It was 9pm on Sunday night when I noticed that my “braxton hicks” were getting a little less “hicks” and more crampy, and on a regular schedule. I’d had false alarm after false alarm with labor *maybe* starting over the past week just about every night, so I didn’t put too much weight on this regular cramping. It’d happened before. So color me surprised when 1am hits and I’m not only now still painfully contracting every 2 to 4 minutes, but yah. I’m in labor. Real labor. Finally. My week had thus far been peppered with membrane sweeping and the occasional modest dose of castor oil. I’d already called in the troops the previous Sunday morning when I was damn sure, after 5 hours of regular uncomfortable contractions, that this was it. And it wasn’t. Being the watched pot that almost boils every day.. yah,that was stressful. On top of this seeming pressure to perform was the running commentary in the back of my head that little man was on a tight schedule with his parents. Every day that I was still pregnant was potentially one less day he had with his father before Dad had to fly home. Schedules had to be rearranged several times; everyone expected him to be early, or at LEAST born by his due date! And while we all know that babies will come when they are darn good and ready, it was very clear that everyone would really prefer that he be ready now, please. Being the belly carrying that little decision making man, that “please” was all mine. So it was with more than a little bit of relief when I felt those contractions intensify, when I had to start breathing through them with a bit of focus. Labor. I was finally in labor.
I held out till 2am before smacking Husband out of bed with the wake-up call that this is indeed it, it was time to have this baby. From this point on my timeline gets pretty fuzzy…
The troops are called; Mama Jaymee and Daddy M, Midwife, Doula, middle-of-night childcare, backup for middle-of-night childcare…. It was right around 3am when we arrived at the Bend Birth Center… and I had stopped contracting. The adrenaline of the car ride, perhaps? But there was no way I was sending everyone back home. Within half an hour of arriving I’m contracting again, and my water is broken. Giant GUSH of nice clear fluid, and those crampy contractions up the ante as little man settles his head nice and firmly down. It’s not long before I’m tuning out with my I-Pod blasting away and settling down for some good laboring in the giant birthing tub.
And this is where my brain kind of losses it’s perception of the world outside of *me*. This labor was so different from all of my other labors, and not just in that it started naturally after weeks of false starts. These contractions… they were weird. BIG, little, BIG, little. Several minute break between, several second break between. But the biggest difference? The most glaring obvious difference?
I say back pain, but what I mean is the overwhelmingly intense sensation that a mac truck was attempting to crunch it’s way out of my lower spine with all haste, regardless of the moaning and relaxing and soft “o” blowing that I was doing. I say intense, but that isn’t a big enough word. I guess the biggest indicator of the strength of this pain was that pink bucket.
There are very few things in this world that I’d rather do less than throw up. I’d rather go spelunking in a tank of sewage. I’d rather eat a cat sized spider. I’d rather………. fill in the blank. I will resist throwing up with every fiber of my being. But Monday morning? Monday morning that was all my body had left to give. I threw up. I threw up a lot. For hours. It seemed like that was my bodies last bit of resistance left to dealing with how overwhelmed I felt with this back pain. I didn’t even feel my belly or the contractions, my whole world was centered on whatever the heck was happening to my back.
I was confused, these contractions just didn’t feel progressive like I’m used to!
And I was scared. Because it was just so different, so painful and non-productive feeling. I was sure that there was something wrong.
So I gave up.
Despite being fully dilated, I had zero urge to push. He felt like he was hiding high up under my ribs, not descending at all, and that was just…. wrong. Transition sucks, it hurts, and it’s potentially scary… but it’s followed by these delicious urges to push that are instantly reassuring because now you not only no longer get the option of fighting with your contractions ( you’ll push whether you want to or not) but each contraction feels so productive! But I was getting none of that. I insisted we go to the hospital. That is a polite way of saying I broke out my big baby whine and demanded that we go find me a spinal and some help, because I can NOT DO THIS and something is WRONG. I rushed out to the car between contractions, and had the ride from hell to transfer to St.Charles of Bend’s Family Birthing Center. City of Bend, take note: Those roads REALLY need to be re-paved.
I have one vivid memory of scaring the bejesus out of a darling little girl walking down the halls quietly to go see a new baby as I groaned and moaned my way loudly past her, rushed by in my wheelchair by the nurse. One of my very few memories that has a picture with it, my eyes were closed pretty much the whole time. The visual stimulation on top of the physical stimulation was just too much for my brain to handle.
For the last few hours, I’d had no idea who was there and who wasn’t, who was talking and who was quiet, what was going on around me at all.. I did take a few breaks from “inside of me” to insist that no, I really wasn’t kidding, I really did need something for the pain! But nope, that wasn’t going to happen. I was just too close to birthin’ the little man, and I was going to be forced to have the birth of my dreams, no matter how much I was going to bitch about it at the time. And oh my goodness did I whine. My throat is still sore from all the noise I was making.
I never got an urge to push, and the back pain didn’t stop with the contractions. It turns out, Thomas had stubbornly claimed his spot in my uterus months ago, and wasn’t willing to adjust. As a result, he was being born face up, or in the occiput posterior position. That was the difference. That was the “wrong” that I was feeling. And that explained * everything*, from the false starts, the weird labor pattern, the longer gestation then estimated, the long labor in general, the feeling that he just wasn’t moving down at all, the intense back pain, the lack of a pushing urge…
I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted this little man to be born, if I wanted this pain to stop; I had to birth him. All by myself.
And so I did.
I pushed for an hour and a half, more than doubling the time of any other birth. Each contraction brough both terror and determination as I had to force myself to make things hurt more in order to eventually make things feel better. I had a LOT of people cheering me on, for which I am grateful. I may not have said anything at the time, but I heard you. I heard my husband counting softly in my ear. I heard my doula reminding me to relax through each “break” period. I heard my midwife praise each decent push I managed to make. I heard my best friend encouraging me on as Thomas finally started to descend. I heard you all. And I am just so thankful that you were there.
Thomas Edward was born at 11:45 am after eight hours of intense labor (14 hours in total) and delivered in to the arms of his mother after nearly a decade of waiting.
It was an intense moment.
The second he was born, I was instantly a new woman. No pain. No discomfort. Adrenaline pumping through me like I’d never experienced before. I had done it, all 8 pounds 8 ounces of healthy squalling little boy. Yes, I was loud and I complained and there was absolutely NO dignity left in me. But I HAD done it. And it felt…. awesome.
It still feels awesome.
Growing this family, making Jaymee a mama? Intense. From beginning to end. Life changing. Amazing.
Welcome to the world, little Thomas. So happy to finally have you here!