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So, Tuesday afternoon I mixed castor oil into a milkshake and gulped it down. Four hours later, I was paying the price (and if you know anything about castor oil you know what I mean!). Around 8:00 that evening it felt like a bowling ball was sitting in my pelvic girdle. Figuring it was either more castor oil effects or just the very very beginning stages of labor, I went to sleep. I woke up at 1 in the morning on Wednesday, with the strongest "practice contractions" I'd felt yet, and went to the couch to sleep so I wouldn't disturb Clint. But I couldn't sleep - the sensations were too strong and frequent. So then I thought, "Hey, these aren't practice contractions, this is early labor!" Knowing that stage can take a while and wanting to labor at home as long as possible, I didn't wake Clint up till around 2:30 am. I told him that we should probably finish packing our bags for the hospital. As he began gathering toiletries to add to our awaiting bags, I found myself unable to help or even stand. I was having contractions every three minutes at this point, lasting about a minute each.
We had planned to have an unmedicated birth, and at this point I was seriously doubting my ability to stick to that. I thought that if the easy early stage of labor was this difficult, there was no way I could make it through active labor and delivery. I didn't even know if I could make it to the car, and I was so disappointed with myself because I wanted a natural birth so badly but couldn't handle it when it actually came. Clint continued getting everything ready while I squirmed on the bed, trying to breathe through each contraction and stay as relaxed as possible. I thought I should try to use the bathroom before our hour long drive to the hospital, so I staggered into the master bath, which has a toilet separated from the rest of the bathroom. Basically a toilet in its own closet. These "early labor" contractions got even stronger and then the obvious hit me - I wasn't in early labor, I was in active labor!
Clint came to the door telling me we needed to go, and I told him I didn't think I could make it to the hospital. (Poor Clint - can you imagine hearing that!) He sweetly encouraged me that I could do it and to just come out when the next contraction ended. A few minutes later the labor completely took over my body, and who knows what kinds of noises Clint was hearing from outside that bathroom door. Our hospital had told him not to try to make it there, but to go to Athens Regional instead (which is like 15 minutes from where we live). Clint called them to see what we should do, but by the next time he came to the door, I knew we weren't going to make it anywhere, no matter how close, because I could feel the top of Vivian's head. "Clint, I can feel her head. She's coming!" I told him. "What?! You can feel her head? What do you mean?" Was the reply. He walked away from the tribal sounds coming through the door so that he could ask the hospital what to do, and then I just totally gave in to the birth - I had no choice! I looked down and saw her black hair. Two more contractions and she suddenly came right out, and plunk, INTO THE TOILET! She flew right past my hands and took a dive into the awaiting toilet bowl. I grabbed her, held her up in front of me, and waited to see if she was breathing. She started breathing and squirming, so I yelled, "Clint, she's here! Clint! She's here!" (Or something like that. Who knows what I really said.) He opened the bathroom door and saw me standing there holding her in the air. I don't know how he didn't pass out from shock, but he called an ambulance to come get us and got a towel to wrap her up. I just sat on the toilet holding her till they came, Clint doing everything he could to make sure we were all ok. The ambulance got there in about five minutes and whisked us off to the hospital, where Vivian became quite the celebrity. I really was expecting a news crew to burst into our room any second to capture the story of the Toilet Baby.