Before I left the hospital that Saturday night, the nurses all suggested I take something to help me relax for the night as I would need my strength for the next day if labor were to continue. Doula agreed it might be a good idea. I rolled over and took one of the most painful shots in my behind I’d EVER felt (how is THIS supposed to relax me?!) and went home.
It was late, but Doula suggested we call my chiropractor (a close friend) to see if she would make a house call to help me loosen my pelvic muscles. Amazingly, she raced to our house with her suitcase of tools.
The muscle relaxer didn’t kill the contractions, but it did make me high as a kite. I flowed in and out of crying and sleeping and breathing through contractions, which were now about every ten minutes. My chiro worked on me for 40 minutes, none of which I clearly remember except for the moment her head disconnected from her body and floated over my face repeating, “You’re doing great.”
Was it the best choice to accept the muscle relaxer? I still can’t say for certain. It did help me relax, though I still felt every contraction and only slept in 5-minute intervals over the next 4 hours. At about 3am the drugs wore off and I began working hard to breathe through contractions again. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and barely drank anything since leaving for the hospital. David woke up and saw that I was back in the swing of things. Doula Shmoula had gone home to get some rest, so he did what he could to coach me through. He put me back into the bath. The pain increased and was like nothing I’d ever felt. I floated there, writhing in pain, and in between each contraction I looked David in the eye and apologized because I couldn’t do it anymore. “I tried,” I told him over and over again.
I got out of the tub at about 4:30am and began pacing the house. I entered a primal state of being, grunting and groaning and ignoring everyone and everything around me. David tried standing in front of me with food and water, at one point even offering me a sandwich. I shouted, “I HATE THE CRUST,” and pushed past him. I’ve never had a problem with sandwich crusts, not even as a kid, but at the moment it was the only control I had.
Doula came back at about 5:30am. I could hear her and David whispering over me while I rolled and twisted in agony on the bed, but I never caught anything they said. I remembering thinking that I hoped they were both in agreement that labor was over and I could go eat some chicken noodle soup. I even sat up after a contraction and announced I was finished and I was going to the table to eat a meal. The trouble with labor is that no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop it. The end to the pain comes when it wants, not when you decide.
I labored through the worst four hours of my life there in my bedroom. I cried and screamed and begged Doula to make it stop. She continued changing my positions and suggesting new alternatives. In the end, I found myself in the tub again. I screamed in desperation, “TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL.” Doula asked me what was going to happen at the hospital and I snapped that I didn’t know, I just needed to go somewhere. I needed to do something different. Doula looked me in the eye, the sunlight beginning to peer through the bathroom window, and said, “If you do three contractions in the squatting position, we’ll go to the hospital.”
I looked straight back and asked, “Are you f*&king kidding me?” She shook her head no.
“I want your water to break,” she whispered. “I want your labor to progress. Now let’s do three contractions. You’re doing great.”
I did those three contractions in the squatting position and like a lioness, roared through the house to the car. I don’t remember the second ride to the hospital. Nor do I remember the security guard who apparently told David to just park in a handicapped spot because he was so fearful of the noises I was making. David said he thought I was dying. I do remember being pushed in a wheelchair straight to labor and delivery and walking directly to the same room I’d left. I didn’t even stop to ask where to go. That was my room and I was taking it back.