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As my due date neared and I passed the point of questionable viability, I went to one of my weekly doctor’s appointments to be “checked.” This is a deceptive term, as one expects the usual external poking and prodding that had become part of every visit up until now. However, what was to take place was decidedly more invasive. After 38 weeks, you get checked for dilation, which is the most aggressive fingerbanging you’ll experience in a clinical setting (as a female). I assume a male prostate exam is sort of an equivalent.

I remembered it from last time around, distinct pain, plumbing the unapologetic depth, and the clear understanding that my doctor needed to trim her nails. It provoked me to tears then, and this time was no different. As she finished, she remarked that I was nowhere close to delivering, and what I needed was “a good bowel movement” to get things going. She advised me to drink castor oil and get things started.

I had fallen for this before, and it only worked a little. Sure, contractions happened, and I did start to dilate, but only 2 centimeters, and then it stopped. For two weeks after, I’d continue having contractions, but absolutely nothing brought me closer to actual labor. I relayed this to the doctor, but she advised me that if I could get to 2 centimeters with the second pregnancy, it could send me into labor this time.

At this point, I wanted to believe. I had been in a perpetual state of discomfort for pretty much the entire gestation, and wanted nothing more than this baby to be delivered as soon as possible. I went home, talked it over with my husband, and bought the damn stuff that night. I took it over lunch the next day, and when I say I took it, I managed to gag the awful stuff with the consistency and flavor of motor oil down.

It didn’t take long for it to take effect, so to speak. However, it only liquified my insides, making for the most uncomfortable bathroom campouts I’ve had in a while. Later that night, I began having contractions. They began about once an hour, then faster until they were 5 minutes apart. That’s the metric I had been told about, so I called the doctor and she told me to go into the hospital to get monitored.

My fear became not of going into labor, but that the castor oil was still working its way out, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do much without projecting the vile stuff all over the room, if push came to literal shove. The night nurse assigned to me had an oddly slapped on shade of blue eye shadow and regrowth of a brassy blond dye job. She was more interested in my friend’s 33 bag than what I was experiencing. But after doing all the required components of intake, she too had to check me for dilation.

I regarded her worriedly, asked for one last bathroom trip before she did the deed, which was graciously granted. After stalling as long as possible, her approach was even more aggressive than my doctor’s, having to delve twice to fully assess, and she still had the nerve to scold me for pushing away, due to the horrific pain this process causes and because this is what a normal person does when they’re being violated, even if it is for medical reasons. My friend commented how it appeared she was actually trying to feel my tonsils from the inside. I would have laughed, but was too overcome with the pain, shame, and anger at this trailer trash troll who got to fingerblast me as hard as she could.

Still the results came up negative for dilation. My doctor advised that I could walk for two hours or go home to sleep. Considering the lateness of the hour, I was defeated and just wanted to go home so that’s what I did. I came home to find a very surprised husband who had slept through my text updates, and went to bed. The contractions were completely stopped by the time I woke up the next morning, and the whole exercise was a waste of everyone’s time.

Three days later, I’m no closer to delivering, although the occasional contraction is a nice reminder and punishment for trying to rush things. The baby is still fine, active, and probably as anxious as I am to get this done. But my body just simply won’t cooperate. I’m hoping I don’t have to go down the induction route, because the foley bulb is probably one of the cruellest devices ever created by man.

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