You know Johnny Cash’s opening lyrics to Burning Ring of Fire – ‘Love is a burning thing,
And it makes a fiery ring’?
Yeah, well, let me tell you something, Johnny had no idea what he was talking about, he’s never had a sweep during labour!
He is spot on that love does make a fiery ring, it is love, after all, that gets us into the quintessential ‘mess’ of childbirth. If labour and the birthing process isn’t punishment enough though, the words ‘we’re going to need to sweep you out love’ is the sister of ‘I’m going to shove my fist and the nurse’s foot up there and kick your child out with force’.
Yes, I had a sweep, four years ago when I was trying to get my daughter’s big head out of my beautifully petite vagina. After 14 hours of a somewhat pleasant labour, I was having a little trouble getting our bundle of joy to bundle on out. I pushed for two hours (pooped twice which my husband has NEVER let me forget!) and it was decided that I may need some assistance.
No sooner had the midwife left that another, harsher looking nurse with a Russian accent arrived and loudly announced that she was just going to take a look. Next thing I know, she had two fingers inside of my swollen who-haa and was circling them around the opening of my birthing tunnel. It literally felt like I was on fire.
From what the lovely, softly spoken midwife next to me was saying, Russia was gently stretching the opening as far as possible so that bub’s head could finally make its move. It probably took about 5 seconds but it felt like 5 minutes and all I wanted was for her to keep her devil fingers to herself and go stretch some other vital organ on someone who deserved it. She had gloves on of course so the latex rubbing against my dry, already stretched cervix was absolute hell – like burning rubber on a dry tar road in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
The burn lasted long after she was gone however I do have to admit, that once she had had her way with me, our beautiful little girl entered the world not long after. Or maybe I have convinced myself to remember it that way so as to try and find a reason as to why Russia did that to me…