The hardest thing about flying and leaving town is leaving the baby. The second hardest thing is finding somewhere to pump. Since Americans are so disgusted by anything associated with the act of feeding ones baby given our natural means one must be forced to either rebel and challenge social norms and be seen as taboo or find a quite and nasty place to pump in total discomfort much to the ease of the mind of regular folk.
Most times I rebel. But when it comes to pumping even I think that is a bit much and chose to do so in privacy. Dilemma developed when I landed in Atlanta for a day, no where to pump… last I had breast feed was 5 that morning and I was feeling pretty full. To my surprise ATLs airport had opened up 4 pods meant exclusively for the act of breastfeeding or pumping in a secluded place away from judgey eyes… But it took a hell of an effort to find. I left my concourse and when to another only to wander nearly aimlessly. Asked two flight service desk with no help. Stopped a transport personnel and when she seemed confused at first when I exclaimed “the pod thing” it finally dawned on her, thankfully.
It was a small little pod. Literally a pod. I had to wait. I guess there was another nursing mother. Instinctively I looked around to make sure people new I was next, it was a pretty empty area so I was good.
Outside, simple… are those supposed to be boobies for the symbol? Weird whatever. So the inside. White on white on white. I guess gives the illusion it’s clean. Sure. Two benches, small table, plug, mirror, and two huge adverts on the wall for entertainment. I hooked up and started the deed. After about 5 minutes I wish there was some sort of air conditioning… I looked up and there were perforations for ventilation. When I was done I wished there was a hand sanitizer pump or some wipes for the beads of sweat dripping of my chest. Welp, beggars can’t be choosers right? I packed up and left.
My rating. I’m gonna say 5/5 although some improvement can be made there is a big applause for providing this resource in the first place. We need more. Thank www.mamava.com we need more pods like these everywhere.
It seems that everyone knows how hard BABY carriers are on the back but me. I though initially that it was the greatest invention since sliced bread. Baby took some time for it to work in on her but when she did, everything blessed opportunity I could use to put her in it I did.
Oh but your back, you will ruin it!
My family was buzzing around me. I should carry baby around in the baby carrier because it would put unneeded stress on my back. I would be the mother with back pain. After all, there was no baby Bjorn in my mother and grandmothers era.
The baby carrier hurt my back so bad that I could hardly walk
That was what a lady I met at the pumpkin patch said. I was jolly with my happy 3 month old lil mama on my chest, running around like a spring chicken. She pulled me aside to give me this daunting advise. I looked at her tot, 7 months old and being carried at the hip by her hobbling and apparently stressed mother.
Oh no! Y’all are not going to take these few minute of bliss from me!
I can finally get up and do stuff. I can take a walk outside, do dishes, vacuum, work on my research. The world was my oyster with my Boba and Bjorn as long as my babe agreed. And now all this bad news from everywhere?! I was not having it.
And then, she grew. Her head peared over the top. She used the handle as a teether. She wriggled and shift her weight. And oh my back… my neck… get this contraption off of me! Goodness I had barely made it to month 4!! The future of baby carrying looked bleak.
I know baby carry sparingly. How often do you baby carry and what was your experience?
It was an experience, yes it was. I think everyone should run a race sometime in their lifetime. Whether it be a half-marathon, 10 k, 5k, 1k! Something, get out there and experience the hype. There are so many experiences to live for.
I trained. My goal was not to win, my goal was not to impress anyone. My goal was to finish, to finish with a reasonable time, I would be happy with running 13 miles at approximately 11 minutes per mile and not dying of a leg cramp at mile 9. My goal was not to have a finish line picture where an old man was crossing the line before me with a smile on his face. Old men could finish. They could finish before me. I just didn’t need my personal race picture to immortalize that. I just want to look back at my picture and feel like I am the ish… it that too much to ask for? In 2013 my victory was robbed from me because of that very thing and I was determined to not have that happen again.
