The Third Day: Discouragement and Despair

the third day: discouragement and despair
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Morning: Hope with Discouragement and Despair

Not All Sharing is Caring

The sunrise of the new day brought with it a renewed hope that today was the day. Granted we didn’t want our baby born on our wedding anniversary, and that’s the date that this Monday was. By this point I was fighting the despair and discouragement of getting nowhere in a long, drawn out labor. I think I would have been a little disappointed if we did have to share a special date. Neither of us thought it would be fair to either our child or us.

I inwardly tore between not wanting her arrive that day, but needing her to come out so this would be all over. It was too late to have her born before our anniversary. So, I think being in that frame of mind I was resigned to it taking a lot longer and not really in such a rush.

Contractions and Emotions

I will add here that I know I haven’t said anything about what the contractions felt like. Or what the discomfort and pain level was or anything. But to be quite honest, that wasn’t what was so hard. Yes, I can remember needing to adopt positions to ease the pain. I know I focused on my breathing and making low growling sounds in my throat. Some contractions stopped me in my tracks when I was walking around. I was probably acting a little wimpy through a few (or a lot!) of them. But that’s really not what sticks out to me.

What I remember the most were the emotions I was going through. Believing that every single contraction was supposed to lead me closer to the finish line, bring a bit more progress, mean that a few more minutes passed in the countdown to the birth made it a lot easier, physically and mentally, to bear.

What wreaked such havoc for me, and sunk me into discouragement was the eventual realization that the contractions weren’t doing that. My labor was on repeat, like a scratched DVD. Like a car spinning wheels, but neither going forward nor backward, for hours and hours. It was far more mentally and emotionally taxing and painful than physically so.

Sleep First, Transition Afterward

Further into the morning, I was dragging and exhausted…again. I felt so tired. Tired of the same old contractions. Nothing new had happened at all. So I laid down for some rest, and hopefully sleep, for the second time.

Afternoon: Good News Followed by Discouragement and Despair… Again

Surprised by the Sign

I think I slept for at least and hour or two. And when the increased intensity of the contractions began to wake me up in stages, I felt something was different somehow. Laying down was extremely uncomfortable suddenly, so I got up. My original intention of relieving my bladder unexpectedly turned into relieving the contents of my stomach. I couldn’t understand where this abrupt and severe nausea came from!

Doran came into the bedroom and saw me stand from my kneeling position at the toilet. “Did you just vomit?” She asked. I said yes, and told her I still had nausea too. She got this big smile on her face and in a rejoicing tone, enthused, “Yes! That’s a good sign! We have been waiting for that.”

I probably gave her the most befuddled look in the history of the planet. “It is? We have?” All I could think about was the hydration and sustenance that I had just lost. “Yes! It means you are in transition.” “I am? Really?” I couldn’t believe it! I had never heard that before! Not the slightest clue! It was probably in the Grace Midwifery childbirth class that Jodi put together and presented, but I didn’t remember.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t remember and that the midwives didn’t tell me that’s what they looked for until it happened. I likely would have interpreted every single slight roil of my stomach, every little queasy sensation of my insides as meaning something. I was that intent on willing stuff to happen!

Toil on the Toilet!

To say I was elated is an understatement! Progress! We were finally getting somewhere! It was almost noon I think, and the next hour or so we tried to do everything we could think of to help my labor along.

I think the key phrase that was a constant refrain from the midwives was “Do you want to sit on the toilet? How bout you do some contractions on the toilet? Have you sat on the toilet for a few contractions?” Apparently that is a midwife thing, or for those of you who watch Tim Hawkins Comedy, it’s a Mom thing. Sitting on “the pot” is a cure all for everything. Unbeknownst to me, I would find their suggestion indispensable later. They’re really on to something there.

After a while, during one of the half hour checkups, they asked if I was feeling “pushy”. I said I wasn’t sure. So they recommended, that I “bear down” for a couple of contractions to see how that felt. I did, and I was surprised to find how much less painful the contractions were bearing down. Then I asked them to check, and I was 10 cm dilated. Relief washed over me. For a moment I thought we might be going places!

