It was in the middle of a very heated argument with the hubby when I felt a trickle run down my legs. Was it pee? Was it my water breaking? I didn’t know which was which or what was what, as too many fluids had been leaking of late during heightened emotions (late trimester struggle).
Well it wasn’t continuous, so I shrugged it off and stormed off to another room to sleep. I definitely needed some distance from the hubby that night, because the mere sight of him pissed me off to the high heavens!
I was 41 weeks pregnant, well past my due date, with a very humongous bump; a nose the size of a basin; a painful hemorrhoid stuck in my butt; a neck as black as charcoal; as ugly as I never imagined possible, and so many ‘well-wishers’ asking me “you never born?” All my pregnant friends had welcomed their babies, and none of the home induction hacks was working for me. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated and wasn’t in the mood for extra drama from anything or anyone.
Unknown to me, my beloved mother who had come from Nigeria two weeks before for omugwo, had in addition to Naija food, also packed wraps of drama in her travel bag. She unravelled the first wrap at my 40 weeks appointment.
We had gone for what we hoped would be my last appointment. I was examined, and the nurse practitioner announced that my baby still hadn’t engaged; she was comfortably nesting very high up in the womb. My cervix was tightly shut, there was no sign of dilation; in fact, I was the perfect candidate for an induction. A date was fixed.
And the drama started…
My mum broke into a prayer. After praying, she started crying. We were all confused o! Nwanyi o gini? I’m not the first person in history to go past her due date, so why all this drama in the hospital? Being the emotional and frustrated wreck I was, I joined in and started crying too. After we were done crying, she looked me straight in the eye and declared that “this baby must come down from that upstair today!” I thought it was a joke, until she made me walk round the whole of Texas Medical Centre in the blazing sun. Twice!
When we finally got home, she ordered me to run up and down the stairs, and also do some squats and jogging on the spot for 30 minutes. Mehn…Naija moms don’t play! Despite all our hustle, I still didn’t go into labour. Our hustle didn’t pay!
Back to my story… I got up early the next morning to pee when I felt another trickle run down my legs. I took a closer look and saw it was slightly milky. This was definitely not pee, neither was it how I’d thought my water would break. I had my 41 weeks antenatal check-up that same day, so I decided to wait till it was time for my appointment. In the meantime, I slipped on a pad just to keep an eye on things, but nothing happened again until later on in the afternoon.
There was unfinished business or better put, unfinished argument hanging in the air, which I definitely had to clear up with the hubby that afternoon. We were in the middle of it again when I felt a huge leak. That was when I shouted that baby was on the way!
We abandoned the argument, grabbed my hospital bag (which I had packed and repacked several times), and dashed off to the hospital like mad people. In the midst of all the madness, my mum was visibly excited. ‘Baby was finally coming down from that upstair.’
I was checked when we got to the hospital, but still no sign of dilation. However, my amniotic fluid was definitely leaking, and since it’d been almost 24hrs since it started leaking, my labour had to be induced as soon as possible.
At about 7pm that Friday evening, papers were signed and my pitocin drip was started. Phone calls were made to family members. I offered up silent prayers to my chukwu abiama and then the wait started. Oh it was a long wait. My hubby, brother and mom were taking turns with hanging out with me in the labour room. We were taking selfies, gisting and cracking jokes because I wasn’t feeling much pains yet. I heard the heart-wrenching screams of other ‘labourers’ in the adjoining rooms, and thought ‘God make my own no be like this o!’.
By the time I got to 4cm dilation, which was around 2am, the pain was becoming more and more unbearable. My mom was encouraging me to bear it like a strong Hebrew woman without any pain relief. Shuo! “Which Hebrew woman?” I asked. “I’m an Igbo woman, and an Igbo woman in a lot of pain. Please I need that epidural now before it’s too late and I won’t be able to get it again!”
When I saw the epidural injection, I instantly regretted my decision because the needle was as long as a ruler. Choi! However, the pain I was feeling made me respect myself and sit still for the weapon of mass injection to be dug into my spine. After about 3 minutes, the world suddenly felt wonderful again. I couldn’t feel anything from my waist downwards, not even the annoying pelvic examination. Then my eyes rolled around like a drunkard’s, and I fell into a deep sleep …. Ah bliss!
The nurse woke me up around 6am (say no be sleep I come sleep for labour room), and ordered me to get into a different position so labour could progress. As I moved from lying on my back to lying on the left side, I went from 4cm dilation to 8cm dilation. How amazing is that? Things escalated quickly, and before you could say ‘cervix’, I was already 10cm dilated…Praise God!
It was now time to push. There were 2 doctors ready to catch the baby, a midwife hovering about, a nurse supporting my left leg, my husband carrying the right one, my mom watching with bated breath, and me lying there like an obedient rabbit, ready to push at the slightest scream of ‘puuuuuush!’.
I pushed and pushed for a very long time, but my baby wasn’t forthcoming. It was seen that her head was stuck because of the way she tilted her neck, and her heart rate had started dropping quickly… Jesus! It was an emergency situation!
The midwife immediately pressed a button and before you could say ‘push’, the room was filled to the brim with a team of healthcare professionals – surgeons, more obgyns, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, residents…etc. There was kata kata everywhere! I was like God what is happening? Am I about to die or what? When my mom saw the crowd, she lost it and unleashed another dose of drama.
She started wailing at the top of her lungs about never seeing anyone push this long, and how she couldn’t bear it anymore…She was crying more than the bereaved…It was pure chaos! A group from the crowd kindly led her out of the room to handle her matter outside…lol.
Anyway, time was of the essence and I was offered two options – an emergency caesarean section, or to first try an assisted vaginal delivery (using forceps or a vacuum). I was informed of the pros and cons of each, and I opted for the forceps delivery.
Again, I immediately regretted my decision when I saw this extra long metal spoon (or was it even fork?) to be used to guide my baby out. It was to be used each time the contraction came, while I pushed with all my strength.
Every time they dug this strange ‘cutlery’ inside me, I screaaaaaamed!!!! IT WAS THE WORST PAIN I HAD EVER FELT IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! I come dey ask myself, If it felt this way with the epidural, what would have happened if I had gone the Hebrew way? You see why it’s better to stick to your own tribe? I got massive tears and my perineum was destroyed in the process, but one of the doctors told me not to worry, that they would fix everything that was scattered, and in 6 weeks time my vajayjay would become brand new again… I didn’t believe her.
I was about giving up and opting for a cesarean section when my baby’s head finally popped through. As she was being pulled out, I found myself looking at the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen in my life. “She’s so beautiful,” was all I could mutter, with a wide smile spread across my tear-streaked face. I immediately forgot all about my pains, my pumpkin was worth all the trouble.
“Is she breathing? Is she OK?” was all I wanted to know. Then I heard her tiny cry, and everyone cheered. The pediatricians played the ‘happy birthday’ tune, cleaned her off, and lay my 7lb 4oz princess on my chest. We stared into each others eyes, and in that instant, I knew that was the beginning of a very long love journey. My ije love.
Mamas and papas, we would love to hear your labour and delivery stories. Please send yours to us either on Facebook @Maternity Nest, or send us an email at: email@example.com