Labor is rough. It's painful, stressful, and emotional. It's the culmination of 40 (more or less) weeks of the aches and pains associated with growing a tiny human inside you. The process of evacuating a baby from one's womb is no walk in the park, and there's a general recognition of that. So, in my opinion, you might as well take advantage of it and enjoy the things you can only get away with when you're in labor.
My labor lasted an ungodly 29 hours. At 4 a.m., my water broke. Well, sort of. More accurately, I started to leak. I shook my husband awake, announcing, "Something's happening!" One call to my midwife destroyed my illusions of getting the baby out right that second, as she instructed me to labor at home for at least 12 hours. My sister, husband, and I headed to the hospital in the afternoon, and I was immediately admitted.
Early labor was pretty easy and I was goofing around between contractions. However, as afternoon passed into evening, the pain became unbearable for this "delicate snowflake." I ended up with an IV, catheter epidural, and Pitocin. That allowed me to rest until morning when I was fully dilated and ready to push. I like to think I was relatively pleasant during the birth of my daughter, but those around me might (probably, almost definitely) beg to differ. I tried not to be totally heinous, but I did make good use of my condition and unapologetically bent the will of others, to mine. Hey, I was pushing a human being into the world. I deserved it.
You Can Be Mean And People Will Automatically Forgive You
It's an accepted fact that women in labor may very well scream obscenities at their nurses and threaten their partners (if they're cisgender men) with vasectomies. All the books about birth even warn partners not to take outbursts personally. The fact is, a woman in labor is physically and emotionally overwhelmed, and she can't necessarily control what comes out of her mouth. It definitely helped me to know that if I said something regrettable during labor, forgiveness was basically built-in.
You Get To Let Your Freak Flag Fly
I'm a total weirdo, but I try to somewhat control it in front of other people. Not so during labor. I needed all the distraction and carefree fun I could get. My sister is usually my co-conspirator for these types of antics, and childbirth was no exception. We decided to rifle through the drawers in the hospital room and discovered all kind of goodies. When the nurse came in, my sister was carefully inspecting my eyeballs with a stethoscope. Our mom and my spouse were mortified, but the nurse didn't say a thing. Absolved.
It's Acceptable To Order People Around...
The rule during labor is that mom gets whatever mom wants. It only makes sense that the lady doing all the work gets to decide who's in the room and how they should best support her. I asked certain people to be there, and they were. When I was ready for them to be out of the room, they left. My partner was cheerfully willing to be at my beck and call, fetching me items from my bag, holding my hand when I wanted him to, and getting that beef jerky the f*ck out of my face, thank you very much.
...And Ask For Favors
What's your pleasure, mama? Is it foot rubs? Massages? Ask, and ye shall receive.
For the life of me, I can't figure out how to French braid. The tweens on YouTube aren't any help, but I love how clean and tight it feels. As a kid, I used to beg my sister to braid my hair. While I was in labor she automatically complied with my request, and braided my hair like a boss.
You Can Watch Bad TV
I have a serious addiction to criminal procedural television shows. Benson and Stabler are my lifeblood. It's a problem. My husband can't watch them without commenting on my ridiculously willful suspension of disbelief (or the fact that he could "write this crap"). While I labored at home, however, he kept his distance and his mouth shut as I contentedly binged Castle and Criminal Minds.
You Can Really Stick It To Telemarketers
I think the best story from my labor is that as we were parking the car at the hospital, I got a call on my cell from a telemarketer asking me to participate in a survey. "I'm in labor," I replied. You know how they can sometimes be assholes when you say no? I was offered the best of luck and congratulations and a promise not to be bothered.
You Can Play The Sympathy Card
In my opinion, labor is one of a few times when it's totally acceptable to feel sorry for yourself. The people surrounding you, from medical staff to family and friends, are likely to be sympathetic, too. If you need your brow gently wiped or some words of encouragement, you've earned that right, sister. In the midst of my own pushing pity party, I announced, "I can't do it!" My husband squeezed my hand harder and everyone told me, "Yes, you can!"
No One Cares If You Poop
I'm trying to think of another situation in which it is socially acceptable to poop in front of others, but I've got nothing. Pushing honestly feels like having the bowel movement to end all bowel movements, so it's not surprising that many women poop on the table. You know what? No one cares. In fact, the nurse will probably clean it up without saying anything, and you'll be none the wiser.
You Can Request Drugs
If the contractions are getting too intense, you are well within your rights to request some medication for pain management. We don't always get to be the ones who decide when we need an assist, but this is one decision that's under your control. You certainly don't have to, but sometimes it helps just to know it's an option.
You Can Say Truly Crazy Things
When my mom had my brother, she turned to my dad and said, "Honey, go buy some shoes for our son." Dad assured her he would. You know, because of all the walking newborns do. A dear friend of mine was talking about twice-baked chocolate crossaints, as her placenta was being delivered. I'm not saying your family won't make fun of you later, but in the moment you are absolutely excused for whatever craziness escapes your lips.