Giving birth to my daughter was one of the most painful and yet funny experiences I guess I will ever have in my entire life. To put you in the picture I must let you in from the start. My baby was four days late. She was due on the twenty-second of January. But I guess she had other ideas.
Thus I was scared out of my wits when the first contractions hit me four days later. This was half past midnight on January twenty-sixth, 2008. Then and there I embarked on a journey of discovery about my inner self and what was to be a fourteen hour labour for me ending with a pair of tiny little feet!
Upon arrival at the Victoria Hospital after an hour’s drive in the ambulance, I was informed that I was not ready for delivery yet. The nurse on duty informed my mother, who had made the journey with me, that she had to go back home. They would not accommodate her for the night. Hospital rules. I was really upset. By then the pain had become sharper and I tried telling the nurse. She said that it was normal at this stage. Every thing will be fine. I remember thinking: "Are you the one with the pain, or is it me. How can you tell me this is normal?"
I wanted to strangle her. My mother told me she will come back later in the day. I started to cry like a baby. “A big baby having a little baby”.
She held me tight and said: "I will be praying for you. Do not worry. It will all be over soon." She kissed me good night and left.
I glared at the nurse. Funny enough, she smiled back. "I get that a lot", she said referring to the glare. "It is your first baby, I will take care of you.” She gave me a sweet smile. And for a brief moment the pain subsided.
By the time I reached the ward the pain had intensified. Tears welled up in my eyes. As I settled, I noticed two other huge bellies protruding from two other beds. I was not alone. Thank god. But then I remembered. Doubt any one will want to talk with all that pain. Ironically they were quite talkative. I found that they were not due for another day or so. That got me upset, because they had been admitted whilst I had begged my doctor but he would not hear of it, though he knew my baby was late.
Nevertheless the night proved uneventful, with only a few kicks here and there. I manage to get a few winks of sleep. My baby was dancing inside of me, rolling like a ball. At some point I honestly thought I was about to go.
But the rays of the morning sun told another story. It was morning and another day had begun. By then I was ready to throw the towel in. Somehow God intervened and the nurse came to announce doctors’ rounds. I was ecstatic. But that feeling quickly dissolved into fear as he examined me. He told the nurse to send me down to labour room after breakfast. My labour would be induced.
I called home and told my mother. She told me that she would be down as soon as possible, as she was to be in the delivery room with me. I was brought some breakfast. I needed the strength. I ate what I could but I was mostly thirsty.
At ten I was brought down to the delivery room. As this was my first baby, I had absolutely no idea what will happen. My only chance would be my survival instinct as a mother to be. I was put on a bed with an enormous machine on my belly. It was so uncomfortable. This was to measure the heart rate of the baby. I wanted to rip it off.
By then, the pain was so unbearable. It had quadrupled and I was finding it hard to breathe. I wanted to rip out my hair and tear my gown. To make matters worse I was alone in the room. Not one nurse in sight. My mother had yet to arrive. I felt weak, thirsty and helpless. By then it had been over an hour since I have been in the labour room.
Two hours went by. The pain worsened by the minute, then by the second. My friend Ronita came in at that moment. She had escaped the nurse's look out and crept in. I told her I was in so much pain. She gave me a hug and said hold on. At that instant a nurse stuck her head round the door and asked if all was ok. I told her the pain was worse and the contractions were getting closer. She said the same thing Ronita had said: "Hold on"
I rolled my eyes sighing "How can I hold on. The baby is not exactly waiting for me to say come out".
It was exactly one thirty when my water broke. All breakfast came along with it as vomit. The nurse's aid got it all over her. I apologised and smothered a giggle. Still in pain, I manage to find this quite amusing.
My friend Ronita had to be hushed out. By then I knew it was time. The baby was pushing, wanting to come out. I pushed with all my might. But still she would not move. Blessedly another midwife came.
At that point prayers were my only salvation. The baby was moving a lot but not towards the exit.
It was now two o'clock in the afternoon. It was exactly thirteen hours since I had felt the first contractions.
Now the midwives asked me to push with all the strength I had. I did and it hurt so bad. It was like being torn apart from the inside. Again and again I pushed with all my heart and soul. By now I was thirsty and hungry. I was thinking of a nice coconut curry my Mother had made.
My mother was holding my hand and encouraging me throughout the whole process. At some point, I thought I broke her hand. After an hour of pushing the midwife said that she will have to widen my passage as the head was too big.
I felt nothing as she sliced me. I was delirious and beyond feeling anything. My body was too tired to obey my mind. Another push and the head popped out. Then I gathered all the remaining inner self and gave a final big push. At exactly seven minutes past three, I pushed into the world my baby daughter. She was beautiful but she was blue and not crying. The nurse gave her a small slap and she urinated all over me. Then she gave a loud wail as the nurse placed her on my tummy. She quietened down.
The midwife weighed her. A perfect seven pounds, measured fifty three centimetres. She was so gorgeous. Her father’s daughter. The nurse took her away. Procedures as usual. Cleaning and to check her vital signs. I could hear her down the hall. My mother was overjoyed and she was crying. I was still in pain as the placenta came out. The midwife then started to sew me up. A total of sixteen stitches in and out. Until today I can still feel the pain.
Later on as she nursed, I admired this lovely creature I had carried and brought into this world. All the pain subsided then, and gave place to the love and warmth of the new proud mother that I was.