In honor of the Maiden’s sixth birthday, a tale of mother and child. Read Part I here.
I roused the Man and told him it was happening. The pain was getting pretty bad. Now that it was no longer the middle of the night, he was more inclined to believe me. He headed for the shower and I called my mom again for moral support. She hadn’t gone back to sleep, of course; first grandchildren don’t come every day!
Next on my phone tree was the doctor. It was 6:30ish now, and unlike my mother, she didn’t sound thrilled to hear from me. She said to go to the hospital “as soon as the pain became unbearable.”
The problem was that with back labor—because that’s what this was—the pain was already unbearable, even in the early stages. The only way I could handle it was if someone pushed hard on my lower back. Yet when we arrived at the hospital, I hadn’t progressed far enough along for them to officially admit me.
But they felt sorry for me, because clearly I was not having a great day. They suggested that I walk around the corridors for an hour to try to move things along.
So we walked, with the Man pushing my lower back to dull the pain that spiraled in waves throughout me.
By 9:30 I was cranky and tired of walking. The pain was getting more and more intense. Somewhere, somehow, I was admitted and brought to the L&D room. The Man had to keep pushing my lower back. I tried every technique we’d learned or heard of, but nothing seemed to help.
I know that everyone says that lying on your back is not good for labor. I know that everyone says try X, Y, and Z and you can control the pain.
Here’s the thing: tried and true tricks don’t work if you have back labor.
I moved painfully from bed to shower and back. They wanted to monitor my blood pressure because of the pre-eclampsia. I wanted to not be in labor any more. They offered me drugs. I said no. I walked and lay and sat and waited and moaned and wished this kid would come already.
I threw up my breakfast and the disgusting green jello they’d given me around lunchtime. Things were starting to get numb in my head even though I’d gone without drugs thus far. There was the circle of pain, and it started and started and started and there wasn’t a stopping point, just lots of starting points along the spiral, waves, a long corkscrew that radiated throughout my body and the push didn’t help, and I was one with it, that was all that was me, and yet it wasn’t me, and suddenly the doctor was there.
“Time to get things going,” she said, and broke my water. It was sometime during the late afternoon.
Then it was too much.
I had wanted a drug-free birth.
It was what I’d wanted more than anything.
But I begged for that epidural.
The anesthesiologist came in with a sheaf of papers. He wouldn’t shut up. There was this risk and that risk and oh my gosh give me the meds and I can’t think just gimme gimme gimme gimme but wait they could injure my spine and I couldn’t keep still and my body was shaking and I couldn’t make it stop and what if the needle slipped and they made me a paraplegic and
“No,” the Man’s voice came through clearly. “Give her something else.”
So they did, and a blissful semi-reality crept over me. I would wake to excruciating pain every minute but in between was a strange lull where I existed between waking and sleeping. Once I woke and found myself talking. “Wait, what am I talking about?”
The Man later said I was pretty funny when I was loopy from the meds, but he can’t remember what I said. I wish he’d written it down.
Okay, perhaps not.
I do remember the nurse telling me to yell at my husband because it was his fault. I told her no, it had been consensual.
I did get mad when I saw him eating a hamburger in front of me.
Hamburger. Food. Baby flowers and birds and butterflies OUCH OUCH OUCH ahhhhhhhhhhhhh OUUUUUhhhh–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Bliss.
Then suddenly the meds stopped working and MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE—
“It’s time to push.”
OMG. I was REALLY going to have this baby.
Except that I wasn’t, apparently.
Because I kept pushing. And they kept saying, “Just one more and she’ll be out.”
And then she didn’t come when she was told to. Kind of like now.
So I pushed and shoved and got red in the face and I didn’t care about the back pain any more, and I had to do it and I needed to do it and it was going to happen but it took so, so, so long, and then wow this insane feeling and she was out out out in the world and they put my baby in my arms and she was grey and blue and covered with that white stuff and looked weird like an alien and oh my baby, I love you, you’re so beautiful.
It was just after 8:30.
I had been in labor for almost 18 hours.
Don’t forget my birthday! The Maiden’s reminded me every half hour since May 9.
As if I could forget! That day, pain and sweat and love and tears and joy took a physical form. She runs, dances, argues, smiles, shouts, cuddles, and laughs. She’s wild and wise and wonderful and she makes me crazy and I make her crazy and we love each other in spite of it or maybe because of it.
I love you, my little girl and I always will.
Happy 6th birthday.