Didn’t know how to write this until now, like now, literally this moment at 1.08am in the morning after I have just handed over my baby to his dad to take him for the night feed.
Super exhausted but I promised myself I would tell this story and tell it honestly, so here it goes.
Let’s take it back to last year, December 23rd, 2 days before Christmas. I woke up at 6.03am with contractions, but by this time I was already 2 weeks past my due date so, to be honest, I was happy to be woken up by this pain (the happiness soon wore off though as I am about to find out).
Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you’re trapped in it. Yep, that was me. I hated being pregnant. I just wanted my body back. Not that I had a sexy body, to begin with, but at least it was mine.
So you can imagine how ready I was to have this baby.
I wish I could say that my labour was easy, drug-free and short, but that would be a lie. I feel like it’s my duty to keep it real for my community both for my own peace of mind as well as the fact that some of you may be going through or have experienced what I experienced or even worse.
They say it is not unusual for your first child to be late, so this was something I had accepted was going to happen, but what I did not expect was for Bubba to be 2 weeks late and for that to result in me being induced. At that point I felt that I had failed my baby, what could I have done to prevent this, why didn’t he want to come out? Could I have walked more? Ate spicy food more? Had sex more? My emotions were all over the place. All these questions were running through my mind when the nurse inserted Propess in my vagina to jump-start labour. Not only was I disappointed in myself but I felt that my husband was disappointed in me too, I was supposed to be the one taking one for the team and I couldn’t even do that ‘right’.
What’s funny is that I now know that all these thoughts were stupid, in fact, they were naïve. Whilst you can do all these things to ‘help’ your labour, the baby will come when they are good and ready and as a Christian, I forgot this simple fact. You would have thought in 9 months of carrying a child I would have already learned that I was not in control, as much as I convinced myself that I was.
Ok, back to the labour. So they induced me, the contractions came quick and fast, and before I know it I had already dilated 4cm. My mum, sister husband and I were pretty much certain we were going to have this baby on Christmas Eve and it would, therefore, have the same birthday as my mum (remember I had said above the contractions started on the 23rd)!
How wrong were we!
Turns out I had this thing they called dysfunctional labour. This meant that while I was having contractions it wasn’t resulting in the necessary dilations. So I was having all this pain for nothing…..
My mum, who was me with the entire time, has had 7 children and she has never experienced this, so when the doctors said this to us, she had the typical Nigerian parent reaction, which although wasn’t helpful, inside I echoed the same sentiments. What the fuck? Why in all my reading during pregnancy had I never come across this term!
Why couldn’t I just have a ‘normal’ labour? If there was such a thing. Again, I blamed myself. I blamed myself the entire time, especially when his heart stopped – a moment I will never forget.
The doctors then suggested I take the epidural to reduce the pain and speed up the contractions (as I was already high risk by being 2 weeks overdue) – which I gladly did. As much as I hated needles, at this point I would have given my life just to have my baby out of me, so I could see their face, I swear.
During this whole time, I start to remember the several conversations about pain relief I had with many mothers, whilst I was pregnant, and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that us women subconsciously competed in who could ‘endure’ the pain during labour and go without pain relief, forgetting the most important factor – EVERY BIRTH IS DIFFERENT.
It doesn’t make you ‘less’ or ‘more’ of a woman whichever way you give birth. All births should be celebrated and we mustn’t forget that it is by the grace of God that allows us to go through this whole experience in the first place.
Birth is no joke! It’s transformative and world shifting. At least, that’s what it was for me. Leaning into my faith, believing that I could do it, and self-trust was the only way I was able to make it out of those 48 hours of labour. 17 minutes of pushing felt like forever, but in those pushes, I found the warrior in me.
My son was born on Christmas Day and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. He’s my miracle.
And I love when life gives you little reminders of true purpose and love. Becoming a mother has done that for me.
I never imagined my life being where it is or what it is today, and while we didn’t plan this pregnancy (use CONTRACEPTION guys) having this new little life at home with us blows my mind. Giving birth has shaped and shifted me in a whole new way. I feel reborn. Realigned. Rearranged.
Having my husband standing with me through the entire process from conception to live birth—moved me in a way that I cannot even begin to explain.
This experience has taught me to love harder than I thought I did before, to acknowledge the pain and find peace in being alright.
It’s unreal to look over at him on his daddy’s chest and see him there. Happy, beautiful, healthy, and full of life.
Aside from being in complete awe of this new life and my blooming family, I am unquestionably mesmerised by my strength. Us women are a force! We are powerful. I am astonished by what we can do and handle, physically, emotionally, and everything else in between. More so than ever, I am proud to be a woman!
Ok, I am going to call this a night now at 3:23 am, as Bubba is going to wake up any minute from now, wanting this left breast like no other, so I need to mentally prepare myself for that.
There is so much I want to say, but even still, even as a writer, it’s tricky for me express the sentiments fully and accurately. Soon though!
Happy International Women’s Day