Pushing the Issue

Somewhere along those lines, through mental pressure I was giving myself, the intense desire for it to be over with, mistaking the need to bear down for the need to push, or all three, I started pushing.

I would labor between contractions either on my knees, hunched over a chair with a pillow, or bent over the bed in standing position. Then, when the contractions came I would use my husband as a support to squat, from the standing position, or from the kneeling position, I would pretty much fall back into his arms as he held me up in a squatting position. And I would push.

Eventually the midwives saw the bag of waters while I was pushing, but nothing went past the pubic bone. Once again, my transitional labor was in repeat. For seven hours. I was pushing for seven long hours. During that time, because I started pushing before my body was ready, I got very swollen. So swollen, that it looked like it had even affected the birth canal and surrounding tissues.

Late in the afternoon, we took a pause to assess what was going on and why nothing was happening. We ruled out more severe issues, and realized I was just severely swollen. Once that was ascertained, the midwives gave me some oral Arnica. And I kept pushing.


By then, my discouragement had turned into despair, and a little desperation. After some deliberation we decided that if there was no progress by seven o’ clock, we would transport. I pushed harder. They gave me more Arnica. I don’t remember if the swelling had gone down any or not.

Oh! My Back!

All I know is during those seven hours, it was all back labor. And intense at that! Truthfully, before transitional labor, I thought it truly wasn’t that bad. But back labor though! That is legit! I was probably whimpering and whining a lot through that! I know I felt like whimpering!

The only thing that made it feel better was when John pressed on my lower back or I went into the shower and had the hot water cascading over my lumbar-sacral region. That was no joke! And I was miserable, and made even more so by my mentally and physically exhausted state.

Evening: Much More Discouragement and Despair

Getting Ready for the Hospital

6:55 p.m. came, and I stopped pushing. A tsunami of utter discouragement and despair washed over me. We were going to go to the hospital. I think it took us about 45 minutes to get ready. Due, in part, to the fact that I hadn’t packed a hospital bag, laid out clothes to wear, or anything. I guess I had my heart set on a home birth so much that I refused to even prepare for the possibility of anything else. I was in denial that anything would happen that would require going to the hospital.

Hold Your Horses!

As soon as the time came to gear up for the 10-minute drive to Winchester Medical, my labor slowed. Back labor started to fade and I began to transition to the same old contractions I had before. I already knew from what the midwives told me that stress or other interruptions such as transport to the hospital could slow or reverse labor progress. I was just glad that the back labor was subsiding. Jodi and Elizabeth decided to accompany John and me to the hospital, and that helped to ease my anxiety a little.

Resigned and Desperate

The midwives escorted me out the door and down the stairs. John had loaded up the car with all that he and the midwives packed. He helped me in the car, and as much as I wished this was all a nightmare, I knew it to be real.

Something had to be wrong. My labor wasn’t going anywhere. I was scared of the unknowns. The uncertainty of what was to happen. And the dread of where we were going. A horrible, sick dread that just compounded my discouragement and despair. At the same time my mind shut down into oblivion. My emotions resigned themselves to whatever the circumstances would become. And all I could think as we hit the road was, “Well, here goes nothing.”

To read the previous articles in the series, visit the Family page. 

To know more about my birth team, visit Grace Midwifery’s “About” page.

Jodi, whom I will talk about a lot more, branched out from her roots with Grace Midwifery and has now begun to realize her vision to bridge the understanding gap between EMS/convention medical field and natural home birth. To learn more about her, you can check out her website at Blue Star Birth Services, LLC

About Post Author

Amber Goodrich

I am a sojourner and adventurer through life, with plenty of inspiring thoughts to share! My journey has taken me through the United States Army as a Medic, transitioned me to the National Guard. On the civilian side of the ride, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, wife and mother. Most recently I have started a new chapter as a budding freelance writer with the goal of expanding my horizons to write short stories and books. I look forward to traversing this path and seeing what it has in store!
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1 Timothy 6:18

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