I had weak, painless contractions for a couple of days and I was sick of it! I wanted to have that baby! I’d heard that castor oil could bring on labor, so I decided to try it. Whoa momma! About 11pm that night some serious contractions started (accompanied by the most intense case of diarrhea I’d ever had).
The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and quite painful. At about 1:30am, I was in so much pain that I told my husband I was ready to go to the hospital. I was placed in an observation room to see if I was really in labor. When the nurse checked my cervix I almost fainted! Only 1cm! I wanted to cry! If this was what early labor felt like I was sure I must be the biggest weenie ever and surely wouldn’t survive the real thing.
My midwife was called and informed of my progress (or lack thereof). She said she thought this baby would be born “sometime tomorrow afternoon”. Her suggestion was that I take some pain relievers and muscle relaxers so I could go home and try to rest. I couldn’t believe it! Then the nurse looked at me to make the decision to stay or go. Every bone in my body was screaming to stay, but I followed my midwife’s advice. I took the drugs and went home.
By then it was about 2:30am. The labor instructions sent home with me said to come in when my contractions were 2-3 minutes. apart and lasting 60 seconds each for TWO HOURS! For one hour I laid on the couch with my husband at the other end timing the contractions and my mother laying on the floor trying to get some sleep. The pain was excruciating! I was moaning and panting. I knew I was supposed to wait two hours, but I just couldn’t! I had my mom call the hospital and they said I could go ahead and come in.
It was about 4am when we got there. Again I was placed into the observation room to see if I was really in labor. Give me a break! I was dying! The nurse checked my cervix and was impressed that I was now 5-6 cm in such a short time. I wasn’t impressed though! I couldn’t see how I was going to get through hours more of labor to get to 10 cm. The nurse stepped out and I had to go to the bathroom (more diarrhea). I unplugged my monitor, slung the cord around my neck, and headed into the bathroom where I vomited what looked like gallons all over the place.
When the nurse came back there I was—standing in the bathroom doorway with vomit down the front of my oh-so-stylish hospital gown and more vomit dripping from the cord of the fetal monitor I had hanging over my shoulder. I apologized for making such a mess, but she just looked at me like she was going to make me clean it up and said, “I guess you couldn’t make the toilet, eh?” Then she sighed, “I guess I’ll have to call someone from housekeeping to come clean that up.” Just when I thought I couldn’t feel much worse, Nurse Runkle (yes that’s really her name) proved me wrong.
Well, they decided to admit me (insert sarcasm here). I had planned on an unmedicated birth, but the pain was so intense and unyielding that I was asking for relief almost the moment I got there. I wanted it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! The nurse asked if I had planned on having drugs and I said no, so she asked me I was sure I wanted them. I asked her how much longer she thought I had to go and she said at least another couple hours. I couldn’t face that, so I said yes to give me the drugs (SOON!SOON!SOON!PLEASE!PLEASE!PLEASE!).
Well, I didn’t need that epidural after all. Once I got into my room the nurse left to call the anesthesiologist and I had the mother of all contractions! I was moaning and writhing from side to side. It was so painful I didn’t think I could bear it, and I certainly didn’t expect to live through the next one! However, the very next contraction was different. The pain was much less and there was a burning, pushing feeling of pressure. I started pushing in spite of myself. The urge was truly irresistible! I reached down between my legs and felt the baby’s head right there!
I was alone in the room with my husband and mother. I told them the baby was coming and I had to push. My husband said only one word, “Don’t!” My mom went to get the nurse and she came back with the nurse and the midwife who had been on her way. I was already pushing so the midwife took off her coat, rolled up her sleeves and caught the baby. It felt GREAT! The time was 4:49am, just 49 minutes after arriving at the hospital.
Everything went well. No complications, no tearing, and no drugs. I was so happy! I nursed my baby right away. Then I got up and took the most delicious shower ever. For hours and hours after the birth I just couldn’t rest because I was so ecstatic! Even though I had just gone through labor and birth and hadn’t slept at all I really felt like I could do anything. I was so alert I really felt “high” (it’s amazing what endorphins can do).
I’m convinced that nothing can compare to the experience of giving birth. I know it’s cliché to call it a miracle, but when a real live baby comes out of your body and you realize what you’ve done and what you’ve made… I can’t think of anything more miraculous. It’s a thing of beauty and truly a rewarding experience.
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