We leave the house around 12:20am. By the time I get out to the truck contractions are 3-4 mins apart. By the time we get to the freeway, 2 mins apart. And by the time we get to the hospital, 1-1.5 mins apart. Why can't all hospitals have an after hours entrance that isn't through the ER? Ugh. Asking a woman in labor, having contractions 1 min apart to walk across the entire hospital just to get to labor and delivery is super freaking messed up. My midwife and doula beat us up there. It took us so long I think they were worried we had the baby on the freeway.
The nurse hooked me up to the monitor at 12:50am. I can't concentrate and I'm having a difficult time answering the questions that feel like are being shot at me by way of bow and arrow. Not that she wasn't kind, because she was amazing, but because everything at that point was TOO much. She walks out of the room. At 1:06am my water breaks. She checks me around 1:20am and says that I'm 4cm dilated, 50% effaced and -2 station. Oh, which reminds me, I had been 3-4cm dilated for about 2 weeks already. She leaves.
I got up to go to the bathroom. Remember the castor oil I mentioned earlier? Well - to use as a natural induction, you take 2 ounces - usually mixed with some kind of fat so that it binds well. I made a milkshake with vanilla ice cream and blueberries. It wasn't bad, definitely wasn't good, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected. So you drink the drink, and if you don't have any contractions an hour later, you have another ounce. I have to say that maybe women with a slower metabolism or digestion, should wait longer than an hour to take the second dose...because I'm pretty sure I would have been just FIIIINE with one dose. Because castor oil makes the majority of women shit their asses out.
So, back to the hospital. I hadn't had castor oil diarrhea in hours, so I had thought I was in the clear. Nope. And of course, now I'm here about to push out a baby and I'm going to shit all over everything and everyone. Awesome. My sweet baby is going to be born on a slip n' slide of doo-doo. I went into the bathroom, and this is the part that got scary. I had been coping with my contractions so well. Breathing through them. They were super intense, but they were manageable. As I sat on the toilet, shitting my life out...I was in the most insane amount of pain. I know a lot of the people reading this are birth workers. I know that I teach a childbirth method that teaches that pain doesn't need to be part of birth. I know that I'm a medical professional who specializes in pregnant women and birth, but I was losing my shit. Literally and figuratively. I have never felt pain like that in my life.
I had such terrible cramps and sour stomach from the castor oil. On top of that were the insanely strong contractions that felt less than one minute apart. I was pushing uncontrollably - on a hospital toilet. I was freaking out because the nurse said I was only 4cm and you can't push on a cervix that isn't open as it could swell and cause even more issues. I'm crying uncontrollably. I'm banging on the sink because I literally want to crawl out of my skin. It was like every single nerve in my body was on fire. Pins and needles, hot pokers, mind-numbing pain. I couldn't do it. I was SO FAR BEYOND my threshold for pain. (And I had a Pitocin induced birth with Jax, was on Magnesium Sulfate, and I still had no pain relief meds...he was by far my easiest birth. I would never say that his birth was painful)
Colin came in the bathroom - he just stood there, holding space for me while I shit, sobbed, and begged for it to be over. I didn't know what to do, I couldn't handle what was happening to my body. I was in complete overload. I also had this insane pain just above my pubic bone. It felt like I had been stabbed. I had Karly check, it wasn't a shoulder, it wasn't a uterine rupture..but it felt like I had a serrated blade twisting, non-stop on my pubic bone and in my uterus.
I finally made it out of the bathroom and went straight into hands and knees on the bed. It was excruciating. But I couldn't move. My body felt like a ton of bricks, pain receptors firing away - while my mind floated away in some far away land of hysteria. But from the outside, I wasn't saying much at all. Not that I remember. I couldn't articulate anything. I couldn't ask from help to move. I shook my hands and wiggled my feet and kept repeating, "I don't like this." But in all that craziness, I'm was aware that when I began to hold tension in my body, I was able to immediately release it..except for whatever that crazy freaking pain at my pubic bone/in my pelvis was..that was relentless.
My body started making sounds that were familiar to me but sounded so bizarre coming from my mouth. I've heard dozens upon dozens of woman make these primal, guttural sounds. but I had never. The physiological processes of birth had taken over. I've heard women explain it, the precipitous labor, and they explain it all the same. "It feels like I got ran over by a truck." Everything happens so fast, that their mind can't catch up to their body, often times leaving the mother in an unhealthy state of shock after birth.
I felt like there was a life-sized freight train trying to exit my body via my womb and vagina. It was horrendous. My body started pushing uncontrollably, the guttural song of birth roaring through my weakly parted lips. I whimpered between contractions. These are my take aways from my birth,
- I was in such an insane amount of pain that I thought I was going to die
- I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't think
- I felt like I was in a million different places at once, suffering in my physical body, going crazy in my mind, traveling up into the stars to get my baby, and just wanting to give up - check out - be done
I felt like I pushed forever, but I was told I only pushed a few times. I had to ask everyone who was there what my birth was like, because I couldn't remember anything. I asked each person, several times, for the details so I could piece a memory together.
The baby was finally out. I was still on hands and knees. The doctor told me to roll over to my right, I heard him, but I still couldn't move. There were no messages making their way from my brain to my physical body. I just continued to whimper, like a beaten puppy. Someone asked Colin what the sex of that baby was. I was aware that he didn't answer. No one said anything. Finally, what felt like millennia later, he said, "Its a boy."
I was still in so much pain, but also felt like I was in another world. So overwhelmed, and so completely over stimulated. I didn't have that hormonal cocktail of euphoria that I've seen on women's faces 100's of times. No oxytocin love overload. All my body could do was whimper. I couldn't smile, I couldn't cry, I couldn't open my eyes. I just held my baby and whimpered. When I finally (semi) came back into my body, all I could say was, "I can't believe you're a boy." He had everyone fooled.
Meet Rachel, the Author
I'm a Licensed Midwife and busy mom of two extremely active boys. I manage several different businesses, while also trying to maintain a household, my family and my sanity. Some days it works, some days it doesn't!