Its my 39th week , I am big, round and hungry and all I want is to indulge in my favorite desert. “Ahh , more aches and pains, I don’t know if these are contractions but I definitely feel uncomfortable” I said to my Mom at the cupcake store, assuming it to be false labor . My mom replied with some concern “Please, let’s go home. There is no need for any cupcake”. “Mummy but this baby needs a cupcake. I can feel it! And If I am going to have him anytime soon, I better not be craving”. Exactly six hours later I find myself in the hospital bed connected to a machine monitoring my contraction frequency & intensity. Deep , my mom and my mother in law , sat beside me with a big smile on their face and a sparkle in their eyes.
I was 2 centimeters dilated and had the official word that I was in labor. At that moment I was experiencing a riot of emotions …excited, anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, scared. Very similar to how I felt a few years back in Colorado, standing at the threshold of the jump plane, ready to plunge from fifteen thousand feet. “I am so ready to have this baby now” was my first sentence to that nurse and she looked at me smiled and said “Let’s do it Mama”.
Most pregnant women reach out to other mom’s to discuss how pregnancy feels. There are so many questions going through their minds- How much was the weight gain? What were your cravings? When do you feel the baby move? etc etc… However, they are most inquisitive about the “birth experience”, “Was it Natural or a C section?”, “Did it hurt a lot?”, “How exactly does pushing feel?” I too had the same questions and fears, and for the answers I didn’t get, I googled my way through pregnancy and calmed my unsettling nerves.
The image of delivering a baby for me was shaped by the movies and TV soaps… That my water will break and splatter on the floor !! The contractions , the stabbing pain will make it the absolute worst experience! That someone else might be delivering my baby (I read an Uber driver delivered a baby) or that the doctor might have to vacuum the baby if the head is stuck and yes of course, that there will be so much blood that the room will look like a crime scene. Women acting crazy, clawing at everyone within reach, choking their partners…Phew!! So dramatic, so stereotypical (now when I think of it).
Thankfully none of this happened!!!
Yes, my water didn’t break naturally and the contractions felt more like my insides being twisted! And of course, Epidural saved me from the labor pains; although I was shaking with fear of the pain I would feel in my spine (it was not that bad.) Now I knew I won’t be screaming and cursing my head off while pushing; I was spared from that horror. Also Deep’s presence in the labor room kept me safe and supported. (There is something about his calm energy)
However, after being in labor for more than 12 hours and huffing and puffing for almost an hour, the baby wasn’t interested in coming out. I was sweating, shivering, having a bad headache and running a fever too, but, hey I was ready to push again. The doctor said it was a “sunny side up baby” , his body wasn’t turning in the right direction and due to my fever, his heart beat was getting faster.
We had to go for the inevitable C section. A cold fear entered my heart as I was being strapped while I was conscious (made me feel like one of Dexter’s victims from the HBO show). The white light of the operation room was blinding. While the anesthesia was kicking in and helping a lot, I was grateful for that curtain, concealing everything from me. I remember the sensation under my rib cage of someone rolling a heavy pin and I asked my doctor “Is the baby out?”. Deep, and the anesthesiologist kept talking to me as they tried to keep me distracted from the surgery. But I was only waiting, waiting to hear the cries of my baby enter this world.
At 7am and few minutes later, I finally heard his cries and he was held up for us to see. I screamed “OMG !! That’s my baby?” He was pinkish-red, wet and crying, and I felt my heart was going to burst.
That Feeling …. I can’t explain, I don’t have the words. It is almost like an explosion of emotions. And by the time I could realize that my baby had finally arrived and the feeling could sink in, he was swept away to the NICU. My mind went blank, I had no thoughts… (It was a state of disbelief, a similar feeling I had, after free falling at terminal velocity)
I immediately started sobbing my heart out as it felt like forever until I could see him again. .(Sometimes I envy Deep, as he was the first person to touch our baby and see him up close when they took him to clean and measure)
Few minutes later the nurse zoomed in with my little bundle of joy with Deep accompanying them.
They placed him in my arms and right from that moment he snuggled straight into my heart!! We are grateful for our blessings ; it was magical to hold my baby in my arms after nine months of waiting.
The whole experience was amazing and not scary as the hell I had imagined ! My recovery has been great too. I was out of the hospital in three days and was off pain meds within a week. And now almost 8 weeks later it doesn’t even feel like I had a surgery just a couple of months back.
PS : (I have a new found respect for all mothers. And want to applaud those women who go for natural deliveries without any medication- “Hats off”).