So, I remember sometime in 2017 when a friend shared the birth story of her daughter on Facebook, and I found it very helpful. I remember thinking, wow this is so good. I wish more people shared their stories, because I learned a few things from those few posts. And she was also hilarious. Which made me and hubby have a good laugh. Yes, I made him read those posts so he could have an idea what labor and birth looked like. I remember vowing to also write about my own experience when my time came to also enlighten someone else.
So here goes my story…
My pregnancy was a rather smooth one and am grateful to God for that especially being a first-time mum. On our last trimester, I made sure I read far and wide about labor, prayed, exercised, ate well as I geared myself for the time our son would make his grand entrance to this world. I remember going for my 38th week appointment and the doctor telling me about the labor signs I should look out for and all. I was both anxious and happy as I looked forward to my EDD.
Anxious of how much pain I would have to experience, and at the same time, happy that I would finally be lighter and be able to walk normally again. The days passed and there was no sign of labor, I was able to go to work till the 28th of August. My EDD was 29th August. I figured it will not be pretty for my labor to start in the office, so I decided to remain at home and wait. That day I remember I woke up, my husband confirmed if I was okay and we agreed I would call him incase anything happened. So, I spent the day, talking walks, doing light exercises, rearranging my hospital bag, taking a nap and just chilling.
At around 4pm I started feeling some slight pain as I was walking. You know when you have never been in labor, you don’t really know how contractions are supposed to feel like. But as my friends had told me, you will just know. Especially when the pain gets intense. I decided to monitor and see if the pain would increase in frequency and intensity. By 6pm, the pain had disappeared, and so I thought that it was false labor.
On 30th August, I remember the routine was pretty much the same as the previous day. The pain would come and then disappear for a few hours. In the evening when hubby came, we decided we would be going to hospital after we have dinner, to be checked to see if what was happening was normal. Like most women, I was hoping for a vaginal birth. One of the things I had read about was going to hospital too early during labor, the doctors/nurses might want to do a medical intervention and this lowers chance of the body being able to let the labor process progress naturally. I was not in much pain, so after taking a shower and when we were just about to leave, we decided against it. We remained at home. I had a peaceful night though the pain was still on and off. In the morning, we decided it would be good to just go and get a medical opinion as this was day 3.
We arrived in the hospital at around 6:30 am and I was checked in to the emergency room to be assessed whether I should be admitted or not. That’s when my drama began. The nurse who examined me to see how far I had dilated was not gentle at all. Without going into too much details, the experience left me traumatized and I couldn’t imagine that I would have to go through that until I delivered. I was in tears. Another nurse had to be called to perform the examination and I was told I had dilated 4cm and would therefore be admitted.
By now, the pains had become intense. I tried to keep a record of how far apart the contractions were and my recordings showed they were 5-10mins apart. From what I had read, this meant that I would be giving birth soon. But woe unto me, I was in for a long day ahead. By 9am I had already been checked into the maternity ward. When the doctor on duty was doing his morning round, he checked me and said I had dilated only 2cm!!!!
Oh boy, that dampened my spirits. And please note, this was a man, but the dilation check was not painful at all. Uncomfortable yes but no pain. I would be checked after about every 4 hours and the dilation was not progressing as fast as I would have wished. Between the contractions, I was able to converse with some of the people who had come to the hospital by this time.
By evening, the pain was unbearable, and I just wanted the whole ordeal to be over. I remember walking up and down the corridors just to help progress the labor. I was sharing the room with a lady, about my age who had just given birth to her 3rd born that morning. I remember her asking, “are you sure you are in labor? Because you should be screaming and all, but you look too calm, wait until you are 8cm.” She went on to narrate how she had been wailing and screaming along the hospital corridors just the previous night together with another lady.
By 10pm, I had not dilated past 6cm, nor had my waters broken. In hindsight, I don’t know why I never asked them if they could break the waters or try inducing me though I dreaded it. The baby was being monitored all through and his vitals were doing well.
Prior to my EDD, I had made a playlist of some of my favorite songs at the time that I would want to listen when I would be in the hospital. The words of the songs really uplifted and encouraged me to soldier on as I waited. Overcomer by Mandissa and Intentional by Travis Greene were on repeat most of the time. And my friends, God bless their souls, Joy and Sharon stayed with me through the night. And that was a blessing. Job had also company that served a good distraction.
Morning came, and nothing much had changed. I was now officially tired and worried of why this was taking too long. At 6am, I was put on a drip to help the cervix soften and was still walking around in pain. At around 8:30 am, the doctor on duty was going around and he came to my bed. In a Luhya accent, he goes like, ‘Habari ya mama? Mtoto amekataa kutoka’. He asked the nurse a few questions and then he examined me. Then he informed us that he will need to break the water to check what is going on in the womb.
I don’t why but for some reason I thought this was going to be painful, but it wasn’t. Once he broke the waters, he let us know that the baby had pooped in the womb and he might be in distress. He examined the waters and said it was meconium grade 3. He concluded that the situation called for an emergency delivery and I needed to be taken to the theatre for a Caesarean section.
Even with the prolonged labor, this eventuality had not crossed my mind. I just broke down and was inconsolable. In my mind I was wondering how did things just escalate so fast? I protested and he said that if we refused to for a CS and if anything happens to the baby, I would pretty much be liable.
At this time my mind was confused, hubby and I were a wreck. A nurse came into our room and she explained that we just accept to go to theatre, that all will be well, and we shall soon meet our baby. The reason for me being reluctant at this moment was more so because of how the doctor had delivered the news than even about going to theatre. His PR was just below par. Finally, I agreed to be taken to theater and the consent form was brought, I signed, and preparations got underway. After going through all that pain, you really want to see your baby and hold them in your arms.
This was my first time in theatre, and I remember thinking, there are too many people in the room. The scariest part was being told that I had to be very still when I was being given the injection on my spine. All this time, the contractions had not stopped. I was still in great pain. I was put under local anesthesia and could hear and see everything going on. Within a short time after they started the operation at 9:30am, I felt a sudden pressure on my belly as they took my baby out of the womb and there he was.
He was shown to me and I was overwhelmed with emotions. Tears freely flowed down my face, grateful to God for letting me see the fruit of my womb. He was taken to a corner of the room to be cleaned and examined and my eyes never left him all that time he was in the surgery room. My life had forever changed from that moment that I had set my eyes on him.
And my journey of healing and bonding with my son began hours later after I was taken back to my room.