My first mistake was drinking old caster oil. I drank it on a Tuesday and was sure I would have a baby in my arms by Wednesday; but when Thursday came without a baby I was miserable. The bottle was almost 3 1/2 years old (last used to bring Sweet Terror into the world) but the expiration date said good 'till April of 2009. My first clue should have been the taste. Caster oil is supposed to be tasteless as well as odorless. This had a taste. It tasted like liquid Barbie Doll plastic. Luckily Cookie pointed out the tasteless part of the label so I sent Mr. Hot to get me a fresh bottle. This time it was tasteless. I drank it Friday morning and had Cheeks Friday night. ALWAYS use fresh oil!
My second mistake was over confidence. It is a mistake I make all too often in life. Like when playing Rummikub. If I brag about how I win EVERY time (and really, I do) before a game I inevitably loose and am forced to eat crow. But, if I quietly sit and play I beat the ever lovin' pants off everybody who dares challenge me and I laugh in my glory. Well I've been bragging for the past month about how I was going to drink some caster oil and slip this baby right out in a matter of minutes. Oh yeah, 'cause I'm a total baby making machine (as one woman so sweetly called me. Take note people, pregnant women do NOT like being called baby making machines!). I should know by now not to brag.
Third mistake was having high expectations. Sweet Terror slid out just 1 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital (that was after caster oil and my water broke) and Pablo came rushing out with just one push a couple hours after they broke my water for me. So there I was, belly full of caster oil, after a day full of walking (yard saling and then a picnic at the beach), and then the doctor broke my water... I figured at that point the baby should just be wrapped and hand delivered to me upon request. Well, he wasn't.
I'll get to my fourth mistake in a minute. Really the only thing I did right was to ask my mom to take the kids to the neighbor's house so she could be in the delivery room with me. I shudder to think what would have happened if she hadn't been there to shut me up. It went like this (if you want to just skip to the part where I go crazy start at 7-8 pm):
10am: I'm feeling contractions quite regularly, but they aren't too painful. I don't say anything to mom because I don't want to jinx anything. By noon I let her in on it and tell her that these feel like downward pushing contractions, and that is good. We carry on with our day, and the contractions keep coming.
3pm: I call Mr. Hotness and tell him to be on standby because I may need him to come home early. I take a shower as the contractions increase in intensity. Realizing that traffic is unpredictable I call Mr. Hot again to tell him he better just come now, but I needn't have bothered because he was already half way home. The plan was for mom to stay with the kids while I delivered but I suddenly felt a deep need to have her there, so we called my neighbor and she was sweet enough to watch my zoo for the rest of the day. THANK YOU DeDe!
4:50pm: Enter hospital and fill out paper work while contracting. I was really wishing my water would break right there at the front desk as payback for such a ridiculous procedure. I would have loved to say, "Would you catch my baby for me while I sign this last one? Thanks ever so much." But no dice. Then we get in the elevator where a nice doctor tries to make small talk with me while I contract. Sorry, doctor, but NOT. RIGHT. NOW!!!!
5pm: The usual pain of having blood drawn, getting hooked to an I.V., filling out more paper work, having them take all sorts of vitals, wishing I was just giving birth in a rice patty so I could forgo all this stuff and have my baby in peace. At this point I am still being "such a trooper." I am breathing right, I am focused, I am mentally and physically welcoming the surges of pain, accepting them and allowing them to course through my body, knowing they are going to help me bring this child into the world. My mom keeps telling me I'm doing such a good job, and I agree. I am so amazing.