There were all types of runners. Big small, old young, white black. Everyone was unified, running together. Cheering and supporting one another. Some people were walking together, laughing at their defeat. Others paced each other, knowing that not knowing the stranger you were running with at least you knew you were not going to give up to a stranger. There was one strange man who ran with me… or at least he used me to pace himself as he would trail behind me walking then speed up and dash ahead only long enough for him to grow tired walk and trail behind me and dash off again. I made eye contact with him a few times. I knew I was his pacer. It made me angry but what could I do. While I ran blisters into the insoles of my shoes he jog-walked and sipped water from his water bag on his back and mocked my half-marathon existence. I refused to walk. I was actually keeping a good 10 minutes pace until mile 12. At mile 12 the 10min/mi group passed me up. My knees and hips protested. I settled into a 10:30 pace. I initially started off with an 8min/mi pace, that was my mistake. I was too excited and I bolted on the start line. 3 miles in I realized I forgot my energy shot blocks and I panicked mentally, that mental panic knocked a good mile off. I stopped at every Gatorade station to get some sugar intake for energy for the miles to come. I hate stopping for drinks. It slows you down, you run into people, you are tempted to walk. Have you ever tried to run and drink Gatorade from a miniature paper cup before? Its hard.
As I neared the finish line I saw the old man. It wasn’t the same old man but nonetheless it was a man well in age with more than enough white hairs on his head and a hunched back. How he passed me I don’t know but he did. I looked for the photographers… they were there. I could not let this happen again so I did it. I sprinted. I sprinted and ran like a rabid pit-bull had broken off its chained leash and was chasing me down the street. People were clapping. I was just trying to pass that man. I did. And I have the picture immortalized, no old man in sight!
It hurt, but crossing that line felt better. I put my medal around my neck so proud. I was hurting but not that bad. Walking around the field with so many other finishers. Eating free pancakes and breakfast burritos… hobbling in line to get beer that I probably wouldn’t drink. I was so happy that my friends convinced me to do this, I was so happy that we endured through the training with all its challenges and despite our busy work schedules, I was so happy I finished.
I knew that this was something I would do again. Very soon.
I’m going to be brief and to the point. With so many food options and cravings it is hard to stay true to yourself and it is hard to lose weight when you want to! The world is calling you to eat and to eat junk, not because it tastes good but because they want you to spend your money. There is always a bigger burger, a super size, a faster option than cooking at home. Trust me, if you could eat anything else, cooking at home would be a much viable option.
The truth is. I eat. Any one who knows me know that I eat a lot. I am not afraid of food. But how do I stay somewhat slim despite my unrestricted palate. There are a few beliefs I have as stated in other places in my blog that I feel that are important to use to dictate my life and eating habits. I have changed the way I see food so I never see eating what I want as a problem. Now, that in no way means that I eat whatever I want, quite the opposite. I eat less junk so that I can really indulge in what I want and not feel guilty.
I don’t believe you should ignore any food in the pyramid. Carbs are important and so are fats! You are going to need oils in your diet and you are going to have to eat sugar at many points so why fight it? There should be a healthy balance right? It kills me when I see people abstaining from carbs, I just stare like: do you really think you are going to keep that up for the rest of your life? Good luck with that. Wouldn’t it be more effective to take note of what kind of carbs you eat, what kind of fats? Make yourself accountable for what you put in your mouth. Its easy to say… nope, no carbs all proteins. That doesn’t take much mind processing. What’s harder is saying… what kind of carbs will I allow myself and how much is enough?
Now I am just going to rattle off and you can take from it what you will, these are just ideas I think you can add to your mindset. You may not agree with all of them but what you do agree with you can make something of.
Eat simpler carbs and grains. Avoid refined breads, etc. I just avoid bleached breads, cakes, chips, donuts. These things are the devil and they are at the opposite end of my food spectrum in the red zone. If I eat these things it is rare and I’m usually making a mental note to not indulge again anytime soon. I eat lots of rice, oatmeal, farina etc. You can’t avoid these things. A lot of these food are staple foods that our ancestors indulged in daily. Do I know if these foods are broken down differently in your body? No. But I have a gut feeling that there must be something about it.
