It was an early Saturday morning during my 38th week of pregnancy when I woke up with the urge to pee. I was WIDE awake after, trying to flop around and get comfortable when I felt a small, warm surge flow out of me…and it didn’t stop!
Freaking out, I whacked my partner next to me, saying that I thought my water had broken. I rolled out of bed, and when I stood up fully, even more came out! Could it be true? Is this happening? I didn’t know what to do or what to think so I went into the bathroom, leaving behind a trail of the slimy-type substance. By that time, my partner was up and had woken my mom. I called my OB office, and they told me to come in immediately. I changed my clothes, chanting to myself over and over, “I can’t do this…I don’t think I can do this!”
As we drove, I continued chanting, but felt no pain. When we arrived at the hospital and checked in, everyone was so nice. Too nice. I wasn’t expecting this kind of treatment. I didn’t know what to expect. All the nurses made sure I was as comfortable as possible; my OB came in, did an ultrasound and tested my amniotic fluid. I was a GO!
They hooked me up to monitors to watch the baby’s heartbeat, and started a Pitocin drip to induce my contractions. When they performed a pelvic exam to see how far along I was, it was so painful I screamed. My OB told me I was only dilated one centimeter, and then ordered an epidural.
The nurses took me through a ten-hour regime of walking, squatting, bouncing and hugging a medicine ball. We tried everything under the sun to get my body to dilate. Still, nothing happened. However, because of the Pitocin, I started to feel the twisting and straining of labor. It got worse as the dosage was raised higher and higher. The pain was so unbearable they offered me laughing gas. I had ever heard of this before, but they assured me that it would not hurt the baby, so I agreed.
It had been fifteen hours since we arrived at the hospital. I never dilated and was utterly exhausted. I knew what that meant, c-section. They gave me the laughing gas mask and told me to breathe it in very deeply. I remember taking three deep breaths, and on the third, I felt my entire body instantly relax. The hand that held the mask dropped, and I let out a screeching, high-pitched laugh I had never used before. I had NO control over my body.
The anesthesiologist came. I felt only a prick and the rush of cold water flowing down the inside of my back. Almost immediately my legs went limp, feeling as if they weighed 100 pounds each! It was the oddest feeling being unable to move them. Not long after, I started to regain feeling in my right leg, so right before I was taken into the birthing room, they gave me ANOTHER epidural.
Only my partner was allowed in the small operating room with me, not my mom. I had one hand on my OB the entire time. I was scared and felt so alone. They gave me morphine, and it made me feel drugged, my mind distant and my stomach nauseas. I threw up the entire time, even during the operation.
I could feel shoving, pushing, and a vacuuming during the c-section. Until at last I heard my OB say, “Look at all that hair!” My daughter, Anani Pearl, had a full head of hair. Moments later, I heard her cry. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I asked for her and wept uncontrollably. I couldn’t see anything but the blue tarp over my torso! They brought her around the side, right to my face to kiss, feel, and love. But I couldn’t hold her skin-to-skin. They took her away and I didn’t see her until almost forty-five minutes later, while the doctors stitched me back up. It made me sad, but I was so exhausted, I slept most of that time.
The next five days were spent recovering and learning the ropes of motherhood. There were both highs and lows. I couldn’t get out of bed for the first couple days, so thankfully my mom helped with feeding, changing, and caring for my baby. I was also extremely nauseas, vomiting the whole next day after birth, and in terrible pain. I couldn’t eat anything. After the feeling came back into my legs I was instructed to try walking again. But when I did, my feet swelled terribly, and then I had to sit again, and put my feet up.
They finally released me to go home after a week, and my new baby girl and I began a life-changing feat that I absolutely love.
My name is Toki, mommy of Anani. Thank you for being a part of my little story. For me, mothering will always involve long hours, heavy physical work, and the type of worry that could bring down an elephant if put into a dart gun. I’m here to cultivate a sense of inner support to calm our mini little storms. You can read more about me and my family on my blog, Rock The Baby Bump Nation