Push! Push! The doctors screamed while Angel looked in agony and tried to bring her cherub into this world!
Lol that is so far from the truth!
*excuse typos pls. First draft disappeared into the empty space of wordpress!*
I promised my push story so here it is! During my pregnancy, I was thankful not to have any complications. I was healthy, active and probably did a lot more travelling while I was pregnant than I have ever done before. This is partly because I knew once the baby arrived I will be on lock down for a few months before the restless traveller in me will up and go again. We went to Germany, Venice and Florence in Italy and then I went to Brussels with my friends. Anyway this post is not about my travels.
I always thought I would be one of those people that my waters will break in public with my husband nowhere insight and a stranger being forced to take me to the hospital. This is also not the case I’m sure you can tell I have watched too many sitcoms. I thankfully had a more or less very undramatic pregnancy. In fact, I always say I didn’t have any cravings to my husband’s delight. He was happy he didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to look for amala and gbegiri or any other authentic naija food I may have wanted. If I must pick one craving it would be ice! I loved crushing them between my teeth!
I enjoyed my pregnancy until the last 4 weeks when I just couldn’t wait for him to be out and I was tired of being huge. Also, we were in the middle of moving houses and the house we were moving to required quite a number of things done to it. My fear was my baby would arrive before the house was ready. During the building works, my sister inlaw came to rescue me and took me to her house where I was instructed to put my feet up. My nephews did such a great job in taking care of me and anytime I asked for the usual, they knew that meant a cup filled with crushed ice!
My next fear became giving birth in my sister inlaws house. Thankfully, our house was ready for me to move back in after two weeks of staying with my sister inlaw. My husband made sure I kept active even though all I wanted to do was snuggle under a blanket and watch movies and tv series all day. He always found a reason to drag me out and made me walk. I guess this was helpful in beginning the labour. Exactly a week before my due date, my husband and I decided to go to watch 12 years a slave in the cinema. While some people were crying watching Chiwetele Ejiofor suffer, I was trying to understand the tightening that was going on in my tummy. I soon realised I was having Braxton hicks for the first time in my pregnancy. However, unlike Braxton hicks, it didn’t stop, he kept on going and coming every 15 minutes.
I told my husband of this development but as he could see I wasn’t in pain he didn’t worry. After the movie we went home and I was disappointed the labour did not escalate further. The next day, the same thing happened and I found I could easily ignore them because I wasn’t in pain. This went on until Wednesday when I realised I couldn’t walk through contractions. Although they weren’t very painful, they stopped me in my steps. It still wasn’t too bad so I did not let my husband go to work. Hian! I thought I was in pain, however, in hindsight, I was still able to update my friends and use the contractions counter app which meant I was not yet in pain. My friend, girly accountant, had sent me her tens machine which I was now using to manage the pain. Now the thing about tens machine I found out was this, when I had it on, I didn’t think it was doing anything to the pain, however when I took it off, the pain I felt was more. I’m yet to decide if it was psychological. At this stage, none of the normal signs of labour had happened to me. My water had not broken and my plug was still in tact. My husband ran me a warm bath which was very soothing and helped managed the pain as well.
By that night, babes weren’t smiling any more. I put everything I learnt at my ante natal class into practice and they helped but it didn’t stop the fact I was still in a bit of pain. My husband called his sister to come and help us. A few hours after she arrived, at about midnight, on Wednesday I told my husband I was ready to go to the hospital. He had been keeping the hospital updated on my progress but they suggested I stayed at home as long as possible, especially as I was a first time mum. Against their advice I forced him to take me in.
We were met by this silly midwife when we got there. If I wasn’t in pain I would have given her a good piece of my mind but I decided to conserve my energy. First of all, she told me that I would probably be in labour for another couple of days as a first time mum (I rejected this). Then she said my temperature was too high which meant I may not be able to give birth in the midwife led unit and I would have to move to the labour ward (I rejected this as well). Thirdly she said I had protein in my urine, which is a pregnant woman’s worst nightmare (which I also rejected). I asked this woman if they sent her to me. I told her my urine tests have come out clean for the last 9 months it’s now when I’m in labour you are seeing protein. She did the test again and realised she made a mistake. She gave me some cocodamol for the pain and monitored my temperature. She had checked how dilated I was (which is also a painful process) and concluded I was only 2cm dilated. She gave me the bad news that she couldn’t admit me until I was 4cm dilated. She monitored my temperature about about an hour and when it was back down to normal, she sent me back home to have a good night rest.
There was nothing restful about the night. It was just so uncomfortable. I was on the bed then on the floor then on all fours. I struggled to find a comfortable position. When I found myself crying during the contractions, I woke my husband up and told him it was time to go to the hospital again. We prayed that I would have progressed sufficiently and then we set out for the hospital. We forgot the camera, my iPad etc everything I wanted to take. The only thing we didn’t forget was my hospital bag! As if things were not bad enough, there was traffic on the way to the hospital. It took everything within me not to scream or take it out on my husband. My constant mantra was to preserve my energy. We eventually got to the hospital at 9:30am on Thursday. Thankfully, the silly midwife was off shift, I had no complications and I could have my baby in the midwife led unit as opposed to the labour ward.
