On the day that she was born, part two

With a glass of chardonnay and a stale brownie, I'll continue...

Once I made it over to the bed, Katie checked me again and I was about 8 cm dilated, but my water still hadn't broken. In trying to decide if I should have her break it for me, I asked if that would make the pain worse. I believe she said that the contractions were going to be hard from this point on no matter what, but that it would help things move along faster. If that meant all of this would be over sooner, then my answer was, YES!

Then I remember the feeling of warm fluid trickling out of me into the bed, and with the next contraction, it seemed to gush out and fill the space around me. I was laying on my side with my head down, and Curt rubbed my back as I moaned through the pain. It took several contractions for the water to stop coming out. Now that I look back, it makes the little "false alarm" incident seem even more ridiculous.

I don't know how long I went on like that. Every few minutes feeling the wave on its way and breathing through it. Somewhere in there, I definitely entered into the "laborland" I had read so much about in my birthing books. I was in my own head, in my own world, trying to feel my way through one contraction at a time: When will this be over? It's got to be soon. I've got to be close. Not another one. Oh, God! Here we go! Breathe... Breathe... In... Out... Like I'm blowing through a straw... Just a little bit longer. There it goes. OK I made it. Rest. Rest. I've got to be close. She's almost here.

Sometimes I could hear what Katie, the nurse and my mother were saying. Curt was very quiet and just stayed right there with me. He took my direction really well and rubbed my back with the pressure I asked for. Even though I couldn't hear him, I knew he was there and I felt his amazing support. I felt so connected to him during that time, it almost seemed that he was guiding me along my way, as though I was blind and he was telling me how many steps I needed to take.

Somewhere in there I tried different positions to see what would work to actually push Lena out. I spent months imagining what that moment would be like. I thought I would squat and when the moment came, I wanted to reach down and help pull her tiny body up to my chest. We tried moving the bed and the squat bar several different ways, but I never could get the leverage I felt I needed to really brace myself. I had to let that dream go, and in that moment I honestly didn't care.

After a while, I was sure it wouldn't be long before I needed to push and asked that Katie check me again. She said that there was just a little bit of my cervix left on top and if I got on all fours it would probably be gone in a few more contractions. I rolled over, put my face in some pillows and worked through the next twenty minutes or so, growing more and more desperate for my labor to end.

Curt was up by my head, trying to whisper to me. He said something like, "Just think honey, Lena will be out soon and then we can have cake." I believe I responded with, "Shut up!!!" Nice.

All I felt was pain at that point. There was a little bit of relief between the crest of the waves, but I was in a desperate place. When I felt a contraction on its way, I cried out that I didn't want it to come, moaned and yelled through it, then apologized to everyone for being so mean. I thought I was such a wimp.

Then it was time to start pushing. I was still on all fours and so afraid of the pain getting worse if I moved, that I just stayed where I was. Again, in the months preparing for this moment I envisioned a completely different scenario. At one point I thought about asking a photographer to be present for Lena's birth so I could have beautiful photos documenting her arrival. I never got around to it and that is because God knows what He is doing. Really, no one else needed to see what was about to take place. As I have said many times, this was not a serene TLC Birth Story with me calmly pushing my baby out in a room filled with candlelight and music. No, it was something primal and raw off of a Discovery Channel documentary.

There I was, on all fours, with my head stuffed in pillows and my bum up in the air. I heard my mom ask Katie if my position was at all easy for her do deal with. I think she said, "Lord, no!" I really didn't care who I was inconveniencing at that moment and was annoyed that my position was even being discussed. But seeing as I do love Katie and she would be the one coaxing out my child, I quietly scooted over a little so she didn't have to contort around the rail of the bed.

I started to push. Noises came out of my mouth that I never heard before. It sounded like a last chance workout on The Biggest Loser. Not grunting, not screaming, not groaning, not yelling, but a combination of them all, or something in between. Then, I felt like I was pushing out the biggest poo in the universe. As I was crying out, I yelled, "Ooohhhh, I'm poopin' too!" When it was over, I turned my head and whimpered, "Oh, now everyone in the hall knows I pooped." Katie immediately responded, "No, actually they don't. And you aren't pooping. That's your baby." Awesome.

With each contraction, I worked and worked. At one point I was so frustrated and tired and said I didn't want to do it anymore. Do what, exactly? I don't think I knew. I think I meant giving birth in general. I wasn't saying that I wanted drugs, I was just saying that I didn't want to do it, period. I remember thinking, just cut her out. Whether I said it out loud or not, I'm not sure. Katie stepped up and gave me a get it together, sister sort of lecture. I kind of sat up and calmly said, more to myself than anyone else, "No one is going to do this but me." Then I put my head back down, my bum back up and got back to work.

...Alright, so I really didn't anticipate this story turning out to be so lengthy. The farther I go, the more I want to be sure I don't leave anything out. This time I promise, tomorrow will hold the conclusion and all the photos along with it.

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