After my previous home-birth, I would often say I felt like I cheated, because it wouldn't have mattered where I had the baby - his 3.5 hour entrance into this world would not have varied too widely. Honestly, I didn't feel I'd earned any kind of special home-birther badge.
This time, I earned it. In fact, I earned a whole freakin' trophy. It should be large, the kind that gets its own pedestal.
In some ways, the tale is much less harrowing. Hour after hour of labor that started and stopped and a body that really didn't seem very interested in hurrying this baby into the world.
According to conventional wisdom, each child comes progressively quicker. Thus, after such a short delivery time for her older brother, I expected this baby to fly out. I was mentally prepared for that.
I was not mentally prepared for a marathon. Or my longest birth yet. To say I was discouraged would be an understatement. And the process of continually reminding my body it was in labor was exhausting and, to be honest, boring.
So much of me, after decrying the unnecessary tactics of the hospital's over-use of the drug pitocin to hurry along labor, wanted nothing more than to head on out, lay down in an uncomfortable bed and let them hook me up to the machine. Let the drugs tell my body what to do so I didn't have to.
Then, of course, hook me up to the drugs that make it so I can't feel the other drugs bossing my body around.
Yep, I wanted it all.
Not that I was in an intense amount of pain. I was, really, just bored. And just wanted to sleep.
No, the pain didn't come until later.
That would have been the final two hours.
Those final two hours when my labor took a turn for the immortalized births of film legend, the ones with the crazy pregnant lady (a role I've never before taken on), screaming at those around me about my inability to do this and just someone get this baby out of me -
All I WANTED was to push the baby out. Because that would make it all stop.
But then there was that cervix. The one that didn't want to get out of the way so the baby would come. The one that made the pushing that much more excruciating because it required outside intervention. The problems I've never had before. All I've ever had before was the urge to push, a few contractions of shoving and a baby in my arms.
This was NOT the birth I had imagined.
Not in the least.
And all I wanted, after decrying the unnecessary C-sections the hospital dishes out, was for someone to just cut me open and pull this baby out. Anything so I didn't have to do it anymore.
Meanwhile, throug it all, there was my husband. My wonderfully patient husband who stayed by my side for 22 hours. Sleeping while I slept, holding my hand while I contracted, rubbing my back as I moaned in discomfort, swaying with me as I contracted, reassuring me of the strength God had given me, crying while I cried out in pain. He was surprised and fearful, only for me, when I turned into evil, pregnant lady, screaming at all those around me, but never did he shy away or take it personally (and I never did claim to hate him or blame him for any of it, so there's that redeeming factor for my crazy stage).
And even though his rightful role, the one he'd been anticipating long before the process was even in full swing, was of being the one to catch our precious new baby in his arms as she entered the world, he gave it up without questioning when I would not allow him to leave my side or let go of my hand. He did what he needed, what I needed, whatever that was.
I am immensely proud of him.
And, thankfully, in the end, we got our trophy. Our preciously squishy bundle of snuggles that has been placed on her proverbial pedestal by all those around her.
And while the tale of her arrival may be much less exciting and much more filled with pain, impatience and unpleasant memories, the ending remains the same - worth every bit of it all.