My husband had decided to attend a business meeting that I wasn’t fully comfortable with him going. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have trouble with anything aside from the fact that I was heavily pregnant with our first born. Being a first time mum was giving me the nerves and in truth, I needed someone close. Much as I had read the current blogs on parenting, having a close support system is something I craved for. Here was a business meeting that my husband was going to be making a presentation in, yet my EDD was in a week’s time. All in all, I decided to brave myself for the best, or worse. Honestly, I was open to anything.
True to my fears, only two days after his departure, my water broke in my sleep. It wasn’t a gush like in the movies, but rather a trickle. I woke up from my bed at 4am to take a leak as is usual for a pregnant woman, only to feel myself wet. Had I wet my bed? It couldn’t be so. That’s something that hadn’t happened to me since toddler years. I was scared, and decided to brace myself for anything. Picking up my robe, I decided to walk to the other room where we had prepared the baby’s nursery. For a moment, I admired the cot that my husband had painted, going well with the mustard and gold theme we had fondly chosen for our coming baby. This was the long awaited journey of meeting him. What snapped me back to reality was some brackston kicks, while I also felt a mild cramp. Oh dear! The contractions were here.
Where was my cell phone? Was my pregnancy brain starting to play tricks on me? I needed that phone to call my husband and notify my mother that I had started my labor. It took me fifteen good minutes of turning my room upside down, only to see my phone behind my lamp shade. How had I missed it? Now my room looked like it had been ransacked and I don’t think David would have loved it so. Picking the car keys, I went to the garage, started the ignition and began driving to hospital. Since it was dawn, I had to put full glare lights, considering that the way to the hospital was nearly fifty kilometers away. As the long drive progressed, I decided to call David. Number busy it cried. I tried nearly ten times, with each call getting me more anxious and the cramping increasing in magnitude and frequency. Then I called my mother, who happily picked the call, only to hear my shaky voice.
“My daughter, are you okay? Why do you sound so breathless?” she asked.
“Mum, I’m on my way to the hospital and Dave isn’t reachable on call. Please come when you can, I don’t want to be alone.” I lamented.
Indeed, a grown woman like me was still a small mummy’s daughter, needing her love and support at this time that I felt as if hell was breaking loose. An hour later of driving as I caught my breath, led me to the reception. Nervous, I shoved my clinic card and told the nurse I was alone. Luckily, they responded quite quickly, taking me through the triage to take my temperature, weight and blood pressure and thereafter admitting me to the private ward that I’d paid for months earlier. Seeing the machines around me nearly gave me goosebumps, as all this was new to my eye. At the same time, those labor pains started hurting the more. This was the second labor stage. A finger test done by an unfamiliar nurse recorded that I was dilated to 5mm, and had quite some more to go.
David and I had discussed that if I wanted an epidural for pain relief, I’d go by it. However, there was something about that spine injection that I wasn’t quite comfortable with. Again, a CS would be our secondary option, that is, if I would be unable to deliver via vaginal birth and the baby was in distress. To distract myself, I decided to wander my mind into thinking what gender my child would be. Yes, we hadn’t done a gender reveal hence the mustard and gold theme, which was quite a unisex and neural color for a newborn. Two hours passed like a decade, since the pain got too intense to actually keep record of time. Still, David was offline and my mother, who lived two hours a drive away from the hospital was no where to be seen. Was I really going to deliver alone? Better I wrap my head around it, I said.
The urge to push was increasing and a lovely nurse I’d met in my Antenatal clinics came to my aid. I’d tried many labor positions, from crouching, to lying on my side, till this moment when she requested I climb onto my bed and push as she instructed. Much as I would have loved to stop and get my husband close-by, even on a video call, I had to go ahead with birthing on my own. Three pushes, excruciating pain and wail from our son filled the room. At that moment as we had a skin to skin with my baby, and the placenta was contracting out, nothing else mattered. I was so relieved and excited at the same time. The nurse did the general cleaning and clothing of the baby plus me, shortly after taking the measurements of the baby’s weight and height. Just as she was leaving the room, my phone started ringing.
We spoke with David, who was already on a flight back home after being informed by my mother that I had gone to hospital. It was an emotional experience, with him feeling inadequate for not being there when I needed him the most. Shortly after, my mother got to my room, happily and so exhilarated to see her grandson. In the middle of our conversation, I cited being dizzy. Two minutes later, I passed out, with my only memory being my mother calling for the nurses. Since I wasn’t keeping track of time, I do remember nurses getting in and checking my pressure. Then came them realizing that a pool of blood was in my beddings, a show of an unusual bleeding pattern. Being heavy, I overheard the nurses consulting and one suggesting that it could be postpartum Hemorrhage.
The excruciating pain of the process of clot removal is a memory I hold to date. One nurse held my hands tightly,another put still my thighs as the third one shoved their fist inside my sore privates, only to remove clots and clots of blood. While at it, I can swear that I may have seen angels in the air, since the experience was so close to death. Once the procedure ended, I was left so weak, such that they put me on a drip till the morning. My mother on the other hand was still in shock, and equally seeming happy to see me alive. It must have caught her off guard, with all the nurses, blood and still the child sleeping close by. I slept through the night, to be narrated the story of how I neared death by my mother. The following morning, David had arrived, and I woke up to the beautiful site of him holding our newborn, savoring the moment of being a first time dad.
At that very moment, I knew that our lives had changed forever. Not only because I had just underwent a traumatic birth experience but also because having my partner close to me, holding his child is all we’d envisioned since conception. Now that moment was in front of us, we were in it! Being new parents should earn its place in the Guinness book of records for being one of the most beautiful feelings on earth.