It was 3am, I was 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy, and my water broke. There was no gush like you see in the movies. There was just a few trickles of amniotic fluid being released at a time. My stomach began to contract, it felt as though I had menstruation-like cramps and they became stronger as time went by. I couldn’t believe it, the moment had finally arrived.
We got to hospital at 6am where it was confirmed that my water had broken and I was in fact in labour.
My contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart and they were reading as intense on the monitor. Really? I must be superwoman and my pain threshold must be really high, because I still feel fine! Looks like I am going to sail through this natural labour!
My doctor came to do a check up. No dilation and no shortening of the cervix. Okay, let’s give it more time.
I can’t believe this is happening!
Where are my contractions? I can’t remember when last I had one.
My doctor came to do check up again. Still no dilation nor any shortening of the cervix. My womb was still closed. And no more contractions.
11 hours later and labour had unfortunately regressed.
I could have been induced (given some medication to bring on labour). But I was advised against it, as the contractions would have pushed baby down faster than the rate at which my body would have dilated, and baby would have gotten stuck behind the pelvic bone.
But I really wanted to have natural labour. Couldn’t we wait a little longer?
But I was advised against that too. Because my water had broken and almost 12 hours had passed, and the fact that labour had actually regressed, the risk of infection was high. And my doctor was not prepared to take the risk, so emergency Caesarian it was.
I was distraught.
I DID NOT WANT to have a ceasarian. I WANTED to have natural birth. I WANTED to feel the contractions. This WAS NOT what I had planned.
I had officially lost control and I couldn’t help but cry.
They prepped me for surgery. I cried. They wheeled me into theatre, I cried. They prepped me for the spinal block, I cried. They stuck the needle into my spine, I felt a pinch, it shot through my entire spine like a lightning bolt, I cried. Was that normal?
I prayed and prayed and prayed for it to just be over really quickly. I just wanted to see my baby now.
My wishes were granted. At 3:30pm, my baby was born. A healthy little girl. I was happy and overwhelmed, all at the same time. I immediately forgot about the manner in which she was delivered because it didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was that she was finally here.
We were separated momentarily. The doctors attended to me while the pediatrician attended to my daughter. Once done, I was wheeled up to the recovery room where I was met by Zieyaad and my brand new baby.
Hooked up to a morphine drip for the pain, I was on cloud 9. I didn’t want to be anywhere else but there. I was finally holding her. Skin to skin, chest to chest. I remember that she was so warm and so tiny.
The morphine drip was amazing because I was able to administer it myself. It was however controlled, as it only allowed me to push through a certain measurement per hour. They told me to push the morphine drip before I even felt the pain, because otherwise I would be in pain for a while before the medication kicked in. So I listened. I pushed the morphine drip the moment I felt just a tad bit uncomfortable.
Gosh, I literally felt as though I was on cloud 9! I was high. But why was I feeling so funny? Is this normal? It must be the morphine.
Visitors came. It was a blur. I was drowsy, and high. That weird high feeling. It must be the morphine.
All through the night I was high. I was floating. It must be the morphine.
The next day, the morphine drip was removed and I was ready to be wheeled to a normal ward. I was told I could walk and take a shower. So I did.
Agh, I have a headache. Gosh but this headache is so bad. Excruciating. I shouldn’t have washed my hair, I can’t stand to rinse it. Crap, I locked the door of the bathroom, what if something happens. Okay, just relax. You are fine, it’s just a headache. Let’s just do this slowly.
At snail pace, I was finally done! But gosh, I’ve never experienced a headache like this before. Aaah, it’s a morphine hangover!! I now know what people mean when they have a hangover from the night before! Okay, it will pass.
I took my time to walk to the ward. Shoo, but it’s hot. I was dripping in sweat. My new pjs were even wet. Agh this headache! I should probably just eat.
Visitors came. Again a blur. I just remember that headache.
Nurse! I can’t handle this headache. I was told it was a normal side effect of the spinal block. I was given some pain tablets.
Something does not feel right. I still feel high. Yes, I still feel like I felt when I had the morphine drip. There is this motion feeling in my ears, almost like water that trapped after a swim. Everything is echoing.
Nurse! I cannot get over this headache. The pain tablets you gave me are not working! And I feel dizzy. Unbalanced.
I need more pain tablets please. I can’t sleep. It’s so sore. I can’t sit, or stand, or walk without feeling as though I am about to lose it!
Please give me something for this headache!
Don’t worry, I was told, it is normal. But they will inform my doctor when she comes for her checkup.
This is not my doctor (okay, she was a stand in). Doctor, I can’t handle this headache. The doctor told me it was probably a side effect of the morphine – the morphine was too strong for my body.
The stand in doctor was back – How is your headache? It’s not getting better. I can’t do anything, it is really disabling.
The stand in doctor was back. She had spoken to my doctor. ‘Do you remember that pinch you felt when the spinal block was done? Well it seems as though the needle was pushed in too deep and has caused a hole in your spine. This has resulted in spinal fluid leaking from your spine causing a drop in pressure around your brain, which is causing your headaches’.
It is a very rare complication that can occur.
You need to lay flat on your back for 24 hours and be put on a drip so that it can increase your fluid intake , all in the hope that the hole will close and heal by itself.
Unfortunately, pain tablets will not ease the pain.
The aneathetist will come to see you tomorrow morning to discuss next steps.
I was in shock!
I mean yes, it explained why this headache was so severe and disabling, but how does this actually happen?
Visitors came. Again a blur. There were too many faces. Too many voices. It was too loud. These echoes in my ears. Every sound echoed. It was too much. Please make them go away! Zieyaad, I don’t want to have anymore visitors, please!
I could not sleep. The pain was too intense. This coupled with the Caesarian scar – I was completely disabled.
24 hours later, after laying flat on my back, feeling as though I was constantly falling and experiencing severe pain whenever I did anything other than lay flat, I was finally wheeled back into theatre for a second surgery called a blood patch. Blood was taken from my arm and pushed back into the same area of the spinal block where the hole was, in order to patch and block the hole.
Two hours later I was up and ready to go home. And there she was! My little girl! Look at her, she looks just like her daddy!
You may have noticed that I did not mention her much during my birth story, and that is because it really was all a blur. I don’t remember her during those first four days. I don’t remember holding her. I don’t remember feeding her. I don’t remember anything about her. All I remember was that headache.
I sometimes feel as though I have been robbed of the hospital experience. That perfect hospital experience, where family and friends flood in to visit you and your new little baby, with all the flowers and the spoils. It was all there, I definitely got it, but I don’t remember any part of it!
And even though I feel that way sometimes, I always remember that everything happens as it should. Everything only happens by the will of the Almighty. I may not know the reasons now and I may never know, but I do know there was a reason. There was a purpose to my experience. And I am grateful for it.
I may not have had my perfect birth story, but I was granted a perfectly healthy little baby. I cannot be anything but grateful!