Summary: You are currently getting your PhD in Art History, your dissertation being about The Power of Nudity in Art. Your advisor recommends you switch from being her TA to another professor because she feels her health is declining and wants you to get the best help/advice from someone new. She recommends Dr. James Barnes and believes he will be of great help to you. Things don’t turn out as you plan.
A/N: Feedback is helpful you guys!!!! Tell me if you want to be tagged…Enjoy! Also, I start classes soon so I won’t be able to update everyday (sorry)!
I generally believe that it is impossible to find a woman that hated being pregnant more than me. From start to finish, I found it insufferable. There was the hyperemesis gravidarum and ten pound weight loss. Oh, and the bleeding episodes that sent me racing to the doctor in tears, only to find my baby dancing like Mary J Blige on ultrasound–
completely and totally fucking unbothered while the world around me burned. Did I mention a huge ovarian cyst with torsion that almost sent me into emergency surgery? THIS WAS JUST THE FIRST TRIMESTER.
I got sciatica that started in week seven and progressively worsened, coupled with SPD that made walking all but impossible towards the end. I wanted to get around like this:
So, yeah. Being pregnant sucked and I looked so very forward to labor and delivery from very early on in my fecund period.
Because I have a previous uterine incision (hello, trash ass fibroids), I was originally told that I could only deliver a baby via c-section. Well. I did my research and determined that my risk of uterine rupture was lower than that of complications from a c-section and set about finding a doctor to actually look at my medical records instead of practicing ‘one size fits all’ medicine. After a three-year search in which I took the latest studies, my medical records and surgical reports complete with pictures and an, ‘I’m not an idiot willing to be blindly lead’ attitude into the offices of several doctors, I found my obstetrical soul mate. She evaluated everything I brought in and agreed that there was no reason I couldn’t at least do a trial of labor. She didn’t even think I needed to be monitored like a VBAC patient, based on the fact that my uterine cavity wasn’t breached during my myomectomy. So when I did get pregnant (the very first month in which we tried—SWAG), I was excited to approach labor and delivery with the knowledge that I had a chance at pushing my baby out and avoiding another surgery.
BUT. The more medical interventions that take place during your delivery, the more likely you are to end up with a c-section (in general). I really, really wanted to avoid a c-section, so I wanted to deliver sans medication. That included the epidural. It is here that you’re probably beginning to think I’m crazy. Bitch, I might be.
So. Natural labor in a hospital setting. Trust in my body. I am woman, hear me roar. With these decisions made, I spent my pregnancy prepping for facing the challenge of labor. I hired a doula (because studies show they’re associated with positive outcomes in labor and delivery, especially for women opting not to use pain medication). I read up on pain coping techniques (The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon is an AMAZING book and I cannot recommend it enough for ALL expectant moms, whether you’re planning an unmedicated or medicated delivery). I sat on my birthing ball until my ass cheeks were numb. I drank red raspberry leaf tea. I stuck evening primrose capsules in areas they weren’t manufactured for. I walked. I did pelvic rocking and tucking. I did these things with fuck ass sciatica and SPD. I went for weekly chiropractic care to treat those things and loosen the pelvic ligaments and outlet. I kegeled so much I can shoot inanimate objects out of my vagina. Well, wait. I did that before getting pregnant because… NOTHING LIKE WALLS THAT GRIP THE D LIKE A FIRM HANDSHAKE AND STAVING OFF EVENTUAL URINARY INCONTINENCE. Don’t fucking judge me.
As I approached my ninth month, I felt ready. Partially because ALL women feel ready at the end of pregnancy because it sucks and Mother Nature is a ho; but also because I was genuinely excited about labor and the chance to see just what my body is capable of. I’m not a particularly crunchy type of person, but I felt as though my body was built for this and I trusted it completely to see my son and I through it.
I’ll spare you the details of the misery of my ninth month. Just know that there were days that I woke up and cried simply because I couldn’t bear the idea of facing yet another day pregnant. So it was with much anxiety that I approached my weekly doctor’s visits, HOPING AND WISHING for a sign that labor was imminent.
Week 36: NO FUCKING DICE. TEARS.
Week 37: NO SOUP FOR YOU. CERVIX STILL CLOSED UP TIGHTER THAN VIVICA FOX’S FACE IMMEDIATELY AFTER COSMETIC SURGERY. TEARS.
Week 38: 1.5 cm dilated. 50-60% effaced. SWAG ME THE FUCK OUT.
My visits fell late in my gestational weeks. So my week 38 visit was at damn near 39 weeks. I WAS DESPERATE. Which lead me to make a very bad decision (for me)…
I asked my doctor to sweep my membranes instead of just waiting for labor to begin on its own. My doula and I had discussed this prior and I’d researched it. I knew it would either work or it wouldn’t, and if it did, I could expect to go into labor within 48 hours. I was ready, because seriously, fuck this shit. It went somewhat against my mantra of allowing things to take place when my body and son felt it was time, but since it was a very low-tech intervention, I figured it wouldn’t hurt. PLUS, I WAS TIRED AS THE WIGS IN TYLER PERRY MOVIES, OK?
My doctor conducted the sweep as gently as she could and commended me on my high tolerance for pain as I didn’t hit the ceiling or yelp. Don’t get me wrong. It hurt. But it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. The, “Holy shit, what was that?!?!?” contraction my uterus immediately spasmed into was worse, yet still not unbearable.
Membranes swept, I left my appointment and went to brunch. Heavy cramping started almost immediately, accompanied by light bleeding that my doctor had warned me to expect. I began feeling mentally foggy and was beset by a distracted feeling I can only describe as an impending heaviness. It was like my body was telling me something big was coming and that I needed to conserve my energy to be ready. People would speak to me and I was like, “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear anything you said,” because I was unable to focus. After brunch, I took a nap and awoke to more bleeding and chunks of mucous. TMI, but you will deal. Plenty of y’all ASKED for this shit. I began to truly believe the sweep had worked and that my baby would be born that weekend.
Following my nap, I went for a mani/pedi so as to be fly from head to toe upon admission to the hospital, because vain (see: continued Brazilian waxes throughout pregnancy—ouch). When I got home, my lower back ached and the cramps continued at a regular pace. I was pretty grumpy and continued to feel very foggy and distracted. I ate and went to bed early that FRIDAY (this will be important later) evening on the advice of my doula. She wanted me well rested for the big show. I’ll tell you what happened next through texts to my doula:
7:58 am: “Morning. Just giving you a quick update. Last night I went to bed crampy at 9. Fell asleep by 10:45. Woke up at 3 am to the first contraction strong enough to wake me. Slept between and had five or six between then and six. Had a few between six and seven. Started timing at 7. Had one at 7:11, 7:35, 7:44 and 7:52. Still irregular and not too painful. Just enough that I cannot sleep through one. They last about 20 or 30 seconds. Going to keep trying to sleep between them for now.”
8:27 am: “Still timing and I just had two more at 8:07 and 8:22. Going to stay in bed and rest until I feel like that is futile. Will check in with you then.”
