I have a high threshold for pain, which is why as I began labor, I recall thinking, “Well, this isn’t so bad.” I felt that way for hours, actually. I sat in the living room by myself, lights off, the room illuminated by nearby Uptown streetlights. I recorded contractions in a notebook, got a drink of water, waited until about 7/00 a.m. when the contractions were about three minutes apart, and then I woke Mark, my husband, from deep slumber. I recall he half-moaned, “nooooo” like a whiny toddler, because he first thought it was time to get ready for work, even though it was a Sunday.
I took a shower. The pain—it really wasn’t so bad.
We were headed to Methodist Hospital when I remembered we might need some cash, so we swung by my place of business and I took $20 from the register, leaving a note that I was in labor and I’d pay the money back the following
week. Pain? Not bad at all.
But labor is a funny beast. I can say my experience was akin to when I was a child and my younger brother would pick on me. He’d do something ridiculous like poke me with his index finger, and I’d say, “that doesn’t hurt” so he’d poke
at me a little harder, and a little harder, and all the while I’d be saying with steadfast resolve, “that doesn’t hurt.” Finally, he’d get irritated and jab the heck out of me, at which time I’d yell, “MOMMMM!!!!!”
That’s how the last bit of labor commenced. By the time my daughter decided it was time to make her appearance, and I was ready to yell, “Mom!”—I was too far along in the delivery for any kind of administered pain relief. And though
it felt as if I was being ripped apart by some wild beast, by the time Hanna was born, I had the mental wherewithal to say to the doctor, “My husband would like to cut the cord.” I had to say this because I knew Mark had forgotten he
wanted to do that. He was happily distracted by the delivery, I perceived.
The doctor handed him the scissors, he cut the cord with one hand while holding mine with his other, and our daughter was placed in my arms. I said, “So this is Hanna Kathleen.” And then, we were a family.
That’s my birth story. If you would like to learn how to process your own birth story, turn to page 42.