23 hrs and 20 mins

mandiaphotonessanewborn-1.jpgAll it took was 23 hours and 20 minutes for my life to change forever.

At 3:23am on Monday, Sept. 18th, 2017, I felt a gush of fluid trickle down my thighs as I laid in bed and the first three words that came out of my mouth were “babe,” “babe,” “water.”
My husband who is naturally a light sleeper jumped out of bed and responded, “babe, are you okay?”
I immediately knew our little miracle was getting ready to greet the world sooner than expected.
We had both saved the labor and delivery lines on speed dial anticipating this day and called right away.
The attending nurse asked all sorts of questions and the conclusion was to come down to the hospital for checkup and observation.
The first round of checks were performed by Lexi who confirmed my water hadn’t officially broken. Uhm, lady, what does that mean if I felt a gush of fluid just less than an hour ago? Lexi said “you are fine to go back home and monitor any acute pain or early signs of  contractions and call back as needed.”
My husband and I drove back home and everything seemed normal for a few hours until 7pm that evening. This was when it went down.
Before 7pm, I had washed and conditioned my hair with hopes that the false alarm will remain a false alarm until the next day or later in the week. After all the due date wasn’t for another week.
Nope! The real contractions started right after I had braided the last plait on my head. Funny but true.
It’s like baby wanted to give me time to get myself together before making it out of my birth canal. How selfless!
At a little past 7pm that evening, the contractions started to occur every 10-13 minutes and lasted for about 4-5 minutes each time. It was the pain I never felt in my life. I couldn’t walk a step without screaming, I couldn’t take a seat without yelling, I couldn’t catch my breath without crying. I just couldn’t.
Interestingly, I felt more sorry for my husband than myself because he looked helpless and not sure if saying “babe, it’s okay, take a deep breath, you are almost there” was enough.
We managed to get downstairs to the lobby of our apartment and drove back to the hospital. Luckily, the hospital was only 1.3 miles away from our house. However, this didn’t exempt me from screaming through the whole ride from the unbearable pain.
Lexi’s shift was over and Kristi was the my new attending nurse. She saw my state and said “I think we will just check you in”. You think?
Dr. Sarah was on call and came in to check how far I was dilated. Hello there, she said, “you are in early labor and about 3cm dilated.”
Nurse Kristi asked if I had a birth plan and all I could recall saying was that I wanted epidural to end this terror.
After check-in was complete, I was moved to the labor and delivery unit where the real miracles happen.
An anesthesiologist came in my room to introduce himself and walked me over the process for receiving the epidural.
“Yes, I agree” is all I can remember before I lost all sensation from my waist down. It was the most beautiful relief ever.
Hours and more hours passed with different doctors, and nurses dropping by to tell me how far dilated I was.
“You are now 5cm dilated.” “It’s 7cm.” Oh, and your water just broke by the way. Really? That’s good to know, I muttered. How far am I now?

“You’re at 8cm.” And after about an hour, I heard “You are almost at 9cm.”
At a point I didn’t care how far dilated I was anymore because one of the biggest hurdles had been crossed. The PAIN!!!
Kristi’s shift was over and it was time for Jessica to take over.
“Wande, I am going to teach you how to push okay?” Okay!
“Now, whenever you are experiencing a contraction, I need you to push through it. Don’t push until I say so. Got it?” Yup, got it.

In the middle of pushing, Jessica said, “ I can see her head. Would you like a mirror so you can see it too?” Uhm, no thanks, I said. That will be distracting. Can we get back to pushing please?

My husband held my hand the whole time, which kept me calm. We were a few minutes away from being parents. Priceless!
On Tuesday, September. 19th, 2017,  at exactly 4:58pm, our little angel was born. The pain, the tears, the aches, the fears all disappeared. What was in front of me was more precious than life itself. Everything else never seemed so far away. Our 2.95kg baby girl was all that mattered.
All it took was 23hours and 20 minutes, and my life changed forever.
What was your birth story like? I’d love to hear.

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