Sugar is the enemy. I believe sugar is the root of all evil. We have enough natural sugar in our foods, why add table sugar. Anything that has sugar in the first five ingredients can’t be good for you. Sugar causes cancer. Sugar causes heart disease. Sugar causes insulin resistance. Not fat. Fat is not the enemy. Your body can handle fat, it can’t handle certain types of sugar. I stay away from sugar. I don’t eat candy, I hardly eat pastries, I certainly don’t drink sugary drinks or juices. I actually don’t drink juice period. If I need something sweet and fruity I will eat fruit, not juice, juice is sugar.
Ex out processed foods. Come to my pantry closet, you will not see many things in boxes or bags. We don’t eat noodles, cereal, box dinners, Oreos, soda pop. Our pantry is not for storage of unperishable foods, it stores cooking utensils, Tupperware and supplements/vitamins etc. We have a weak pantry compared to the average American. Stop buying processed foods. Put it down, its gross. I bet you cant even pronounce half of the ingredients so why put it in your mouth. Greens in a bag, now you’re talking, we can do that, but bagged marshmallows… stop it!
Make a colorful plate. Get creative. When I sit down for dinner, I judge myself on how colorful my plate is. Meat is brown, rice is white, veggie is green… pretty colorful. No color block there. I’m a simple person, I like to invite all my food groups to the party. A bowl of Ramen for dinner is un-axe-ceptable.
Make it at home! You can have pizza, burgers, wings and the such. Try making it yourself! Yes, buy the dough or use pita bread. Get your mozzarella and tomato sauce, stack with mushroom and spinach and ricotta, throw it in the oven and watch it bubble over. That was not hard, and you feel proud that you made it yourself. Did you know one slice of your home made pizza may be half the calories of Papa Johns? And probably twice as nutritious! I throw my own burger on the grill all the time, I usually indulge in topping like charred jalapeño, grilled mushrooms, and pepper jack cheese for a tower like sandwich that is hard to stuff in my mouth. When I compare this to a McDonalds… its laughable. I would much rather make my own burger, any day. And it doesn’t take as much effort as you think. You can even mock the menu. I love Chinese take-out and I have made my own sesame chicken and beef broccoli many a times, and trust me when I eat it I know exactly what I’m eating. When you prepare your food, you are more likely to be gentler at the hand when it comes to salt, sugar, butter and oils. The food chains, they will dump the butter by the load and take your money for it.
Don’t stop! Seriously, don’t stop. Don’t do it. Don’t pull into the drive thru, don’t let them take your order and don’t give them your money. Stay strong, drive home. You are more likely to make better food decisions when you are pulling it out of your fridge. If impulse is your problem, pack some carrots or crackers for those moments that you know you will be dying to eat and your spirit will be weak. Its hard to be dying for Taco Bell with cracker crumbs in your mouth.
Drink water and only water. This piggy backs off of rule number 2. No other drink is necessary. Well, for me I like my wine (red, bitter) and I like my coffee (black, bitter). Drinks are empty calories. Empty calories! Look at that bottle in your hand. 2 serving, 200 calories each. 400 calories if you drink that in one sitting. Do you know what 400 calories means to me? That is 4 miles on the treadmill. Yes, 4 miles. So if you think running 4 miles is hard then it should be just as hard to guzzle a bottle of Fanta. Juice is no better. Have you ever seen someone make apple juice? Me neither. There is no such thing as apple juice. If I want apple juice I will eat an apple and settle. Have you expressed juice from a grape? Its not purple. Why are you playing yourself? Stop drinking that poison.
Milk is a fattener. Need I say more? Who was milk made for. End of story, I cannot drive this in any more than I already have. Avoid milk. Avoid dairy. I love cheese, I love milk stuff. But guess what, when I indulge I know that I am indulging in a fattener.
There is no good cereal on the planet. Sorry. Cereal is not good for you. Cereal is sugar. Sugar is the devil. Cereal is the devil in angel clothing. There is no difference from Honey Nut Roasted Blah blah to Frosted blahblah to Cinnamon Toasted blahblah. It’s all the same. Look at the sugar content, very similar. And to top it off, you have to pair it with milk. What the what? Nope. I lost weight when I gave up cereal. Struggle weight, lol.
