The water. Oh the warm water is instant comfort. But then another contraction - wasn't there something about water being less painful than with an epidural? How could pain get worse? Then it does. I scream. I don't know the full capability of my lungs until I scream. Now so does my husband - ten inches from my panic.
This baby's not going to fit. I can't do this. I suddenly decide I don't want to give birth. It's too terrifying, too real. (So this is me in transition.) "Is he going to fit?" I implore my unflappable midwife. She assures me, yes.
I collapse again over the side of the birth tub til the next one. Then she says it: "Instead of screaming, push down." And I remember the words of a long-time mom, "When it's too much, and no one else can go there with you - God will." I think, the only way, is through this.
I close my mouth. And push.