Here is where the story of Bassou ends and the story of Zachariah begins: late on a Wednesday night when the city was anxiously awaiting the appearance of cherry blossoms.
It was my mom’s birthday and I was already semi-resigned to an induction scheduled for the following Monday. I was dreaming of waves crashing on a beach in sync with cramps that reminded me of my adolescence. I shifted around and felt leaking. I thought it was the usual preggy incontinence but then I moved again and resulted in more liquid. I woke up Mohamed and told him that I thought my water broke. I sat up; more liquid. I called the doula and let her know that I was thinking of going to the hospital, and then called the OB on duty, who recommended I come in. So much for my birth plan, where I was hoping to labor at home first. M and I got our suitcase and headed toward the car. We passed by another resident, who remarked that it looked like I was going on a long trip. Indeed.
By this time it was around 2am. At least I didn’t have to face my worst nightmare, which was to endure labor in a car stuck in cherry blossom traffic, though Mohamed did run a couple of red lights. We got to the emergency room and I was immediately taken to Labor and Delivery on the 3rd floor. We were in the triage room when S, the doula, joined us. The resident on duty wore a headscarf and she tucked the ears of her stethoscope underneath the fabric. She sounded as American as me. For some reason I I wanted to tell her that this was the first time I’ve dealt with a veiled doctor, but I didn’t.
We moved into delivery room #7. In room #7 I felt that time was suspended, like in the Twilight Zone. The shades were drawn the whole time and I had no sense of day or night or of the hours passing. Just random people bursting in and out, the pain, things being stuck in and taken out and stuck in again, once in awhile the TV and S explaining “Game of Thrones” to Mohamed. I remember asking one resident if he were single - alas, he was not. I remember the staff coming in to say goodbye as the shifts changed. Mohamed and S. dozing off. Consuming some random snacks and wishing I had a water bottle with a straw.
Most of all, I remember the pain. It stayed permanently in the background like lethal white noise. I had an epidural but despite several entreaties it never seemed to work. Finally the anesthesiologist returned and it turns out that the catheter was partially blocked by a blood clot. I had a second epidural. Even with that the pain was constant and fierce. Because I was immobilized S couldn’t work with me on pain management techniques, and yet the epidural didn’t completely block out the feeling. I had a monitor that allowed a machine to track my contractions and so Mohamed and S watched while each wave peaked and then retreated. S told me to breath with her each time. Surprisingly I stayed stoic the whole time. I guess my body knew to conserve energy.
I got to 7 cm and stopped for two hours. The last option was a c-section. I had a surprise diagnosis of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure ), and totally maxed out on pitocin (used to induce labor) and painkillers, and I knew that there were concerns about the baby’s size. After 24+ hours of labor, it was a relief to decide. I was prepped and wheeled into the operating room. My OB was unavailable (I knew it’d be a tough call since she had a new baby herself) and so another did the deed. I remember that the operating room was so so cold and my shoulders were cramped from shivering. When Z was finally liberated I heard everyone say “Congratulations!” and a crowd gathered around the bassinet, including Mohamed. I was the last person to see my baby. If I had more energy I’d be infuriated but by then I was totally knocked out in every sense. By then it was dawn on Friday.
The first couple of days were like a dream...the three of us just slept. We had several visitors and my OB came to catch up. The main downer was that I had to wait three days for the epidural catheter to be taken out because only the anesthesiologist could remove it - in the meantime no shower! I was becoming a biohazard. (In fact, in the professional photos we took I was unwashed and wearing my hospital gown.) The staff was phenomoneal; despite the general craziness of L&D they were always responsive, and we couldn't have survived as well as we did without our doula. Mohamed has been incredible. We stayed an extra day at the hospital. Our last reprieve before going home, on our own with Z. By then the cherry blossoms had peaked.
This makes me very selfish glad that I never experienced pregnancy pain at all. Both my deliveries were c-sections for medical reasons. I didn't even have mild cramping. It sounds horrific.
How are you doing on the recovery process? Hope things are going well for all three of you all.
I'm so glad you took the time to write all of this out. It sounds like you really experienced the full range of labor experiences - I'm really happy for you that you made it through this hard, hard experience with M & S to help you. And even if it was a patina of sweat, your newborn photos with Z are absolutely radiant. I love them.
These first weeks are hard for ANYONE, so give yourself every grace you can. And put that LDS helping network to work for you, Mama! :) Now's your moment!
Thank you for sharing!
Oh wow! I'm with Mala - forever grateful I had scheduled c-sections so I never had to do all that hard work! You are the epitome of SuperWoman and you deserve all the hugs and kisses and chocolate in the world! And he's such a precious little boy! SUCH a blessing! I'm still just so tickled pink for you guys! :)
First off, congratulations to the two of you on your beautiful baby!
Secondly, oh my heck. You really went through the wringer, didn't you?? I'm so sorry you had to experience the pain of labor pains and a C-section. What a trouper you are!!
I love Bassou's name: Zachariah. It seems stoic and smart and old soul-like. It's lovely. Stoicness must come from you.
I just wanted to say that I'm so glad you posted such a beautiful post about your delivery. You wrote so beautifully and poetically, as I' sure you were aiming for lol being a new mom.
Welcome, Z, from a friend of your mama's who lives way down in Florida but sends you love and all the most wonderful of wishes for your life!