle waddle, lean on rail. When we got back to the room, labor had progressed and the midwife mentioned the option of breaking my water which after talking it over we decided to do. While the procedure wasn't painful, it was incredibly uncomfortable but it made things move much more quickly (and I think made the contractions a lot worse than they should have been) and before I knew it I wasn't handling the pain as well as before.

This is where the fecal material made contact with the rotary air stirrer.

I remember looking at the clock. 7 pm. The nurse checked me and I was only 8-9 centimeters. My thoughts were as follows:

"Wait, what? That's it? Surely I was 10 centimeters and ready to push out this baby out."

"Why was the midwife not here? Doesn't she know that I am about to pop a baby out?"

"Why does it feel like I need to poop out a bowling ball? Certainly babies still come out of the lady parts not the bum."


 No amount of breathing would help ease the discomfort and by this time I was begging Joseph for medicine in between attempting to munch on ice chips. Repeating, "I can't do this." At one point, I yelled out the "F" word and I might have hit the side of the bed. I immediately apologized to those in the room (mostly to the nurses). I'm not sure why I cared what they thought about me but I wanted them to know that I usually didn't yell out cuss words. No amount of begging resulted in me getting the meds I so desperately felt I needed at the time. 

During all of this, I felt completely out of control. The pain was overwhelming and I couldn't focus. Joseph and my doula (who is also my mom who I cannot imagine not having at the birth. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and have a doula at your birth) were flanking the bed, my knees resting on their sides. At one point Joseph left the bedside (and made my leg move) to get some water and I am pretty sure I threatened his life. I would thrash my head side to side, I felt my hair getting more and more knotted each time I turned my head but I didn't care. I tried imagining the muscles of my uterus bringing my little one down into the birth canal (I read a book that says that would work).

By this point everything was hazy. I'm not quite sure when nurses started prepping the labor room but seeing them lay out blue paper and medical equipment was reassuring. And I mean a little reassuring. Like the size of a pea reassuring.

Then I saw the face of an angel, my midwife.

It was time.


  1. It was time, and I feel blessed to have experienced it. I love my daughter who labored so bravely and beautifully. Who stayed so calm and in control, ready to welcome her daughter into this world. Who worked at her labor unfailingly, listening and working with the midwife to give Gwendolyn a safe and peaceful welcome! My child giving birth, what a profound moment in time, my chest nearly burst. So, welcome to the blessed world of motherhood, Jessica! Thank you for my beautiful grand daughter

  2. I felt like I was right there with you reading your words. Birth is crazy. Amazing...but crazy. I remember ripping the gown off both times...being totally naked and not caring one bit. Yelling "I'm going to die!" the whole time I was pushing with my first. My husband said he had never seen me like I feel your pain...but am so happy for you!!