Let me walk you through my thoughts as I went into labour, the old-fashioned way…
My water broke in the early hours of the morning, and with that the first pangs of labour took hold. I staunchly believed that I was going to have my baby right then and there. It would take 21 more hours of back labor before my child was born.
This must be a labor legend because the intensity of contractions, the waves of pain, the hormonal flood, and the sweaty pushing and grunting just does not match up with the gauzy daydream quality of what I had imagined birth to be like. I didn’t breathe any pain away, I screamed like a banshee.
There comes a point after having a dozen different nurses and doctors (thank you, shift change) poking my cervix when I no longer gave a damn who saw my naked parts. All I cared about was hearing that I was 10 cm and could finally push my human bowling ball out.
I believe I said a silent prayer about 100 times for some sort of heavenly intervention to keep me from crapping myself on the delivery table. Guess what? I did. And I didn’t even realize it, nor did I care. There is a lot of stuff that gets birthed and most of it is pretty gross. Poop will be the least of your worries.
I get it. When you see someone you love crying out in pain the instinct to rub her head and give a soothing “shh…” feels in order. But don’t. Just. Don’t. When I was in labor, I grunted and growled, moaned and cried for many hours. My MIL shushed me one too many times … until I screamed at her to knock it off.
Just like in the last weeks of pregnancy, there came a moment during labor when I shuddered in fear with the horrifying worry that this child was never coming out of me. Like ever.
Who wouldn’t? All natural labor was killing me and I was only 45 minutes into it. Little did I know that nearly 20 more hours would pass before my baby would make his big debut.
I remember my midwife once explaining to me that a vagina is like an accordion and built for labor, and that no matter how much it stretches during childbirth that it would magically shrink back to its previous form. That is not what it felt like. It felt more like hot iron fire pokers impaling my perineum.
Boy was I wrong. We had another kid! Sure, he was absolutely terrified for a couple of months but he got over it. And so did I.
Giving birth naturally was equal parts miraculously awesome and terrifying. Through the entire event all I wanted was my mum there to hold my hand.