11:11 am: “Contractions stopped completely at 9:30. I had breakfast and then mopped the basement stairs. I came back to bed to read and/or nap, but am wondering should I do something like go shopping to get some walking in, or is resting the better idea.”
I set about going to walk the aisles and spend money at my favorite baby and home stores, per my doula’s advice.
4:51 pm: “I just got back home from running errands two minutes ago. Contractions have restarted, but are sporadic and light. Putting away all the stuff I bought and trying to decide if I will walk more around the house or rest for a bit. I am thinking walking and tinkering around the house is a good idea.”
8:08 pm: “Did three hours on the ball. Contractions have picked back up. They hurt but aren’t unbearable. I am tired, grumpy and find myself rocking and swaying when I stand up. Thinking I should probably try resting again in case things are about to pick up overnight or in the morning.”
8:23 pm: “Just lost quite a bit of bloody mucous and clots in the toilet. Not sure how much that means, but going to take a bath and get into the bed.”
My doula assured me that this was a good sign my cervix had been dilating. I went to bed frustrated that the day hadn’t ended with a hospital admission, but hopeful Sunday would be the day.
9:08 am: “Morning! Last night was OK. Fell asleep at about 9:30. Slept solidly until 12. Had painful (not the worst, but much stronger than yesterday) contractions that involved my back fairly regularly until 3:30 with lots of bloody show when I’d go pee. Slept in between those. They tapered off by 4 and I was able to go back to sleep. They are still coming, just irregularly. Still in bed, but been trying to switch positions a lot because the contractions seem to pick up when I do.”
My doula instructed me to spend the day walking, sitting on the ball, and pelvic rocking on my hands and knees.
1:08 pm: “Made breakfast, cleaned the basement from top to bottom and went to the store to walk the aisles. Contractions are back. Sitting on the ball now and will walk some more.”
By ‘top to bottom,’ I meant that shit. I was scrubbing baseboards by hand in an attempt to work the baby out. I sent my husband off to work, excitedly telling him to keep his phone nearby because today was probably the day. I was wrong. As fuck.
My doula then asked me to do one activity for an hour and time the contractions. I chose to sit on the ball.
2:59 pm: “They were about five minutes apart (ranging 8 to 20 minutes) and 25 seconds long until 2:30. None since. Not painful like they were last night. I’m still sitting on the ball. Passing lots of bloody show. Have to wear a pad. I guess I will get up and walk.”
After expressing hope that this was the beginning of a good pattern, my doula encouraged me to keep moving.
6:12 pm: “Walked around the house for three hours. Nothing other than irregular contractions that aren’t painful. I am pretty exhausted now and my back is killing me. Think I am going to shower and rest. Still lots of bloody show. Trying not to get frustrated, but I am failing at that.”
“I am so thankful that I haven’t been in terrible pain this whole time. But that is making me think these contractions have been ineffective. I will work on centering and breathing.”
My doula assured me that the bloody show was a sign that I was actually dilating and all of this activity wasn’t for naught. She reminded me that active labor could kick in at any time and told me I could do it.
I was all, “Girl. Ok.”
Monday (FUCKING MONDAY):
My doula sent a text to check on me at 10:30 am.
11:19 am: “Good morning! I slept well last night. No contractions that I could feel and I am well rested. Just had a couple of contractions after breakfast, but they were quick. More pressure than pain. Still losing lots of brown/pink gunk, but otherwise? Nothing to report. About to sit on the ball for awhile, but otherwise gonna take it easy. Sciatica is killing me from all the walking and swaying this weekend.”
7:19 pm: “Today has been uneventful. I sat on the ball for five hours and just finished doing some rocking and pelvic tilts. No real contractions to speak of and the bloody show has almost completely tapered off. It started back up again after hands and knees pelvic tilts. The baby has been very active.”
She inquired whether I felt any more pelvic pressure or like the baby had dropped.
7:26 pm: “Not really. His butt lowered a bit from where I normally feel it over the weekend, but no change today. No increase in pelvic pressure. I am worried that maybe a fibroid (I have several) is in his way and keeping him from engaging.”
She asked whether my OB mentioned this as a possible problem.
7:31 pm: “No, but I’ve read it in most of my books as something that can prevent babies from getting head down or engaging. It just occurred to me today. My OB was mainly worried about the fibroids possibly causing premature labor. She hasn’t mentioned them since my last U/S at 32 weeks.”
“I had no less than ten scans and they never ID’d one as being in the way of him eventually engaging or delivery. But on every scan they’d find more. I think I have 5 or 6 now, with a few fairly sizable. I’m wondering if one got bigger or shifted in a way that’s keeping him from dropping in the last two months. I will ask about it on Friday. DAMN IT. I could cry right now because I was really hoping last Friday would be my last appointment.”
My doula told me not to get discouraged, reminded me that either the sweep worked or it didn’t, that all the contractions over the weekend were great for my cervix and that she thought I probably wouldn’t make it to Friday’s appointment.
I clung to her words like a B’Day era lacefront to Beyonce on tour and tried to remain positive.
That night, my contractions took on what was becoming a regular pattern. Between 12 and 3 am, they’d start, gradually increasing in intensity, duration and frequency. They’d work up to a level that was juuuuust painful and frequent enough that I couldn’t sleep between them. They’d continue unabated until roughly 8 or 9 am, at which time they’d either stop or taper off dramatically.
Are we clear on this? I’m in my ninth month of pregnancy. EXHAUSTED. AND I AM UNABLE TO SLEEP EVEN MORE THAN YOU’RE NORMALLY UNABLE TO SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE NINE MONTHS PREGNANT.
When I’d finally say, “Fuck it,” and get up for the day, I wasn’t napping, either. I was so emotionally wound up over trying to figure out if this would be the day my child arrived and then being inconsolable when it turned out not to be. I was fried. I couldn’t shut my brain off. NOR COULD I STOP ENGAGING IN VIGOROUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN AN ATTEMPT TO MOVE THINGS ALONG. I walked. I squatted. I lunged. I walked up and down my steps for hours at a time. I contorted my body in ridiculous ways reminiscent of yoga poses. I moved boxes. I swept. I mopped. I dusted. I cleaned the baseboards by hand. AGAIN. My house has honestly never been cleaner. I did all of this while “in labor,” but never quite working up to an active pattern that would support an admission to the hospital.
Two major snowstorms walloped us during the week. Each time, I’d think my baby would decide to make his grand entrance when my doula would be unable to get to me and we’d be unable to reach the hospital. Of course, this didn’t happen, but I certainly worked myself into a tizzy thinking about it on top of everything else.
Know what else I did during this time? I LIED. I LIED MY FUCKING FACE OFF. Every time a concerned relative would call, I’d tell them we had no news to report and that my cervix was still closed tighter than the guest list to a Presidential fundraising dinner. I saw no point in riling people up, only to have them continuing to wait like in the financial aid office at an HBCU.