6-8pm: Mistake #4. I start pushing. I should know better than to push, pushing only gets me into trouble. I know there is literature out there somewhere about not pushing in labor, that the body will push by itself when it is ready, but I can't seem to find it online (and I am desperate to get this posted). And I'm not preaching this to anyone, I just know it as a fact with my body. Pushing just makes things worse. But I was busy thinking about Cookie's delivery and how I had started pushing without knowing it and how fast she came after that, so I decided to start pushing. After a long time pushing and still no baby I figured it was the water sack holding me back so I had them break it for me. Ok, I drank the oil, I started pushing, my water was broken, HERE COMES BABY... right? Where is the baby? WHERE IS THE BABY?!?!?!? I've never been a patient person, ever. Suddenly I start to feel despair. This isn't new, I've felt this before in the delivery room, that feeling of "I can't do this anymore." But I've never felt it quite like this. I lost it people. I royally lost it. I was possessed and started demanding, pleading, begging, and threatening. I wanted an epidural, but was told that they take 40 minutes from start to finish to take effect, that I would have to be sitting up while contracting during the installation, that I would probably have the baby by the time it took effect anyway, and then my mom reminded me about my intense fear of needles (thanks a lot mom). But I just knew this baby was never ever ever going to come out. It was taking forever. THEN GET ME A C-SECTION. STOP LAUGHING, I'M SERIOUS!!! CUT ME OPEN AND TAKE THIS BABY OUT OF ME. My mom tried to tell me that you couldn't just choose to have a c-section, but I could see in the nurses eyes that that wasn't true and I had read news articles about c-sections now being optional. GIVE ME A C-SECTION, STOP THIS PAIN, I'VE BEEN THROUGH THIS TOO MANY TIMES. I CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE. IT ISN'T FAIR. I grab Mr. Hotness by the collar of his shirt and beg. I beg without any pride. I tell him that there is no way I will be able to love the baby if I have to endure anymore pain. I was seriously worried that the memory of the pain would make me hate the baby. Mr. Hotness started to cry, it hurt him to see me in so much pain. WHERE IS MY C-SECTION???? Many awful things came pouring out of my mouth at this time (though I'm proud to say I didn't swear). Then my mom tells me that to do a c-section they still have to do a spinal block which still involves time and needles. What??? I thought there were emergency c-sections and they were done in a matter of minutes. I am enraged. It is disgusting to me that in this day and age there isn't a quicker, easier way to bring children into the world. Who does God think he is? My eyes shoot out anger at my so-called mother and so-called husband. How dare they fail me in my time of need. Then my wonderful mother did what she was there to do. She bent close to my head and kindly told me, "Now, Liz, there is no other way to do this, so I want you to just shut up now. Don't talk anymore."
(Oh yeah, and somewhere in all of this the nurse tells me I have to stop pushing because my cervix is still shut and the pushing is making it swell, making it get in the way, making things take longer. But pushing was the only way I was surviving those contractions.)
A little after 8pm: I was raised to always obey mother no matter what. So, I shut up. And I did so in absolute anger. Fine, I thought, you won't help me, you won't let me push, there is obviously no easier way out of this, and you want me to shut up. Then I won't talk to you two people ever again! And I completely shut up. And I stopped pushing. It was so hard but I did it. I wasn't going to talk, I wasn't going to push, I wasn't going to do anything but ignore everyone and everything. So, I found my happy meditation spot. When a contraction would come, instead of pushing, I would push against my mom's and Mr's Hot's hands (no pushing below my waist) and I moved my bent knees back and forth like the wings of a butterfly. And that is what they were, the newly expanding wings of a just-hatched butterfly, and the pain was the liquid coursing through the wings to help them expand. It was a beautiful, though painful, place to be. I also changed my thoughts. Instead of thinking about the time, the clock, the pain and such, I started praying and talking to the baby (in my mind) in between each contraction.
9pm: My body pushed. I didn't push, my body did. I didn't say anything though, I was in a different place now. Another push, and this time I can feel it. I feel hope. Do you know what hope feels like in delivery? It feels like ripping. The baby was ripping through the veil of life and that veil is my body. I could feel my body ripping in half, but I knew this intense pain and knew how fantastic it was. I smile as I feel my body take over the process for me. I can hear the nurse telling me to stop and yelling for the doctor. I just lay back while my body screamed for me, pushed for me, acknowledged the pain for me, and I just smiled knowing it was finally over. The head burst forth on that second push. The body came on the forth, and like light pouring out of my body he came all the way through. The intense pleasure of that moment is one that can not be described, only experienced. I can only imagine death itself as being its equal. And there he is, my little guy, bloody, purple, with eyes swollen shut. He made it, and so did I. And, no, I can't remember the pain. I can only remember the things I said and the things I thought, but I can't actually recall the feeling of that pain. But I do remember the feeling of that final moment of beauty. This is why I am crazy enough (and thankfully I'm lucky enough) to choose natural childbirth.