5.28.2009

The Labor

So labor, huh. Hadn't really known the word very well before this year. AT ALL.

With my first "labor" I heard/ felt my water break as I was drifting off to sleep one night. Mild cramping was felt in my lower tummy on the way to the hospital. Once checked in, all cramping stopped so petocin was involved. I would say there was discomfort, exhaustion from mild pain for too many hours, but an epidural brought relief before it got unbearable.

With my second, I was 10 days late and scheduled to be induced. I showed up already dilated to a 4. I remember some faint contractions throughout the prior days, but nothing too uncomfortable. I got the epidural before the petocin kicked in. Virtually painless labor and delivery.

With my third, it seems I spent much of May having uncomfortable contractions. 3 false alarms where I really thought true labor was happening: 2+ hours of contractions moving upward and increasing in pain. And then they would stop. For a few days.

But Friday. With my third time experiencing the birthing process. That was something new.

From about 2:30 in the afternoon on I noticed constant contractions happening. Like I had much of the month. Nothing to break my stride, but enough to pause and notice them. And that they were 10 minutes apart and not stopping for several hours. By dinner time I was holding my stomach through them and taking some deep breaths. Maybe some grunting through them. Richard and baby Roman stopped by for dinner, so it was nice to have company to take my mind off the discomfort. The following hours, however, got pretty ugly.

I kept thinking about what my doctor said about how bad they should be before I should go in to the hospital. She said I shouldn't be able to breathe. So I waited. I took a bath. I groaned. I rested on the bed sideways. And realized this was not false labor. I started to pee buckets every 10 mintues. Where on EARTH was all this pee coming from?! I waited for my water to break. It didn't. And then the pain got so bad I started to cry. That's when Mike and I knew it was time to go in.

So this pain, it was like nothing I had ever felt before. The mean glove-squeezing I talked about before was the precursor. Like the rumbling of thunder before a storm. I knew to brace myself into a sitting position. And then everything and everyone around me sort of faded into a distant world. As if a glass dome (or a cake plate cover) was over me. Voices, noises, people seemed muted and so far away as the pain set in. And the pain- it was a minute or more at a time and it was like a long dagger was slowly cutting me in half across my abdomen. From one side to the other in a smiley face motion. An evil smiley face. Like a clown. A mean clown.

And then it was crazy- after a minute the dome lifted and the pain was gone. It was so bizzare. I knew I then had 4 minutes to be completely normal and pain-free. And those 4 minutes were amazing. I would take a deep breath and remind every part of my body to relax from the top of my head, through my tense shoulders, to my toes. Then it would come back, a little harsher at times, a little less other times. But sheer pain nonetheless. And I would bury my eyes deep into the thickness of the carpet twine and feel the knife rip through me again. It was as if I could remove the top of my body from the bottom and set them next to one another. It was so confusing to me after the contraction that I was intact. That I didn't flop in half and break into two pieces.

I think the best way to describe harsh contractions- it's like that one minute of pain is a gory, cheap horror flick. And then the next four minutes you get to flip to Seinfeld. And it just goes back and forth between the two. It was such an odd experience.

And for the moms who don't get pain relief by choice or circumstance? I have a new found respect for them, extended even more beyond what it was before. They should have gold stars every day for life. I got drugs only dilated to a 5. So what on EARTH does it feel like after 5?! Those women on this earth who have and will feel the entirety of pain from start to finish in the birthing process should really have special privileges. Like a free trip to the Bahamas for 2 weeks every year of their life.
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