I had been contracting 100 times a day for 5 weeks when I finally went into labor with Jonah. I started labor already totally fatigued. About 15 hours into active labor, there came a moment - an eternal, agonizing moment - when I felt like there was no way I could go on. I knew that the more I focused on my pain, the more consumed I became, until (as almost every woman feels who has ever labored naturally) there came a moment when it seemed I might actually die from the pain.
In that moment I realized that I must look for something,
somewhere in my body where the pain was not reaching.
I found it.
It was my earlobe.
For a whole contraction, I thought only about my earlobe. I kept chanting in my head, "My earlobe doesn't hurt, my earlobe doesn't hurt!". That got me through one whole contraction, but by the next surge, just thinking about it wasn't enough. I began to rub my earlobe between my finger and thumb, and as though I was discovering it for the first time each moment I thought of it, each little moment that I rubbed it, I realized that there was that one tiny place on my body that did not hurt. I began to pull on my earlobe so hard that it was actually a little uncomfortable. But even that new sensation was comforting in it's own way, because I could REALLY feel my earlobe, then, and that made it easier to focus on it.
It has been hard for me lately. I am struggling with so many things. Things that may or may not be too private to share, but that I am too tired to even think about again in this particular moment.
The other day I found that the toothpaste had been left out and open, and a second tube had been crunched beyond function or recognition. I was irked. I was tired, no, I was... (deep breath, looooong sigh)
So I had to find something about that moment that didn't call up for me all my failures (have I not taught them well enough?), all my disappointment (how many times have I told them?) all my angry self pity (I swear, no body cares about all the work I do around here!).
I had to find an earlobe to pull on.
And I did.
And here it is:
Somebody brushed their teeth without having to be told.
Then, in that moment, a tiny angel sang a song in my head, that turned into a teensy angel chorus. Itty bitty beams of sunlight broke through my cloudy sky,
just for a moment.
And just for a moment, I found something in my toothpaste smeared world
to be grateful for.