This went on for days. Each night, the contractions showed up earlier and became progressively more painful. This, of course, meant even less sleep for me. I’ll just tell you now that by the time I delivered my son, I hadn’t slept more than 20 minutes in over 72 hours.
By Tuesday, I began to dread nightfall, knowing that pain and frustration awaited. I’d also become convinced that I was never going to go into active labor on my own and that I’d end up with the induction and c-section I’d spent years trying to avoid.
I kept in touch with my doula during this time via text and a few phone calls.
Looking back, I was clearly moving in the right direction. Contractions were coming earlier each evening, lasting longer, becoming more painful and tapering off later each day. The bloody show continued. My labor was progressing, albeit slooooowwwllly. But at the time, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
So there I am each evening: EXHAUSTED from the lack of sleep the night before, PHYSICALLY SPENT from cumulative days of constantly moving around to try to kick myself from early into active labor, falling into bed… to… stare into the darkness and wait for some bullshit with clenched teeth (and booty cheeks, if we’re being honest). It was physical and mental torture. There’s really no other way to describe it.
I’d spend the pre-dawn hours halfheartedly timing contractions and praying for things to move along, while staring homicidally at my husband while he slept blissfully if I didn’t move around too much. Also, I cried. I cried a lot. I cried more when well-meaning people would ask if I’d had the baby (I’m looking at YOU, Twitter), not knowing that I was in the midst of the purgatory of a stalled early labor.
I spent all day Wednesday (yes, WEDNESDAY. THIS BULLSHIT STARTED ON FRIDAY) having mildly painful contractions every 30 to 40 minutes. My maternity leave had begun the prior Friday, so I’d spent each day alone with my thoughts, these fuck ass infrequent contractions, the ball and HGTV.
That evening, I went to bed tired, dejected and anxious. But at 11:30, I felt a contraction that I believed meant business. Was this finally it?
Maybe. These relatively painful contractions (maybe a 6 on a 10 point scale) continued all night, peaking in frequency and duration at about 5 am. By then, they were about 30 seconds long and anywhere from two to four minutes apart. I wanted to be in TRULY active labor before going to the hospital, so I was looking for a pattern of three minutes apart, one minute long for one hour. So we played the waiting game some more. My husband timed. Neither of us slept. I changed positions in bed frequently and advised him confidently that today was probably going to be the day, because I’m stupid.
At 7 am, THURSDAY morning (FUCKING THURSDAY) I called my doula. I explained what had been happening all night and she said it sounded encouraging. She told me to get up, shower and have a light breakfast. If the contractions continued after that, she’d be on her way to help until it was time to go to the hospital. I envisioned being admitted to the hospital by 2 pm and having a baby in my tired arms by 9 pm, again, because I’m stupid.
I showered, and the contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart. My doula assured me that this was normal and encouraged me to get on the ball. I did and the contractions picked back up to 4-5 minutes apart.
I had a light breakfast while sitting on the ball. As I nervously chewed my sausage, I was hit with a contraction that said, “Girl. Batten down the hatches of your wig.” It was probably a 7 on the pain scale. I smiled through it because, “YES. BUST THAT CERVIX OPEN IN THE ISLANDS OF WAIKIKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.”
I stayed glued to the ball for three hours. Contractions were frequent, but manageable. I sent my husband to call off work and take a nap so that one of us would be worth a damn as the day progressed. Finally, I felt confident that this was truly it. I asked my doula to come at 10 am. While I waited for her to arrive, I watched an old school video block on VH1 Soul and danced around the living room, stopping only to brace myself against the wall or a piece of furniture during more intense contractions. I felt very confident. I was coping with the (relatively minor) pain really well and I was looking forward to the process of labor and delivery. It felt like a really good fucking day to have a baby.
At 11 am, my doula arrived. She brought with her tools for pain management, her comforting demeanor and a patience and determination that matched mine. We were going to need it, because…
AS SOON AS SHE ARRIVED, MY CONTRACTIONS STOPPED. Not slowed. Not lightened. THEY STOPPED.
She felt this was probably a normal lull in labor and nothing that we couldn’t manage or restart. I wasn’t so sure.
To kick my labor back into active gear, she kept me moving. I walked. I rocked. I lunged (have you ever seen a nine-month pregnant woman lunge?) around the entire first floor of the house. I walked up and down the steps until I was sweaty and breathless. I spent countless minutes sitting on the toilet, because sitting there would always guarantee at least one strong contraction. I sat on the ball. I lied on the ball. I used pillows to keep my pelvis open during the rare moments where I rested. She continued timing and logging the contractions.
My husband nervously tinkered around the house, but otherwise stayed out of the way. My dogs stayed close, aware, I’m sure, that something important was afoot.
Contractions eventually restarted with some consistency, but they were brief. They didn’t seem to be increasing in duration and it became clear labor had stalled out again. To her credit, my doula didn’t say this to me. She stayed positive and tried every trick she knew. She even reached out to other doulas on the doula batline to try to see if there was more we could do.
I stayed hydrated and ate a lunch of Jimmy John’s. My husband applied counter pressure during the rare contraction strong enough to require it. My doula marveled at my pain tolerance and told me that it wouldn’t be much longer.
Of course, the contractions stopped again. By this time, it was 5 pm and we were all desperate. As a last ditch Hail Mary, the doula suggested that I get in the soaking tub in the master bathroom. Once in the soothing water, she had me contort myself weirdly to see if the weightlessness of the water helped the baby move down to bring his head into contact with my cervix and bring on some stronger, more regular contractions. This helped some and I had about five contractions in that bath. God bless that bath. She sat on the floor next to me and talked to me about any and everything other than labor.
After an hour, she helped me out of the tub and into some new pajamas. She then sent me to the couch to try and rest because I was spent. I physically could not do anything more. I’d spent the entire day doing cardio, basically. There, she positioned my pelvis with pillows and paced while waiting to see what my contractions did. They stopped again. OF COURSE THEY FUCKING DID.
By this time it was 7 pm, twelve hours after I’d originally called her to say, “This might be it.” We discussed prodromal labor (this torture has a name) and I told her to go home. I wanted her to be rested for when things did actually pick up. She told me that she was worried about my stamina because I hadn’t really rested in days and wanted me to promise to try REALLY hard to get some sleep because she felt active labor was imminent. I promised that I would and she said, “I have a feeling I’ll be back tonight.” I was like, “Girl, whatever. This baby is never going to come. I’m going to go to my 39 week appointment tomorrow, they’re going to tell me my cervix hasn’t changed and I’m going to kill myself.” What I was REALLY going to do was ask if they could give me a sleeping aid that would help me sleep through each night of torture before I went into active labor, because I was so desperate to get some sleep. She agreed that would be a good idea, but said again, very gently, “I don’t think you’re going to need to do that. I think I’ll be back tonight.” I was too tired to understand that she was telling me, in her professional wisdom, that shit was about to get real. I said wistfully that I hoped they’d find I was at least 3 to 4 cm tomorrow morning, and that would give me the resolve I needed to keep going. I had to know that all of this hadn’t been for naught.
