“Pain Don’t Hurt”, I laughed within the first hour of my contractions. My husband, doula, and mother laughed at my Swayzean mentality, knowing that I would change that tune in only a little while. Except, you see, I didn’t. When we went to the hospital the first time, the nursing staff at triage were bound and determined to send me home because I was “likely only a 1 (cm)” because I was smiling and laughing and walking comfortably. Turns out I was 4 cm dilated and they wanted me to stay and walk around to try and get things moving. I had a doctor and a nurse examine me because they didn’t believe the first exam.
“Pain Don’t Hurt”, I repeated as we left the hospital; I wanted to sleep, not walk around. I was ecstatic to have progressed that much and I delighted in the triage staff’s disbelief. I had been at this for 12 hours. While I didn’t really get much sleep, the comfort of my home was enough to relax me. We returned to the hospital the next day, and I had only progressed to 5cm, but they wanted me to stay. I agreed.
“Pain Don’t Hurt”, I said, losing my chipper tone as I swayed on a birthing ball, 4 hours into continual fetal monitoring that did not allow me to move freely. “But we can see contractions on the monitor”, they said. “I am not kidding you, I can barely feel them”. They asked me to rate my pain on a scale from one to ten, and I gave it a solid 5. No one believed me when I dilated to 8cm, we had another double exam to prove it. Nursing staff eyed me as I bounced up and down the hallway, drinking water, laughing, joking as I tried to waddle my way into transition.
I don’t know why it really didn’t hurt that much. I mean, it did hurt, but not in the way I expected. Not at the level I expected. Towards the end, I prayed for painful contractions, because it would mean progress, but they never came. I never was able to use all of the wonderful pain management techniques we learned, I never was able to use the giant jacuzzi tub in the hospital room.
And when pain did hurt, when they brought that medicine crashing through my body, there was nothing we could do to stop it. They still said, “you aren’t supposed to be laughing” when I was in the painful throws of transition. And when the laughing stopped, all my husband could do was press cold, wet towels against my head, the pressure and coolness grounding me as I lost my composure and screamed in agony. The pain of bearing down, the pain of pushing, but the complete inability to control it.
Then suddenly, pain didn’t hurt again. The sheer exhaustion, the shock, the sound of a baby crying, the sweet, sweet nurse who used a wet towel from the bathroom to clean the blood instead of a rough, dry towel like the others. And, each day that passed, the pain that did hurt, hurt less and less, until it all but disappeared as a logical memory and not as an emotional reminder. In the end, a sweet baby and a bunch of foggy memories in which pain really, in the end, didn’t hurt.
Guest Bio: Kalyn is a twenty-something blogger from Canada, living with her husband Chris, her baby daughter Ophelia and two dogs. In addition to spending time with her family, Kalyn enjoys travel, shopping, and cooking. To read more about her day to day adventures, visit Spits and Giggles, where Kalyn blogs about about natural parenting, breastfeeding, cloth diapering and more.