Posted in Motherhood

Labour

“of course it’s hard, why do you think it’s called labour?”- these were the words that my midwife said to me while I was screaming in pain.

My water broke around 6 a.m on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what had happened because it felt more like a really light trickle. I actually thought it was the beginning of a period (pregnancy brain), as it was a little less dramatic than I was expecting. It took me a few minutes to realise that it couldn’t have been my period.  However, I still wasn’t sure what was happening.

I spoke to my husband about it and we laughed at the idea of me being in labour. I soon started to contract. At first, the contractions were very similar to a period cramp. I went back to bed ignoring the pain assuming it was nothing.  However, the pain soon started to intensify. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she insisted we go to the hospital. I was hesitant to go to the hospital at this stage as I didn’t want to go in too early and be told to go back home.

I had my shower and got ready for the hospital. At this stage, I was sure I was contracting. No one had to tell me. The pain was baaaad but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t happening often enough to warrant me going to the hospital, I felt. Anyway, I went in and it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was 1cm dilated. But, just like I thought, I wasn’t just ready to be admitted to the hospital. I had to get to at least 6 cm. I was advised to go home and stay active in order to get my labour going. Regardless of the situation, I was told to come back to the hospital at 11pm that night in order to be induced, as it wasn’t safe for my baby to be out of the waters for over 24 hours. I went back home, my contractions were getting more and more intense but I still wasn’t getting the expected 3 contractions in 10 mins. I felt slightly bipolar, one minute I was grunting in pain, the next minute I was eating fried chicken. I was walking up and down the stairs, trying to stay active. My contractions still weren’t consistent but the pain was starting to become intolerable. I was sure I was getting closer to pushing the baby out.

hand picture

I was admitted to the hospital at 11 o’ clock that night. Going in, I naively thought I’d be in and out by midnight. But that was not the case. My midwife checked me and to my dismay, I was still just 1cm dilated. How was that even possible with the intense pain that I was in? I was put on antibiotics for the night and was going to be induced the next morning. I couldn’t sleep due to my contractions. The next morning, I was taking into my labour room. At this stage, I was starting to feel quite anxious; labour was going to be sore. I was checked again and I was now at 2cm. The frustration. Over 24 hours later!!!  I was put on oxytocin to speed up labour. This was when it all went downhill.

Oxytocin sped things up. My contractions became more frequent leaving me with no breathing space between each contraction. The pain had been unbearable for a good while at this stage, but the lack of space between each contraction meant no time for recovery between contractions.  I was doing rollovers on the bed, I wasn’t coping. I was offered gas and air to help with the pain but it only made me feel drunk and silly. I kept trying to tell myself to ‘behave’ but I just couldn’t. My breathing techniques went out the window. I was a mess… and I still hadn’t dilated any further. Things were starting to look bleak. I was in a lot of pain and I still had a long way to go. I didn’t think I could deal with the pain for much longer. I asked my midwife if things had moved any further; it hadn’t. I was tired. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and said: “I cannot do this”. He reassured me that I could but I ignored him, faced my midwife and repeated those exact same words “I cannot do this”. I just couldn’t see the other side.

My midwife suggested taking an epidural. I was at 2cm and I still needed to get to 10cm. I insisted that I didn’t want to take it. I had read about several side effects and wasn’t willing to risk it. Moreover, this person and that person managed without it. I should be able to manage without it. I’m strong too. Well, this wasn’t the case and I’m so glad my midwife talked some sense into me. She basically reminded me that there was life after labour and that I needed to be able to take care of my baby. As well as that, if I was in distress, there was a huge chance that I was putting my baby in distress. And I had been contracting for over 30 hours, I was wrecked. Every situation differs.