Alcohol is calories babe. All those Rum Runners and El Grande margaritas are loaded with sugar that adds inches to your waist. I like alcohol too, but I’ll be damned if I let a drink derail my weeks progress. You only need to cut 500 calories a day to loose a pound in a week. If you guzzle 4 drinks at Kona happy hour… welp. Try going straight. I’m not a stranger to sipping on an iced double shot throughout the night, remember I don’t believe in juice. Mind you its been a while since I’ve needed a double shot of whatever, but the point still carries. Drinks are empty calories, choose your poison wisely or deal with it.
Diet foods are not diet foods. Why do you trust an industry to tell you what is low-fat and low calorie? Firstly, fat isn’t bad, take it in moderation. They say low-fat and push sugar on you when sugar is the real villain. Most diet food are in bags and boxes… so its already breaking a few of my no-nos. And many diet food are cereal bars. Ok, they get no play in my day. Next.
Drink water before your meal. Did you know half the time you feel hungry you are really thirsty? Have you ever drank a glass of water and thought, wow… I can’t eat all of that now. Drink water and drink it often. Water is not the enemy. It will actually wash away your blemishes, wash out your impurities and wash away your sins (lol, if you are being baptized.) Cut water some slack, you are 2/3 water, stop acting like its so bad for you and embrace it.
Don’t count on exercise to correct you diet mistakes. This is a big misconception. You can use exercise to add to what you are doing in the kitchen, but do not rely on exercise to right your wrongs. What does exercise do to most people? It makes them hungry! What do they do? Eat! So now you ate bad to begin with, ran a measly mile and you want to follow it with diet bars, cereal and victory mimosa. Chill! If you can’t get your diet right you might as well not waste your time in the gym. The gym is a supplement and not the answer. Plus running a mile burns approximately 100 calories, that’s half a bag of M&Ms, do you smell me?
Portion control. A great man once said, eat as much as you want so long as it is green. Anything else should be eaten in moderation. You want a salad, the dressing can foil in if you go overboard. Many times I have eaten a burger and fries and still eaten better than friends at the table who order the Jumbo Mega-tron Chicken Caesar salad where each piece of lettuce is doused in creamy ranch and designed with crunchy croutons, chunks fried chicken, bacon bits, and egg. Look at what you are eating. Look at your bowl/plate, is that appropriate. I got rid of al my large bowl and plates, that’s a lie, I actually just stopped eating out of them. I use smaller dishes to serve myself and guess what? I’m no more hungrier than I was when I ate with the serving platter. I didn’t need that much food. I didn’t need to finish that entrée at Chili’s (I hardly ever go out to eat), I didn’t need to supersize that order, I didn’t need another serving of rice. Get it? Control yourself and you can eat whatever you want.
Stop dieting! Diets don’t work. They are a quick fix, and you always gain it back. Change the way you eat forever and you will see more sustainable results.
It takes 30 days to make a habit and 30 days to break a habit. 30 days is a long time and it is hard! Trust me, when you abstain from something for long enough it is hard making it the center of your life. Test yourself, give up something for one month and see if it rules you anymore after that. My bet is that it wont. Take your time, you will fail more than once, I did and I ate a slice of pizza at a potluck. Who care, as long as you are working towards a healthy lifestyle it wont matter, as long as you stay on the high road.
There is a new thing. You put the word shaming after any particular group or entity and it gets bad. You become the bully. You are now lowered to scum once you have participated in or are actively participating in the “word”-shaming. I have been shamed. Many times I have been shamed. The sad part about shaming is that it is usually discreet and not obvious bullying. Meant to make the subject feel as though they are lesser than the person dishing the mean comment. I’m sure I have experienced almost every type of shaming but I was rather surprised to have so many mean comments hurled at me when I was pregnant. Pregnancy was hard enough without people butting into your personal life and making you feel like you are not good enough. I was also astounded at how people had the audacity to pause me in walking just to offer the rudest criticism. Did it seem like my day was going to good and you just want to ruin it? Was my smile to big and you wondered why? Or do you just want to test your ability to make the devil proud? The odd part was 98% of my fit pregnancy-shaming came from women, particularly women who had experienced pregnancy before, so it brings you to think that maybe this is stemming from jealousy.
