Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
Lance, one of the captains I work with who’s just returned from months in the desert, dropped by my office to say hello and Happy Thanksgiving, and we ended up in a riotous conversation about his feelings about his wife, his kids, and childbirth. We both relived a few moments of our children’s entrance into this world, which was close to the surface for me, given that today is Aislinn’s birthday and she was born the evening before Thanksgiving, moments before my OB/GYN went on vacation. (Deadlines, deadlines!)
But Lance said something about childbirth that I’d forgotten.
Before Shannon, my eldest, was born, Dr. Harris had talked about the stages of childbirth and what to expect with each. When he talked about “transition,” the last part of the laboring before a mom-to-be is ready to push and deliver, he didn’t make a lot of sense. To me, at least.
Shannon was a very difficult baby to bring into the world. She got stuck and it took an hour and a half of pushing, sheer willpower not to have a C-section, and my doc using some funky little suction cup like a plunger on her head. Total labor time was still under 3 hours, and just my luck, I dilated too fast to get an epidural.
But somewhere between playing Scrabble with her dad and time to push, something weird happened. My feet were cold and I wanted socks. My feet were hot and I wanted them off. My thighs got struck by the most intense fire that felt like nothing ever in my life. My ex was a little perplexed by my need for socks, no socks, socks, no socks. It seemed like I didn’t know what I wanted and I couldn’t seem to get satisfied with anything that was offered. The nurse just laughed and said it was a sure sign of transition.
Fourteen years ago, when I was in labor with Aislinn…let’s see, too fast for an epidural, about 1.5 hours from the first real contraction until a 2-push birth and I had no idea that childbirth could be that easy, given what I’d gone through with Shannon. Sheesh, I could have plowed the back 40 after supper. But I distinctly remember suddenly wanting socks and not wanting socks and wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t make up my mind and nothing seemed exactly as I wanted it or just right and I was just annoyed with myself and everything around me.
Then I got that weird sensation of fire on my thighs and…oh, yeah. “I’m in transition!” I announced.
I think major changes in our lives are like childbirth. All that labor and hard work to get somewhere and then…that sense of wondering and wandering and not knowing exactly what you want and not being satisfied yet with exactly where you are…and then finally being able to push forward hard and deliver.
As I was telling someone today who is going through a transformation, this stage is like “transition.”
Just a little longer and the transition will be over, and it’ll be time to push for what you want and see the rewards of your efforts.