Longer, Stronger, Closer Together – Farrah’s Birth Story Part 2 of 2
After posting Comfort Measures, I did go downstairs to watch television with Kris and continue on with labor:
I felt a kinship with both the zombies and the living of “The Walking Dead“. As I paced around the kitchen island and dining room table, my stride was that of a zombie’s, probably my pallor and gaze as well. They screamed and moaned, I screamed and moaned. It was a solid choice for labor entertainment, all things considered.
A typical sign of progress in labor is that contractions 1) last longer 2) feel stronger and 3) happen closer together. Twelve hours in and mine were not gaining getting closer. They were longer and stronger definitely, cruelly, but still only seven minutes apart. My throat already feeling raw, I knew I had to stop using my voice for comfort. I began banging things with my hand instead. I took a spatula and smacked it on the concrete countertop, my hand on the dining table, the footstool against the floor, etc. I gave in to my hunger and ate tunafish.
The sun was beaming down into the playroom so I retreated there for a moment. During the next contraction I started sobbing and couldn’t stop. I was focused on the lack of progress and could only think about how long it would be until I saw Arlo again. I cried and cried and banged Arlo’s toy pots and pans on his toy stove in his toy kitchen. I begged Kris to ask our friends for a picture of him RIGHT THEN so I could see he was happy. He was.
Two more contractions pacing around the island.
The next contraction never stopped.
Still downstairs in the bathroom, I clung to Kris’s leg, trying to breathe while everything skyrocketed. In a second of respite I tell Kris to call our Doula and Midwife. He does and with me still clinging to his legs, he somehow manages to get me upstairs.
A friend of a friend once described the pain of labor as “being murdered from the inside out”. I have also heard it described as “having really strong menstrual cramps”. My experience is the former. I am drawn back to our tiny master bathroom. Every cushion and pillow we own are on the floor to spare my hands and knees. I labor between the toilet and the sink, my head over a kitchen mixing bowl to catch the water and tunafish I repeatedly vomit. The pain is so overwhelming my open-mouthed, low, vibrating moans turn into blood-curdling screams.
Our Midwife arrives. I can’t even acknowledge her. The screaming becomes insufficient. I am driven to destroy as my body is feeling destroyed. I send everything on top of the toilet tank flying into the shower wall. I smash the toilet bowl brush against the ceramic floor. I shake the pedestal sink from its base. I am the Incredible Hulk, caged. The Midwife reminds me to breathe but does not get in my way or tell me do anything different. She puts a cold rag on my neck. She wipes the vomit off my face. It is good. Our Doula is here. It is now dark. I hear rustling in the bedroom. I think it is the birth pool being set up and I go mad. Faced pressed against the cool toilet tank I consider ripping off the lid and bashing myself over the head. There is no way this is going to go on long enough to need a birth pool. I will take myself out of the equation first.
Talk of flashlights.
My waters break.
My body throws itself from hands-and-knees to sitting back on my heels, clenching my entire backside. Then my body climbs itself up the wall to a standing position. I am screaming as loud as I can for as long as I can.
I feel the baby move down and out.
Then back up.
Then down and out.
Then back up.
Then I understand I can get her out and it will be done. I understand she is ready. I understand everything. I will bear my child.
So I do.
Farrah Star born March 1, 6:18pm, 9lbs 4oz, 20 1/4″ long
The elation comes when I see Farrah’s soft, squishy, chubby body in my Midwife’s hands, between my legs, flashlights spotlighting her like stars in the sky. I search for Kris’s face in the dark and finding it I say “Oh Kris! Our baby!” Everything I’d longed for, everything I always knew to be true and pure and possible happened. I am awash in pride and gratitude as my family becomes longer, stronger and closer together.