What Giving Birth Taught Me About Life
Words: Joy Jefferson
One mater mea reader explains how giving birth to her son drove home an important life lesson.
The week my son was born, people could tell I was tired.
I work in hospitality, and stand most of my day. I had a pretty easy-going pregnancy as far as comfort [goes], but I had taken to a wheely chair. My due date was January 25, but by the 10th I had started telling people I wouldn’t make it.
The evening of January 13 I wasn’t feeling well and decided to leave work early. I guess inside I knew this was it. As I was headed out the door—maybe it was the force of having to push it—my water broke. I immediately called my husband and told him what happened and to come get me, NOW! I then called my midwife and she asked me if I was in any pain or pressure. I wasn’t, so she told me to labor as much at home as I could: “Once you head to the hospital you are on their time.” I went home and tried to rest through my excitement. My baby was on the way!
We barely slept. The next morning I still wasn’t in pain and my labor didn’t seem to be progressing, but we knew I had to go to the hospital. In my mind, labor was a rushed thing; I just knew the day would come and I’d have to be rushed off. My husband would be in a panic and we would be one of those news stories of a baby born in Atlanta traffic. I was prepared for that.
I spent the whole day in the hospital visited by friends and family who were surprised by the fact that I was so relaxed. I was actually bored!
Twenty-two hours from my water breaking, they decided to give me Pitocin. For all my thoughts of low-intervention labor, I knew something had to be done.
It didn’t work. After four hours they decided to take me off it. I was progressing, but very slowly. I decided to get some rest, and let him come when he was ready.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew my son was a test of my patience.
I woke up some time in the early morning to what felt like a punch from the inside. My husband and my mom were resting; I didn’t want to wake them until I was sure something was really going to happen. I made it about a half hour. It was finally happening! From there it was like a whirlwind. I didn’t know how close my contractions were, or what time it was—all I knew was that when I had a contraction, I needed to focus and pray my way through it. I was so honed in that [when I took] a shower to ease the pain, I didn’t realize I was in there for an hour.
We were big on husband-coached birthing, and if it wasn’t for my husband telling me that I could do this, and at times literally holding me up when I couldn’t stand, it would’ve been so much more difficult. I was hot and cold at the same time, and the dinner my husband [got me] was coming back up. My mother claims at that point she knew it was “go time.”
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew my son was a test of my patience. He was God’s way of telling me that the best things take time. I now think my labor was the real test. At hour 35 of labor my midwife told me I had progressed enough to have my waterbirth. They wheeled a tub into the room and filled it from what felt like the slowest faucet ever. I just wanted to get in! I focused on the sound of the water and the fact that I knew that at any moment my son was going to be here.
Once in the tub, I knew I made the right decision in choosing it as my birthing method. My legs and back felt so much better and I calmed down through my contractions. The urge to push hit me really quickly, and all I could hear was my husband’s voice in my ear telling me that I was strong and to just keep going. I only pushed for about 20 minutes and my son was here.
Alanson Kavi was born January 15, 2014 at 8:40 a.m. [after] 35.5 hours of labor. After all the waiting, he is perfect.
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