Mary (the midwife) strapped me to the CTG machine to check the heartbeat of the baby. It was so loud but at least I was glad his heartbeat was normal.
“Please relax, I need to check your dilation”
Relax? How could I relax. This was the moment I had been dreading. She wore her gloves, took a little cotton ball and wiped my vjayjay. I immediately screamed in anticipation (thinking she was about to go in)
“Oh but I haven’t even inserted yet.”
“Sorry I thought you were about to…”
LOL! Now that she was done wiping, she smeared a bit of lube on two of her fingers and begun inserting…
“Don’t worry, this will hurt just a little bit. It will be over before you know it”
She kept saying sorry as she went in deeper into my cervix. Agony does not begin to express the kind of pain and discomfort I was feeling. Jeez! So is there no other way of checking dilation with all the technological advances this world has seen? Damn you have to lie there and have a stranger insert practically her whole arm into you to see when you’re ready to push?
Anyway she finally got her fingers out and told me I was 6cm dilated. This was good news, I just had 4 more to go.
“So in a few hours, I should be ready right?”
“Yes I think so” Mary replied assuredly
Within minutes, I felt the baby drop down. I instantly felt weak and light-headed like I was just about to pass out. I hadn’t had anything to eat and I had very low energy.
“The heartbeat of the baby is dropping” the midwife exclaimed.
I wasn’t totally surprised because at that point, I wasn’t sure if I even had the energy to push.
“Kobby please pass me that bottle of water” I said faintly.
I could barely get the words out. He put it over my mouth and I sipped a bit then I grabbed it and gulped it down. Almost immediately I felt the urge to push.
“I need to push now! You people are not ready!” I yelled as I watched them frantically get things in order.
“Oh we’re ready. We’re waiting for you” they said.
Yea right. I snatched off the ribbon in my hair holding up my little ponytail. I was sooo uncomfortable. I have no idea how some people are able to compose themselves with a full face of makeup looking pretty for delivery. I always look a hot mess! I could feel tiny sweat droplets form on my forehead even though I felt cold from the air-condition in the room.
She quickly placed my legs on the stands and connected me to a drip. I looked up and saw Kobby leaning against the wall looking up at the ceiling. He was either praying or freaking out or both. At this point, I couldn’t wait any longer, this baby was ready to come out! I begun pushing….
Surprisingly I didn’t yell this time. I didn’t even make a single sound. There was complete silence at my end. I just remembered my first experience where I was told to purse my lips and clench my fists and push. This time, to avoid an episiotomy, I pushed all the way without stopping midway to exhale.
“Yes he’s almost out. You’re doing good” they kept urging.
After 3 pushes, his head popped out. Steadily she brought out his shoulders and then he was finally out.
At exactly 6:20 am (the same time DJ was born) baby Drew was born weighing 2.7kg . He was so tiny. He came out crying. The midwife placed him on my chest so we could bond but just like my first birth, I simply couldn’t do it. I was too weak to hold him up. She realized it and had the second midwife pick him up.
“Daddy please help cut off the umbilical cord” she said to Kobby.
Kobby was reluctant. I could tell he was partly scared he was going to mess it up. After a short while, he realized the midwife wouldn’t budge so he went ahead and cut it. He left the room with the second midwife to watch her clean the baby.
My midwife then massaged my abdomen and gradually helped me deliver the placenta. She cleared out all the blood clots in there and cleaned me up thoroughly.
“You have a little tear in there. I’ll need to stitch it” she revealed
I was bummed. This was exactly what I was trying to avoid. I took a deep breath as she injected my vaginal walls with anaesthesia. Yup, I screamed! She gave me a few stitches and then finally I was done! She brought in the wheelchair and I was wheeled to my ward. A few minutes later, Kobby came in with the midwife and the baby who had now been wrapped up in a blanket. She wheeled him in his little hospital crib right to my bedside. The other nurses and midwives came in to congratulate me as they always do for their patients. I was informed I would be discharged the next morning once I was examined and everything was fine. The paediatrician also needed to check the baby to make sure he was also good.
After they left, I picked up my new baby. He was so light and fragile. Something about him made me emotional. I tried to give him a bit of “skin to skin” and placed him on my chest for a while. He seemed so calm and pleased. After a while Kobby also carried him. My breakfast arrived and I couldn’t wait to eat! I was starving. Kobby had sent messages to family and friends to tell them the good news and I started to get calls. My mother had missed her flight back to Accra so she informed me she was hopping on the next one. Two of my friends came over and eventually my mom and brothers also arrived. My father-in-law was out of the country so he missed it. (He had actually planned to arrive two weeks before my due date so he was bummed he wasn’t around). As usual, my mother’s dramatic self was over the moon, thrilled with excitement. She kept singing praises to God and dancing . She prayed over the baby and later we all ended up chatting .
Meanwhile, my mother-in-law was getting DJ ready for his party which was guess what?..still happening. I was on a video call with my team about the setup and eventually they got it all done. I remember speaking to the photographer and videographer and hearing how shocked they were when I told them what had just happened. Everyone who called to congratulate me kept asking
“So Eno the party is off right?”
“No please go. It’s still happening. Kobby will be there with everyone else, don’t worry” I urged them.
Eventually I had all my visitors leave for the party. I also needed to rest. Baby Drew was fast asleep so that was my cue. After a few hours, I woke up, somewhat rested, and attempted to breastfeed. This time, the milk was actually coming out. I was so relieved. He had a teeny tiny bit and then dozed off on my chest. Each time, I tried to put him down, he would cry. Finally, I decided to place him on my chest the whole night as I sat on the couch in my ward. Why did I have a feeling I wasn’t going to have an easy baby this time? And how exactly was I going to combine him with his one year old brother???
I remember sitting there looking around the room asking myself how I just went through that painful ordeal twice in two years and survived. Childbirth is humbling. It’s a strange miraculous ordeal that leaves you with so much gratitude for your life and that of your baby once you’re done. Throughout this process, literally anything can happen and I don’t take any of it for granted. Kudos to you mamas!