12th June 2019
We sat in the doctor’s office. My mom was on my left side, my mother law on my right side and my husband Yousuf sat next to his mother. My doctor was wearing a green silk sari, green beaded necklace and as usual has a thick layer of eyeliner on the bottom of her sincere eyes.
“Here is my plan, ” she started, ” we wait until 17th. If you do not have spontaneous labour then by 17th, then on 18th morning you get admitted to hospital and we start induction on 18th. We take it from there and monitor your situation carefully. Everything is fine and you had a great healthy pregnancy. I have no concerns except for the fact that the baby is big. On 18th you will be at 41 weeks and 3 days now so we will monitor that and move forward.” Yousuf looked at me and smiled, “Yes that sounds like a good plan.” We smiled at the doctor, thanked her and left.
No contractions, no sign of labor.
No contractions, no sign of labor.
No contractions, no sign of labor.
No contractions, no sign of labor.
17th June 10.30pm
“Well, tonight is the last night being only 2 of us,” I said feeling overwhelmed. Yousuf didn’t say anything. We let the silence and darkness of midnight cover us. I don’t remember when we fell asleep.
18th June 12 noon
I woke up and had a good long shower scrubbing every corner and inch of my body. I knew my body was going to be seen and handled, no need to be shy anymore. Thank goodness I had female doctors and nurses. Shower done, I stood in front of full length mirror and had one last look. My tummy was hanging so low now, the stretch marks fully covered my stomach, and came all the way around my lower back, down to middle of my thighs. Yousuf came in and we both admired the bump together. We are going to meet you soon child. Not too long now.
We pulled up into the emergency, and followed instructions. I was super anxious. I had no clue what to expect. Baby was moving as usual, kicking along. I had known his entire sleep and wake routine. Everyone was excited and laughing and cracking jokes.
Nurses set me up on CTG monitor. 20 minutes of monitoring – foetal heartbeat was normal. Very light contractions, nothing major.
My doctor comes in the room, puts on gloves and asks for everyone to leave. A quick cervical check. She was quiet.
“Ok you are dilated only 1 cm. I have done some cervical sweeping so hopefully that should get some things moving along. We will start the induction now, nothing to be worried about let’s keep monitoring.” She smiled at me the same sincere smile that I will always appreciate her for.
The nurses came in to start my induction. They put a cannula in my hand – the quick pinch of the needled scared me. Truthfully, I was more scared of pain. I had never had any hospital experience and anything blood was just gory for me.
The IV bag was hung and they pushed in the Pitocin. I was very anxious.
Nothing yet. The nurses come in to stop the induction. They remove the IV and bring in my dinner. I eat as much as I can, feeling anxious. My mom waits until 10.30pm, speaks over the phone to my doctor, hugs me and goes home. Yousuf was going to stay the night. We both was a bit of t.v. and stay quiet in each others loving company. I am peeing more often.
The nurses come in and switch on the light. The bright light over my head woke me up,
She checks my cervix. Still no improvement, I have not dilated more than 1cm. She says we will start induction again tomorrow. I try to fall asleep. I am peeing alot that night.
I am anxious.
1pm, we do a CTG. Baby’s heart beat is 145 bpm.
2pm, Doctor requests me to do an Ultrasound and check for amniotic fluid.
My biophysical profile score
The amniotic fluid is low, and the biophysical profile score is low.
A score of less than 8 means my baby may not be receiving enough oxygen.
She has a slight worried look on her face. I walked out of the ultrasound room and went to my room on the third floor. My mom and Yousuf walked behind me in silence.
4pm, I am waiting for my doctor to advice, she was not available at the hospital so the resident OB came in. She says we should wait few hours and wait for spontaneous labor, we should NOT induce labor since with fluid low, this can hurt the baby.
I was stressed, anxious and angry. I sat in my room for 45 mins and at 5pm asked for the resident OB once again. I am angry. I am rude with her. I said I want to start inducing again and keep monitoring baby’s heart beat every 30 mins. She hears me out and walks away. She bring a file and makes me sign it stating that if any harm happens to the baby then the hospital will not be responsible for it. My heart starts to beat really fast. What should I do? I speak over with my husband for a long time. Something inside of me was not wanting to sign that paper. I sat and thought it out and did ending up signing. What was I thinking!
6pm. we start inducing and check baby’s heart beat. Doctor takes more time than usual. baby’s heart beat is 114 bpm.
7pm, nurse comes in and stops inducing. I am very stressed. I call my doctor and talk to her. She is not at hospital yet. She tells me to wait she is on her way.
8pm. I am waiting, my heart is racing. My palms are sweating and I am crying inside not knowing what to do. What is the right thing to do?
9pm, nurses bring my dinner, I shove food in my mouth knowing that it is for baby not me.
10pm, my doctor walks in and quickly walks by my bed side. She looks anxious and tells me everything that I already know.
“baby’s heart beat is irregular. Last time it was 114bpm and you have low fluid. At this point what ever you decide will determine the outcome. With low amniotic fluid we can not continue with inducing. It is a big risk. And your baby is big, if we increase inducing then the pressure of contracts may cause damage to baby such as causing meconium aspiration, we have risks to think about.”
“shall I do c section, ” I ask the question with tears rolling down my eyes.
“yes dear, this should be the best for you and baby. you are already overdue and now it is the baby’s health that matter, ” my doctor said, standing with her team of nurses and resident OB.
“when will we start?” I asked whimpering
“right now,” she replied.
I look at the clock, it was 10.30pm. It was getting too late.
