- Family and Parenting
Childbirth Stories-Everyone Has One
Women like to tell childbirth stories
I don’t know why women like to talk about their reproductive lives. Someone innocently shows interest when we mention childbirth and they are shoved into a chair and before you can say “epidural”, they are told every gory detail of the ordeal. It’s universal.
I had a woman tell me about her first-child-experience in a hut in the Philippines. She was an American woman who married a Filipino and found herself on the floor of a hut, in the jungle, naked and screaming while the neighbors looked through the windows at her labor. In the next room, the TV was blasting, but apparently not loud enough to drown out her cries, because someone kept turning up the volume. She was so traumatized by the experience that when she got pregnant with baby #2, she denied it up to the day she delivered. It so happened that she delivered that baby in my parent’s bed. My mother was a nurse and everyone was so alarmed that this friend would not acknowledge she was pregnant that my mother took over, bringing the woman into her home and soothed her enough to agree to give birth in my parent’s bed. Years later, this woman would tell anyone who would listen how my mother saved her life and sanity by making her labor and delivery bearable and dignified.
I, also have a labor and delivery story that I like to tell. My first husband and I had much trouble in the baby-making department. Pregnancy #1 ended in a horrible miscarriage that traumatized me for years. Pregnancy #2 ended in a premature daughter that was tiny and perfect. We buried her after 18 days. Heartbreaking. Pregnancy #3 and #4 produced two healthy girls, robust, beautiful, healthy. They were born two years and three days apart. The only thing that marred their delivery was how dang long it took.
Daughter #2 (but first to survive) arrived after hours and hours of walking the hallways of our hospital in the wee hours of the night. It so happened she was born on June 6 and “The Longest Day” was playing in a 24-hour marathon that day. I spent twelve hours watching John Wayne in the foxholes. It was, indeed the Longest Day.
Daughter #3 was just as long. The doctor decided to give me an epidural and induce me for reasons I don’t want to go into here. But, I think it just wasn’t time. It took forever. They put me on an IV drip to speed up labor, but the hospital kept having emergencies show up at Labor and Delivery. As a result, the nurse kept trotting into my room to slow down my drip, and subsequently, my labor. There was nothing to do for my husband, mother and sister, so we turned on the TV. The only thing on was “The Nature of Sex” on PBS. It was a very appropriate thing to watch during childbirth, I thought. It basically showed every creature known to man copulating in various positions. It really struck us funny. By the time it got to the chimpanzees and elephants, we were howling. The nurse kept coming in and asking us to please tone it down because we were disturbing the other occupants. I guess howling in pain is okay, but they don’t want you to have too much fun in Labor and Delivery. My daughter was finally born, but we were sick of that hospital room.
Which brings me to Baby #4. The pregnancy went really well. On my due date, I started having contractions about 6 in the morning. Nothing big. By 11 a.m., they were pretty painful and closer together. My husband remembered how long it took me with our daughters, so he took them 1/2 hour away to a friends house to play, leaving me alone to labor in peace. I was not happy. He came back and waited with me. Keep in mind, we lived 1 1/2 HOURS from the hospital, in the hills, with winding dirt roads between me and pain killers. I asked him to please go get the girls and prepare to take me to the hospital around 4. He left, and I waited, and waited. Finally, an hour later, I called my neighbor to ask if he was coming down the road. She told me he had just left her house. He had been chatting with her for an hour!
I called him on his cell phone and said to please get home. The contractions were very painful and 15 minutes apart. He said the girls were eating dinner. He would let them eat first and then come home. He finally got home two hours later. My contractions were so painful, it took all my concentration to bear them. I was glad that we were finally going to leave for the hospital. My husband brought the girls home and got them ready for bed. I looked at him with alarm, but he just said we had hours and he didn’t want to spend the night at the hospital again.
By this time, I was unable to do anything but breathe through the contractions. I paced the floor and tried to not panic. I should have called a neighbor to take me, and I actually considered this, but was afraid of hurting my husband’s feelings. Silly me.
At 11:00 my water broke and with a sinking feeling, I knew it was too late. My contractions slammed together with regularity that terrified me. My husband gathered the girls from their beds and we all got into the 3/4 ton Ford truck and took off. We lived on a 7-mile dirt road and every bump and curve was agony. Half an hour later we passed a road that would take us to a closer hospital. I managed to croak out that I wanted him to go to that hospital because I wasn’t going to make it, but he said,
“Yes you will. I have to get the girls to my brother’s house.”
I watched in dismay while my hope for a hospital birth went by.
When we got to his brother’s house, the contractions were on top of each other. My brother-in-law was a firefighter and trained in emergency child birth. They urged my husband to bring me into their house and call Emergency Services, but my husband refused. For some reason he kept insisting he could get me to OUR hospital.
We made it about another 1/2 hour down the road and I could feel the baby coming out. I shrieked at him to stop and he finally screeched to a halt in a turn out. He got a flashlight, came around to my side of the truck and opened the door. Now, in movies, a woman in labor is always wearing a huge peasant dress with no underwear on. I was wearing pants and shoes. He ripped off my pants and shoes and shined a light at the appropriate place. His exact words were, and I kid you not:
“I can see the head. Put your feet in and I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
Through the fog of my paralyzing pain I remember concentrating on keeping my knees locked and my feet outside the truck so he couldn’t close the door. At that moment, he decided he did need help and called 911 on his cell phone.
“MY WIFE’S HAVING A BABY!!” was all he could blurt, then the cell phone got flung, the flashlight got flung and I pushed out my child, hoping he would catch it. He put the baby on my chest, covered him with a clean towel we had had the foresight to bring and we leisurely drove to the hospital. I was in a fog, almost an afterglow that was very strange. All I heard was, “I think it is a boy, babe.”
I was thunderstruck. It never occurred to me to ask the sex. A boy! When I got to the hospital, we drove to the ER entrance. The nurse brought a gurney, opened the truck door and said, “Can you walk?”
I had not delivered the placenta yet and had a cord hanging outside of my vagina. Sure, I’ll walk a 10k for ya, lady!
When it was all said and done, we had a healthy boy, I was okay and we had a good story to tell. He was born on top of Mt. George and we considered calling him George “The Ford” DeForge, but decided that sounded too much like a professional wrestler. But on the birth certificate it reads the location of his birth was “in the front of an F250 Ford Truck on Hwy 128”