My water broke before anything else happened. I was in bed, awake because I couldn’t sleep of course, and it was 3:33am.
I was on my right side and it felt the way I imagine it’d feel if there were a very small water balloon between my pelvic bone and someone pulled on the knotted end of the water balloon until it broke off at the funnel cleanly and all at once. I heard a “puuhp” sound in my head, but just in my head. Like how it sounds when you touch your lips together and put very light pressure behind them to make them pop open, but no air.
I lay there a moment thinking very clearly, wow, my water just broke, but convincing myself there was no way because this wasn’t Hollywood and I was early. After a few minutes I felt wetness and figured I should get up to check. In the bathroom my underwear and shorts were soaked. I changed them, put in a pad, and waited to see if contractions came. They didn’t. I went in the kitchen and ate pie.
That was Sunday morning. Skip forward to feeling light period cramps all Monday, but nothing bothersome. I napped a lot as I was alone and had spent Sunday evening trying to convince L&D that my water had broken (they ended up not believing me and sending me home).
By the time my husband got home Monday evening I was getting frequent cramps that felt like there was a very large hand inside my abdomen (wrist at my pelvic floor, finger tips stretched to the bottom of my ribs) that would go from being fully open (no pain) to clenched fist (taking my insides with it and squeezing). As my early labor progressed the clenched fist got tighter more frequently and stayed clenched longer.
When I couldn’t breathe or stretch my legs out through a contraction (I wanted to curl up in a ball when they hit) I knew it was time to go in. I live two blocks from the hospital – a 5 minute drive. By the time I was in triage I had to grunt through the pain to keep from yelling out. By the time I was admitted it felt like my whole body was being squeezed into the palm of that hand – like it wanted to be smaller but there was something inside pushing outward making me bigger. I threw up five times trying to walk the halls.
During active labor, contractions felt like my entire upper half was being sucked through a pin sized hole between my legs. And that my head had to go through first. And for it to get there it had to go through the center of my body such that all of me was turning inside out against my will. Like a Jack in the Box being shoved straight down, back into the tin. I remember thinking oh my god. I am going to die. My own head is going to get stuck behind my own ribs and I am going to burst out of my own stomach like in Alien. It felt like it was going on forever. Like it would never end. It lasted less than two hours.
And then I got my epidural and I started shivering uncontrollably. I tried holding onto the bed to make it stop and thinking man, this is hilarious. I literally cannot stop shaking. And feeling like my body was trying to poop a really big poop. And none of it hurt. And it was wonderful.
Pushing felt good. I mean not like… it wasn’t like getting a foot massage… but it felt satisfying. Like how it’s satisfying to finally get to scratch something that’s been itching. Or like when you’re talking to someone and they spit on your face and you know they did it but they’re still talking to you and it’s all you can think about, and then after what feels like forever they look away and you finally get to wipe away the spit.
Like, it’s still gross, but it feels good to get to do something about it. And I remember feeling him being born, but there was no pain. I wasn’t numb at all though. I could feel everything. I just couldn’t feel the pain. It’s like when you’re under water and you move your limbs super slow, you can feel the wetness but you can’t feel the water as you move through it. Kind of like that.
Anyway. It’s hard to remember so much. Even now I think back and second guess myself. Details – times – sequence of events. I’m sure I’m mixing up a lot of the specifics. But these things I remember for sure. It was crazy.