One of my first assignments in my master's program was to basically write my life story. It just so happened that right at the beginning of my master's program, I gave birth to Graham, so I had to add a section about his birth to my story.
That was four years ago.
This is what I wrote.
Her face was blurry, but her voice was clear. "Pretend you are about to go under water. "Take a deep breath, and then push!"
I hadn't taken a single pain-relieving drug, not even a Tylenol, but I felt what I would imagine to be doped up. I was in a clear state of panic, about to hyperventilate from breathing so quickly and so deeply. I took the nurse's advice and breathed in a deep gulp of air and gave it my all when the next contraction arrived. It was amazing how much better that worked than breathing in and out very quickly. I wanted to thank the nurse for her advice, but the words just wouldn't come to me.
"Good," the nurse exclaimed. "Do that again with the next contraction."
I didn't want any more contractions!
I dreaded the next contraction as I reveled in the relaxation during the in-between-contractions period. These short minutes of relaxation felt incredible. Although I felt dopey, I also felt more focused and dedicated than I ever had in my life. I looked up at my Tony, who was with my midwife, Pauline, waiting to help catch the baby. He glanced at me adoringly and simply mouthed the words, "I love you." I could see the tears he was shedding for me, and I knew he was engaged in this labor almost as much as I was.
The pain began to shoot up my back once again. It felt like a personality shift as I found myself screaming in agony. I could sort of hear Pauline saying, "There's the head. It's almost here." I was suddenly reminded of the time I had chosen to run a marathon and I was at mile 20. Everyone shouted, "You're almost there!" But I knew I still had 6.2 grueling miles ahead of me. I really hoped this wasn't like mile 20, with 6 more to go. I hoped it was true, that I was really almost there.
As these thoughts raced through my head, I heard myself screaming, "Don't tease me!" I looked at Tony again to get his opinion on the matter, and he confirmed what Pauline was saying. It was close.
The baby was right there, ready to enter this crazy world.
The contraction ended, and I fell into blissful relaxation. Sleep was all I wanted to do, but just as I was drifting away, the pain started again. This was going to be the last contraction. I just new it. I buckled down and pushed with all my might. I heard Pauline telling Tony to get ready, because it was almost out. The pain grew stronger and stronger as I pushed even harder. Every muscle in my body was engaged in pushing. I couldn't believe my own strength. I was doing it! I was giving birth!
Suddenly, everything stopped hurting. I didn't want to push anymore.
The biggest relief I had ever felt.
The baby had entered the world. I looked up to see his umbilical cord and his little penis. I was the very fist person in this world to know he was a boy. The nurses laid him on my belly and he gazed up at me with his deep, pure blue eyes.
There it was.
Right there in my arms, Light, Love, God, Life.