“ok, i will do c section, ” i say and start crying harder. the nurses rush to my side to bring me and yousuf files to sign. my doctor leaves. my mother in law comes next to me and hugs me and says not to worry. the nurses change me into a operating gown. Yousuf signs the file and hands it to me. I don’t even both reading, just scribble my name down. A wheelchair is brought in and I sit down in it. I can barely see anything because I am crying so hard. I don’t see my mother. I see Yousuf running into the bathroom and changing into a black shirt, the black shirt he wore when we first met. He says he wants to meet his son with this same shirt.
As I am wheeled out of the room, I start shaking uncontrollably. I was shaking from fear of having a major operation. I am wheeled into the operating theatre. The big bright light was blinding me. I moved onto the operating bed. The nurses and anthesia team were all talking amongst themselves. They were talking about a cricket match! I felt so alone and even more scared. The patient – me – was sitting right on the operating bed, and they were talking about a game ?! As I am shaking and crying, the nurses open the back part of my gown and bend me over. They were literally ignoring me while prepping me for a major surgery. Hello, God, are you there?!
I feel the anaesthesia team poke my lower spine and look for the correct area of insertion. His finger pokes send me shivering even more. Oh God, how can my body be so much out of my control? I am talking to myself at this point. Gibberish only I can comprehend. Calm down, stop shaking, stop crying, this is normal, they do this on thousands of people, nothing will go wrong. The nurse on my side holds me and squeezes me trying to make me stop shaking. I feel a sharp pinch of the insertion of the epidural needle between the spinous processes of the lumbar vertebrae. But wait, they take the needle out again and I hear them go quiet. No one was talking now. I have a slight panic attack, I thought I might faint from shaking. The needle goes in me again. A short pause. The needle comes out. Again! The put the needle into my flesh and I feel the same pinching sensation. It’s deathly silent and I can hear the clock ticking loudly. I feel a warm tingle go down my right leg, as they quickly move away from me and tell me to lean back. The place a divider in front of my and start wiping my tummy with a cold liquid. I start to wiggle my toes. Is this supposed to happen? Shouldn’t I be numb now! I am panicking fully now!
What as they doing? The epidural has clearly not worked as I can move both of my legs. I see my doctor walk into the room holding up her clean hands.
“I can move my leg!” I shouted at the top of my lungs as my heart is beating nearly 200 bpm.
My doctor wheels around and looks dead into my eyes, “are you sure? raise your leg.”
I raise both my legs.
She flashes at the anaesthesia team and shouts, “what is the matter with you? Do it again and do it right, ” she shouts at them. I am raised up again and still shaking violently. My doctor holds me from the right side and speaks calming words to me. I feel the anaesthesia team move towards me quickly, poke my lower spine and insert the needle. Within 30 seconds I feel a deep warmth pass over both my of legs – as if i was lowered into a tub of hot water. I start wiggling my toes but I can’t wiggle them too much. They start to feel very heavy. I don’t know how long it took but very quickly my legs became hot and dead – I can no longer move it. Althought my bottom half was not in my control, my arms – tied down onto the bed- were still shaking. I am looking around frantically.
“Where’s my husband, ” I ask.
I am ignored.
“Nurse, please call my husband, I am very nervous, I am not feeling well,”
I am ignored.
“Excuse me brother, ” I call one of the anaesthesia doctors, “please can you call my husband I am very nervous.”
I see him move towards me with a needle full of light yellow liquid. He moves next to my left arms and pushes the liquid into my canola. I start to feel dizzy and lose ability to form a sentence.
The lights dim down and I feel sleepy.
I open my eyes again – I don’t know how long it’s been.
I see a tall black shadow next to my left.
I see Yousuf’s face.
I feel like vomiting. I drift into sleep again. I start shouting that I need to vomit.
I wake up again – seems like I have been sleeping for hours.
It’s dark and heavy in this sleep world. I have never been here before. I have no control of my thoughts. No consciousness. Am I dead?
What was only less than 45 minutes felt to me like 45 hours.
I open my eyes and see a small red face being held up to me. I try to kiss him. I can’t feel it. I fall back into my blackhole of silence.
The next time I wake up in my room with Baby Mansa by my side. My mother glowing and my husband looking exhausted beaming with happiness. We were safe and healthy, Baby Mansa and I.
I get to find out later from Yousuf that my amniotic fluid was very low and Baby Mansa had no vernix covering him. The fluid was thick. We did the right thing by deciding to do Caesarean. If we had waited and been adamant about NVD, we could have risked some serious distress on Baby Mansa. I am grateful to my team of doctors and nurses who took the best care of me in their realm of knowledge. It took my weeks to get my head straight and remember the details of that night – what a night to remember!
Note: Although my doctor and I had planned for normal delivery for months, we are never sure of what happens in the end. I am so glad I did Caesarean. Lately, there have been many protests against cesearean and claiming that doctors are forcing c sections on women. Although we do not know the case of every individual women, we should never claim that doctors are doing their jobs only for money and greed. For example, every pregnant women goes through a BIOPHYSICAL PROFILE SCORE, if this score is low it indicates that foetus may be under stress. truth is, we can never be 100% sure what is exactly going on in the womb, but we have technology to show us what “may” be happening. so when this technology shows the womb or mother or baby is under distress, the doctor will take the best step to save mother and baby. we should never jump to conclusions. the best step forward is to educate ourselves and keep clear communication with the team of doctors and nurses. I am thankful to my team of doctors and nurses, who answered all my questions and did the best they could.
If you or some one you know would like to share your birth story please get in touch with me. I am looking to feature birth stories.