“You are too skinny girl… is the baby ok?”
“Have you been seen by the doctor? She checked everything out, ruled out genetic defects?”
“Why do you still go to the gym?! That baby is going to fall right out!”
“You should focus on getting that baby nutrients and not running and being in the gym”
“You know you are going to have a c-section right?”
Oh and this was the best one.
“Girl I didn’t want to say anything but is your baby ok? I thought you were going to have a rainbow baby.”
Makes me really sick the things people will say to you. At first, being that it was my first pregnancy I took these comments to heart and wondered if I was indeed under-eating. I subjected myself to a high fat diet, indulging in candies and fried food that I otherwise would never have touched. When I saw my OB I expressed myself to her worried because these comments kept coming regardless of how hard I tried to pack on the pounds. Should I stop going to the gym? No ACOG actually recommend 5 days of activity for at least 30 minutes for a healthy pregnancy. Am I doing too much in the gym? No, if you feel comfortable and you haven’t changed your routine from when you were not pregnant then you are probably fine. Should I try harder to gain weight? You are gaining weight just perfectly 1 pound to 1.5 pounds in a week.
So why on earth were these WOMEN hurling insults at me?
That is a question I am not going to answer because I don’t know for sure. I am not a jealous person, so I cannot say it is jealousy. I have seen many fit pregnancy before and after my own and I have always thought that they looked beautiful! The fact that a mother is able to maintain her self and what makes her happy. Pregnancy does not mean you have to subscribe yourself to you couch or bed and eat bonbons because you have a new excuse. And if fitness is not your thing, then why hound and shame women whom it appeals to. You didn’t have anything to say to me when I ran 5 miles last year, why is the fact that I am running 5 miles with a gravid belly so disgusting to you. Is it because this thing called pregnancy is the new equalizer? You in your mind have determined just what a good mommy should be and because I have my niche you have decided to exclude me in the worst way. I’m one of them and I can never be one of you.
You’ve got it wrong. The world is changing. We are getting more connected and more knowledgeable. We are figuring out that we are capable of so much; nothing should hold anyone of us back. We know so much more than we knew in the past. Women are having healthier pregnancies, happier post-partum periods with bouncing babies! Get with the time. Support each other. Stop finding reasons to dispense your anger because you look and sound foolish and pathetic.
I had a fit pregnancy; I went to the gym on average 4 times a week and spent about an hour doing cardio. I lifted weight until the end, still strengthening my core despite avoiding crunching my abdomen. I ate healthy, watched my food groups and gained weight appropriately throughout (ask my OB). I went to full term, even having to be induced, spent my last week stretching my pelvis out on the birth ball getting ready for birth. I pushed 5 times and my baby arrived, including the three practice pushes. My little girl was a bubbling 7 pounds and 8 ounces; she had all her fingers, toes, and a head full of thick curly hair. She is meeting all of her milestones on time and is exceptionally alert and observant. I lost most of my baby weight in the first 2 weeks, because it was all pretty much accounted for. I went back to my work out routine at 4 weeks, although I was back in the gym at two on light activity. Started training for a half-marathon at 6 weeks and ran it 12 weeks post-partum. I feel good and I believe my running has scared the baby blues off somewhere because I am just a happy-go-lucky if not more so now.
I had a fit pregnancy and I will do it again if my God allows me to. I encourage every woman to do the same. I had some ups and downs, I was even on bed rest for 2 months and I understand how scary the fear of loss can be, trust me. However, I also know that supporting one another in these situations is key because at that time what I was going through no woman would truly understand why it meant so much to me to be active physically and mentally. No woman could even know what I had been through and what I had promised myself I would make it through.
