We practically flew to the hospital. It was Sunday morning, most people were in church, so thankfully there was no traffic. We arrived and went straight upstairs. This time, I was escorted to my private ward (which I had requested earlier) and yes, once again, I had my cervix examined! It didn’t get any easier the second time but at least there was good news, I had begun dilating and I was now 2cm. I knew once I was 10cm, it was go time!
I was connected to the CTG machine….again. My gyno had been called and was on his way. Kobby had also called my mother and brothers and his family to inform them. The doctor on duty walked in.“Looking at my state, how long do you think it will take for me to progress?” I asked the doctor in despair. “Usually every hour you should’ve dilated 1 cm, so in the next 8 hours, I’m sure you would’ve given birth”. Woosh! “8 hours of pain! You know what? I can do it. I just have continue with my breathing exercises and I’ll get through it.” I encouraged myself. After the doctor left, the midwife on duty came in and advised me not to take any pain killers I’m given. She said “It will prolong labour and you will be in pain longer, so avoid it at all cost okay?” I nodded in agreement. Why would I agree to take something that will prolong this painful process?
My mother arrived and shortly after, my gyno also appeared. After examining me, he advised “Eno I don’t think you’ll be having the baby today so maybe you should take some pain killers and rest. It will likely happen tomorrow.” “Doc, I don’t think I need the pain killers and I’m sure I’ll have this baby today. I have to!” I challenged. “You know you don’t get a medal for not taking pain killers right?” he retorted, looking visibly upset. At that point, I could care less. The pain had gotten to an 8 and I was having the contractions every 5-10 minutes. I was sleepy but couldn’t catch any sleep, I was constantly being connected to this annoying CTG machine and I wasn’t dilating any faster! I was in a terrible mood and the last thing I wanted to hear was “You won’t be having the baby today!” Even though my mother and Kobby meant well, I was tired of hearing them helplessly say “Oh sorry sorry “ every time I groaned in pain. My friends who had given birth, were in labour for just a few hours and the baby was out. Why did I have to have this difficult experience?
The gyno eventually left and 5 hours later, the midwife came in to examine my cervix again. At this point, I had no energy to react to the discomfort. Besides, it was no where near the pain I was currently in. She said “you’re now 3cm”. Yes, after 5 WHOLE HOURS, I had dilated just 1 more cm. I immediately thought to myself, “ Doc was right. I am not giving birth today.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, but I forced myself not to cry. The pain had increased to 9 and it was beyond unbearable. After 2 hours, she came in again and checked, believe it or not I was still at 3cm. I broke down and cried but even my tears were interrupted by the contractions. I had no rest at this point. All sorts of terrible thoughts went through my mind. “Can I make it? Will this ever end? So women actually go through this and survive? Lord why?” I asked the midwife when I can finally have the epidural. She looked a bit alarmed and asked if I had discussed with my doctor. “Eno you don’t need that, we all did it naturally” my mother chimed in. “MOM I’M NOT YOU!” I snapped. I had run out of patience and I could only see red! The nurse, realizing how upset I was, responded “We don’t administer that very often here but let me speak to the doctor and get back to you. You can only take it when you’re 4cm okay?”. “Alright” I retorted.
After a few hours, she got back and advised that I walk up and down the stairs and around the carpark to help speed up the process. Kobby assisted me. I walked a bit and had to stop to breath in and out very heavily to sort of reduce the pain. It was helping a bit but I was also running out of breath at this point and my legs felt weak. We finally headed back to my room after a few minutes. It was now almost midnight and there was no sign of this baby making his debut today. My mother and Kobby both looked so sleepy and I urged them to go home and get some rest and come back in the morning because I needed to be alone with my thoughts at that point. The words of encouragement were going nowhere and I knew I had become intolerable. They understood and left and assured me they would be back early that morning. Once they had left, I called the new midwife who was now on duty and asked her for some pain killers. At this point, with or without the painkillers, I wasn’t making much progress so I might as well take something before I pass out. She quickly brought them to me and said “These ones are very mild, they will help you sleep a bit but it won’t affect your progress in any way”.I nodded and quickly gulped them down. Amazingly, I drifted off to sleep.