My husband said, rather forcefully, “WE’RE NOT COMING BACK HOME AFTER THAT APPOINTMENT TOMORROW. I DON’T CARE. I DON’T CARE. GET YOUR MEMBRANES SWEPT AGAIN. GET INDUCED. YOU’RE SUFFERING AND I DON’T LIKE IT.”
I told him that he was crazy if he thought I was exercising either of those options and walked the doula to the door.
I then went to bed without another word and cried. After I cried… I dozed off. I slept for five blissful minutes. Like, a HEAVY sleep. But then, I was awakened by a contraction. And not a pansy ass one. This was a… CONTRACTION. It felt like a horse had kicked me from the inside. I thought, “GREAT. They’re starting already. I’m not gonna get ANY sleep tonight. I thought I at least had until 12 or 1 am.” I was so tired and discouraged that I didn’t realize that this was the opening salvo of active labor.
Realizing trying to sleep would be futile, I ambled downstairs and decided to eat. While trying to eat some buffalo wings and sautéed Brussels sprouts, I had two more of those contractions. I told my husband I was sure it was nothing other than the natural progression of the week’s torture and I went back to bed. I MISSED SCANDAL, BITCH.
These painful (8 or 9 on the scale) contractions started off at about 30 minutes apart, gradually increasing in length, duration and frequency all night. TEXTBOOK BUILD UP. ACTIVE LABOR. Do you think I realized this is what was happening? NOPE.
They eventually began to take all of my resources to cope and I’d dread the start of each one. I’d feel a tightening in my back that would wrap around to my front with an intense HOT pain that had a build up, peak and tail. I climbed out of bed and began walking. I moaned. I crawled. I took blankets into the bathroom and parked on the toilet for awhile. All I kept thinking is, “I just have to make it to my appointment at 9:50 am. They’ll give me something for pain and I’ll be able to sleep until active labor starts.” I… wasn’t… all… there.
At 4 am FRIDAY MORNING (FUCKING FRIDAY—A FULL SEVEN DAYS AFTER I HAD MY MEMBRANES SWEPT), I got back in the bed and positioned myself the way my doula had me in the tub. It was pretty unbearable, so I got back up. I shook my husband and said, “I need help. I need you to help me with these contractions. Rub my back.” He did and said, “Babe. I think we should time these.” I snapped back, “YOU DO IT! I CAN’T FOCUS ON THAT RIGHT NOW.”
I. Still. Did. Not. Understand. That. I. Was. In. Active. Labor. Telling you this now, I realize how utterly ridiculous that is. But at the time, it was like I couldn’t allow myself to get my hopes up, only to have them crushed again when daylight broke. This explains why I was in a ton of pain, but didn’t bother calling my doula back to help. I didn’t want her to waste her time again.
My husband timed contractions for one hour and we figured out that they were 60-90 seconds long and between two and four minutes apart. MY IDIOT ASS STILL DIDN’T KNOW I WAS IN ACTIVE LABOR. I was still focused on that doctor’s appointment and some sleeping pills.
By 6 am, we’d made our way downstairs, realizing that trying to rest was futile. We sat (well, I laid) on the couch watching infomercials as I moaned my way through contractions. I ate half of a bagel and stared at the clock, WILLING my appointment time to arrive.
Just after 7, my husband suggested I reach out to the doula, “just in case.” His ass didn’t realize I was in active labor, either. Dumb and Dumber.
I sent her a text.
7:25 am: “Contractions started back up at 20-30 minute intervals at 8 pm. They are 8 or 9 on my pain scale. They kept getting closer/longer until peaking at 60-90 seconds and two to four minutes apart at 5 am. I tried to doze between them, but they hurt so badly that sleeping between even the 20 minute ones was impossible. I was rocking, walking and trying to keep my pelvis open. Came downstairs at 6 am and they are still coming, but back at 15 to 20 minutes.”
“Still very painful. I’m just trying to make it to my appointment to find out what, if anything, they can give for pain/sleep until this turns into active labor. I need help because I am completely depleted and overwhelmed. I don’t know if I can do another day or night of this.”
She responded that 60-90 seconds was much better than what we’d seen previously, asked if they were still 20 minutes apart, and told me to take a bath and see if I could get an earlier appointment.
7:30 am: “They spread out to 20 minutes as soon as we came downstairs. Upstairs, I was sitting in the bed like you had me in the tub, sitting on the toilet or walking. Downstairs, I wanted to walk, but I was so exhausted I sat on the ball and then laid on my left side because I can hardly sit up anymore through this fatigue. I will try a bath and see about an earlier appointment.”
She told me to have breakfast if I hadn’t and try to relax instead of doing things to push labor along. She realized at this point that I didn’t need to, as it was humming along on its own. I STILL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT. This really is the most absurd thing.
I took a shower because waiting for a bath to run was honestly more than I had to give to life at that point. My husband called the doctor’s office and they said I couldn’t get in any earlier. They might have gotten me in soon IF WE’D ONLY TOLD THEM I WAS IN ACTIVE LABOR, BUT ALAS, WE DIDN’T KNOW I WAS AND SO COULDN’T PLAY THAT CARD.
I let my doula know and she said she’d meet us at the office for my appointment. She then said, “Take your hospital bag. I don’t think you’re going back home.” I dutifully obliged, all while thinking I was still going to be coming back home. She told me to keep deep breathing and moaning and try to stay relaxed. I did try. But it was hard when my whole abdomen felt like it was being tightened in a fiery vise. The pain wasn’t a level that I felt I absolutely couldn’t manage, but it was pretty shitty. The thing about contractions and labor is that they’re HARD. They’re really taxing. They require effort to get through them. And effort? REQUIRES ENERGY. ENERGY THAT I DIDN’T HAVE BECAUSE I’D NOT HAD ANY SLEEP IN THREE DAYS.
At 9, my doula checked in with me. I let her know that the contractions were about 10 minutes apart and still very intense.
I was dressed in clean pajamas (because fuck everything), a headscarf, Chuck Taylor sneakers and an aura of desperation. We loaded my bags into the car and then headed for the doctor’s office after a delay because three back-to-back contractions immobilized me. Still no clue I’m in active labor, by the way.
Because those contractions were going to make us late for my appointment, I called ahead to the office and let them know we were running about ten minutes late. I explained that I was having contractions and the receptionist assured me they’d get me in an exam room as soon as I arrived.
I had three trash ass contractions during the drive.
My doula was waiting in the lobby when we got there. I had two contractions from the lobby to the office. She supported my weight through each and whispered encouragement in my ear. She, and everyone in the doctor’s office (receptionist, nurses, ultrasound tech) all took one look at me and knew I was in active labor. My dumb ass still did not.
In the exam room, contractions made undressing from the waist down pretty difficult. My husband and the doula helped and we waited for my doctor for about two minutes.
She came in and said, “I heard you’re having some contractions!”
