It's after 10pm, I can't do this any more and I'm lying on my side crying without tears. It hurts too much, I can't cope, that last contraction was so incredibly vicious it felt like I was being sliced from inside, being slashed by internal knives. The violence and pain and intensity were just so much. In retrospect, my previous labours had been painful, but relatively gentle. The fact that my waters had not broken had meant that the pressure on my cervix had been cushioned slightly by fluid. A shock absorber of sorts so that I didn't get the whole sensation.
I am whingy, I am sooking to Bingley, and I cried through the last contraction, the writing is on the fluorescent walls. Obviously I am not strong enough for this. I realise after a while though that there has been a break since the last contraction. At this point there had been upstroke/downstroke but not really a break between. And now that I'm having time to think in my head I realise that the lack of contraction is prolonged and this, to me, equals that labour has stopped.
My mind keeps racing, I can't work out how I could be so strong, so powerful, so exhilirated with the Monkey and what is so different now. I can't work out what I'm doing wrong or how to fix it. All I feel is failure. Failure towards myself, to labour, to my Possum. I want him, I want him in my arms, I want to do this, but I don't know how. And I'm only 4cm, maybe 5cm. There are hours and hours and hours left to get through. More tears.
Even though there is no contraction I am crushing Bingley's fingers. He is sitting with his head on mine, mumbling affirmations to me, kissing my forehead, allowing me to squeeze him, trying not to let me see his worry. I feel a contraction begin to start. The painless squeeze at the top of my uterus signalling that the pain is going to come, and I whimper out loud. Then the pain steps up and I cry out, no longer just a pitiful whimper but a wail. And then, it is more than that, it is beyond that and I scream, scream and push involuntarily.
The midwife rushes over and asks if there is pressure. "No" I manage to scream out, "No, I'm pushing". And she puts her hand inside me to check and the pain is even worse and all I can do is scream. She is confused, she doesn't think I'm any more than 6cm and she rushes out to get my obstetrician. The contraction keeps going and I keep pushing because I can't help it. I am still pushing when he comes back in and gently asks me if he can check what's happening. I'm still screaming and it's even louder when he checks.
"Jenn, you have a 3cm cervical lip but he's coming and he's coming now. I will help by pushing it out of the way. Just keep pushing". I am crying now, hoarse from the screaming and in so much pain I want to die. 2 minutes ago I was 6cm and had hours to go and now I'm supposed to push him out?? My cervix is burning, that familiar ring of fire and I am just lost to the pain. The contraction has stopped, but the pain is still there, the pain of his head pushing my cervix open.
Suddenly I feel the next contraction building and the scream bursts from me again. It is so loud and so foreign that it scares me. I am holding both of Bingley's hands as if they are my only tenuous grip on life. If I let go I know I will be lost. The contraction builds and builds and as it does I push involuntarily. I feel myself stretch, feel his head there, feel everything sting with unbearable pain. I stop pushing and take a breath in. "Push when you get the next contraction" My obstetrician coaches, "I'm still having a contraction" I whimper and I push. I push deep into my chest, down through my strong abdominal muscles and down into my pelvic floor and then I feel him birth. Feel his head come out, feel every part of his head be born. I breathe in again and scream again as his body starts to move, feel his shoulders start to come out and then feel the contraction wane.
He is there, half out, half in, and the contraction is barely there so all that is left is the stinging, stretching pain. I can't do anything but scream and I can't wait for another contraction, the pain is just too much so I push anyway. And feel him lifted from me. My scream stops mid note but there is no silence, there is more screaming, but this time it's not mine, it's Harry's, and he is lying beside me, his head on my belly. I look at him, tears coursing down my cheeks, no longer in pain, looking at my perfect son.
His fuzzy ears, the downy fluff over his head, his wide open dark eyes, his tiny blue hands. I stroke his clean shiny skin, no vernix anywhere, looking just like a catalogue baby, all blushed skin, dimples and fuzz. Neither of us are screaming now. We're just lying together, no one else in the room. He is nuzzling my skin, knowing my scent.
Bingley cuts the cord, and I can lift him higher. I bring him to my breast and he latches on perfectly. I am checked for tearing, we assume with the ferocity that I will have been damaged, but there is none. I am just lying there, eyes closed, my firstborn son in my arms, still holding onto Bingley and blissfully out of pain. I am shaking though, my whole body trembling uncontrollably. My obstetrician is stroking my hair, congratulating me, admiring my son, praising how wonderfully I birth.
And it's that praise, combined with my perfect blue bundle and the relief and absolute pride radiating from Bingley that brings me peace. The knowledge that I did this, that I can do this, that I didn't fail anyone. I can't stop the tears and they trickle down my cheeks. After all my screaming and whining and lamenting I haven't made a single noise since he was given to me, and all I can do is cry, and marvel and tremble at the perfection of Harry William, born at 2222 01/06/09 weighing 3648g (8lb), 53cm