By on Jan 21, 2013 in Birth Stories, Uncategorized Comments: 2. Tags:

I’m awake. 5:30 am. Why…I crawled into bed only three hours ago. The pain in my belly feels exactly like they told me it would. This must be it. Finally…

I feel incredibly calm.

-Danny…Dan…Wake up. I think I’m in labor…

I turn the shower on. Hot. I promised myself weeks ago that I would shave my legs before having this baby. Why this is important, I have no idea. I stop every few minutes to rock back and forth. Back and forth. Breathing through the pain. I try to relax. Letting the hot water ease my muscles and my mind. Cleaning my hair my face my body slowly. Concentrating on the tension in my belly when it comes. Allowing it to exist and allowing it to disappear. There is so much to remember. So many little pieces of advice…

7:00 am. Stay busy, they said. I do the dishes. Stopping every few minutes, gripping the edge of the sink, promising myself I can get through this moment if I just keep breathing…

Somewhere, somehow the pain increases. I only recognize that I now want Daniel close to me, that I need his presence and his comfort surrounding me.

-Dan…Danny…I need you now. I need your help…

Every three minutes, I call out to him, and we dance through the pain. We dance through the living room and the kitchen and the bedroom. We dance…

Every three minutes. His hands on my back, massaging lightly, deeply. I hold him close. He holds me close. We dance…

It is 10:00. Betsy tells me – It’s not time yet. Call again when you start feeling very intense pain.

But I am feeling very intense pain. I hang up and continue dancing.

Rocking back and forth on the birthing ball, my hands frantically rubbing the tops of my legs. Back and forth. My hands press deeply. My body rocks endlessly. Daniel sits behind me. We are already so tired. He presses his encouragement and support into my lower back. He sends his love through his hands, as he has done so many times before. This time his lovehands feel incredibly concentrated. Powerful.

Daniel calls my mom, his mom, my closest friend. I hear his words – We are in labor. She’s okay. Don’t come yet. We are still at the house…

He takes our dog down the street and leaves her in our friend’s backyard. While he is gone, I am alone, and I feel fear. I quickly pace back and forth along our hallway – from the living room to the bedroom – back and forth. Back and forth. When the pain comes, I stop pacing. I rock in place, hands desperately gripping and head fiercely pressing into whatever wall exists in front of me. Pieces of my control escape me. Daniel returns and hugs me tightly, my fists pounding his chest in frustration, tears forming but not spilling over. The pain. The pain is so thorough.

At noon, I realize I have been fighting and accepting and dancing through this pain every three minutes for nearly seven hours…

-Eat – he tells me – you must eat. You must eat to keep your strength up for later…when we need it most. Eat this. For the energy. Please eat.


-Call her again – he tells me – you are in so much pain. Call her again. I know it is time.

-No. She told me to wait. She will only tell me to wait again. Let’s wait. Let’s dance here a little longer.

It is 2:00. He urges me to call, seeing my pain and knowing it is too much. I call. I tell her – these contractions…they are so painful… -Okay – she says – now it is time for you to come in.

The car ride. Sitting still. Unable to walk. To dance. Every three minutes – my body – rigid. Daniel drives. I know only pain, that is all.

Half-climbing, half-falling out of the car. It is now difficult to walk. My hand presses against my bulging belly. I force myself to make it to the door, gripping Daniel as he guides me.

The midwife – I have never met her… Six centimeters dilated already, she says. Yes, the hard part is over, she says. You are more than halfway home. Now it is only a matter of time…

And now time dissolves…

Into the jacuzzi. The warmth, the pressure relaxes me. My body heaves back and forth in the tub. Back and forth. Water splashes up the sides. I am dehydrated. Daniel feeds me juice through a straw.

Back to the bed. Seven centimeters. I turn on my side and rock. Back and forth. Back and forth. Breathing through the pain.

Betsy comes. She grips my hand and talks me through the pain while Daniel holds me together with his lovehands and his presence and his peace.