I accepted the epidural and life was a breeze. Contractions were a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting them but I couldn’t feel them. But, I felt guilty. I felt weak. I felt like I wasn’t working for it. I let myself down and my baby down. I shouldn’t have taken the epidural. With all these thoughts going through my head, I chilled and waited until my little girl was ready to make an entrance. She took her time. When she was finally ready, I pushed for 20 minutes and at 21:21 on Thursday night, my baby girl arrived.  It was only after her arrival that I realised what I had just done; I birthed a baby, there was absolutely nothing weak about that.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Relationships, Uncategorized

His Perspective.

Hi guys,

Hope ye are all having a great weekend. Last week, I spoke about my pregnancy journey. This week, based on your response to the poll on my  instagram, I thought it was only fair to give my husband the chance to share his perspective- it takes two to tango and all that. So, let’s get to it.

Do you remember how I broke the pregnancy news? You sent me a text saying ‘I took a pregnancy test’ but you didn’t give me the results. Even though I knew the results from your reaction, I literally had to ask you what the results were before you told me.

When you found out I was pregnant, how did you react? I wasn’t shocked because we weren’t preventing it. I was happy and felt very blessed because it is a blessing that Allah has given us. However, I was slightly worried about you and the impact it might have on you. 

Do you wish you did anything before we got pregnant? I wish I read more and maybe even spoke to more people in order to have a better understanding. I was told that it can be a difficult time but it is do-able. I will be honest and say that I didn’t see pregnancy being that difficult. I don’t really know how much I could have prepared. However, people have different experiences and I feel the best learning is on the job. 

 

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Hubby telling our baby to behave

 

What was your role during our pregnancy journey? For us, things changed very quickly. We went from being newlyweds to being pregnant in no time. I had to do more heavy-lifting because of the physical strain pregnancy had on you. I had to be pro-active.  I had to make sure that I was supporting you even with the basic things. During the first 6 months of the pregnancy, you were in the U.K finishing your postgrad and I was in Ireland. During those months, we communicated mostly through the phone and I only saw you every second weekend. I could feel the impact it was having on you physically, but I didn’t really know how to support you. However, I felt that I could only try to calm you down emotionally. When I did get to see you, I felt very guilty as I could see clearly what you were going through. Psychologically, I felt it was my responsibility to support, encourage and motivate you. I would encourage all men to make sure to continue to emphasise positivity and to STEP UP.  I ensured that I carried all the household responsibilities and to provide emotional support. I observed your emotions and tried to act accordingly.

P.S I think it is also important that women remember that pregnancy is also a learning curve for the man and although we can’t understand what you are going through, you shouldn’t expect the perfect man. 

How did you deal with my reaction to being pregnant, especially during my first trimester? I felt quite sad that it was having such a major impact on your studies and state of mind.  I made sure to tread carefully because it was an emotional rollercoaster for you. I had to be observant and I knew I couldn’t completely understand what you were going through. I observed your reactions and my response was to try to be as compassionate as I possibly could and tried to look after your needs. 

Before I got pregnant, do you think you had an idea of what pregnancy should be like? Fortunately or unfortunately, until you got pregnant, I had only seen people that had “easy” pregnancies; women who didn’t seem to be affected by their pregnancies. So, I didn’t have a fair idea of what could happen or how it could impact the woman. Regardless, I still think the best learning is done on the job. 

How did you deal with my emotions and mood swings? I didn’t think you were too moody. I never felt angry or impatient because I felt that Allah does not burden a soul with more than they can handle. I think patience really helped. Also, your apologies helped. You always apologised when you felt you had been a little too moody. 

Do you have any advice for expecting fathers to help support their wives through pregnancy?  I think it’s important to be attentive and listen to your wife’s feelings and you should try not to take anything personal during that period. Do your very best to support her in every way possible. Also, it is important to note that your way of helping isn’t necessarily what she needs. Listen to her needs but not all her cravings :P. 

I hope you enjoyed this mini interview 🙂 If you have any other questions that you would like us to answer, please leave them in the comment sections and we will try to answer them.

Till next time

-A

 

 

Posted in Motherhood

My journey…

The journey ended over three months ago, THANK GOD!!! Just in case you’re wondering, I do NOT miss being pregnant.

