I cried. The back labor was awful and I had just hit a wall.
We went and walked and Sergio talked me through everything. I didn't really like to be touched throughout the labor, and I was really nonverbal, but Sergio did whatever was asked. He also made me eat and drink even when I didn't want to, and allowed me to moan and yell in public even though I am sure that was slightly embarrassing. In fact, writing about the crying and yelling over a week afterward makes me almost want to pretend I didn't do any of that, but labor is terrible and I did all of that stuff and more.
After the walk I asked to be checked because I figured if I hadn't progressed any then I was giving up. I was nine centimeters. They thought I had just the tiniest bit of a cervical lip holding her back. Not long after that the head midwife came in and felt around and decided I should push while she did this so that she could help push back the cervical lip, and then I could start pushing. The baby was still high and it would probably take longer than normal, but I could try. Anything that was different from just sitting through contractions was a welcome change.
I pushed by squatting on the floor and holding onto one post of a four post bed (I am sure you all totally wanted to know that). Sergio sat behind me and supported my back. I pushed well, I think, but not well enough. The midwife and the assistant thought that "showing" me where to push would be helpful. This is very painful. Very, very painful.
I yelled a lot.
Our parents had been in the waiting room since the wee hours, and by this time my brother and sister-in-law and their kids had made it as well. The yelling did not make them feel good about what was happening on my side of the door.
So I pushed...and pushed...and pushed. Often with the "help" of a midwife or assistant. We would make good progress and then the baby would slip back some.
This went on for over two hours. If you don't know what happens to your anatomy after two hours of pushing, well, count that as a blessing.
Soon the baby's heartrate started faltering. On top of that, my contractions began slowing down because I was so tired. It was like my uterus gave up or something. And that is when the situation officially became an emergency. The midwife mentioned using a vacuum in order to motivate me to push her out on my own (as if motivation was my problem), but all it did was offer me some relief that it might be over soon. I think at that point she knew it had gone on too long. That someone had lost control of the situation. She called their cooperating physician over from Baylor. She came within minutes. And she meant business.
They had me on my back on the bed within seconds, and despite my fervent pleas that they not do it, I was being held down with my legs back by both midwives, Sergio, and the office manager from upstairs. Through this the doctor was snapping at me that I had to push hard if she was going to try the vacuum because really I needed to be transferred and this had better work! Or something. She also snapped at the midwives and everyone else who wasn't on the same page as her. She had control of the situation, though, and I appreciated that. She told the midwives the baby was not stuck on a cervical lip, but was in fact stuck behind my inverted tail bone. I think this might explain the horrifying back labor, but that is only my theory.
The next few minutes are a blur of long needles meant to numb me for an episiotomy, the doctor putting far too many hands in places that that many hands don't go, a vacuum doing much the same thing, and finally a wicked episiotomy. I also vividly remember feeling like the doctor was angry with me because I could no longer tell her when the contractions were starting. I was so beyond any pain I have known that I couldn't feel the contractions anymore, and my reaction was to feel guilty. I wish I could do this part over again just so that I could kick someone in the face.
I say a blur because even though I was still unmedicated and totally aware, the only thought I really had room for in my head was, "just cooperate and it will be over." And yelling.
And soon it was over. A warm, slippery, crying human being was dropped on my chest. Relief!
Until they sewed me up. Those local shots never did do anything except hurt like hell to have done. I asked how many stitches it would require and was told, "um...ten...at least." I didn't ask for the final tally.
The next thing I knew there were teary mothers in the room. Not because of the baby, but because of the total trauma of having heard all of that from the next room, seeing a doctor barrel through the door, and not receiving any information about what was happening. Nobody was really able to focus on the baby until a few minutes later.
She was perfect. Dark hair that almost looked curly. My hands. Sergio's ears. A complete stranger that was somehow familiar. We took her home six hours later. This was the only part of having her at the birth center that happened the way I thought it would.
Here, look at the cute baby! Click on the arrow, it is a slideshow.