During my 6th or 7th month of pregnancy, I had read a blog where a woman gave a detailed account about her delivery. I felt quite shaken and scared as I went through it. But once I finished reading the entire article, I felt oddly confident. Like - Hey! Maybe.. just maybe I will also be able to go through with this without completely freaking out. The writer did not mince her words, but didn't make it sound grotesque either. She had written it all very matter-of-factly which i quite liked. I made my husband read it too and it made him sweat and shiver. Pfft, men.
I don't remember the name of her blog anymore but if I do find it, I'll link it over here. Meanwhile, here is my account of my big day. I didn't want to write it since its now been more than 2 years since I delivered. And my theory is that only if the memory of the first birth vanishes completely from my mind will I be able to say to my husband, "Hey, don't you think its time for another child?"
I remember watching this one episode from the TV show Friends where Rachel is in labour for 2 whole days. And I used to think - Nah! No way! That's just exaggerated. Noone stays in labor for thaaat long. She would've gotten a c-section long back. Well.. I'm no Rachel but let me begin by telling you that I was in labour for 21 hours. I get mighty proud saying it. And try throwing it out there every chance I get. When my husband says "I was on my feet for 5 hours today at office.", I usually respond with "Yeah well, I was in labour for 21 hours," . My poor husband. I don't think I will ever let him forget it. My child will also probably have a poster in her room that says "Your mother who you rolled your eyes at just now was in labour with you for 21 hours. 21 hours of pain. Just for you."
So anyway, I didn't have the whole "Oh my God, my water just broke" scene like in the movies. Which was a pity because I had practiced saying it so many times. Although my due date was right around the corner, my body wasn't doing whatever it should have been doing when it nears labour. I'm going to try and put it in metaphoric terms so as to not terrify or gross you people out completely. So let us suppose that there are these inflatable sliding doors inside my body that has to open for the baby to come out. These doors must first deflate and then open up little by little. And that is when the water breaks. Well, my doors were fully inflated and tightly shut. My doctor said that if nothing happens within the next few days then, they would have to induce labour. I was so disappointed because I really wanted it to happen on its own. I tried everything. I walked, hopped, trotted, climbed up and down stairs. I did squats, cleaned the floors, ate spicy food, drank herbal tea (again that Friends episode was so informative.) but nothing was working. My husband flew down the night before I had my next doctor's appointment. Which made me feel a little less stressed.
We went to the doctor's in the morning hoping to convince her to give me some more time. But before I even knew what was happening, I was lying on a hospital bed in the labour ward. But what about my sliding doors?! My doctor explained that the plan was that inorder to try and get those sliding doors to deflate, they would literally give it a little push. She would jimmy a deflated balloon through the doors and fill it up with water forcing the doors to crack open a tiny bit. And thus jump starting the process. And all the while in my head I was going "You're going to WHAT???! Uh-uh. No way. Lets just cut me open right now." But she was convinced that this would be the safest and best option. And since I wanted to birth naturally as well, I gave in.
The pains began almost as soon as the procedure was completed. Pulsating pain. Almost like contractions. Well, that was quick, I thought. I was already moaning and groaning. Back in my room I found that my 6 year old nephew had been waiting to see me. He was a sensitive little soul and could never bear to see me in any sort of pain. I smiled through my pain and squeezed his hand kept telling him "I'm okay. I'm okay" without flinching while trying to stay upright. But still I could tell the little fellow was a bit shaken.
As soon as he left I lay in bed trying to find a position that helped ease the pain. My husband was constantly by my side, holding my hand telling me to squeeze his hand everytime I felt the pain take over. One minute it would be so intense that I can hardly breath and the next minute its gone and I'm chatting with H about something on TV and taking selfies. It was so weird. I was afraid people would think I was faking it for attention.
I was asked to eat dinner early since I wouldn't be allowed to eat anything once I was taken into the labour room. My mom was feeding me chapati and some curry when I was suddenly overcome by a huge wave of pain that I hurled. And along with the vomit, I felt something pop down south and looked down to see that my clothes were soaking wet. I finally got to say "My water broke!"
Except no. It wasn't my water. It was that damned balloon. It had burst. Ugh!
I was taken into the labour ward shortly after that. The labour ward consisted of two lines of beds separated by huge curtains. I was able to hear various levels of crying from behind each curtain. Which was extremely relaxing. Not.
Only my mom was allowed to remain with me in the ward. This was the first time my mom got the opportunity to witness any of her daughters' in labour. And I don't think she's going to want to again. I get it now being a mom myself. Seeing your kid writhe in pain while knowing that there isn't much you can do to make her feel better is just pure torture. I feel sorry for making her go through that. But I don't think I could have done it without her.
Since I had vomited everything, I felt hungry again and begged the nurse to let me eat. She finally agreed to let my mom bring me some food. And my mom brought me two slices of bread with jam. I looked at her like "Are you seriously kidding me?" I was hungry enough to eat thirty packets of bread. I told her I wanted more. And that is how I got to eat the first ever meal that my husband made for me. Those absolutely delicious bread and pineapple jam sandwiches that he made and handed over to my mother.
After confirming that nothing would be happening that day, the nurses decided to give me a sedative so that I could sleep through the pain and go at it again in the morning. And I tell you, sedatives are freaking awesome. It felt so wonderful and nice. I could tell that the pain was still very much there but I was just too sleepy to care.