I was one of those people who planned on being very active while pregnant. I had always been into fitness and planned to continue while pregnant.  My mum had told me plenty of stories about all of her four pregnancies (she had very difficult pregnancies), so I felt very well prepared for the worst. But, nothing could have prepared me for this emotional journey into motherhood. Just like childbirth, it is one of those things you have to go through in order to completely understand. However, I will try my very best to explain as honestly as I can. In order to make things easier, I will break the journey down into trimesters.

My first trimester was awwwwwwful! I had every symptom possible. As I said in my previous post, I decided to take a pregnancy test because I was feeling quite ill. I wasn’t really expecting a positive result (call it naivety) but I wanted to rule it out. However, as you all know, it was very much positive. My first trimester brought serious morning sickness. To be clear, morning sickness is NOT the same as vomiting. For me, It was vomiting with heartburn/throat burn while trying to keep my intestines where they should be as well as keeping my body from releasing fluids in other areas. It can happen anywhere at anytime. Then, came extreme weakness. Regular tasks such as walking and standing became extremely difficult. I had to teach while seated. My postgrad needed me to be as active and as enthusiastic as possible (primary teachers spend most of the day on their feet). Unfortunately for me, I lacked both of these while pregnant – imagine trying to teach P.E  while seated. The inability to be physically active impacted me emotionally. I just couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I felt betrayed by my own body. I wasn’t heavy, I wasn’t even showing (no bump) physically. My inability to do regular day to day things just did not make sense. There was no logical reason for the way my body was acting. Whatever was inside of my stomach was ruining my plans, I felt. My weakness was affecting my work. My mentors didn’t think I’d make it through the course. Most importantly, I couldn’t see myself finishing the course successfully. I couldn’t connect the dots and consequently couldn’t connect with the child inside of me. This lack of connection worsened things for me. I had always looked forward to having children, I didn’t expect to feel the way I felt. My attitude towards my unborn child worried me. I was a mess…. No one could have prepared me for this.

 

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Eight months pregnant 🙂

 

Fortunately, my first scan changed a lot for me emotionally. Although, still pretty upset about the way things were going with my course, seeing the picture of my little human made it a lot easier to understand my situation. I was so overwhelmed, I cried. During that brief moment, things started to make sense. In that moment, there was a change of perspective. I was carrying a human being. A human being that already knew how to wave.

My second trimester came with a huge appetite. I was always hungry. I ate almost every hour or two and If I didn’t eat on time, my body would literally collapse. The hunger was real! My morning sickness reduced and I started to slightly regain my energy. Things with my course still weren’t as I’d have liked due to my lack of energy. My daily routine went as thus; wake up, go to work- try to get through the day by eating snacks every chance I got, worked through lunch so I didn’t have to stay too long after school just so I could run home to eat, sleep, wake up to do more work and then sleep again.

Things settled down during my third trimester. Although my morning sickness returned, it was not as aggressive as my first trimester. According to the doctor, my food was coming back up because there was no room in my stomach. I managed to finish the practical part of my course during this trimester. I had good days and bad days. I had a deferred assignment which I managed to write during this trimester.  Funnily enough, I received the result of the assignment on the day I had my baby- I had failed. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken. I felt like my whole year had gone to waste and I had nothing to show for it. I cried. It took me a good couple of minutes, but I realised with the help of my mother that I had a little girl in my arms- my little girl. I was healthy and so was my baby. That was more important than anything else. I had plenty to show for the year. It was a matter of importance; my baby or my postgrad.

I have heard of people that have had “easy” pregnancies. Mine just wasn’t one of those. It was emotionally draining for me. Although it was a difficult journey, I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to carry a child into this world. Nothing can compare to it. My baby brings nothing but joy and happiness to my life. And sleep deprivation.

Major shout out to my husband for being so understanding. I do not know how he kept his cool through my mood swings.

P.S I repeated the assignment and I am awaiting results- pray for me 🙂

Till next time

-A