After 2 hours of sleep, I woke up at exactly 2am in pain! I felt the urge to pee and with every step I took I had a contraction that was followed by blood. I was dripping blood on the floor as I walked and I immediately knew it wasn’t a good sign. I pressed the nurse’s bell and she came in after 30 whole minutes. Without finding out what I needed she whispered “ Just continue doing your breathing exercises and drinking water, you’ll be fine” Then she dashed out. I was left in agony till about 4:30am when I realized I had finally reached my threshold and could no longer do this anymore. I pressed the bell once more. The midwife came in this time, also after 30 minutes. “ I really can’t do this anymore, you need to induce me now!” I blurted. “Alright alright, let me get my things and see how far you’ve dilated.” she rushed out. After another 40 minutes she came in with the dreaded CTG machine and I yelled “No! I can’t lie still one more time. Please induce me now! I’m exhausted!” “Hmm alright then, let me check your cervix at least” she said. She inserted her fingers in and…….she shrieked “OH MY GOD! You’re 8cm, we need to get to the labour ward now!!!” I didn’t have the energy to roll my eyes. I was just glad the end was near. Another nurse came and assisted as they put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me off to the labour ward. I thought about calling Kobby but there was nothing I could do at that point.
We got to the ward and I was transferred to the bed. I saw the midwife frantically trying to put everything in order and then Kobby appeared at exactly 6am! I was so happy and relieved. He helped her wheel in the drip stand and she hang the drip and connected me to it. She also pulled out the leg supports and I immediately positioned my legs on them. Like clockwork, without being asked to, I felt this sudden urge to push so I did. The only problem was, I wasn’t actually pushing, more like screaming. The midwife jumped to my side and told me not to use up all my energy screaming and that I should rather push as if I was having a bowel movement. So essentially pursing my lips and clenching while making the “mmmm” sound. I begun to do that, using the little energy I had left and it seemed to be working. Kobby held my hand and kept encouraging me saying “I can see his head, keep going, you can do it”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. I had used up all my energy and anytime I stopped pushing, his head went right back in there. I thought anytime I pushed, his head would come out to a point, I could rest a bit and then we would continue where we left off. It didn’t work that way and we were getting nowhere.
The midwife said to me “Eno I’m going to have to perform an episiotomy”. Noooooo the last thing I wanted was to get cut. At this point, I didn’t have a choice. She pulled out the scissors and zip! She made an incision and blood gushed out! I shrieked in pain! Kobby who had planned to film the entire thing, was unable to, as his knees became so weak, he was now leaning on me and I wanted to push him off! I had no time to get over my pain. I had to go right back to pushing and so I did and she helped bring out his head. Finally, his head was out and she wiggled his shoulders out and his entire body followed. Monday, 20th November, 6:20 am, my 3.1kilo baby was finally out! The pain also seized immediately. His umbilical cord was tied around his neck and she calmly but quickly cut it off and put him on me to hold. I could barely move my arms to hold him. I remember watching movies where the mom holds her baby in her arms for the first time and I longed for that, but I was still recovering from what I had just been through. I barely held him when another midwife came in to pick him up to wash the blood off him. I was in a daze and I just stared blankly at the wall, wondering how I had just survived that.
I didn’t have much time with my thoughts because it was now time to deliver the placenta. Thankfully, that didn’t require too much pushing. She massaged my abdomen a bit and it was out. She also had to insert her fingers again and clear out every blood clot because leaving any in could be fatal. She then inserted a big chunk of cotton wool inside me and then injected me with anaesthesia for the stitches. She stitched me up and FINALLY I was done! What an ORDEAL!
I was wheeled back to my room and Kobby came in with the midwife and the baby who was now fast asleep. We left him to sleep because he had also had a long journey after all.
I, on the other hand, felt like I hadn’t eaten my WHOLE life. My breakfast was ready and I ate it all to the amazement of Kobby who was gazing at me in awe and had clearly not gotten over what had just happened. My mother and brothers arrived and true to her dramatic ways, she came in with a scarf singing praises to God and tying my hair with it( nope, I have no idea what the tying of the scarf means lol). Kobby sent messages to all my friends informing them I had just given birth safely and some of them rushed over from work. His family also passed by and we had a full room. After narrating my ordeal over and over, everyone left and I finally got the chance to sleep! After a few hours, I woke up and gazed at my baby and suddenly all the pain was worth it. I marvelled at all mothers who had done this over and over especially mine, and I suddenly had the utmost respect for her. It is truly a rewarding task that changes you forever!
On the other hand, the hard work was about to begin. I had a WHOLE human being to take care of and I wasn’t sure if I had gotten enough rest for this journey of a lifetime called MOTHERHOOD.