But that blissful slumber did not last as long as I wanted. At the crack of dawn, I was up again and was being poked and probed. The nurses came every 15 minutes to check the baby's heartbeat and to check if I had dilated enough. And i just wanted to tell them to leave me the hell alone. This went on till mid-day. The pain was starting to get severe. At one point I grabbed hold of my mom and said " Okay enough, I don't want to do this anymore. Let's just go home." I was so thirsty but wasn't allowed to drink water so my mom kept wetting my lips with coconut water, like the nurses suggested. My shrieks went from sad and desperate "Amma.. Ma.. Amma..enough, Ma" to furious cries of "AMMA! AMMA! AMMA!", like I was mad at her as though she was responsible for this pain. The doctor asked me if I wanted an epidural, but me having so much stupid faith in my own level of tolerance thought I could endure just a little bit more. So I said no. 15 minutes later, I was like "Hey doc, about that epidural you were talking about. I changed my mind. I'll take two please." But she told me that I was almost at the final lap and that I had a dilated a good amount. The words I'd been waiting to hear for so long.
Soon the doctor asked me if I wanted to try and start pushing. It was all that I wanted. I pushed with all my might. Everyone in the waiting room heard my shrieks. But now it was more of war cries rather than helpless yelps. I was on a mission. So I continued to push. I pushed while I was being wheeled into the delivery room. I pushed as I hobbled onto the bed. I was so busy pushing that I didn't notice that the room was suddenly filled with an army of male and females nurses. Normally I would've freaked out about having being so exposed in front of so many strangers. But at that point I didn't care if the whole entire population of Kerala was there as long as they got this child out of me. My doctor came in calm as ever. She was even humming a song. I immediately felt at ease. She told me I was doing very good and to continue pushing. And there is nothing I love more than people complimenting me on my effort. Besides there were so many people around cheering and shouting encouragements at me that I felt so damn motivated. "Come on! You can do it! Very good! Almost there! We can see the head! One more push, come on!"
I pushed and pushed and....
I froze. My eyes widened and my mouth was open but no sound was coming out. It was a sensation I could never put into words. It was so quick and sudden, I think I was in shock. In my head, the whole room had fallen to a silence when it was actually probably quite noisy.
The next thing I heard was my doctor saying-"Pennkutty aane tto - Its a girl!" My face broke into a humongous smile. One of the nurses laughed and said ooh look at that smile!
I was so surprised because I had somehow made up in my mind that it was going to be a boy because I terribly yearned for a girl. My whole family as well had predicted that I would have a boy for some reason or the other. I wish I could've seen their gob-smacked expressions when they found out.
I looked around to catch a glimpse of my newborn daughter. I didn't have my glasses on so from a distance I saw a blurry, very tiny dark head. The nurses around me continued to poke me and stitch me up or whatever but my whole attention was at that corner of the room. I think I was a bit light-headed from the medications. I said to the guy who was checking my bp "Edo, ende kochine kaanikke. ende kochine endha thaan kaanikaathe." (show me my baby, why you no show me my baby.) And he said they would in a minute. She was being cleaned up immediately since she had ingested some fluid.
Now my cousin had advised me that during labour it is best not to cry since it would take up energy unnecessarily. I had screamed, moaned, yelled and groaned but I had managed to get through it without shedding a tear. Until that moment.
I saw the nurse come over to the bed. She held my baby's face close to mine so that I could see her clearly. A tiny round pink face. With two tiny dark eyes and a funny nose and the tiniest little rosebud mouth. With a shock of black hair. The nurse gently pressed my baby's cheek against mine which was wet from my tears. She felt so warm. And so so smooth. I wanted her to stay there like that.
But they took her away to show to my family. I wanted to stop them. I wanted to look at her some more. I craned my neck to see her until they walked out the door.
The exhaustion hit me like a wave. I completely conked off and fell into a deep sleep. Like my sister says the best nap ever!
Once I was moved back into the ward again, I met my baby again. And fell in love all over again. Thats when I really got to take her in. Touch her. Count all her fingers and toes. Smell her. Kiss her. Tear up looking at her again. She bit right into me during the very first feeding and left me bleeding. But i didn't mind very much. I was too much in awe that she could've sucker punched me all she wants, I would've just sat there and gawked at her in amazement.
The next best moment was when I was finally released from the labour ward. I was wheeled out and welcomed a crop of smiling faces. My dad who patted my head and looked proud. My poor sleep deprived but happy mom, my two sisters who were beaming with happiness, my two excited and ecstatic nieces and my very concerned but sullen nephew (He was pissed that it turned out to be Another girl. He forgave me eventually though.)
This moment felt like my glory moment. Like I had gone and done something so great and emerged a hero. Like I had won a long race. And at the finish line were all these smiling faces. In my head they were applauding as well. My husband, who had gone to get some medicines, met me near my room. He came up to me and squeezed my hand. I could see the joy and pride in his eyes. We were parents! We have our own little girl! It felt like a dream. One we never wanted to be awoken from. We looked at each other while smiling like crazy.
And that was it.
From there began the rest of my life. Life as I know it now. Life as a mother. A fairly okay mother. I think. Haha, More on my mom-ventures later!