My Birthing Story
Any mother would have looked back fondly at those nine beautiful months of pregnancy. Yes, I felt extremely uneasy, waddling around like a penguin lost in the snow, not to mention frustrated realizing how much space I’m taking in the household. I hated the sight of my squashed nose, my ever expanding face, the manas. I detested the never-ending trips to the comfort room, the excruciating IE’s (internal exam) and the weird dreams.
But the grueling nine months are peanuts compared to just one day of birth. Let me tell you my story.
Jill is our first, therefore I had zero knowledge about pregnancy or even childbirth. Afraid of the unknown, my husband and I decided to join a birthing class. And there we were encouraged to give birth naturally – or vaginally, as experts say. This became my goal, too: normal birth.
At birthing class, I was taught to distinguish the real labor pains from the fake ones, and mine started 2 in the morning. At 4, my water broke and my husband took me to Jesus Delgado Memorial Hospital, which, luckily, was hardly a minute’s drive from our home.
Everything was going as planned. I was 2 cm dilated and was progressing well. I looked around and of the four moms-to-be in the labor room, I was the only one in labor. “Labor is good,” our birthing mentor Chiqui Brosas was saying repeatedly during the one month of birthing class. Labor means the cervix is dilating easily and the baby will come out the soonest. The nurses applauded, I was doing great. I was proud of myself and little Jill.
Two, three, four… The early stage of labor was painful, but I thought it was nothing more than just another bad case of dysmenorrhea. It was easily manageable. Pain intervals were five minutes and I even managed to walk around and make trips to the comfort room.
Five, six.. I was doing my breathing as taught, and though my lips were horribly dry, I kept at it. Labor was becoming more painful at this point, and the intervals were shorter. I could barely manage to stand anymore. I thought of fishballs and kikiam. When I’m done, I promised myself I’m going to feast over streetfoods.
At 7 cm, I was wheeled to the delivery room and waved goodbye to my fellow moms-to-be. Yay! Normal delivery, here we come! I was administered epidural so at 8 cm I was already clueless of the pain. But at 8 cm, we stopped progressing. Jill’s heart rate was dropping and the doctors were all getting worried. The doctors were discussing in hushed voices and I heard babies crying from the next rooms. So all of my batchmates had given birth and Jill and I were the only ones left.
We all waited two hours but nothing happened. By 4 pm, my doctor decided to take Jill out via emergency C-section. That makes it more than 12 hours of labor, I counted. My husband and my dad were waiting outside and I knew they were worried. The doctors and nurses were all running around frantically shouting orders here and there. At that instant, I felt afraid and I sobbed uncontrollably. My doctor hugged me and said not to worry, everything’s under control. Baby will be fine.
The anesthesiologist gave heavier doses of epidural and I felt numbness all over. For a moment, I thought my brain froze, too. I couldn’t seem to process anything at all. I was somewhere in that zone between wakefulness and dream. I looked down at the hospital floor, saw blood and shivered. A few minutes later, they were cheering. Jill’s out, finally. And there she was, round face and button nose, just as she looked in her 4-D ultrasound photos.
So there goes my supposed “normal” delivery. People say things like, “Oh, you know C-section means you did not give birth at all,” or “Nothing compares to giving birth the normal way.” I’m proud to have given birth via C-section, proud to have put my child’s health above principles and all. My battle scar is all but proof of how I’d give up my life for my child.
Every birth story is beautiful. I’d like to hear yours! Share your story in the comments below.