I remember Jo (my adored midwife) apologising for interrupting me as I drifted off into ‘labor land.’ It’s a beautiful place, she said, as she asked me a question. It was such a small but incredibly powerful way to respect the place I was drifting off to.
The contractions coming thick and fast.
Waves of euphoria washing over me between contractions.
So much pain, but so much bliss. I could feel it on my skin. Tingly all over.
Feeling torn between wanting the pain to be gone, but wanting to stay in the moment forever.
Wishing for another way, but knowing I’m capable, and that this really is the only option!
Being scared, being vulnerable, being alone, but being supported.
Wanting to continue but also, wanting to stop.
Wanting someone to tell me exactly how long this will go on for, so I could prepare myself mentally, what does ‘soon’ mean? Are we talking minutes/hours?
Feeling so connected with myself, and those around me but also so very alone.
That place called ‘labourland’, you’re there on your own. NO ONE else goes to that place with you.
Feeling like a fly on the wall, being so in touch with what’s going on around you, but not really able to speak. Hearing the conversations but not able to converse.
Wanting to Rest. Overwhelming urge to sleep! It’s SO incredibly exhausting.
Every now and then some trepidation creeps in, some doubt, the ‘what if something goes wrong!’ Please make this all be ok. Then that gives way to the next contraction when your body has to work again and you need to focus your mind.
Using water as pain relief: blowing on the water. Exhaling my breath to create little waves on the water as a distraction.
Focusing on the parts of my body that were submerged in the water and were warm, and the parts that were exposed and cold.
Feeling Ryan tip the water over my back, and gestures of love and support.
Ryan sitting with me in the water. Urging me to go on. The occasional kiss on my back. The occasional words of encouragement. Supporting me, being with me.
Me not having to ‘be polite’ anymore. No inhibitions.
Trusting my body. It knows when to work and when to hold back.
The shaky legs as you use every single muscle in your body to start to push.
The pain, the burning, the stretching.
Feeling like you are literally splitting in half.
The wanting to fast forward time but not to miss a moment. Wanting to hold your baby, but not wanting to go any further.
Constant encouragement from the midwives and from Ryan. Jo saying ‘these are the contractions that are bringing your baby down. You’re working very hard. You’re doing great.’
I loved that firm support! That no BS midwife, so firm but so gentle. Wise, knowing, capable and loving. Making sure we’re safe and supported. Respecting my every wish at every twist and turn. Advocating for me, and keeping me and baby safe and secure….
(Contractions kept coming and I kept pushing. Within minutes the head was crowning. They could see my baby! It really was coming now! Can’t Wait. But still a lot of work to be done. Keep pushing, keep going. ‘A push and a pant’ I feel my body naturally does that anyway. Big push, big hold back. The head was coming, we’re nearly there! I stood up at this point. Ryan had to help me. My whole body was shaking. Shaking with force, power, pain and exhaustion! The head was coming. This was the contraction! THEN, just as quickly as the contraction came. It Stopped. Head half way out, stretching, burning, at full dilation. How crazy! There was no way I could push without a contraction. Just a dead stop. I couldn’t believe it. The injustice. What a cruel joke! I could do nothing but laugh. We all did, Jo, Beck, Ryan and I. A quick chuckle, as we knew we were so close, but just couldn’t believe it! Then, with the next contraction the head was out. Oh the relief! The joy! A little squeek from our bubba, the disbelief! Then, with the next contration, the body. That squishy, slimy, warm little bubba. Our little baby was here finally here! Safe, in our arms.09/06/2016 @1346)
The waves of joy that wash over you, the tears on Ryan’s face.
The look in his eyes. The love, the joy, the pride. The feel of your baby on your chest for the first time. The softness, the warmth. The love, so much of it. It’s everywhere. So engrossing. So complete. Meeting this person, and after only a second of them being in your arms you can’t imagine a life without them. Their little tiny limbs all tucked up on your tummy from where they just came.
Feeling so battered and bruised, like you’ve absolutely been through the wringer, but just so high on love and so euphoric that none of it matters. Any pain you feel can be laughed off because baby is here, and they’re OK, and you’re OK and nothing else matters.