It was Sunday early evening when things began to feel different. We were on our way to have dinner with my husband’s family. It was his sister’s birthday the following day and we were celebrating. She and her husband live in Portland and we only get to see them a few times a year. On the way to dinner I started feeling contractions.* I didn’t pay attention to them because for 2 weeks I felt the same way. 14 days of ‘false alarms’ in a row is enough to make anyone skittish when the real thing happens! In the car I started breathing through them deeply, they didn’t hurt, they were just there.
“Do you want me to turn the car around?” Ben asked me
“No way! I want a glass of wine! I’m not in labor, this is just like all those other times” I replied and smiled.
Dinner goes well, we eat, we talk and all the while I contract. I try not to pay attention to it; after all, this is another false alarm. We get home and the contractions are still happening. They aren’t getting more intense, or so I thought. I try to read some comics, watch True Blood, and sit on my birth ball and bounce. Ben us on funny songs and makes me laugh. He keeps asking me if we should call Terri, my Doula. I say no. I don’t want to bother her because this is another false alarm. I bake cookies for the nursing staff at the hospital- but while I’m baking them I think- shit I have like 42 more cookies now that I have to eat, that should take 2 to 3 days if I don’t give them to Ben to take to work. The laboring mother is officially in denial. Things get a little fizzy here. After I bake the cookies it’s around 10:30 and Ben calls Terri to tell her I’m contracting so keep her phone on- I say I can talk through them and there’s no need to come over because I’m not in ‘real’ labor. I go about my business. I scrub the bath tub, change the sheets and rearrange the coffee table books a few times. I lie down on the couch and feel a contraction that’s a little different than the ones I had been having for a while. It was pretty strong. I tell Ben to call Terri. I’m starting to think this might be it, but it will stop when she gets to the house. It’s around 1:30 when Terri shows up and I’m still on the birth ball bouncing away. Ben takes a picture of me sitting on that thing giving the thumbs up and I think to myself- I’m gonna be so disappointed when these stop. Good news everyone. THEY DIDN’T.
Terri and Ben get me glasses of water, and in between every contraction I have to pee- every 6 or so minutes. What a pain in the ass that was. Terri asks if I want to go for a walk around the block to see if we can keep things moving. It’s the middle of the night and its wet from a storm, but it’s also still and cool for July. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We walk and stop for each contraction; they are now coming more frequent and are getting stronger. I squat a little and rest my hands on my knees, bent over breathing a bit loudly. I begin to think, holy crap I’m having a baby tonight! While I’m having a contraction outside in the middle of the empty road with my 2 birth partners on either side of me, bent over going ‘”ooooooooooooohh, I don’t wanna wake anyone up because I’m getting louder, lets go home” My brain must have been malfunctioning because I’m absolutely in labor, and all I can think about is waking up the neighbors with my contraction noises! Awesome.
We get back to the house and I begin to get a little tired so I get on my hands and knees and put my chest on the birth ball and feel one contraction and then another one right on top of it, there was no rest or break, it was intense and I was freaked out. Terri told me calmly that its normal and ok, it just means that my cervix was dilating rapidly. I begin to feel nauseous and can’t drink anything anymore. It was time to go to the hospital. By that time I couldn’t really focus on anything but the pain of the contraction and how to get past it. We grab our gear and get going. I get into Bens car on my knees backwards leaning over the back of the seat with my silver bowl in case I barf. He rubs my back the whole way to the hospital and tells me everything I need to hear. The windows of the car are foggy and I don’t recognize where we are so I ask him where are we!!! Um were going to the hospital. Being in labor really is like being on another planet, or in some weird-ass faraway land, where you are aware of what’s going on but you have no control over anything.
