It started on the 13th. I could not sleep. I tossed and turned, counted my father’s sheep, built mansions and still morning wasn’t coming. It was during winter in the west so the dark hours were longer. There was an inconsistent wave of pressure and pain through the night. At this point i was 10 days over due. I was 289 days pregnant. I had tried everything to induce labor but nothing had worked. From curry food to taking the stairs to pelvic exercise but nothing had worked. I had gotten tired of replying everyone’s text to an extent that i was copy pasting from one person to another.
The 13th. I smiled every time i felt them. Some were more intense than others. I even thought of getting to the shower since i had heard enough of the magic of the hot shower from my antenatal class. I did not want to dare since i was not sure of how many awaited me that day. Babe woke up a couple of times with me i guess he was contracting too.
Morning came and we decided to call the hospital. I was told to wait and if the pain got worse, to call again. It was my appointment day. The last day of appointment before the baby. The induction appointment. I had heard of all the scary stories about being induced and so even if it meant me faking labor to avoid it, i was ready to do so. We left the house at midday headed to the hospital. There was no much to take. I do not know how they do it back at home since i have never been pregnant but one thing with this West, you cannot pick and choose c sections and such. No one is too posh to push here. I had planned for a perfect birth so i did not want to fail.
”is that it?” my husband would ask.
”i don’t know. Maybe its nothing.” that was always my answer.
I remembered mum telling me when they come i would know. Why didn’t i know? Maybe because i was not there yet.
The midwife confirmed it when she told me i was 1 cm dilated. I could not believe that baby was not coming out on that day. I was given those tiny pills and told to report back later in the day. My perfect birth had to be characterized by a lot of walking, that is what i thought, i therefore insisted on walking home.Walking in the snow. Those large flakes were falling from heaven to cover my way, i thought. I actually convinced myself that angels were having a pillow fight and the goose fell to cover my way.
The thing with being pregnant is that you get a very special feeling, the feeling that you are the most special person in existence. That the entire world has stopped functioning because you are pregnant. You get the feeling that everyone should listen to you. It is like being drunk. I wonder how Mary felt when she was pregnant with the Messiah.
By the time we got home there was almost nothing happening. I even managed to take a nap. My phone by now was like for a safaricom call centre. I could not afford to sleep for long lest i miss my well planned labor and birth goes wrong. Within no time i was up to take the stairs one more time. It was time to go back to the hospital and this time around i grabbed my hospital bag. Once we got to the bus stop i realised i had misplaced my travel card and that was another chance to walk but my husband was not feeling my vibe.
I luckily found it when he was about to call for a cab. We got to the hospital at about 6 pm. My bubble was broken after the examination and I was still 1 cm dilated. By the way am sorry for those who will read this post and have not gone through these stages, try google. Anyway we were sent back home. There is no luxury of booking a private room where you are comfortably placed after a c section in exchange for a clean sh. 200,000.
The 14th came and i still had some kind of intense braxton hicks, not labor. At least now I can differentiate.
”Have you been timing?” Rogvi asked.
I did not answer him since i did not have a clear answer.
I took some more stairs to pull the baby down as i had been advised.
At this time Snow was falling, so much like stars, filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being, was nothing more than prettiness. I told myself that it was a sign for a good day. We were at the hospital my midday. The pain had increased pretty much by now. I had started to breathe skilfully as I had been advised. The midwife came, examined me and confirmed my first fear, that there was meconium in my birth water and therefore they had to break my water. I imagined how it would have been back at home.Probably I would have ended up being rushed to theatre and coughing out.
Ended up being denied the beauty of pushing my own baby like my mother did and my grandmother and my ancestors. I have nothing against c sections by the way, especially those that are as a result of medical complications. Am against the duress under which my sisters back at home go through to fill the pockets of hungry gynecologists in the name of ”emergency c section.” There are those others who feel they are too classy to push and would rather go through a surgery to get the baby out, after all there are a million and one serums for scars today. Life is a choice, my choice was to push even with my poshiness or is it pushiness.
This is the 14th by the way. Two awesome midwives came to my waiting room and asked me a few questions like if i was circumcised. In my short years of living, i never thought i would encounter that question outside my village,ever. I could not fathom what i was thinking about this lady. She was round with a rounder face. Maybe Glam life had not reached her yet on how to contour and make her face look square like Kim Kardashian’s. With all the weight she carried, she actually thought the best question to ask me was if i was circumcised. Okay let us assume i said yes, what would she ask next?
Was it all chopped?
Can i check?
Anyway, am sorry, too graphic maybe. I actually came to learn later that she was midwifery student.
”We are going to break your water and then you will be taken to the delivery room.” she told us.
”And what will your round face do?” i thought.
Honestly she was very beautiful. Naturally beautiful. She had not baked or contoured or highlighted or even the fake brows. She was natural. Otherwise i would not have allowed her to touch me for fear of the baking crumbling down on me.
After the water was broken, that is when contractions, real contractions began. To those who sugarcoat these things saying the contractions are like menstrual cramps, honestly, you need to be more serious. It is like calling a tornado a strong wind. At first it felt like my hips were being pulled apart. I lost count of time. Five hours into passive labour with 5minutes intervals, as i was told, passed. The real drama then started. I have no better words to describe the pain at this point. The pain was like having your insides twisted, pulled, and squeezed. If I fought it, the pain became worse. Once I surrendered to and accepted the pain, it was more bearable.
It was like getting caught in the undertow of a wave. Being trapped under water is scary — you can fight it and get more scared or you can just let go and wait until the wave releases you. Also, there was an intense searing pain in my lower back, which was helped when my husband applied pressure to it.
“It’s coomming!” i would say and cling on to my husband’s hands and squeeze it. He even had to remove his ring. I did my breathing, dutifully, skillfully, and I moved around rhythmically, alternating between belly dancer and mentally disturbed person slamming her head against the bus seat in front of her.
Am 1451 words already, let me breast feed and i will be back…..