“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” -Dan Rather
My knuckles drain of color as I grip onto the administration desk in the hospital’s maternity ward. Beside me, my husband frantically searches my purse for an insurance card. I’m no help; I can only pray he finds it. A wave of pain washes over me again, and I feel my knees start to buckle…
“Relax,” says the intake nurse. “No one’s ever given birth at the admin desk.”
My husband looks to me, then to her – silently cursing her and hoping that today isn’t the day the Universe decides to prove her wrong.
Paperwork in order, she points and says “Room 7,” dismissing us with a wave towards one of those corridors that elongates the more you think about how far that walk really is. I can barely move. Every other step comes with another excruciatingly painful contraction. Luckily, a stranger in the waiting area notices and brings over an empty wheelchair that I gingerly lower my extremely-9-months-pregnant self into.
The corridor, seeing that I now had wheels, sulkily returns to its normal length and allows us to find Room 7 quite quickly.
The attending nurse comes in almost immediately, happily listing off things we (I) need to do as we prepare for the impending arrival. Then she sees my grimaced face, and the pale look of my husband’s normally olive skin.
“OK, hunny,” she says, “let’s see where we’re at.” She helps me up to the bed to assess the situation. “Oh, my,” her eyes widen with astonishment. “You’re already 10 centimeters! I’m going to run out and find the doctor, you just lay down.”
Wait… what?? What about my birth plan? What about the nice pain drugs you guys promised me? Can’t I have an Advil or something? Where’s my soothing music CD and my friggin teddy bear for my damn focal point?
I tell my husband he needs to advocate for me, to tell them when they come back that this isn’t the way we’d planned (and that I definitely need that epidural STAT). A fool’s errand. The nurse merely shakes her head, frowning, and says, “there’s no time for any of that now, it’s too late.”
I cry… when I can breathe…
I’m not ready, but my baby won’t wait. The nurse tells me to push, to stop, to breathe, to push again. Thankfully, she’s the one counting because I can’t pay too much attention to any of this. Another contraction rolls over me and I can’t take it anymore….
I scream…. just like in the movies that should have been enough birth control for anyone!
I scream again, this time begging for any any assistance that God can provide.
The nurse bends down, wipes a cold compress across my forehead, and tells me something that will stick with me forever.
“The only way to get through this, is to go through this,” she whispers. “This is happening right now, there’s no way to go around it or skip over it. You’re directing all your energy to your lungs, and I need you to redirect that energy to push instead.”
I was silent, and I pushed. Hard. Only twice more.
This might be a leap for some readers from that story to this… but here goes: I think too many times in our lives we brush things under the rug, try to forget, try to ignore. The truth might just be that each of these situations is recurring because we’re not truly dealing with the real reasons behind our frustrations and anger.
We’ve all thought at one point or another: “I’m always broke”, “I’m always falling for the wrong type of guy/girl”, “I always fail.” On and on.
I believe there are deep reasons for each lesson that life throws at us. These lessons are hidden, time consuming, and often very painful. What’s more painful is reliving each of these lessons in different scenarios throughout our lives because we’re too scared to open our eyes, open our hearts and dissect our flaws. We’re too encased in victimization to realize that our past does not need define our present, and our reactions can change given proper thought and analysis.
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