We get to the hospital and they ask all the regular questions and say if you’re dilated past 4 we can get you into a room. I laugh because I KNOW I’m past 4cm. They get me into triage and I change and pee and they come to check my cervix and do some tests. They find that my BP is elevated so they do some tests and say you can labor however you want once we get the tests back. I remember the lady being a bit bitchy to us. Please don’t check me if I’m having a contraction I ask her. I think that’s why she got snippy. She checks me out and tells me I’m around 6.5. 4 cm my ass HAHA! I AM in labor! It hits me THEN. I’m not in denial anymore- this is it, I’m gonna be a mother in a matter of hours. What THEHELL. We get into the room and they hook me up- I have high blood pressure- they consider 130 over 90 very high- which is absolutely retarded. I’m NOT pre-ecclamptic this has been a model pregnancy- the on call doctor was just praising me the other day and now he’s having the nurses tell me I’m confined to bed rest. For anyone who has had a child naturally without medication- there is 100% NO WAY you can lie down and ‘rest’ through the labor. I am in the throes of labor and the nurses are coming and going, telling me to relax and take it slow, lie down blab la bla. NOT HAPPENING. I get up out of the bed and stand on my feely, bent over the hospital bed and the nurses all freak out. They come into the room and give me a ‘refusal of treatment’ paper to sign. Ben loses it ‘ look you have had 2 plus hours to get her tests back and the doctor won't even come in here to tell her why she should sign this piece of paper- she’s not signing it. I look at him gratefully. I tell the nurse if they want me to sign it they have to get the doctor in there to tell me why I should. The doctor never came in so I threw the paper to the side and continued to do my thing. It was ridiculous, they were trying to bully me into signing something and I refused to because there was absolutely nothing wrong. The baby’s heart rate NEVER dipped once, he was doing beautifully. Now- for all you skeptics who think I should have signed the paper and let them do their jobs- I WOULD have gotten back into the bed if there was anything wrong with the baby’s heart rate, or anything like that- but Jackson was totally fine, the only thing they thought was wrong with me was I has elevated BP- of course I did- I wasn’t on any meds!!!
After that debacle I had a series of contractions so intense I cried, I screamed, I hit the wall. I could no longer handle the pain of this- I was thinking I’m insane to be doing this shit please help me and give me the epidural. I was officially in ‘transition’ I was only an hour or so away from giving birth. They say transition is the hardest part of labor- its where everyone asks for the epi- but its pretty much pointless- by the time they staff were to give me the medication I would have been pushing. I looked at Ben and said I CANT DO THIS!! Yes you can- you’re doing amazing- you’re almost done. I love you. If he hadn’t been there to tell me those things I don’t know how I would have reacted. Terri was there to be my voice of reason. She kept telling me everything I needed to hear- if they give you the epi now, it’ll kick in when you begin pushing. My birth partners were so awesome. They helped me stick to my birth plan. It wasn’t cruel of them to tell me not to have the meds- because I didn’t want them at all; they just helped me get through the pain. It was just pain, there was no suffering- and there’s a HUGE difference between the two.
“I think I have to push!!!” I yell and begin grunting through the contraction, I could feel pressure so the nurse came in and of course, I was fully dilated and ready to go. Thank god for the shift change. The douche burses left and in came Renee. My buddy, my pal. Amazing lady, that Renee. The doctor comes in and is ready to deliver me, but the new nurse says to go home- this is gonna take a while. I am grateful doctor dickbag goes home because the next doctor was a dude I actually liked, and he was kosher with my birth plan. I begin the true test of endurance, PUSHING. I cannot get comfortable- the nurse lets me sit up, stand up, squat, bend over the bed. I try everything possible to get comfortable to push out this baby and nothing worked. The most unnatural way to push out the baby was the most comfortable for me- lying down. So weird. I had Ben and Terri on either side of me holding my arms- I was using their torsos as my resistance. I put my feet on their tummies and they pulled my arms every time I had to push.
The nurse got out the mirror so I could see what was happening and told me to feel my baby’s head. Literally it was the tiniest sliver of skull in a big old mess of vagina. I wiped my goopy fingers on my gown and was like oh that’s cool- which made everyone laugh. Of course I know now why it was funny- but at the time I didn’t get it. The mirror was there staring me in the face for a half hour before I yelled GET RID OF THE MIRROR!! I was getting discouraged because the freaking baby wasn’t coming out of me and I was in the most pain I had EVER felt in my entire life- transition was a breeze compared to this insanity! Part of my birth plan was that if I had to tear, I would rather tear than have the doc do an episiotomy. So the nurse was there during pushing to help me stretch. She basically put on a glove and hooked her first 2 fingers in my junk and pulled down and just chilled there in between contractions. Sometimes she would move those fingers from side to side in a sweeping motion and I would scream.