I said, “YES. THIS WEEK HAS BEEN AWFUL,” and launched into a miserable litany of everything that had happened since she’d swept my membranes.
She lamented, “Ai-yi-yi. Prodromal labor. I’m sorry. It sucks. It happened to me.”
I asked, “WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN ME?”
She laughed and said, “You hated everything about pregnancy. I didn’t need to scare you with more. Plus, there was no way of knowing this would happen to you. I really hoped last Friday would be your last appointment.”
I told her that I really, really needed something to help me sleep because I hadn’t slept in days.
She told me that some women are stuck in this pattern for weeks and I just about passed out, because I thought that was going to be me. Then she said, “We have a couple of options. I can write you a prescription for some sleeping pills that are safe for pregnancy. Or we can admit you to the hospital for a few hours with an IV drip of a pain medication that will make it so you can sleep through the contractions for awhile. We call that therapeutic sleep. Or… we could induce you. But first, how about we take a look at your cervix and see where things stand?”
I endured a pretty painful cervical check. She popped her head back up with a bright smile and said, “You’re four centimeters! Let’s go have a baby.”
I burst into tears of joy and relief. I wasn’t going home after all. All the work hadn’t been for naught. I WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE A BABY.
While I processed that, she continued poking around my cervix and I just about hit the ceiling. She’d swept my membranes again to be DOUBLY sure that my labor didn’t stall out again. Grrr. She talked to my doula for a bit and asked her some questions about whether my contractions had been “coupling” all week and they talked shop talk for a moment.
Through my tears, we then talked about the hospital admission and how things would go from this point forward. She said she’d be kept abreast throughout the day and hopefully she’d see me later that afternoon to deliver my son. She then left to call the hospital.
It was close to 11 am. I was still exhausted, but I had a brief burst of energy and renewed confidence. We drove down the street to the hospital and made our way to the L&D floor. I refused a wheelchair at the hospital’s front admissions desk, even though that sweep had unleashed hell. I was having strong, hard contractions, back-to-back with nearly no breaks in between them. I wanted to walk because I was still determined to have my natural labor and I needed to help things along. The staff couldn’t believe I refused the wheelchair. I requested a room with a tub and was given one.
Once inside, I put on the hospital gowns. Yes, gowns. I wasn’t gonna be assed out. I then sat still for fetal and contraction monitoring while we went over my medical history, the events of the last week, and our birth plan with the nurse. They were completely supportive of an unmedicated delivery with no routine IV fluid and intermittent monitoring. I’d be allowed to hydrate to comfort by mouth with water, Gatorade, ice and frozen treats. I had a hep-lock installed just in case. This would come back to bite me later, but for now was in line with my birth plan. They also drew a vial of blood and did another cervical check to make sure I was really 4 cm. They agreed with my doctor’s assessment. Four centimeters out this bitch, and a station that said the baby was still floating pretty high in my pelvis.
Once they’d established that my contractions were in a good pattern and the baby was doing well, they turned me loose. I’d be allowed to walk and do whatever I wanted for 45 minutes out of every hour. Then, I’d have to return for 15 minutes of monitoring.
So we got moving. My husband, my doula and I walked the corridors of the L&D floor. Well, walk is an overstatement. It took really long to get anywhere because we kept having to stop for contractions. I simply could not believe how frequently they were coming. My doula said they seemed to be in a pattern similar to transition, which meant my labor might not be long (MIGHT NOT BE LONG AFTER SIX DAYS). I was griping about how quickly they were coming and she assured me that this is what we wanted. My husband would support my weight while she applied counter pressure. The pain. Oh, sweet Jesus, the pain. It wasn’t completely unmanageable. But it was hard and it definitely required some fight. The issue was I was just so tired. I needed to rest. After one hour of walking and lunging, we returned to the room. I was hopeful that I’d progressed to 6 cm so that I could use the tub. They’d told me I couldn’t until then because they didn’t want labor to stall out. I just needed to rest and take the edge off.
So it was with bated breath that I endured yet another painful cervical check… only to be told I was still 4 cm. Womp. So I got on the ball. I used heat pads and counter pressure and massage and visualization and I tried really hard to battle through over the next hour. But I was so tired it was hard for me to sit up unsupported anymore. I said that I wasn’t sure I could do this and my husband, the nurse and my doula said, “Oh, but girl. You ARE doing it.” The nurse marveled at my ability to cope with the pain, because I wasn’t completely losing my shit. I was moaning softly through each contraction and trying my best to surrender to each wave.
All of a sudden, I started being unable to focus my eyes. Like, I was so tired, I could not fix my eyes on a single point. I knew then that I HAD to get some rest. But there was no way I’d be able to sleep through the contractions. So I asked about temporary pain relief that would allow me a quick nap. The nurse reminded me of my birth plan and asked if I was really sure and I said that I was. She talked to us about analgesics and I briefly considered them. The side effects, particularly those for the baby, frightened me and gave my husband INCREDIBLE pause. But I didn’t want that goddamned epidural. I didn’t want the increased monitoring, the lack of movement, the potential for fever, blood pressure drops, etc. I. DID. NOT.
So I tabled the discussion and went back to lunging around the room for thirty more minutes. Then I hit my wall. I was simply physically incapable of doing anything more. I had no reserves left with which to do this. Labor is physical work. Physical work requires energy. Energy requires rest. I AIN’T HAVE NONE OF THAT SHIT. I was delirious.
I locked eyes with my doula and said, “I want the epidural.” She said, “I think that’s a great choice for you right now. You absolutely need to rest.”
We summoned the nurse and told her. She said, “Let me tell you something. I do this for a living. I see lots of women go through this process. You can tell when someone is going to be able to manage the pain. You were rocking it. I have no doubt in my mind that if you’d have had a textbook labor and some sleep in the past few days? You’d have done this without the epidural. But right now? You DEFINITELY need to rest. We’re going to make it so that you can.” And with that, she started making the calls to get the nurse anesthetist.
Remember how I said I only had a hep-lock and no IV fluid? Well… To get an epidural, you have to be pre-loaded with one or two bags of saline solution to prevent a catastrophic drop in blood pressure. That takes about an hour. Fuck everything. Seriously.
Once you make the decision to get an epidural, you want it placed and you want relief NOW. That wasn’t to be for me. Not only did I have to wait for the fluids to come, be hooked into my hep-lock and slooooowwwllly drip into me, I had to have my blood drawn AGAIN and rushed to the lab because they lost my first sample and they couldn’t give me the epidural without analyzing it first. MY NIGGA, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I actually moaned, “This is some bullshit. I can’t.” My wonderful nurse (seriously, she was awesome) apologized profusely and told me how well I was doing. I had to endure all of this while sitting perfectly still on the bed, because the IV had restricted my movement. So I couldn’t even move around to use pain management techniques. My doula massaged my extremities and lower back as best she could, while my husband held my hand and whispered encouragement into my ears.
