ride this wave out. ride this wave out. ride this wave out.
four words repeated over and over again to last me through one contraction before another one began. a mental exercise where your brain overrides the massive pain that your body is feeling. or at the very least, tries to. because the back pain was beyond words! i swear to god, it was unbelievable! on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as “please kill me now,” i would probably give it a 9.5. only because injecting the idea of euthanasia into this conversation sounds a little too dramatic, even for soap opera.
but, yeah, it. fucking. hurt! A LOT.
labor really pulls the rug from under you. it really does. i thought i’ve seen it all and read it all but damn, i went through it like a total noob. which, of course, i was. but having worked in the neonatal setting where i witnessed hundreds of mothers go through the birthing process and even helped coach some of them myself to encourage them during the most difficult parts, i was also kind of cocky:
i got this.
which may be partly one reason why i chose to have an all-natural labor: no pain medications, no anesthetics, no nothing!
boy, i seriously had no idea! between 8 and 9cm, i was pretty much zoning in and out after belatedly opening the discussion about pain-relieving measures with my midwife (who was wonderful, by the way.). as patient as she was in explaining each of them to me with all their pros and cons in consideration to what stage of labor i was in, i just couldn’t process the information in a way that my normal thinking self would have — thoughtful, deliberate, thorough.
instead, listening to her talk about saline injections and what-have-you, all i wanted was to rudely cut her off midway to calmly say, “you know what, just fucking cut me open to get this baby out and wheel me to the theatre. you have my full permission.”
apart from the hot water bottle which felt like heaven when pressed — hard — against the hellish nightmare on my lower back, i never got those pain relief measures. because in between contractions where i was given a bit of reprieve before the next set of ancient torture began and my midwife would ask if i still wanted them, i’d hesitate.
“hey, what do you know? i survived that one! let’s see if i can survive the next one!”
i reckon in order to endure the agonies of labor, you gotta be a bit of a masochist. but if a psychiatric aberration doesn’t sit too well with you, you can always go as a poet. that can work too. same shit.
ultimately, i trusted my body to know what to do. and it did.
like when they said you’d know you’re really into labor when you can no longer walk or talk or smile. and there i was walking, talking, smiling, and singing “in the bungy” to the tune of the lion sleeps tonight which had jeff laughing as well while we waited for the result of the test to check if my water broke already or not. i mean, yeah, i already had painful contractions then but i could still do all those things so i assumed if my cervix were indeed dilated, it would be around 1cm. maybe 2. you know, just revving into the first gear of true labor.
apparently, i was pretty much already on third gear and i didn’t even know. 6cm. even my midwife was caught by surprise.
she said i had a higher pain tolerance. i mean, my contractions averaged about 3 minutes each. that’s more than the typical textbook duration. which meant i had to suffer longer. but then again, that was just how my body rolled. so i rolled with it.
jeff’s fats rolled with it too. like, seriously, the dude still managed to snack while i was starting to push! there’s no way he can deny it. i saw the video and there he was standing nervously beside me, holding my hand — and fucking chewing!
are you kidding me???!!!
that was one year ago, plus 3 days. the dark line on my belly is still there, although faint now. a reminder of what my body had to go through to hold this little one in my arm.
sure, she’s all worth it but if i have to do it all over again, i would probably go for a waterproof eyebrow and eye liner or something. maybe even fix my hair a bit. because, you know, priorities.
*raven at birth