1. the action of delivering letters, packages, or ordered goods
2. the process of giving birth.
I am pretty sure we are all aware enough to know that birth is a beautiful miracle that encapsulates the human experience in so many variations of symbolism, it’s mind boggling. I also believe most people know it is also a messy, painful, sometimes ugly, bizarre experience as well.
At 17 I was delivering my first child naturally and without drugs. I wanted to give this kid whatever I could for this portion of his lifes’ journey. I had quit smoking right away and changed my diet, and now in the home stretch I took the hit and did my best to get through it. My boyfriend and I had gone through lamaze and birthing classes and had been told that the chances of my circumstances were very low and not to worry about back labor. If you are unaware, back labor means the baby’s head is hitting the base of the spine instead of the cervix, so in short, it hurts a lot more. I was worried, 5 hours in, 10 hours in, 15 hours in. Somewhere around this point I realized that I had never had such a large audience for my vagina and started giggling. I am not sure if it was funny or pure exhaustion, but it let me discard the thought instead of obsessing about that little gem.
I had started dating Lucas two months into my pregnancy and he had stuck by me the whole time. He was there in the room equipped with radio, ice chips and pressure point massage. It wasn’t his fault I wanted to hit him, this wasn’t his fault at all, but his kindness and patience was getting on my nerves when usually I loved it.
After meeting them and knowing in my gut they were right, I picked the Maine couple. Their names were Gretchen and Gwyneth, which is almost sitcom worthy in its absurdity and cuteness. They were also in the room, witnesses to my vaginas’ destruction. I don’t hug people often or partake in easy physical contact with people I don’t know well, or really at all and the whole situation was overwhelmingly surreal to me. I didn’t scream or cry, I don’t do that in front of people either, irrelevant of the pain. What would they think of me?
I had two midwives, both present, along with a nurse and a doctor was added after the 15hr marker of back labor torture, was hit. They all conferred and some decision was made before the doctor left and the midwives had everyone leave so they could have a word. Here is was, I was too tired, I needed help holding my own legs up and my eyelids kept falling despite me being very much awake. The doctor wanted to consider c-section. I did not want to consider any such thing. They brought up the fact that I had told the nurse to just cut the baby out and let me go, I wasn’t that important at this point. They laid it out, c-section or I took the epidural and slept so I might actually be able to push, if this kid ever came out. I hadn’t dilated beyond 4 cm and I had been having contractions for two days prior and hadn’t slept more than 2-3 hours in the last 72 hrs. I admitted defeat with very little grace and accepted the drug option.
“On a scale of 1 to ten, ten being a toothache, how much does it hurt” the doctor asked. I kicked him, they gave me the needle and I slept.
When I woke up, everyone had finally taken a break from the vigil and were down in the cafeteria for dinner. The midwife checked me out and I had finally dilated, 8.5cm and all it had taken is my stubbornness being defeated and a nap. I secretly thought everyone leaving helped too. They paged them all up from their meals and said it was time.
I didn’t mind pain. There are all kinds of pain and this one was brutal but there was a finite amount to go around. It would end and I would meet my kid for the first time. I made this life, almost singlehandedly, I had made life and I could manage that kind of pain. I welcomed the pain as the drugs wore off and I was ordered to finally push.
I pushed and eventually after 23 hrs of labor I gave birth to a 8.6lbs baby boy who screamed his little heart out as he was forced into this world. They gave him to me, and I looked at him, still covered in mess, face scrunched up in shock and rage and he was so lovely. Gwynn and Gretchen held him too and I saw them melt. The nurse took him to clean him up properly and I focused on three things
One, I knew, without a doubt, that I couldn’t be in charge of that perfect needy little life. I was too selfish, untried and stupid at this juncture of my own journey. Two, I really hoped something wasn’t wrong with him, his balls were HUGE, way too big for his little body but no one said anything or looked like it was weird so I was hoping it was normal. Three, I was starving and I wondered if someone would get me a greek pita wrap from Wendy’s.