A new beginning

It was 3 am in the morning. Suddenly, as if someone flicked on a switch, my perception of everything shifted. It was as if my life was played in slow-mo. Or the whole world stopped short in its tracks. I was completely lucid. I was aware of every breath, every heartbeat, and every movement around me. The beep on the baby monitor was painfully sharp; the air in the ward was extra crisp. The stillness all around me was overbearing. I seemed to be looking at the world on a HD screen. All these sensory inputs were accompanied by an almost unbearable pressure on my pelvic bone. This is it, I told myself. This is the moment we have been waiting for.
Breath, I told myself. And breath I did. Deep belly breathing that lasted as long as the interval in between the wave of excruciating pressure that ebbs and flows. Oh yes, I can feel you my dear, I said to the living, throbbing mass that occupied more than half of my torso. My abdominal and pelvic muscles contract, and release, and contract again, in strangely soothing and hypnotic surges. “OOOOOOhhhhh……” I said. “The baby is on her way.”
The nurses looked at me incredulously. The monitor did not pick up any noteworthy changes to my uterus or heartbeat, and I definitely did not look as if I was about to scream my head off from the pain that was commonly perceived to accompany impending childbirth. One of the nurses did a check on cervical opening. “Only 5 cm, my dear. Not so soon.”
“No, you don’t understand.” I tried to speak in between my contractions. “My last baby arrived so fast, I didn’t have time to go to the hospital…” The nurse cut me off in mid-sentence, “But every baby is different my dear, and you are only 5cm. We can’t call the doctor in so early.”
“But all my babies arrived before the doctor did.” I said quietly. The nurses looked at each other, unsure of what else to say. Finally, common sense prevailed. “Alright we’ll let you wait in the delivery suite. But our policy is that we won’t call the doctor until you are 8 cm wide, or your water has burst. As it is, your water has not even leaked. You will have a long wait ahead. And if there is another emergency case, we would need to move you again. You ok with that?”
I smiled quietly inside. These nurses had no idea who they were talking to. All of the past 40 weeks, I had rehearsed for this moment, through visualizations, meditation, and countless hypno-birthing sessions. This is the moment I have been waiting for. My only concern is, my husband has not yet arrived on the scene, and I am sure he would like to be present for this one, since he missed the delivery of the second baby. I did not care if the doctor could arrive in time, really. Birthing to me is a natural process which does not require medical intervention unless absolutely necessary. In fact the intimate moment I was about to have with my husband would be completely ruined if there were another man barking orders at us by our side.
I called my husband on his handphone for what seemed like the hundredth time. Finally someone picked up the phone and my husband’s groggy voice wafted through the air, “Yes dear? Is it time?” I tried to stay as calm as I could, “Come now dear, I can feel her coming.”
In exactly 25 minutes, my husband arrived on the scene. He must have slept fully clothed. He held my hand and I said, “Anytime now.” Another nurse came in and gave me a check. “9 cm! Call the doctor!” The surges has by now reached its peak, and I felt like my world as I knew it was going to end. The pressure on my pelvic was excruciating and that hospital required of all mothers to birth lying face up. If I had a choice I would be on all fours, but I was all strapped up on the delivery table. So all I could do to relieve the pressure was to push. I was getting impatient, and I pushed with all my might at each surge of pressure.
With a loud pop, my water bag literally exploded, and my baby shot out. The midwife could barely react fast enough to literally catch the baby and she looked stupefied. And I was so relieved that the ordeal is over. “You arrived just in time, dear.” I beamed at my husband. The act of birthing was truly cathartic. I felt so good and energised that I wanted to walk home immediately with my new baby in tow. And receiving the baby all cleaned up and wrapped up smelling fresh as day was priceless. Just as I peered into the wondrous face of the first girl to my brood, the first dawn of the day broke.

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