Miles' birth was a complicated affair that I am still not able to fully process. I don't even remember all of it yet. But I do know that there were three distinct phases of the day: a wonderful part, a scary part, and a traumatically terrifying, confusing, awful part with a good ending.
As I said, it started out wonderful. The night I went into labor, I had spent hours crying, believing in my soul that my body didn't know how to go into labor and I would carry around my little lichen forever. As soon as Corey calmed me down, I noticed my practice contractions were stronger, coming at more regular intervals. I took a bath and yelled out to Corey each time one began while he took notes and timed everything with his cell phone.
By 5am, we felt confident that I wasn't wishful thinking, that this was really it. We called the midwives, then my mother, then I convinced him that yes, this was one of those times it was ok to call his parents and wake them up, too. My contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. We ate cereal and watched Trekkies while we waited for them to speed up.
By 6am, the contractions were two minutes apart, which usually signifies active labor. We zoomed to Magee and I squatted on the floor behind the check-in desk while they asked me inane questions for a hundred years. Finally, one of the admissions ladies was like, "Um...she's going every 2 minutes..." and they took us to a room. I think it was room 5.
The first midwife on duty that day came in and I learned there were no popsicles and that I was dismally undilated, despite having the contractions of a much more dilated woman. We did some laps around the hallways to try and get the baby's head to drop. In the videos they show you at Lamaze, these hallways are always deserted and peaceful. In real life, they are filled with people who look at you funny when you bend over and wheeze mid-stride. Naked beneath those damn hospital gowns, I decided I was more comfortable laboring in the claustrophobic triage room. Plus, I kept tripping on my Crocs.
The midwives brought me a birthing ball and I just sort of knelt on the floor and let the labor wash over me. At that point, I was breathing through everything just fine on my own. Corey was able to go in and out and update my mom, who had arrived but wasn't allowed to come in the tiny room with us.
Four hours later, I still hadn't reached 3cm, but they took pity and moved me to an actual labor/delivery/recovery room, where my mom could join us and I had room to pace in circles. Imagine if you will an enormous, 42-weeks-pregnant woman stomping around buck naked, panting, while Corey chased her around with a tennis ball attempting counter-pressure. Then imagine that for many, many hours.
I alternated the pacing and sitting in the shower with the hot water on my lower back with Corey helping me breathe through contractions that were, actually, totally manageable. A few people offered me a super fun IV stick, but I turned them down and only emerged from the shower once each hour when the nurses wanted to check my baby's heart rate.
The whole time I labored, Corey helped me plan out which breathing pattern we'd use and he labored right along with me even though I kept swatting away his touch and yelling at him for eating Sun Chips in my presence. You see, the hospital has a policy about food. I was allowed to have "clear liquids," which meant room service broth, popsicles, and rainbow Jello (which I later puked up all over Corey, but that's neither here nor there).
I remember the contractions coming fast and furious, again and again and again, sometimes right on top of each other without rest in between. But I also remember listening to my relaxing CD on repeat and having my mom and Corey telling me I was super strong and amazing. Then the midwife and nurse kept telling me I was in charge and control of my breath, which took me right through each one. If only I had been dilating, I really would have been totally fine with the whole process.
But, alas, I was not progressing. The day faded into evening while Mr. Miles' head still didn't drop into my pelvis, my water did not break, and I didn't dilate beyond 5cm. Somehow, my body knew how to have many hours' of insane contractions (they were by this point 90 seconds long and at most 30 seconds apart), but Miles and I couldn't quite coordinate the mechanisms to let him out. Thus ended the wonderful part of my labor.