It all started when I kept waking up to this uncomfortable sensation. My constant thrashing was bothering Peter, so I decided to get up, hoping that moving would make the pain go away. Now, in my defense: 1) sleeping when 8 ¾ months pregnant is always uncomfortable; 2) all women start with false labor to warm up for the real thing and I had had nothing, 3) the day before at the doctor’s office I had not been dilated or effaced at all, and 4) I had watched Brazilian women giving birth in one of the 2 birthing classes I attended, and my discomfort was nothing to the (obvious from her screams) excruciating pain of that poor woman squatting over the floor.
Anyway, I may not have known what was happening at first, but an hour or so into the Perry Mason rerun, when the “discomfort” was coming exactly 7 minutes apart and lasting about 20 seconds, you’d think I’d figure it out. But I didn’t. Oh sweet denial! I did, however, walk past the bedroom and inform my husband of this weird “tightening” and its timing and duration. Due to his tendency to sleep deeply, I received some mumbled reply. And less than 30 seconds later a wild-eyed Peter burst into the room, “You’re having WHAT every 7 minutes?!?” I assured him it wasn’t labor. More like menstrual cramps (funny, I couldn’t relate uterus contracting to get rid of tissue with uterus contracting to get rid of baby. Oh sweet, sweet, denial).
Peter forced me to call and ask my mother, who assured me that what I felt WAS labor and I should start the drive to the hospital. And, low and behold, she was right. I had decided to keep the epidural option on the table and see how I went without it; I knew that after transition it would be too late. After a while in the hospital, I wanted to know how much time I had left to decide, so I asked the nurse how long it would be before I hit transition. She looked at me like a freak and told me I was already halfway through transition. This meant, of course, that I WAS a freak, since I obviously wasn’t going to need an epidural.
Things went great until it was time to push. That was when we discovered the baby had decided to come out turned the wrong way (posterior). So, during the next contraction, they flipped her. And she flipped back. Thrice. So they flipped ME onto my hands and knees. The baby turned, but as soon as I was on my back again she re-flipped. So I spent the next 3 hours on my hands and knees, pushing out my baby. At one point I asked if I could rest through a few contractions. Everyone laughed, but I was completely serious. Sweet denial that I could just stop myself from pushing even for one contraction.
Finally, the head crowned and I could flip back over. She still came out sideways. And then the nurse told me to stop pushing. Are you kidding me? My entire entourage (Mom, Dad, and husband) abandoned me for the foot of the bed where they could oow and awe at the baby’s head and now the nurse is telling me to breathe in a hyperventilating fashion and not push out the rest of the baby yet. Not push! Who was in denial now?
And as post script, when packing my bags for the hospital I was unsure what to wear home. I asked my mom and she told me (TOLD ME!) that she wore her regular clothes home when she had me. So I packed my favorite jeans. You know when I fit those jeans again? Never. I wish I could stay in denial about my pant size.
Only 2 more births left. Read about the other 3 births here!