James and I got the jitters as the nurses went off to prepare us a room for the delivery. While I was still able I was calling and texting my mom and my sister. James told his family and his coworkers. (We were so used to getting sent home he actually thought he was still going to work that day. )
Our labor plan was very simple but exclusive. We just wanted it to be James and I for the active labor and delivery. It was our first child. We wanted to keep the environment as calm and private as possible. We thought the more bodies in the room, the more talking, the speculation, advise, (as well meaning as it would be)-it’d make for more confusion, chaos, stress, and hyper self awareness or possibly anxiety flares for me. The last thing I wanted to do was be a grinning host, concerned with what I look like or how I’m coping to a room full of people while I’m giving birth naturally. Even I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I did not want an audience. Shit was going to get real.
James’s mom stopped in while I was still cognitive which was fine with me, but the whole process was so enveloping I can’t even remember her leaving. She was there and then she wasn’t, I remember saying hello and exchanging a few sentences, but then it blurs. The discomfort turned to pain and that pain turned worse and worse. Quick.
I went from the bed to the tub to the bed. Moaning, groaning, crying, gritting, grimacing, screaming. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done.
I was stark naked. Sweating. Delirious in pain. Screeching as each contraction radiated through me. Blurry eyed peaking around through my tears. Eyeballs heavy and sore from sobbing and sleep deprivation.
The nurses understood my plan but saw I was really going through it here. I was offered fentanyl and I accepted it without hesitation. It is a medication administered through the IV that was supposed to “take the edge off.” Allow some rest in the quick minutes between contractions. It lasts about 30 minutes at time. The 30 minutes goes by nearly instantly.
I was depleted. The fetynal allowed me to actually doze off for a couple minutes in between my contractions. Then I was jolted awake when the next one arrived. I was howling. I called it the Blair witch project. I was screaming bloody murder. I hoped those walls were sound proof.
I was being asked and directed by my nurses and midwife to labor in different positions to help Benjamin naturally find his way to the exit. I hated it. I did not want to get up. I did not want to be spoken to. I did not want to be told what to do, because I did not want to move. I wanted to curl in a ball and die. I wanted it all to stop. I wanted the contractions to stop.
While on my elbows and knees, screaming a top my hospital bed, holding tight through another cinching contraction, I felt an unbearable pressure. I heard a pop. I had my head ducked down and I watched as water fell between my legs like a waterfall.
“I THINK MY WATER JUST BROKE!!!!!” I shouted.
“Okay, Katrisha!” My midwife sort of chuckled.
I remember thinking, did I just pee??? I don’t usually pee that fast, or that much- did I just announce that I peed on this bed naked infront of everyone?? Are they laughing at me??? There was no time to rationalize. Everything kicked up a notch.
After my special announcement I felt the energy in the room spike. Everyone started to sort of prepare it seemed. I felt their excitement.
It wasn’t long before I was begging for more fentanyl, but I was sorely denied. I was fully dilated. Full on, Benjamin was right there.
“No, he’s on his way now. It’s too late for that. We are going to start pushing now.”
*THERE’S MORE TO THIS?!
Here specifically- I said inside myself, ‘You are so dumb. You are a dumb girl. Natural? What the F*** were you thinking!?‘
I pushed and pushed and pushed. I pushed until my eyeballs rolled back. I pushed until it felt like I was going to explode. I pushed until I was speaking jibberish and everyone had to refrain from laughing at the insanity I was displaying. (James likes to joke and say I was speaking in tongues. Which makes me want him to push a baby out.)
I thought the contractions were intense, well pushing while having one is just an immeasurable amount of pressure. The only good thing was after a certain point my body began to push by itself when I got contractions, I was instructed to not push though (premature pushing can lead to hemmorage and tearing.) So being allowed to push with my bodies instincts was good for me. Cause fighting the overwhelming urge was a whole other evil.
Speaking of all this pushing- Yes, there’s this rumor about women going to the bathroom while in labor. -For the record, I don’t know if I went during labor. No one told me I did. That’s the way it should be. And I don’t want anyone to ever tell me. Trust- however, a babies head is so hard and solid, it has to “flatten”everything in its pathway. (This is what my midwife told me in labor, because I told her I felt like I had to go) Baby yields to nothing. Everything moves out of the way for baby.
With that being said, I do- however, have mad respect for my midwife. Because it’s quite possible I pooped in her hand.
More screaming. Have you ever heard of crowning? That’s when the baby’s big head has to wiggle its way out. Definitely the peak. The stretch of a life time for you. My mom calls it, “The ring of fire.” It’s quite fitting. Nothing compared to that part. Luckily, it is all down hill from that.
I’ll tell you. I wished I could have just gave up. I felt emptied and ran over and everything else. I was struggling for my breath, I was compulsively shaking, I was delirious and dizzy. I couldn’t even comprehend the amount of pain I was feeling. This was hard. It was fourth quarter and I was ready to shut down.
My midwife saw I needed some refocus took my hand and had me reach down.
“That’s him! There he is! Do you feel his hair??” She was smiling.
I went for the reach. I felt his soft hair, all the little curls. I realized my hard work was not in vain. I was just moments away from meeting my little boy.
James cupped his mouth. The emotions flooded into the room.
Benny’s big head was right there. My midwife told me one last good push is all it would take. I told myself I was done. I was ready to finish this.
I consciously felt the contraction started to creep up like a wave. I buckled down. When it crashed down into me, I gave it my all. This was where I was going to pass my own test, this was where I was going to find my inner badass, this was my time to flex my mental muscles. I found my alpha woman. I exhilarated.
I heard the gasps and praises of everyone at my bed. I looked between my knees I saw a beautiful, slippery baby fall into my midwives hands.
All pain ceased immediately. There he was.
Everyone was smiling and saying things all at once now, but I couldn’t hear a word. All I saw was Benjamin. He was on the other side.
I reached for him and they gave him right to me. Skin to skin. He curled onto my chest. His little cry made its way out. I felt the weight of his body, the contour of his curved back and the softness of his flushed warm skin. His heart pattering against mine. He quickly contented himself with me. Like he knew I was mommy.
I looked up at James, who was bawling.
“I can’t believe you’re finally here.” I kissed Benjamin for the first time.
9 hours after arriving at the hospital, Benjamin was born June 23rd at 3:11pm. After being up all night, and yes after getting sent home from triage a whopping 3 whole times. (Yes I did infact go 3 times.)
I had my baby.
I felt like superwoman. I swear I stayed up the next 48 hours just staring at Benjamin. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. He was all mine. He was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I watched James hold him. The love I saw as he gazed at Ben. Watching Benjamin hold James’s fingers and look up at him. Just like that; we became a family. I had never had my heart so swollen with love.
I had worried for over 9 months, how am I going to be a mother. How will I be a good one? I had been handed the biggest responsibility in the universe. I was petrified.
But when I looked at Benjamin, I saw his twinkling kind brown eyes. Peering up at me. I saw someone who loves me. Admires me. Believes in me. Has patience with me. He told me without a word- it’ll be okay, mama. The heavy feeling of belonging wafted over me as I cradled my child in my arms.
Everything in my whole life, every moment good or bad- I was grateful for it. It led me here. My heart was proudly humbled.
Nothing could have prepared me for that tender moment I became my son’s mother.