I didn’t think I would share this but based on the fact that this is the first thing everyone keeps asking me I figured I can write it down so that if we happen to hang out,we can comfortably talk about other things instead.
When I was 37 weeks pregnant( first of all before I got pregnant I used to wonder why people used weeks and confused me instead of talking in months….well, happens that every week is different and a lot can happen in a month so ideally they track it in weeks. Sorry if you have to convert to months to know how far along I am talking) I went for Lamaze classes to kind of understand what labour is all about and how to take care of a newborn. I would recommend the classes for any first time mum in as much as most things you can learn as you go, the class had an impact in ensuring I had a positive attitude towards labour and honestly it’s my attitude that helped me go through it all
In my Lamaze class we learnt how to cope with pain when the time comes and The exercises to do inorder to help your baby position herself well in readiness for delivery. Armed with all this information, I was ready to pop that baby. Instead of writing a whole composition about my story, allow me to do so in the form of my frequently asked questions in regards to the same but first, how is this face beat I gave myself when the baby was asleep? I’ve been using my free time perfecting my skills…
What time did your labour start?
My EDD was on 1st June and as we went to sleep the night before, we kept joking about the baby possibly going overdue since I had no signs to suggest anything was going to happen. At around 3AM though I woke up to use the bathroom but this time it felt different. I had some sort of discomfort which I brushed off and went back to bed. It happened three times in intervals until I woke up my husband and told him I think I ate something bad over dinner. He laughed and told me it’s my EDD and that must be labour creeping in. I panicked and somehow was in denial because I felt the discomfort in my back..all along I was expecting contractions in my belly when in labour. Little did I know the back was the real deal
What time did you check into the hospital?
I checked into the hospital at 2:30pm. I had my baby center app which helped me track my contractions really well at home while doing pain management exercises and squats.I started with my contractions being 15minutes apart early in the morning. Since it was a public holiday, there was no traffic so we decided to head to the hospital at 2pm when the contractions became 5 minutes apart. We didn’t go earlier because you can only deliver when the contractions are back to back so going earlier would have just made me eager and restless for no reason therefore, I opted to be in a familiar environment where I Can relax
Are labour pains that painful?
Yes and No. Every labour experience is different for everyone and it also depends on the position of your baby. I say NO in reference to anything that happened to me from 3AM to around 4PM. This is because my Lamaze class helped me have a very positive attitude towards labour and the various ways of coping with pain which totally helped. Infact I was on my phone most of the time during this period. I say YES as well because after 4pm to the time my baby was born(6pm) I could hardly contain myself. The only thing keeping me sane was the idea that I was closer to meeting my daughter
Did your husband accompany you?
Yes he did. He had to go all the way to the finish line. He had accompanied me to all my pre natal clinics from day one,he checked me into the hospital, helped me do my pain management exercises, and finally went with me to the delivery room to encourage me through it all. when my doctor told him that he is the most supportive African man he has encountered with his patients, I couldn’t agree more.
What’s your most memorable moment?
I have several
- when I told my friends I was checking into the hospital, I proceeded to switch off my phone. Little did I know they made their way there just when I was almost giving up and dealing with a lot during the last stretch. I had been given some meds which were making me dizzy but I remember looking up and my friends had arrived. They held my hand and rubbed my back despite all the mess in the delivery and waiting room. The beautiful thing is that they didn’t have to but they wanted to and it totally renewed my energy. Thank you lilian and Nyokabi
- When my daughter let out an amazing cry the moment she came out. That’s the moment as well it really hit me that I am officially responsible for another human being. Of course the first time we locked eyes as well.
- Once I had settled into my bed surrounded by my husband and my friends and the nurse brought her in for the first time. she was deep asleep and as guys were busy storytelling, I was busy staring at her
- Apart from the first night when I was totally knocked out, I didn’t allow my daughter to stay in the nursery. I wanted to learn everything before I leave the hospital especially how to breastfeed and change diapers. After the second night, some nurse brought me extra diapers and other mum and baby stuff and told me she was doing that as a reward to being the only mum that had stayed with her baby the whole night despite being overwhelmed. That was encouraging
- when both my gynecologist and her pediatrician told me I am free to get the hell out of there and go home with her.
How did it feel seeing her for the first time?
I get this question a lot and I thank Caroline Mutoko for this video she made a while back about how its natural not to feel overwhelming love for the baby the first time you meet. To be honest, my mind was all over the place. I was giving a sigh of relief everything went well. I was busy looking at her to confirm she is okay and basically was happy that nothing was tragic . I made that magical love connection later on after two days or so while at home. Don’t force it or feel guilty about not having that magical love connection the first time you hold her/meet her, everything has it’s own time.
What was the most uncomfortable or hard thing to deal with?
DEFINITELY having the nurses check how far along I was in regards to the cervix opening. They literally put fingers in there to check and it is the most uncomfortable thing EVER! I remember at some point I told the nurse not to dare do that again I would rather keep up with the pain until I deliver. Can’t we develop other ways of checking? God dammit…(insert eye rolls)
What do you look back at and you burst into laughter?
The way I was begging the nurse and the doctor not to leave me because if they do I will die. I remember in the delivery room at some point the doctor told me to squat and he started removing his gloves. In my mind I thought he was leaving me and coming back later when I am done. I begged him not to leave me while crying. He had to promise me over and over that he is not going anywhere and threw in some encouraging words. I laugh every time I think about that especially the fact that I was nodding Okay with every promise/encouragement the doctor was saying
What advice would you give other first time mums to be?
well, I came to realize that being pregnant, giving birth and being a mum is a highly specific affair therefore some of the things that may work for one person may not work for the other. However
- Don’t fear labour pains, you can’t change that so have a positive attitude towards it,find some exercises that can help you to cope and always know that God cannot give you that which you cannot be able to manage
- Motherly instincts kick in naturally so don’t worry if you have all these fears ranging from being afraid you won’t hear the baby cry coz you are a deep sleeper to God knows what. Trust me, you will.
- Have your support system with you during the process and if possible during delivery. If it’s not your partner, let it be someone else you trust. someone who can encourage you and be on the look out for anything you might not comprehend at that particular moment.
What is it like being a first time mum?
Exhausting but fulfilling at the same time. I have grown a lot from wondering why the baby is crying to literally figuring that out 95% of the time, Getting scared to give her a bath to literally having bath time one of my favorite activities despite the back pains sometimes. oh, dressing her up is my absolute favorite and taking pictures of her. My close friends and family must be cursing me right now because they receive pictures weekly whether they want them or not 🙂 Being a mum has totally changed me as a person especially in regards to my view of what’s important in life…FAMILY