My new midwife was called Letizia, she is from Zimbabwe. She was a very thorough and sweet woman. She checked me and gave me the great news that I was now 5cm dilated. Even though on average I should have dilated 1cm per hour, I had only dilated 3cm in 8 hours. It didn’t bother me though because I was just happy to be in the hospital where I could manage the pain properly. She asked me how I wanted to manage the pain so I asked for gas and air. She asked if i wanted to use the birthing pool and I said yes. So she ran another warm bath for me in a purpose built pool and she monitored the temperature of the pool, constantly changing the water to reduce the risk of infection or anything adverse. It was so soothing to be in the pool and my husband held the gas and air tube in my mouth so I could suck on it. The gas and air experience was fantastic. Lol it was like I was high and having an out of body experience. I could hear what people were saying and understand but I felt like I was far away. That far away feeling helped me cope with the pain. I can’t explain how, but the gas and air combined with me twisting my body in different shapes and forms as required, my weight supported by the water, really helped me manage my pain.
I felt completely weightless in the water and eventually lost track of time. My midwife told my husband she was going to the toilet quickly and if he needs her to pull a certain cord. When she left the room, I felt the need the push but at the back of my head I questioned this feeling because I was expecting to be in the hospital for a lot longer before needing to push. I told my husband this and in his attempt to call the midwife, he pulled the wrong cord which happened to be the emergency cord! All the doctors and midwives in that unit came running into my room! Even in my condition it was funny! He quickly apologised and explained to them I felt the need to push and he pulled the wrong cord. Thankfully they didn’t give him a hard time about it and my midwife was bag.
*side note: I was very impressed with how quickly they responded to the emergency call though*
I told my midwife I felt like pushing. She just told me to do what my body felt like doing and I shouldn’t force it, I should just go with the flow! I had never heard this advice on all the tv shows I had been watching. I was expecting a push push chant lol! However, I was thankful for being able to control the process. She however told me that if I wanted to give birth to my son in the water then I had to make sure that when I deliver his head, his head is completely immersed in water otherwise, she won’t be able to put his body back in the water to deliver the rest of his body, which made sense. So I made a mental note to remember.
Before I knew it, with no assistance at all, I pushed when I felt like and then voila, the head was out. It wasn’t as bad as j thought, there was a bit of a burning sensation but not enough to dwell on. Within the next two contractions the rest of my son was born. My cherub was born at 11:30am, 2 hours after I got to the hospital. Which means I dilated 5cm in less than 2hrs. I am pointing this out because no two women are the same. Peoples bodies react in different ways in different circumstances.
She handed him to me immediately and I realised he looked nothing like me and everything like his father! I was so filled with joy! His dad cut the placenta and held on to him while Letizia helped me out of the birthing pool to a flat cushion so I could deliver the placenta! Did you know after the baby comes the placenta? Me I didn’t know until I got pregnant and started doing the research. I had two options, she could either give me an injection in my leg that would help detach the placenta or I could wait to push it out with my contractions as I did my baby. I couldn’t be bothered to go through it all again so I opted for the injection. It took a bit longer than I would have liked but it all finally came out!
My husband and Letizia kept on going on about how I didn’t scream and I did very well. I was too focused on mentally managing the pain I didn’t scream. Some midwives knocked on my door later to find out if this was the room a lady was in labour in because they couldn’t hear anything from outside. In fact, through out my stay at the hospital I felt like a local champion lol.
Although the whole labour process wasn’t too bad and I was able to manage the pain sufficiently, all the movements I did in the pool took its tool on my body afterwards. My muscles ached for a few hours after. It felt like the feeling you would get if you had been swimming non stop for 2 hours. It was all worth it though.
The icing on the cake for me was this. The midwife led unit has only one private room on the ward. They had a policy that the first woman to give birth in the midwife led unit in a day could stay in the private room for free for as long as she wanted to. I was lucky that the previous occupant had just left, which meant the private room was for me and mine! The hospital food wasn’t even half bad, we even got dessert! I asked them when I will be discharged and I was told when I’m ready to go, I could go. I decided to spend the first night at the hospital to establish breastfeeding. My sister inlaw was with me all along! She didn’t leave till after the naming ceremony. God bless her!
Our first guest was my mother inlaw who arrived that evening to begin her grandma duties and then, V3 of Dvees and her then fiancé (now husband) came to visit as well. My friend Nursh and my mum and aunt visited us the next day before we went home.
It was a truly beautiful experience and if I can be promised the labour will be the same or better, I can’t wait to do it all again!
Any questions, ask and I will answer to the best of my ability, based on my experience.