I have been a mother for almost one month now. In reality, I feel like I have been Nouri’s mother from the day we found out I was pregnant. I have loved her, been proud of her and felt protective of her since then but I have done so with bated breath, too afraid to believe that our modest little dream could come true. On November 5th, with the help of God and the amazing teamwork of the midwives and doctors, I brought Nouri into the world. She came fast and furious. Something like labor started around 10:30 pm and by 3:24 am, she made her entry in delivery room 7 at GW Hospital.
I didn’t leave work until 7 pm that day. Although there were no clear signs of labor, I had it in my mind that I needed to get everything sorted for when I would go on leave. I organized my files, cleaned up my desk and tried to tie up any open projects I had. I started the mile walk home, listening to Serial and even went the long way home so I could stop at CVS and get my TDAP shot. When I got to the minute clinic, I asked the lady, is it ok to get this vaccine while you are in labor? She raised her eyebrows and asked, “Are you in labor?” I responded, “I don’t know. I have never been in labor before. I might be.”
My basis for thinking I was in labor was that the pregnancy had largely been comfortable and now I was feeling pressure and the weight of the baby. I will spare you the other details of why I thought I was in labor.
I had planned to have an unmedicated birth but when I entered GW around 2 am, I was begging for a c-section, for an epidural or whatever they would give to me. I may have very calmly asked for them to kill me. To the midwives credit, they very calmly responded, “That is not an option, but lets think of what else we can do.” They said things like “You are in labor now, there is no stopping it. You can do this.” To which I responded, (maybe yelled) “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!” By the time I asked for an epidural, everyone resoundingly agreed.
I may have been acting like a crazy person.
But as they got me set up to get an epidural, we found out that it was already time to push! Soon into pushing, Nouri’s heart rate had dropped and it was staying dropped for too long. The midwives called in the doctors and before we knew it, (I actually didn’t know it at the time because my eyes were sealed shut as I focused on pushing) there were 13 people in the room. When the doctor said it was time for a c-section, one angel in the room advocated for me to have some more time to push. At this point, I had returned to being a sane person and I knew I wanted to do everything I could to get my baby out as soon as possible. I used all the energy I had, tried to listen to every instruction that was being given to me and willed for Nouri to be born. And in a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, Nouri left my body and entered the world. When I was told that she was ok, I felt wave upon wave of gratitude come over me. When she was put on my chest, I felt a love that tried to escape from every pore and envelope my sweet baby. I keep reliving the exact moment she was born and the longer I know her the more precious that moment becomes. That moment becomes encompassed by layers and layers of love and memories.
Afterwards we had found out that my placenta had ruptured and that is what had caused the terrible pain and the extremely fast progression in my labor. I was reminded of that fine line between everything turning out just fine and everything completely falling apart. If we had waited too long to go to the hospital, if the medical team had been less competent, if Nouri hadn’t been such a tough baby… it is hard to imagine how shattered our world could have become if things hadn’t worked out that night and each time I think of that, I am even more grateful for the privilege of being Nouri’s mother.