Continued from part 1…
Then it was just me and my mum. Until then I hadn’t been that aware of her presence, or at least only alongside that of my friends. Everyone was doing their own thing to help, pouring hot water into the bath, getting my water, making each other teas and food and going out to the shops when needed, and I could hear all this going on in the background, but at this point everything seemed down and at a standstill. I think it also felt empty because Mr Chewbacca was off on his walk, probably feeling exasperated and finding it hard to watch me and listen to me in so much pain. I got the sense that my moaning was getting repetitive, it was not only tiring me out but it was draining on everyone else too. Emotions were feeling stretched and everyone needed a break.
My mum was somehow next to me. I don’t remember her coming there, she just was there. At first it was a little annoying. She has a very light touch and it can be a bit irritating, rather than Mr C’s firm, strong, confident touch which is reassuring. And I’m oddly touch-sensitive too. But then she did something I don’t think she’s ever done. She began to tell me I could do it, and with each contraction she told me it was ‘a good one’. She repeated the same things over and over, and in my head it was a bit annoying but I began to believe it after a while. She made the noises with me, in a really steady way, and it was just the two of us, breathing and making noises and getting through it. She was the only one still sticking by me, and she wasn’t going to let me get out of this and give up, she was going to see me through no matter what. She’s never done this; she’s always let me get off scot free, give up halfway through, take the easy way out.
Mr Chewbacca came back from his walk and things had changed. Everyone began to migrate back into the room, hanging around the edges watching and noticing the atmosphere changing. I was only vaguely aware of this at the time, but everyone commented on it later and it made sense.
At a couple of points, I vomited pretty violently. Most of it went on Mr C! If it were me, I’d have been sick in response, but he took it all in his stride, didn’t even change his shirt apparently, just stayed with me. A bit of vomit went in the pool, which I hated, but was too out of it to deal with. And it wasn’t like there was a lot to throw up, mainly just water and some orange bits. R of course was excited by this, recognising it as a sign of transition. I’m not sure that it was, but things did change when it happened.
R wanted me to get out of the bath. Things were happening, but not enough, it had been going on for way too long, even I knew this. I wasn’t getting a break between contractions because, even though they were at least three minutes apart, I had this intense pain in the front of my pelvis. R suggested this might be the last bit of cervical dilation happening while the baby’s head pushed against it. Whatever it was, it was debilitating and never-ending. The only thing that made it go away was a contraction, even more pain. I remember being given different homeopathics and having peppermint oil waved under my nose to help stave off the vomiting. Or was it orange oil?
Apparently it was around 3pm that R finally got me out of the pool. It felt like the most difficult thing I had ever done, working up the strength to move. I’d talk myself out of it between contractions, then a contraction would hit and it’d be like, oh well, can’t move during a contraction. Eventually I got out, and went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. There were a few contractions there, not pleasant, and I just felt like I was more uncomfortable, didn’t feel like the contractions were stronger as such. But R was pleased with this, and when we came back to the pool she firmly said I should lie on the couch a bit first, which I was really unhappy about. I stayed there for maybe two or three contractions but they were just unbearable, I remember saying I need to move now because I don’t think I can make it through another one here. I don’t know what not making it through actually means, but I was adamant. So I got up, but R still insisted I stay out of the pool, so I stood for a while, leaning on poor Mr C whose back was completely screwed by now. But of course he gave me everything and let me do what I needed, continued to hold me up despite being in pain himself. What a man! I knew he’d be amazing, but it brings tears to my eyes every time I think of him and how committed he is to me, especially during the birth of our baby, just extraordinary.
I stood for longer than I thought I could, leaning on Mr C, and R said, ‘just stay there for two contractions, then you can get back in the pool’. More than two passed, and I knew it, but I couldn’t summon the strength to say, hey, you’re trying to trick me! Eventually when she said again, ‘just one more now,’ I said, ‘you already said that two contractions ago!’ So I went back in the pool which provided some relief.
I think standing up must have helped somehow, and I’m sort of hazy as to when the transition with my mum occurred, but eventually I began to feel my body push, and she was next to me when this happened. It was overwhelming. It reminds me of that movie Ghost, where the various spirits jump into the bodies of the living; it felt like something taking me over and my whole body convulsed. The pushing felt so intense, but I was glad to feel it because I guessed it meant I’d reached the last part. There was a still a fear that nothing was being achieved. I expected to feel the baby moving down the birth canal, getting closer, but nothing, it just felt like my body was pushing against a rock that wouldn’t move. I wondered briefly if my cervix was dilated, especially as R mentioned what the pain in my lower pelvis might be. But I knew to trust in my body and that if it was pushing for me, it was ready, and it would do exactly what was needed. I wondered if R could tell my body was pushing; I assumed she could actually, and was a little frustrated that she hadn’t said anything. Reading back through the notes I can’t see any mention of it until I mentioned my body was pushing for me, which was quite a while after it began I think.
After a while of this pushing, and after I’d told R it was happening, she offered to check my dilation, just to see if I was progressing and if the cervix was actually out of the way. She wrote in my notes that I’d declined several times but I don’t remember declining, I just remember being silent, and thinking to myself, what good is it? Let it just happen.
Continued in part 3…