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Labor Fail, Part 1

31 December 2012

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Saturday night the contractions were pretty urgent, but they had been for the past few evenings. They usually tapered off with the sunrise, but Sunday morning … they tapered not.

20 minutes. 15 minutes. 10. 5. Five minutes apart for an hour means it’s time to go.

I’m told this was about 6 PM, but I hardly remember. It’s been two weeks (already), and I’ve just nearly recreated the sequence of events for myself from Husband’s testimony and text message records.

Third floor. Hospital gown. Three and a half centimeters. It’s up to us if we want to stay or go, but before we go she needs me on the monitors for 20 consecutive minutes. I couldn’t do that. Those contractions were racking me, and I couldn’t lay in that bed on my back for 20 minutes. She offered us an hour to labor and think about what we wanted to do. We gratefully accepted.

Contractions got closer and we decided to stay. I was worried that if we stuck around someone would get impatient and want to intervene to speed up the process, but I also didn’t want to go home and come right back. We got our little plastic wristbands and settled in.

Everything after that pretty much felt like me completely failing at childbearing. 

Husband insists that I did well. He says the nurses were impressed, and the text messages from the evening tell the same story. Through my haze (some combination, surely, of God’s mercy and my brain completely flooding my body with endorphines), though, I just remember quitting.


I remember trying to pray, and then trying not to get angry. Great woman of faith that I am, the Pharisee within me is always ready – and I do mean always – to have a theological argument. Faith vs. sovereignty vs. fear vs. unbelief. Really? Now? Can I just spend the next few hours in blissfully ignorant agony? Can we not add psychological turmoil to what is going on right now?

I remember Husband reminding me to, and trying to help me, relax during contractions, like we’d spent ten childbirth classes learning how and why to do. And I remember my whole body involuntarily seizing up with every contraction anyway. This didn’t feel anything like Husband squeezing my calf while our very sweet teacher gently describes the rise and fall of a contraction over 90 seconds. A better spin on that exercise might be the coach stabbing some part of the expectant mother – in a fleshy, non-essential area – while the teacher yells, “Relax or die! Relax or die!” in the background. Might be better preparation for game day. Just a suggestion.

Like I said: I pretty much failed at the whole thing.

I remember having a conversation with Husband about his name at one point. We hadn’t decided on Daniel or Samuel for a first name yet. I don’t know why it didn’t seem like a really bad time to reenter that conversation.

He asked which I thought it should be, and I made some snarky comment about how ridiculous it was that the one name we had settled on – his middle name – means “God is mercy.” I’m sure there was mercy. I’m sure my altered consciousness was mercy, but I wasn’t feelin’ the mercy at that moment. I said if we were going for meaning, I was kind of feeling “God is my judge” (Daniel), over “asked of the Lord” (Samuel) just then.

Husband chuckled. I hyperventilated through another contraction.

Some friends stopped by and brought McDonald’s for Husband. I wasn’t aware of it entering the room, or of the crinkly unwrapping of paper. I was suddenly aware of the smell of bad meat and onions on his breath when he came back to the bed for the next contraction. He confessed his unsaturated sin, and said that if the smell was going to bother me, he wouldn’t eat it.

Sweet man. I was pretty sure that if he’d decided to snack on feces, the smell couldn’t have been more offensive, but how could I tell him not to eat? I was sure we must have been there for about five days by then, and the guy had to be starving. I could deal.

Shortly thereafter (who am I kidding, I have no idea how much time elapsed) my water finally broke, I decided it was time to push a baby out, and the fun really started.

But this is long enough. You’re bored. We’ll save that for tomorrow.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 December 2012 11:03 AM

    I completely sympathize with feeling like a failure at childbirth!!! I had to give in and get an epidural, because I couldn’t make my body relax enough to let the contractions do their job. I love your perspective of what it felt like, rather than just the facts of it. I’m sure you did great…but preparing for childbirth and actually doing it are two completely different things, aren’t they?!

    • Lex permalink
      31 December 2012 6:09 PM

      COMPLETELY. It’s weird how you can feel so prepared for something and then realize you have NO idea what’s going on. Thanks for the sympathy! 🙂

  2. Cherie Green permalink
    1 January 2013 12:33 AM

    Anxiously awaiting part 2.

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