My mom comes. She touches me. I cannot be clear. Cannot be present. The pain takes me back and forth. It is all I know. Suddenly on my hands and knees, rocking. Forward. Backward. Daniel at my side. Guiding me. Betsy. Encouraging. Go where your body takes you, she tells me. I no longer understand my control.

The pressure overwhelms. My back aches with it. She presses her fingers hard into me.

-Danny…it hurts…the pressure…Danny… I crush his fingers in mine. I bite him. Striving solely to release my pain. He does not complain. I hold him next to me as if his presence keeps me alive. Without him near, I am confused and incapable of understanding the pain. Incapable of breathing through it.

In the jacuzzi again, only it does not comfort. Soothe. Relax. My body convulses with the pain. Frustrations rise. The water does not help. The pain is so much bigger. The pain engulfs my senses.

Ten centimeters! Announced as if I had won a prize. It is time to push. The moment I have been working towards. The moment seems clouded by my incoherency.

I sit on the birthing stool, and I push. And I push. And I push. And I yell. Scream. Daniel reminds me – use your energy – stay low – stay low. So I grunt. And I groan. Resting my chin on my chest, I stay low. Stay low.

But I feel no movement. – Nothing is happening! – They try to reassure me. The baby is coming. The baby is moving down. But I feel nothing except pain. I do not feel movement. I do not feel progress. I feel. Frustration.

My brain spews strange panic throughout the channels of my body. – This child will never come out of me. This pain will never end. If only the pain will end, the baby can stay inside. Please make the pain end.

Daniel clutches my hand and tells me – you are a warrior. You can do this.

I stand, bent at the waist, leaning over the bed. My muscles work as I squat – up and down, up and down. I push. I yell. I squat.

Something is wrong. Betsy calls the hospital. The baby’s heartbeat has dropped. Everything blurs. I am wrapped in polyester. I throw it off – it is too hot. I can’t stand to have it touch me. The pain builds. Amidst the blurry chaos, I must return to the bed. I must return to my hands and knees. I hear Daniel say – let her try one more time. But the pain is here, and we have no choice. I lunge my body down – arms stretched out in front of me, face and torso pressing into the mattress – pushing with every ounce of my soul. The heartbeat. The heartbeat is strong. The baby is okay. We are okay.

But the pressure continues. Between the pain, I rock. Back and forth. Back and forth. It overtakes me. I push silently. I push with every particle of my being. Until white bright lights flash behind my eyelids, inside my head. I push with pieces of myself that have lain dormant for twenty-six years. I push. With every second of pain, I push.

Daniel – across the bed, clutches my hands. He holds on. I hold on. I do not comprehend the passage of time. I only know him. And the pain.

She sees the baby’s head. And I think – finally. Finally this will be over soon.

Soon does not come. And I continue to push and to hurt. The pressure between my hips forces me to cry out. I push. The pressure opens me up. I feel myself opening everywhere. And I yell. And I groan. And I push.

It is never ending, this pushing.

The head is coming now. I feel incredibly strong and incredibly weak in the same moment. The head is coming. This will be my last effort. I push. All of me pushes. And when the pain subsides, I continue to push. But she tells me to stop. Stop pushing. I must rest between contractions. Rest. I force myself to stop pushing. Yet I feel my baby’s head halfway emerged, stretching me, urging me, begging me to push.

Once again, the pain creeps up, and once again, I push with a determination previously unknown to me. And I feel the head moving all the way through me. And I push. And I feel the shoulders as they force me open again. And I push. And I feel as the legs slide through me.

And suddenly I am holding him in my arms. Holding him.

I exist within a bubble. The bustling continues around me, but I am only partially aware of outside presence. I am holding him in my arms.

I look at Daniel. We have a son, he tells me. We have a beautiful son.

I cannot comprehend the strength of that day. I attribute it to the love surrounding me. The hands. The presence.

We were warriors. We three.

In all of my travels – to countries far and wide – I have never been part of something so exceedingly beautiful.

Comments on my.first.birth. . .

  1. sabrina January 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm Reply

    Beautiful story! Well told.

  2. Melanie February 2, 2013 at 7:23 am Reply

    What a miraculous story, Kate. Thank you so much for sharing!

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