This blog post is brought to you by a lack of sleep. Oh, and chocolate. Today I’m going to share our beautiful birth story. And by beautiful, I mean feral.
After spending the morning together, freaking people out all over town telling them that I was past my due date and about to go have me a baby, the firefighter and I went to the hospital at noon to begin my induction. I decided to try to go without an epidural this time because I really wanted to go into labor naturally and since that wasn’t going to happen I decided I would like to labor as naturally as possible. This was ignorance of the highest form because there is nothing natural about a medical induction. The frequency and strength of contractions brought on by Pitocin are of an intensity that cannot be explained, only felt. To give you a picture, natural labor tends to be a marathon, a steady build up to the pain and payoff. An induction tends to be more like a sprint, pushing your body to the limits from beginning to end.
So I started feeling contractions around 12:30 and they were not too bad for a while, thus lulling me into a false sense of security that I was the strongest woman alive and could totally do this. Thinking it would just be like, boom. Baby. Then they got a bit stronger and closer together. And my nurse kept offering the epidural, concern written all over her sweet face. And I would bravely assure her I had no need of this thing. At 5:30 my Dr. offered to break my water. In my past experiences when my water breaks, my babies slide right out. So I could have stopped the madness then. But I didn’t. I was doing this naturally, dangit. I wanted my body to do it.
And so it continued.
It took me until about 7 to understand the importance of breathing through the pain. None of that sitcom “He He Ha” crap they tell you we do. More like, “breathe instead of ripping the firefighters arm off”. That man was standing there looking at the computer monitors telling me when my contractions were beginning, peaking, and ending. Full on commentary of, “Oh this looks like a big one”, “Wow, babe that was the biggest yet”, and “Oh my goodness, did you see that one??”.
We had American Idol on in the background. I noticed I was a bit harsher in my critiques whilst contracting. Everyone was high pitched, and the girl’s attire was similar to what I wore in Mexico. With my husband. When we got pregnant. (also, as I labored, I no longer thought of it as “we got pregnant”, more like “that man did this to me. The one sitting in the comfy chair, being offered a pillow, and eating a bag of cashews, while I try to derive sustenance and staying power from ice chips”).
Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. The two pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and sausage (lay off. I was still pregnant) from 11 am had been depleted and I had very little energy left. At 9 I asked for them to break my water. Right when it broke I experienced the worst pain of my life. 1 minute later, it happened again. After the next one, I sweetly asked the firefighter if he wouldn’t mind being a dear and telling the Dr I felt the need to push.
No, it was more like I exorcism screamed, complete with head revolution, “I NEED TO PUSH NOW!!” The firefighter ran from the room, desperate for witnesses to see this spectacle, I mean help his wife.
Scurry of activity as the room is set up. Spotlights come down from the ceiling, some dude brings forth the hidden stirrups from what only hours before looked like a comfortable inviting bed, I am barely registering the bustle as I try to remember what breathing means and attempt to obey the command of “don’t push yet Amber”.
Contraction. “Ok, breathe and push, push, push.”
I managed to fart, cough, and scream.
Apparently that wasn’t what we were going for, because I had another contraction.
“Push, push, push…”
I looked at my husband, saw the concern etching his brow, and registered the love and intensity of his gaze. He believe I could do it. And then, for the first time in my life, I felt our baby being born. Suddenly, it was worth every bit of pain. She had arrived, a fireball who threw a good long fit and told me all about the indignity of being born before she had a chance to grow her hair out. And I snuggled this chunky babe as business was being conducted south of the border behind the curtain. I felt it, but didn’t register any of it. All that mattered was this tiny human, warmed by my body, comforted by my being.
I hope I can have this kind of sense of humor about labor in about 6 weeks! No epi, you’re a superstar!