I was told during my last prenatal check-up that I would be scheduled for induction July 17th 2016.
My pregnancy was not free of problem. I was on bed rest for approximately 5 weeks during my second trimester when I experience bleeding and was diagnosed with threatened abortion. At 19 and again at 23 weeks I was told that I had a 50% chance of carrying my baby to term. I was hospitalized at 23 weeks and told that if my baby decided to make an early appearance then the NICU would be ready, I was in a time and era where there was a decent survival for preterm babies. I researched issues that premies could suffer, read blogs on experiences of mothers who stayed in the neonatal ICU cradling a one pound infant attached to tubes and cords. My heart was heavy as I laid in that hospital bed. I prayed. We prayed. We said the rosary every night and we were comforted because we knew that God was with us.
Now, flash forward to July 11th, now in the final stride of my third trimester with a large gravid belly, I sat staring at my doctor unsure of what to feel. She wanted to induce me because I was somewhat of a high risk pregnancy although serial ultrasound showed the hematoma under my placenta had shrunk and the baby was growing well. I was in between a rock and a hard place. As much as I wanted to see my baby and do whatever it was my doctor needed me to do to have that happen… I still wanted a “natural childbirth.” What is a “natural childbirth” well it that Labor Nirvana that you reach only after surviving hours of labor at home, having your husband drive you to the emergency department in a frenzy, swinging on a birth bar until you’re 10cm dilated sweating bullets and pushing out a baby and having enough energy to run a marathon once this is over. If I couldn’t have a natural childbirth… then all of this was in vain. I was reading so many posts, in the matrix, all the mommy-shaming for women who underwent inductions and c-sections and had birthing processes that required any medical intervention. Babies delivered in a medical way was a sad… sad… occurrence in the “natural childbirth” world… babies delivered ‘the way God intended’ deserved a medal.
While I did try to push the process along by running excessively, going to the gym daily, eating spicy foods and way to much pineapple, this baby stayed put. She kicked. I belly-mapped. She was anterior-posterolatorajumbolumbo and thus not engaged. I was going crazy. I was only sitting on my birth ball and staring at my husband like a wild animal.
“This baby has to come out before July 17th!”
I made up my mind. I was going to ignore the call. I was going to wait it out. I was going to stand-up my doctor and remain on the couch a nervous-wreck watching ON DEMAND re-run of Housewives and Chopped. In fact, they didn’t call me so I got offended. Apparently the hospital was full. July 18th, Monday morning I got the call. I called my hubby home from work and started to pack my bag. How do you pack a bag for delivery… I don’t know, not like I used anything I took looking back.
We got to the hospital in the morning, taking selfies and stuff, looking bad to the bone. Thinking we were going to be parents that nights. I hadn’t experience one contraction yet, mind you. I was escorted to my room. I changed into my jammies. The nurse came in and told me to remove my jammies and put on the hospital gown, that is why it was placed in the middle of my bed, go figure. Another nurse came in and check vitals, started and IV and checked my cervix. My first nurse was my sorority sister (OO-OOP) and this was a good way to start. I was still closed and high. They placed the cervidil and put me on monitoring and I started the habit of craning my neck to check out the fetal heart rate and contraction monitor. My husband was playing movies on his laptop, some stupid lifetime movie about vampires, he thought it was a totally different movie, that was 45 minutes wasted. I got hungry, we ordered Thai, the nurse smelled the Thai and gently reminded me that I was NPO (nothing by mouth). Did I mention she was my sorority sister, she was so cute. When the door closed behind her I asked my husband to pass me my cookie, I needed energy for this journey, NPO my arse.
