I had been told my due date was on the 30th of November but it could happen anytime before or after, so the count down had begun. I downloaded the “What to Expect” app and read a whole lot about the dos and don’ts, stuff to eat and avoid and all that. Well, I had to. Two months earlier, I was on the phone with one of my close friends who had just had a baby and she said “Eno I hope you’re not taking in sodas or coffee or any of that”. I panicked. I was casually drinking my third glass of coke during our 40-minute conversation and I was almost certain I had killed my baby. “Really? OMG I HAD NO IDEA! Thanks for telling me. I should really read more!” I exclaimed. She laughed and I also let out a nervous laugher but I felt so guilty.
Good thing his heart rate and organs seemed fine when the doctor checked. I vowed I would read more but the episodes following, proved that I read a bit too much to the discomfort of others. Which brings me to my antenatal class.
I never had any idea what a class like this would be like. I assumed it would be a brief class, where we were told what to expect as new moms and call it a day. I was about 50% right. What I should’ve realized was, a room full of hormonal women was bound to be “interesting.”
The first day of my class, Kobby and I were extremely late. It was a 2 hour class but we had just arrived in Accra from Akosombo, so there was no way we could’ve made it on time. We arrived an hour and a half late! We were met with the usual curious glances and the midwife in charge said a loud hello to us and then proceeded to give us a summary of what we had missed which I’m sure was annoying to those who had been there on time. I listened carefully and I asked my questions….a lot of them…..much to the irritation of the rest of the class. I know it’s annoying when the late person just won’t shut up but this was a great place to ask for clarification and I wanted to be properly informed and prepared as much as possible.
Some of the stuff said also contradicted what I had read, so I challenged the mid wife several times and she didn’t look pleased at all. Oh well, I wasn’t going to apologize for reading “too much” whatever that means. I felt the extra information would benefit the rest of the women but most of them didn’t seem too amused by my “know it all attitude”. But what did I really know? I just simply read for information.
For the second class, I went alone, because Kobby had work. This time, I got there on time but we had a new midwife who insisted we wait for the late ones. The nerve of me to be upset. I got to chit chat with the other women who didn’t seem so bad after all. I was 22 weeks into my pregnancy and I had still not felt my baby kick. The other ladies were discussing how they felt theirs at 14 weeks, 15 weeks and mine was still quiet.
I wasn’t sure how to feel but I decided I would just ask the midwife. During the class, I asked when exactly babies should kick because I hadn’t felt mine kick yet. One of the women who was already notorious for being the class clown (she would blurt out “funny” shocking things in the middle of a topic for a laugh or two from the other women) blurted “Your baby is just lazy!”. Instead of the usual laughter, the room went silent. I was pissed but I was able to control myself and didn’t say a word. I just looked at her in disdain for a good minute without blinking and then slowly looked away. “How dare she?” I thought in disbelief. After realizing she had finally taken it too far, she quickly added “or maybe it’s normal”. “Kmt yea right” I thought, while rolling my eyes. The midwife, realizing the depth of the tension in the room, decided to intervene and said “ I think he has been kicking , but you would need to pay more attention to it. Try and lie down in a quiet room and and you’ll feel it”. I was so upset, I didn’t say one more word in that class till it was over.
That night, I did just what the midwife had suggested and I felt a slight flutter and I knew it was a kick. It was very subtle and I expected it to be painful but it wasn’t. I was sooo happy, all my earlier anger had melted away.
The third class was quite interesting. This time, just one of the husbands was able to make it. I felt bad for him and I could tell he had immediately regretted his decision because he was being singled out. We were discussing discharges and what the various colours meant. Eww. The ladies would start by apologizing to him before asking their questions “ Sorry Mr xyz…but I need to find out , what if my discharge is this colour, what does it mean?”. I could tell he wanted to melt straight into the tiles. It was so funny watching him struggle to pull off a straight face like he was unbothered when he clearly was. After about 20 minutes of this torture he got a “call” (yea right) and had to leave. This class was entertaining.
My final class was a tour around the hospital and the labour wards as well as the theatre. We were able to see a woman who had just gone into labour and she looked so stressed. Surprisingly this didn’t deter me. I had firmly decided to opt for labour as opposed to a C-section. I have nothing against a C- section because the whole point was to have a baby. Contrary to what most of the midwives said, I didn’t feel giving birth naturally made you more of a woman. It was rather ridiculous to me. My decision was solely based on me and what I could handle. After talking to a few women who had gone through both, they all said both were excruciatingly painful but the pain of the natural birth was before having the baby and that of the C-Section was after. Also, because the C -Section was an actual surgery, you needed to stay in the hospital for a few more days, whereas with the natural birth, you could be discharged the same day or the next day. I was sold. For me, if I could get a stork to deliver this baby without having to go through this pain I would, but I had no choice. Girrl, was I in for a huge surprise…