This time five years ago, I was in labour. I'd been having strong contractions all the night before, and by morning, things seemed to be really happening.
We were camping at a rainbow gathering in our tipi in a little patch of fairy forest on our friend's land in the Chapada Diamantina, in Bahia, Brazil. The spring had dried up, so we had to walk about a kilometre to get water, and I decided, that the best thing would be to stay active during the labour, as much as possible.
So I went for a hike up to the tap to do laundry. Stopping every ten minutes or so to breathe through a contraction, I got all the laundry hand-washed. I came back to camp and made pancakes.
By evening, the contractions were coming very strong, every five minutes and I was leaking amniotic fluid. We settled in to birth a baby :)
Only it got cold, and started raining. I had bad diarrhoea and vomiting, I couldn't relax, with a posterior baby and no trained or experienced assistance.
At sunset the next day, 24 hours later, I was still having contractions every five minutes. like clockwork. And terrible back pain. When I realised it was getting dark, and therefore a full day had passed, I told myself that the next contraction would come in four minutes. then three, and two and then a baby.
So naturally, the next contraction came in four minutes. after about an hour, they were down to three minutes, but then they became irregular. It went on like that through the night.
With the dawn, I was sure the baby would come, but instead, I fell asleep, exhausted after 2 days of labour and no food due to nausea. The contractions stopped, for 3 hours; nothing.
No one around knew that this is normal, and my friends got me up from my sleep and got me walking around in the freezing morning air, trying to get the labour "started" again. Of course, it did start eventually; a very hard transition. I was in so much pain, and in the end, after a few more hours, we decided to go to the hospital - I'd been in labour for almost 60 hours.
So into the car we piled, a bunch of hippies, and started off down the bumpy dirt road to town. It was about a half hour drive, but it took much longer, what with stalling the car in the creek crossing, and stopping for contractions.
When we got just to the edge of the village, I had one strong contraction that felt different. I felt the baby rotate and descend. We stopped the car, just on the edge of the village soccer field, and, squatting in the mud and rain, I pushed out a perfect, healthy Littletree :D
She was breathing fine, and it all seemed okay, so we drove back up the hill again, hospital forgotten (well, we stopped at a friend's house for a hot shower and some mango juice on the way!)