At 6 am my doctor came and checked me and unfortunately the Cervidil did not work. Whomp whomp whommmmp. We were going to start Pitocin. It was started, I asked if we could just do another Cervidil and cross our fingers. The answer was no. Still no real contractions, I had Cheeto Puffs under my blanket. I was going to need energy for this journey. At 9 am my doctor was back. She checked me, I was still high and a tight 3. In other words, still a high 2. She broke my water. That thing she stuck up there looked like it should have hurt a lot more but I didn’t really feel anything, I still jumped and squirmed. I bloody watery fluid gushed, the nurse cleaned it up, the doctor said “hasta la vista.” Woah, that was a lot of water, when I got up to pee it was literally running down my leg. Yuck. I ate crackers for energy. My nurse came in and saw the crumbs and scolded me. “For real this time!” Pinky promise I responded. “I don’t believe you!” She shot back. You have to, I pleaded with her.
My family was in and out of the room. They are pretty dramatic. My dad kept staring at me with teary eyes and his bottom lip was trembling. It was making me nervous. He held my hand, his hand was sweaty. Jeez, why was this so weird. My husband left so many things in the car, he kept going back and forth, he was probably uncomfortable too. At around 3 pm they turned up the Pitocin. Goodness, whew is that what contractions are… let me just lean back real quick. I didn’t want anything else to eat. It was getting real now. I needed to focus on this… argggghhhh whewwww… ok… ok… I got this. My dad and brother excused themselves. After several orders on how to redirect my pain I finally dismissed my mother. I was alone in the room grimacing, bearing down. I buzzed the nurse. I am going to take the offer for Stadol. Stadol please… now! Nurse gave me the Stadol, she is so cute, did I tell you guys she is my sorority sister, she pledge graduate chapter. Small world… whoa. Check me please. I need to see if this baby is coming out check me please!
“We just checked you… I don’t think—“
CHECK ME PLEASE! This was not a debate. I was 4-5 cm dilated and high. She overestimated the first time so you may as well have told me I made zero progress. GOOOOOOODNESS!! Grr!
“Do you want an epidural?” I looked at her and shook my head. Nah, I’m trying to do this natural. “You’re trying to what?” Look woman, it’s taking me too much energy to communicate with you leave me be. “Well when you need an epidural call me because they are outside waiting. And if they get called for an emergency case you will have to wait.” I got this, thank you! When she left I stared at the ceiling and tried to envision psychedelic triangles moving back and forth… not helping… gosh I knew that hypno-birth mumbo-jumbo was crap. Maybe if I actually took a class and didn’t rely on a free YouTube video. Then a contraction caught me. It was like someone took a vice grip and wrench and twisted my uterus and spinal cord with evil anger. NURSE!!
“Yes ma’am” She smiled, ever so sweetly. I was grimacing, was my pain a joke to her?! I need an epidural now I screamed with foolish authority. She smiled, “ I literally just left the room.”
This was not time to be Father Time or Mother Time or whatever. This was time to get anesthesiology in her. And thankfully they came in like 30 minutes. My nose was buzzing, my head was spinning. They put tape on my back, told me to hunch forward and stay still. I knew the drill, I had done a few of these before. I honestly didn’t care who was holding the needle, a resident, attending, intern hell… medical student or the janitor, I just needed some pain relief. The needle went in, I jumped and screamed, everyone else in the room jumped and screamed. Ooops. Okay, I can wiggle my toes, lol. Laid back in bed as they explained the PCA pump to me.
“Now you really can’t eat.” Smiled the nurse. I haven’t been eating, I objected. She pointed to a half-finished orange juice carton. Oh, I thought you said: No food. “Same thing!” She rolled her eyes. I was a difficult patient. I think all doctors are difficult patients. I had already calculated the chances of my needed an emergency c-section, vomiting into my mouth, aspirating it and that aspiration leading to a full blown gram-negative oral flora pneumonia and not a simple chemical pneumonitis. I was willing to take that risk.
Enter, front and center: my mother. The diva. The wonder. The wild one. The funny one. The can-get-crazy-on-you one. She was already fed up. My dad arrived for the imminent birthing along with my baby brother. My aunty, who had agreed to help with the baby, entered as well. She said a prayer, touched my belly and the contractions got stronger. What the heck? I was giving her the side-eye. My friends visited, someone brought Tiff Treats… my nurse kept checking on my jaw motions. Now we are close enough to the event that I can go into dialogue.
