Today “Ducky” aka “Sweets” is 7 weeks and 2 days old. I am amazed at how quickly time has gone by. It seems like it was just yesterday I was at the hospital in labor.
It’s taken me this long to complete because she is quite demanding of my time, but I wanted to share our birth story before it’s a shadow of a memory. I’ve already began to forget the small details. So here it is in all it’s glory. It’s quite long, but I hope you enjoy it.
I woke up the morning of May 10th, walked into the kitchen and for the first time during this pregnancy, Mr. asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was feeling a little achy. He left for work and I continued on with the morning. I got the kids up, Little Miss to school, and then Papa Son and I were back home. As the morning progressed I began to feel contractions. They weren’t too strong, but felt more than Braxton Hicks.I realize that I might be in labor around 12 p.m. when I started to keep track of the contractions via a contraction counter app.
While at home, I cleaned, Papa Son and I went for a walk in our neighborhood, and I prepared what I could. I got ready. I picked up Little Miss from school, we went to run a few errands, I thought enough to feed us, and I took her to a friend’s to get her hair braided. We just happened to have that appointment scheduled that day. While I was there, I continued to labor. I had several contractions while we were there. Some that caused me to take a few cleansing breaths. I kissed her good-bye and continued on with my afternoon.
That night we had plans to go to the movies. When my husband got home we decided that we would do so, but I also let him know that I thought that I might be in labor. We dropped Papa Son off at his parent’s house. I had thought ahead and made sure I packed the car just in case. I made sure to leave the kid’s things just in case they would need to go to my brother’s for the night.
Once we arrived at the theater, my in-laws realize I was probably in labor. Because we were so late, his parents decided that would go to another theater, in another city. I was not very comfortable with this because the theater was a little bit further away from home. (Mind you, I was already nervous about having to drive all the way to L.A. to get to the hospital. I had visions of birthing baby in the car!) We opted out of the movie and headed home. At home my contractions intensified. I showered and after a bit of time and debate with myself, I decided maybe we should go to the hospital. I was afraid go to the hospital too early (barely dilated) or to find I was not actually in labor. I didn’t want to be sent back home.
When we got to the hospital, I went straight to the observation room of the labor and delivery ward. They observe me for a while on monitors to see if my contractions were in fact coming at a relatively regular rate. A resident came in, checked me. I was only half a centimeter dilated! He smugly said, “I don’t think you’re in labor because you’re smiling.” I was immediately disappointed because I wanted to be further along before I actually came to the hospital. I feared having to face Pitocin again.
I was informed my OB was on call that night. She checked me. I was actually 2 cm dilated! While she “checked”, she forced her fingers up into my cervix and did what I believe was a stripping of my membranes. While I cried out, she said to me, “You want to have this baby tonight, don’t you?” From that moment on, it was on and cracking! My contractions got stronger and stronger and closer and closer.
I was in observation for quite some time because there were three women head of me who were competing to deliver their babies at the same time. While I was there laboring, I requested to walk many times, to no avail. I stood at the side of the bed, I rocked, squatted, moaned. Wished that I had support through this. Of course the nurse told me I had to have an IV placed. I declined. We compromised with a Hep-Lock. I suffered through 2 nurses attempting to place it while I was contracting. Torture!!!
I continued to labor in that little room for too long. After what seemed like forever, when they checked me, they found I was 4 cm dilated and making progress relatively quickly. Once they were done it was time for me to go to my labor and delivery room. It was at this point or just before I decided that I would not be able to go any further and really wanted to have an epidural, despite my prayer and hope for a natural labor and delivery. “I told you you would want it.”, my husband chuckled. I cried, “Don’t laugh at me.” This decision was not one I made lightly. I was defeating myself. All I knew was I could not do a few more hours of this pain. I couldn’t get control of it. I didn’t have ANY support. The observation room was too small to really move in and I was connected to the monitors for most of my time there.
I felt a leak. Some kind of fluid was leaking out. I thought my waters had broken. The doc checked me while I was on my side to see if he saw what I saw. He did. I was checked again. My water hadn’t broken, but I was at 7 cm. he didn’t say, but I was probably leaking urine.
Shortly after, this a nice nurse came and decided I could be free from the monitors, walk, and wear my Pretty Pushers gown. Unfortunately, before I could do this it, was time to go to the other side.
They wheeled me over to L&D. When they tried to transfer me to the bed I was having really strong contractions making it difficult to move. I got into bed and was asked about the epidural again. This is when my husband FINALLY told me I could do it. I could go all the way without the epidural. But I just kept pleading, “I can’t. I can’t do any more.” I was so tired. So the epidural decision was made. I cried. I really didn’t want the epidural. I only had to wait for the anesthesiologist for 10-15 mins. During this point my grandmother showed up.