The nurse anesthetist FINALLY arrived at 1:30, only to find that her preferred sterile scrub for my back wasn’t available. THIS BITCH simply couldn’t do without it, so she had the nursing staff calling all over looking for this specific thing that no one seemed to be familiar with and I’m thinking, “USE WHAT THEY HAVE ON THE TRAY, HO.”
They’d kicked my husband and doula out to maintain a sterile field at this point, so I’m sitting there with just the nurse, enduring contraction after contraction. The nurse was very encouraging and told me how great I was doing, but I didn’t give a shit about her superlatives. I wanted my epidural, my doula and my husband, in that motherfucking order.
After THIRTY MINUTES, Picky Patty’s preferred scrub is procured and we’re able to get to the process of placing the epidural. It took a very long time. And I spent it hunched over, having massive contractions (seriously, the stupid nurse anesthetist looked at the monitor and ACTUALLY SAID they were some of the strongest she’d ever seen—fuck her) trying to stay completely still. The nurse was supporting me and talking me through each. “You’re going to get through this contraction. You’re going to stay perfectly still. The epidural will be placed and you will sleep. Good job,” and so on. Her soothing voice and reassuring touch are the only reason I wasn’t in tears at this point. Thirty more minutes, FOURTEEN CONTRACTIONS (I counted), two rushed emergency appearances from the resident on call when the monitors lost my baby’s heartbeat because of how I was contorted, and three placement attempts later (I apparently have very narrow spaces between my vertebra), the epidural was in. There were a few spots where it didn’t initially take, so I had to flop around like a fish until the medicine was fully distributed. Twenty minutes after that, it had fully kicked in, and it was off to sleep for me.
Except that it wasn’t. They immediately came to do another cervical check and to break my water, so that the epidural wouldn’t slow my labor down. Don’t you know I’d dilated to 6 cm while WAITING for the goddamned epidural?
Then it was off to sleep… Or not. The epidural made me shake so violently that it was impossible to sleep through it. So I laid there. I laid there with a sleep mask on, wishing desperately to sleep… and not sleeping. My doula tried some massage techniques and pressure points to try to make the shaking stop, all to no avail. So she went back to work positioning me to keep my pelvis open to support continued dilation and help the baby move down. She used a peanut ball and flopped my legs around. I maintained good control over my pelvis, hips and right leg (I could lift and move all of them), but my left leg was dead to the world. The pain had stopped, but I could still feel the tightening of the contractions and could tell when they would start, peak and end.
And so, we waited. We waited for me to dilate and for my son to descend. As it turned out, we didn’t wait long. At 3:30, the nurse came back to do a cervical check. I was 10 cm. I’d gone from 6 to 10 cm in approximately an hour and a half. I found it incredibly infuriating that after a full week of slow early labor things were now progressing so quickly, but I was thankful nonetheless. My son still wasn’t with the idea of being born, because he was still floating up a little high. As both of our vitals were stable (minus a fever I’d developed from the epidural), they were happy to let me continue to rest and allow him to work himself down, rather than have me try to push him down. My doula went back to work on positioning me to help (I looked a fool with my dead leg) and I allowed myself to finally really get excited over the prospect of seeing my son.
For the next two hours, they monitored my rising fever, but otherwise left me alone. At nearly six, they came back for another check and my son was at whatever station he needed to be in order to be born. They called my doctor and she wasn’t on call for that evening. She tried really hard to find someone to take her kids so she could come deliver me. While that happened, I rested and my fever grew even higher. They started me on prophylactic antibiotics (see why I didn’t want that damned epidural originally?), but remained chill about it. They mentioned the prospect of possibly having to do the same for my son, but assured me I’d still get my hour of skin-to-skin time immediately after birth.
It turned out that my doctor wasn’t going to be able to attend me, so they called the doctor on call. While we waited for her, I watched as they wheeled in the tray with everything she’d need to deliver my son. It is at this moment that it REALLY hit me that I was going to have a baby. Like, a whole ass human being that I’d carried and made was going to luge out of my vagina with my assistance. HOLY SHIT.
I’d never met the doctor on call, and that made me nervous. As it turned out, my fears were unfounded. She was an amazing woman who made my delivery hilarious and fun. She arrived at about 7:30—breezed in actually—introduced herself and immediately put me at ease with her warm bedside manner and some pretty funny jokes. She instructed me on how pushing would go and said it would probably take about an hour. Then, she asked me to do a test push with the next contraction to see if I had the hang of it. I did, and she said, “Yeah, no. Pushing isn’t going to take you an hour. In fact, let me get ready now.” ALL THOSE MOTHERFUCKING KEGELS CAME IN HANDY. She quickly changed, donned the splash guard and assembled her tools.
My husband took a leg and the nurse took another. It was go time.
They asked if I wanted the mirror down. I said yes, but quickly realized I couldn’t push and look into it at the same time. Between contractions, I’d steal peeks and I saw my son’s head and hair… hair that the doctor lovingly sculpted into a Mohawk as it peeked out of my vagina (seriously—LOL), so he’d be “photo ready” upon birth.
At 8:02 pm, seven days after my membrane sweep, six days of early labor, 24 hours of active labor, five contractions and fifteen minutes after I started pushing, my son was born. The doctor, nurses and doula couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I’d pushed him out as a first time mom. I was grateful that there was SOMETHING about my labor and birth that went more quickly than expected.
They placed my 6 lb,13 oz and 20 inch long boy on my chest, where he promptly took a shit to let me know how he felt about being born, and I fell in love. The end.
Well, not quite. I had a postpartum hemorrhage, courtesy my fibroids. The doctor handled it quickly and calmly, but I watched in the mirror with alarm as she ordered, and then shoved Cytotec into my ass. Literally. SHE SHOVED CYTOTEC PILLS INTO MY ASS. My son and I both ended up on antibiotics and I had a preeclampsia blood pressure spike that earned us an extra night in the hospital, but other than that we did well.
You should also know that I didn’t shit on the delivery table.
I didn’t tear and my postpartum nurse checked me on day two and said, “Good grief. It doesn’t even look like you had a baby!” I knew then that me and my vagina were gonna be alright. GLORAY. PAY HOMAGE TO MY PERINEUM AND ITS INCREDIBLE ELASTICITY. No. Seriously. Pay homage.
Asylum 14 by Rogue Events. A disaster of a convention
WARNING: This post be HELLA long.
This past weekend (8th May to 10th May) I attended Asylum 14, A supernatural convention hosted by Rogue Events. I had never attended a convention hosted by this company before but had plenty of other convention experience as well as my own event planning experience, so like any other attendee I expected a fun filled weekend full of seeing awesome guests and meeting new people.
Sadly this is not a convention made for fans, this is a convention made for money.
There are many things that went wrong and below I will try and explain all the things I remember from my own experiences, my friends (and other attendees I spoke to) also visiting the convention have their own horror stories which Im sure will also be made public, but for the sake of this post, I will only recount my own experience or things told to me. I apologise if I go off in a tangent, there is a lot of crap to wade through with this post and keeping it in order might become an issue.
