"At 9pm, I was checked again. I was 9 cm and baby's head was an inch from coming out. "We are ready when you are Melissa. You need to be OK with pushing your baby out. That part that you don't want to do..." my midwife encouraged.
I went through something similar while laboring with G (and perhaps in other labors, too!). My body had "progressed" but then seemed to stall out. My intuitive and perceptive midwife asked me a similar question, "Are you ready to have this baby?"
Honestly, I had to answer, "no;" the very reason why I wasn't in more active labor. I wasn't ready to go through the pain. I wasn't ready to try nursing again. I wasn't ready for the sleepless nights and the challenges a newborn brings to our family. (For me, the thoughts about life with a new baby were more frightening than the thoughts of the pain of labor.) I, too, dreaded the "out of control" that labor IS. . . and as a result, I was subconsciously delaying my baby's birth.
And G was born about 30 minutes later.
Melissa and I both wondered with each other how differently our labors would have gone in a hospital setting. Surely we looked like textbook "failure to progress." (I remember laboring with O in the hospital and everyone coaching me to "PUSH!" when I was 10 cm dilated but didn't feel ready at all.) Yet it wasn't our bodies that needed helped along in labor, but just our minds to be in agreement with our bodies. We are spiritual beings and laboring is a deeply emotional, physical, spiritual experience. It's still a mystery to me that brings me to tears. What a painful privilege!