Once the anesthesiologist came they sat me up while I was contracting, but something happened! The anesthesiologist had prepped my back, but right before he could stick me I felt the baby drop!!! I said, “I have to push!” Before I could get the sentence out, my body began bearing down on it’s own! I couldn’t stop it. There was panic in the room because I had just been checked and was only 7cm. Out the corner of my eye I saw the anesthesiologist just quickly walk out the room. That was kind of funny. At that point, I remembered my mother telling me, “When you feel like you can’t take it any more, you’re almost there.” She was right.
So here I am now, quickly moved to my back being checked again. I was at 10 cm with a little lip of cervix still. Thankfully, my OB was back in the room quickly and told them I could push past it. She told me to push. Funny thing was I didn’t need her to tell me. I couldn’t stop myself from pushing. But there we were. I was having a baby!
I watched my OB trying to quickly get prepped, watching me while I pushed. I remember looking at the clock. It was 2 a.m. I heard my husband saying, “Push Babe! She’s coming!”, my grandmother saying, “Push Naji!”, and the nurse, “Push, push, push!” At some point my doctor was doing something down there that caused excruciating pain. “Doctor P., please stop!” She kinda gave me a look, but she stopped. Then I felt the fire! Holy crap!!! “It burns so bad!”, I said. Doctor P. looked up at me and said, “That’s why it’s called “The Ring of Fire.” What a gross understatement! I screamed out again. Then I was apologizing! “I’m so sorry. I don’t want to be that woman who screams.” Lol! The desire to push despite that pain was incredible! Then her head was out!
The next thing I hear is, “Tenáj, don’t push!” The cord’s around her neck.” My husband’s saying, “Don’t push Babe the cord’s around her neck.” I’m thinking, “Lord, please don’t let me hurt my baby cause I CAN’T stop pushing!” I was terrified in that moment because I literally could not control my own body. I couldn’t stop pushing. I was trying to just blow it away, but couldn’t. I didn’t know how. I was still bearing down. I was so scared. Thankfully that was a quick moment. “She got it Babe. Push!”
Then, finally, relief. At 2:18 a baby was tossed on my chest! “Oh my God! There’s a baby here. Hi baby.” She was perfect. Mr. declined cutting the cord this time. No surprise there. She stayed with me for a bit. Came out looking for a boob! Lol! While we were working on delivering my placenta, which seemed a slow process, she was whisked away to be cleaned up. To my surprise, I remembered to have Mr. give the nurse the soap I packed for her- Shea Moisture’s baby soap. It smells incredible!
While she was getting weighed & measured, everyone kept asking, “What’s her name?” We still hadn’t agreed yet. Mr. said one name. “No it’s not! It’s …” I said that quickly! Shut it down! The nurses thought it was funny we hadn’t agreed yet. I almost got my way, but then my grandmother began talking to Mr. She liked his name. She said it was different. And of course when she said it she put her signature pronunciation on it. She always does this when it’s a name she likes. It’s kind of funny. I didn’t really care that she liked it. At least I didn’t want to care.
Then Mr. said, “If we name her this, you can give her whatever middle name you want.” All in this moment, though, I was having a personal moment. I flashed to the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Bible. Zechariah had to name his son. I also reheard the Word of The Lord that was spoken to me concerning this child before I was pregnant. “This baby is for him.” So I let him name our daughter. I did make sure though to give her the middle name I’ve always loved. I wasn’t able to use it before, so now was my chance.
The baby was returned to me bundled and smelling lovely. No crying. She was perfect! Did I already say that? She was. Her head was perfectly round. Not that typical cone shape most vaginal birth babies have. She had these long perfect little fingers. Her eyes were gray, beautiful dark brown hair that just laid on her head perfectly, sweet little lips with a perfect Cupid’s bow. I was in love all over again.
My L&D nurse made her 2 special little caps. She’d taken the time to cut bows and added them. I loved it! So special.
She was born 2:18 a.m., 6 lbs 11.4oz. 19.5 in.
P.S. So you made it through. Thank you for taking the time to read our story. I know it was long. I just wanted to make sure to add as much detail as I could so I could remember and retell the story to Sweets and her older siblings one day.
*** Mar 21, 2015- While taking the time to read our birth story again, as a doula, I am aware of how having a doula could have impacted the labor and birth. I wasn’t a doula at the time. I was simply a woman who educated herself in an effort to have a different birth outcome than I’d had twice before. I stood up for myself, advocated for myself, had a husband who was willing and trusted to let me make these decisions, and was in a position to trust my body to do what it was supposed to do naturally. But I strongly believe had I had the support necessary, I would not have had the feeling of defeat when I begged for the epidural. I would’ve have been encouraged to keep going, told I was almost there, and been supported physically and emotionally to get me over that last hurdle.