“Um, I know I asked for all of this and everything, but could you not do that please? It really hurts!” I actually said that- I’m pushing out a human and I’m still trying to be polite! The nurse kindly reminds me that this is what I asked for and it is helping get the baby out faster and safer. Love that nurse. What a gal! I let her stretch my junk. It burns, I bear down and scream. This goes on for 2 fucking hours until something changes. His head comes. In 1 push his head is out and I can see the look on Ben’s face- his eyes get HUGE. THE HEAD IS OUT!!! The doc suctions the baby’s nose for a second and I yell I have to push him out!!! I’m met with go for it! by everyone in the room. I grunt and push the last push and the pain is gone. Terri opens my gown and they put my puffy, slimy, gooey, messy absolutely gorgeous son right on my chest. He is screaming, I mean really wailing. And he is HUGE. And instantly everything and everyone is gone and there is only me and him in the room. There is chaos, people wiping off the baby, Ben cutting the cord, Terri, in her Doula ninja observance, the nurses running around, the doctor yanking on the cord to get out the placenta. I am aware of everything going on around me but I am elated that I just had a baby- that the pain is gone, that a human being just literally flew out of my vagina and into my life forever. I was in shock, but I was in heaven. It was horrifying and electrifying, scary and beautiful and amazing and wonderful.
After Jax flew out they weighed him- the doc joked that the baby was gonna be 8lbs 2oz- and that he was always right with a margin of error at + or – 3lbs. Hardee har mister doctor man. Ben went over to the scale and said Are you ready for this? Tell me I yelled! He's…
Holy F@#$ I just shit a bowling ball. Are you serious? GIGANTOR BABY!!! The nurses were all amazed. That’s a HUGE baby! You’re crazy! No meds! I really AM crazy! But it was worth it.
The doctor gave me a shot of anesthetic and stitched me up- I did end up tearing, 2nd degree, which isn’t too bad- I still have both holes. That’s all I could ask for, heehee! I had more tears on the inside than the outside- and those heal faster. Birth isn’t clean everyone- it’s VERY messy- and it was about to get messier. A few minutes after the doc finished stitching me up I notice that I’m bleeding a lot- I ask the nurse is this normal, and she assures me it is. I ask her is gushing is normal and she looks at me with big eyes- gushing? Lets see here. She lifts up my gown and pushes down onto my abdomen and I hemorrhage blood, clots, liquid, my insides were gushing out of me again. This, is NOT, normal. The nurse calls in the doc and he does the same, and again, I gush blood. They out the baby in the warmer and take him for his tests and Ben goes with him. I’m left in L&D, bleeding profusely with a grumpy doctor and concerned nurse. The doctor goes on to tell me that I have to have pitocin to contract my uterus faster so I stop bleeding or ill need to go to the OR- I say absolutely doc- do what you have to, anything! He makes me feel like it’s my fault I’m bleeding because I didn’t want post delivery pitocin to get the uterus to contract faster, but really- homeboy yanked on the umbilical cord and the placenta separated too fast, causing me to bleed out. I’m not angry, just frightened a little bit- but I’m not focusing on the negatives of this situation. Negatives being blood transfusion, ruptured uterus, death…
I stay in the room and am given more fluids, a bag of pitocin, and 4 cytotek pills, taken rectally- YUM! I told you me and my nurse became good friends
I am also told my pulse rate was 140. And my bp was LOW- like 50 over 80 low. I feel ok- just tired- but all that changed when I’m asked to stand up and use the bathroom. I stand up and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I’m white as snow and my eyes are BLACK. I nearly pass out- I stop my eyes from rolling into my skull and tell Renee I have to lay down- I can’t make it to the bathroom. She holds me back up and we get me back into the bed. Renee tells me that I haven’t peed in over 6 hours and that I’m gonna need a temporary catheter. Those things are so freaking weird. But it did the trick. My bladder was so full that it was pushing up my uterus making it unable to contract fast enough to stop bleeding- once the bladder was empty, the bleeding nearly stopped and I began feeling like I wasn’t going to die. The burse told me id have to stay in the room for a few more hours for observation and I beg her to let Jackson back in. I couldn’t stand him not being there- she told me it would be hard to get him in there, but she made it happen. I promised I wouldn’t hold him, all I wanted to do was look at him and be near him. Thank god for my buddy Renee. She was the best. Things progressed from there- I stayed in the hospital an extra day so they could make sure I was ok and not passing out or bleeding in excess, and on the 3rd day we were allowed to leave.
Leaving the hospital I was told I was something of a legend in there for those few days- I felt pretty special, but that isn’t why I decided to have my baby the ‘old fashioned way’. I have my reasons, and they are my own. If I could go back and change anything, I wouldn’t. It was amazing.