Yesterday T and I went in to the ward to find it overflowing with pregnant ladies. We grabbed a multip that looked like she was rocking along and brought her to the labor ward for the admissions check, since admissions was full. She turned out to be 7, so we stayed there. Her labor had begun days previous, with up-all-night contractions slowing during the day, until this morning they accelerated.
And stayed there. We chatted between contractions. This was her second baby, her first had been born 9 years ago, a girl. She told me I was lucky to have my three children, since she had been trying to have another baby since her girl was 2 years old.
And T caught two babies and observed two more, while I stayed there. Unexpectedly, the hours rolled by. Contractions came and went, and progress - the measurable sort, anyhow - was not achieved, although I now suspect that there was dramatic baby-head molding going on beyond the reach of my fingers.
She told me she was exhausted, that she "got no moa powah." She told me she wanted to go "to the theater" (OR for a c-section), although she stopped telling me that after I told her that this hurt, but a c-section would hurt more, since this would be over when she had her baby but a c-section would keep hurting. She told me she needed to be cut last time, T told her that was on the outside and wouldn't help now, it was the inside that needed to open. Her contractions spaced to every 10 minutes, though still strong, and her cervix stubbornly held on to its last centimeter with a big 'ole swollen anterior lip, and after 3 hours of this we began some IV pitocin on a veeeery slow drip (this was a mildly agonizing decision for me to make, but her contractions were really not doing the trick and she really wanted to be done), which brought her contractions back up to once every 4 minutes or so. After laboring for a while on her back and side, the way women here usually do, she actually took my suggestion and got on hands and knees. Once freed, she followed her body to her feet, to a squat, to the floor, where she eventually began pushing spontaneously (finally) and delivered a very molded-headed baby over an intact perineum (right on past that episiotomy scar) while rocking between side-lying and flat on her back. She dropped promptly off to sleep once the placenta was delivered (in my paranoia I checked her blood pressure a tad more often than is common here, but she was actually just sleeping), still on the floor.
She named her baby boy after Boyness, because "your Boyness' mom was with my Boyness' mom when he was born."