It started when the tickets first went on sale towards the end of 2014. I went to purchase my ticket only to find the most bizarre set up. You are unable to pay for your ticket at the time of booking, instead you have to reserve a ticket, get a confirmation email and then perform a direct bank account transfer. After doing so I waited in excess for 3 weeks to even have confirmation of my payment and ticket. Already not off to a very comforting start. I then soon learned that this company does not end out email updates, however relies exclusively on their Facebook posts to inform attendees of the plans for the convention. As we all know, Facebook can be very hit and miss in what it chooses to show on our timelines so finding information could be nerve wracking.
A few weeks later they announce that they will be taking pre orders for photo sessions, you have to email them, not visit an online store, and you can only email them on specific dates at specific times. Once again after a number of days you get a confirmation email and once again are required to make a bank transfer, the confirmation of which is not delivered for another few weeks.
The first set of tickets I bought went like that, its when the next batch came out that problems came up. I was on my Facebook travelling when they posted about new photos being available, I immediately sent them an email to request them, the reply I received was “You emailed too early, you cannot now buy any photos”. I wondered if perhaps I read this wrong, are they saying that I cannot buy today? or that I cannot buy at all as some bizarre punishment for misreading their post? Sadly it turns out that the later was the case. I was now not allowed to buy photos.
I emailed them back apologising for jumping the gun with my email but explained that due to my medical condition I am unable to line, and thus was eager to pre buy my photos and avoid lining on the day. Again a reply of “You can’t buy photos”.
At this point I was starting to get concerned with these curt replies, I however decided to let it go and try ordering again on the correct day. I sent in my next order the correct way and heard nothing back at all. Only when my friend receive her confirmation email (3 weeks later) did I again email to find out what was going on. I was told i’d missed out, even though I had emailed at 7am, a full hour before my friend had.
I explained again why I was so anxious to get my photos and was just told “Just look at the website”.
I went to the website, checked the access program details and found that I would be required to line for tickets on the day, regardless of my condition. As you might guess this caused me a level of unneeded stress. Feeling helpless I resigned myself to having a painful weekend. I applied for an access pass but did not receive a reply for some time, when I did I had further questions which I emailed the access coordinator back with. To this day (after the con) I never had a reply.
I arrived at the convention, stood in line for a very long time for tickets on to find out at the front of the line, that they where only accepting cash payments, a fact not displayed by signage nor told to those waiting in line, and considering the cost of these photos was expensive, I don’t normal carry around hundreds in cash. I was forced to run through the hotel to an atm and back, something that left me feeling very unwell. I received my photo ops (printed as a till receipt) and proceeded to go try get autographs, photos or even merchandise.
At this point when I asked for a timetable of events I was told they had run out, that they had not printed one for every attendee (when I later found one, it was full of typos and formatted in a very hard to follow way, with many clashes).
The system rogue set up for the 2200 so attendees was to give group via the alphabet. For example I was group M, my friends where group O & Y. We where told that we could not go to a session unless our group was called.
The problem was however that unless you stayed near the room, you had no idea what group was called. Apparently the system Rogue events had come up with was to have a twitter feed that would let you know what was going on as well as a info desk. This sounds good in principal until you think about it. Not everyone has twitter or a smart phone. Most people could not get internet inside the hotel, there was no wireless provided unless you where staying at the hotel and icing on the cake, the state of autograph sessions was never updated and the other sessions where only sometimes updated. So now you think, I’ll go to the info desk, sadly however their screens where frozen and showing old information, so you where told to go check with the steward outside the room you wanted to go to, only to have that steward yell at you to check twitter. And to top it off, checking your phone so often kills the battery.
This is off to an amazing start as you might be able to tell, every room the whole of friday only called groups a-c exclusively. So many people where stood around, staring at their phones, not talking to each other for fear of missing out.
This does not make for a fun time.
On the subject of stewards, I cannot believe that there was any kind of screening process for picking the volunteers. On the whole I did not meet one steward who a) knew what was going on b) was able to problem solve c) was polite and profession and lastly d) was not massively insulting and who abused the very people they where meant to help.
In my case, unable to find out updates, I approached the steward to first ask what group was being called. I was very rudely told to go check twitter. I then explained how it was not working and that I was an access pass attendee and required a chair, I asked if perhaps I could just sit on a chair inside the room or outside, just so I could at least hear what was going on, I was again rudely told to go sit in the bar. I explained there where currently no seats in the bar (filled with groups E-Z of people) and that even if I got a seat I would be unable to find out updates. He told me to go away.
Shocked I turned to another steward for help, she told me they didn’t have any seating at all for me to use and again, “stop clogging up the hallway”
So AGAIN I asked another steward and was berated for wasting peoples time and to get out of her way.
At this point I was distraught. All I wanted was a chair within hearing range of announcements. Something I was promised as being a access pass holder.
Finally I found a staff member and just burst into tears, I was in pain, I needed to sit and I was being treated like a problem by everybody. Thankfully this staff member knew what she was doing, I wont mention her name incase what she did next was not allowed (Rogue has proven to be…harsh to other people) but she helped me get a chair, got me some tissues and then personally made sure I was given a chair in every room I visited. It was only due to her interference I even got to get any photos or autographs and I am very very grateful to her for interfering and making sure I was ok. Many people remarked over the weekend she was the only member of staff who was efficient, kind and never rude. SO thank you again, you know who you are.
During the weekend many times it was only groups a-c being called. I tweeted them the suggestion of starting some areas at A and some at X and some in the middle. Because people in group A are unable to visit everything at once after all. many people agreed that would make more sense.
Then there was the panels. Oddly enough, guests who had no more then 2 episodes to their name where given full 30 min panels while the big guests where also only given 30 mins (oh which they always arrived late to but then always finished on time, meaning we would be lucky to get a 15 min session)
You would think that the smaller guests would be given a shared panel while the larger guests would be given longer panels. One of the smaller guests ran out of things to say and we all got treated instead to his future business plans for Organic Dog Shampoo. Thrilling.
Speaking of said panels, it eventually turned out that the stewards where censoring the questions asked without the guests knowledge, and continued to do so after Misha collins asked them to stop during his talk. And when I say censored I don’t mean, they stopped them from swearing, or taking 10 mins to talk about themselves to the guests or even questions involving spoilers. No they stopped people from asking questions like “Have you even read any fan fiction” or “Why do you think these two characters are often shipped together?” ect ect. The type of content that they even joked about in the show, was deemed “too far” by Rogue events.
We where also treated to repeated announcements that “any caught filming would be escorted from the building and the footage delated from their phones.” and “we know who is tweeting videos, we will find you and deal with you”.
If the convention filmed these panels and made them available to buy, filming would be less of an issue, but rumour has it they stopped doing it years ago. Seeing footage form these cons is very common, good luck finding any of the amazing things that happened in these talks online.
Speaking of a media blackout, the guests where all made to sign contracts that stopped them from taking selfies with anyone, no matter how much the guest wanted to do it. Not that they told anyone this, they just got angry at people for asking.