“When are you gonna check her again?” My mom said leaning forward on her hands in a sarcastic way. She is not only a nurse but a mother of five so that give her authority over this L&D, this hospital and this universe.
“Are you her mom?” The new nurse asked. She was not my sorority sister. My sorority sister left, we exchanged numbers hugged and everything.
“Why do you ask?!” Shots fired. The nurse squirmed. I shrugged. You can get on her bad side if you want to but I am only a spectator now that this epidural is working.
“Well.. we just tend to not check so much because we don’t want to introduce infection.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” My mother retorted.
“Well that is what we practice here.”
“I don’t care what you practice here, I need you to check my daughter now.”
“I will check her again if she feels pressure or—“
“Um ma’am” my mom interrupted. She used polite titles when she was about to spewing anger. By this time I had sunk into the bed the best I could. Me and hubby made eye contact, maybe he left something else in the car, he was a little fidgety. My mom smiled, a twisted smile, a smile that let everyone know that she was capable of many incredible things including making your life a living hell. “I need you to check her now.”
“Ok, I’ll be right back!” The nurse jumped up and scampered out. We all exchanged looks. Uche stood up and said something about needing to go to the car. My dad said he was going to take a walk with my brother. The all clumsily pushed out the doorway. My mother looked unbothered, but bothered. I looked straight at the TV admiring my ability to seem so focused even though the volume was on mute. It took a whole 15 minutes for my mother to flip out and grab the first nurse she saw at the nurses’ station. She made up a story about me feeling incredible pressure so this nurse checked me.
“You are a 10!” She exclaimed smiling not knowing what kind of predicament she had just put her fellow co-worker in. “ And the baby’s head is right there! She is already out. Don’t push!”
My mom stared at me. “I hu na!” she spat. You see! (Igbo). I was numb, my brain was numb, I just couldn’t believe this was happening. I pushed the PCA pump away from me with hopes that my epidural would wear off by the time the doctor got around so that I could take another shot at a “natural birth.”
It took the doctor all of 20 minutes to get to the hospital. In in those 20 minutes my mother was a terror, she spent 95% of that time outside my doorway yelling at anyone in proximity. It put the staff in a tizzy. The energy in that room was hot. I was still out of it, probably in shock. The doctor peeked her head in a smiled nervously, “you ready?”
I nodded. Another young nurse walked in and started assembling my bed for the event. I called Uche and told him it was time. He looked like he had seen a ghost. He was really quite. He kept staring at me like I was suffering from consumption in an era where there was no cure. My mother was on my left side with her hands on her hips taking it all in like a mother hen. The young nurse confirmed the placement of the baby.
“Now look,” she said calmly. “The baby is right there, her head is right here. I am going to practice pushing with you ok. Daddy, I’m going to need you to hold this leg, Mama hold up this leg.” She check the baby again, can you feel me. I nodded emptily. The epidural was wearing off, I felt slight pressure, but not a lot. “Push down, push down here on the count of three… now breathe! Ok… ok… here is another one… another one.. ok here we go push push push push… deep and hard…. Good! Wait! Stop! Stop! Don’t push!”
I relaxed and looked at my husband. I looked down at the nurse who looked terse. “Her head is right here she is almost out. I need to get the doctor.” My husband exchanged a glance with me.
The Dr walked in fully gown. “Ok let’s have a baby!” She said firmly familiarizing herself in my space. “Oh, look at that, baby is right here. Ok, let’s get her out. Push mama… down and hard… push… wow! Her head is out!”
I looked down briefly then turned back to the ceiling.
“Push push push!” the doctor ordered. “Ok stop. Oh look! Your baby! Blah blah blah blah whomp whomp whomp blah blah blah”
Stuff was happening in slow motion. She pulled up a baby to show me. I stared at her. Then she handed the baby away and turned back to my afterbirth. My baby was rushed into the adjacent space for cleaning and stuff. I stared at my mom. She smiled at me. She was crying.
I still didn’t understand what had just happened. All in that instant, I had become a mother. My life had changed forever.