As I mentioned above the guests where forever running late to talks, and cutting them short. This is obviously a failure of planning. Had they made photo tickets ONLY pre buy feature, they would have had the numbers for creating a time table accurately. The time table they did have became redundant as nothing was starting at even close to the time son it and in some cases, being moved all together. (Aka guest lounges on Sunday being moved from 11am to 4pm)
One of the very obvious failings was the stewarding system was a lack of communication provided to them, on more then one occasion confusion was caused by stewards sending people to wrong rooms, letting in people they shouldn’t (or not letting in those they should) and all in all getting angry at attendees for asking questions. Had information been easy to get no one would have had this issue, the stewards themselves still had to pay full ticket price and often missed their own autographs and photos, for this they where rewarded with a group photo at the end of the day. In an effort to save money and not hire and pay real staff, this company took advantage of fans, didn’t even make sure they got time to do what was needed, provided them with no support or training (which of course led to people who should not have ever been placed in a customer services role ) and got free labour for it all. Disgusting
During Friday and saturday we discovered that unlike every other convention, there where no photos provided for guests to sign, in fact it seems to be done on purpose to force people to have programs signed. Many people showed disappointment in this which is perhaps why photos where finally made available towards the end of saturday for an extra £5 each. (Photos that and been taken by the con and again normally included in the ticket price for such things)
A common thing for people to get at conventions, is photos with stars signed, this was not possible here as the photos where not available to collect (outside opening for 10 mins here and there with no announcements) until Sunday at about 5pm. You can image hundreds of people wanting to pick up photos at once did not go well. Firstly, other conventions often have your photo printed and ready for you the moment you finish having the photo ready, in this case, not only did we not get them till the end of the day, but where forced to lines up in order to view tables of photo thumbnail sheets, in which you where expected to find your own photo. Also the room was unbearable hot. This slowed things considerably. After 45 mins in this line and about to miss the last talks of the day I finally reached the front of the line. I could see the table in-between people and while the line was not moving chose to start trying to find my photos, so that I could grab them quickly with no fuss. The line was not moving, I had a clear view of vision so this seems to be a practical thing for me to do. It seems one of the staff/stewards disagreed. she told me off for looking. I explained I was just trying to speed things up and she replied with “stop looking, you’ll get your own turn to take as much time as you want”. I replied that encouraging people to be slow in this process was hardly fair to the other 100 people behind me and that what I was doing was not hurting or hindering the process. Due to me doing this I was able to identify 3 of my photos before I was even allowed to go get them, as a result I moved quickly through this process. Until it came to grabbing my 3rd photo. No one was available to grab my photo so i lifted up the pile to grab my own, being very careful with the photos (in fact handling them the same way the staff where, I was unaware they this was not allowed as nothing had ever been said to that effect), a steward screamed at me not to touch them, I pointed out I had just found my photo and went to take it when she grabbed the pile away from me (handling them much rougher then I had!) and kept yelling at me for touching them, by this point I reached my tipping point of patience, leaned over and grabbed my photo while pointing out that her actions where holding up the line when its obvious my photo is right there. When my friend came behind me after I left she ranted to me friend about how rude I was and how much “these photos cost” as if she herself had not just damaged them through her hissy fit. I discovered then that my 4th photo was NOT ready yet and I would have to come back again. Something they did not announce, nor did they announce that they would remain open till 9 until people had been in line for and hour. (Not that they helped people who had to leave to catch trains and such.
I then went straight to the Jensen panel, I quickly grabbed 2 seats in the priority area as my access pass allows and was removed from my seat by a steward, because id sat in a seat “belonging to” someone in line to ask a question. Someone who mind you did NOT have an access pass and would be lining for the entirety of the talk anyway. Disgusted I walked out and went to the Jared panel. Which was fine until one of the other attendees got out her camera (which had the sound and beeps turned on) and started going through all her photos. Everyone around her turned to look at her as it was loud enough to drown out the talk. A steward was sat 1 meter from this woman and did nothing. Finally fed up I quietly asked the steward to ask the woman to stop as she was interrupting the panel for many people, the steward informed me it wasn’t her job to keep people in line.
Panel over and fed up, I returned to grab my last photo only to be stopped by a steward saying I could not go in yet, I said ok but can I please sit in the chair located just behind her? Her reply was a flat no. I showed her my access pass and just went over and sat, much to her annoyance. When we where finally let it, instead of jointing the line to view that tables id been to, I went straight for the empty table where my photos where and grabbed mine in 30 seconds flat, as I tried to leave a steward came up to me to berate me for not joining the queue. Rather then explain how stupid it would be for me to clog up the queue for photos I had already, and how this table was empty I just walked away.
This was the point I just walked out of the con and left. I had no more strength left to fight people.
I wish I could say I felt the money was worth it, it wasn’t. I wish I could say the panels where great and memorable. But they where often only half the length and we got no footage of them. I wish I could say i bought some fun merchandise , however the vendors hall had 3 vendors selling handmade items and items unrelated to supernatural. (a surprise seeing as there are many main stream vendors with supernatural merch) I wish I could say I felt safe and looked out for, I did not. I wish I could say I mets ton of new friends, I did not. The stress and unhappiness of the events of the convention left the atmosphere the most hostile I have ever experienced at any convention ever. I wish I could say I felt like I had a cool story of meeting guests that wasn’t just been thrown in front of a camera and moved on so fast you barely got a “hello” out.
I have been attending cons of varying sizes since 2009, in Australia, Singapore and the UK, both big commercial enterprises and small causal cons. I have been in event organising myself for commercial and hospitality. Never have I experienced an event so poorly run with such obvious fixes. The man who runs this event Wayne is a known bully, people have told me they witnessed him being berated by the guests manager on a number of occasions and she herself spoke to a number of people about the poor running of this convention. They also witnessed him threatening to have a attendees ticket removed on the spot because they asked him some questions. There is a general knowledge that one does not question Rogue Events without fear of loosing their ticket. That is wrong and abusing the power he has from the goodwill of fans.
Showmasters is a much better company with fair practice who train their staff to a much higher standard and treats their guests with more respect. If I where a guest, Id never sign with Rogue Events again and instead do Showmasters events. For my own sake and for the sake of my fans.
As things stand at this point, assuming I do not receive a life ban from Rogue Events for making this post, I would not return, nor would I recommend this company to anyone.
I hope they get their act together, they could be a great con if they listened to feedback genuinely and started making con that focused on fan enjoyment, not fan bank accounts.
(I’ve included one photo I did get because its one of the rare good moment s from the convention, though I have to note that I needed to photoshop correct the exposure and colours of the photos, as the quality of the photos provided where also very bad)
(I understand other people had fun, this post is about my experience and hopefully something Rogue takes on board to improve their future events)
So my advice to those about to vista one of their cons.
- Bring your own stuff to be signed
- Bring your phone charger
- Bring a bottle of water and a fan
- Bring your own protective case for things you have signed.
- If you don’t have twitter get it, its barely up today but its better then nothing.