My First Go At Pregnancy: Part Four

Hours later, I was having contractions in my stomach and in my back, I needed oxygen and was stuck at six centimeters for what seemed like an eternity. I finally gave in to the epidural. I cried. I felt like a failure, but I was so tired and over it. Getting an epidural is like waiting for your teacher to grade your paper in front of you. You’re quiet and trying to concentrate, you don’t move and you’re praying for a positive outcome. The difference is the process of an epidural is much longer because it’s such a tedious process. In addition to it being tedious, the anesthesiologist has to stop every time you tell them you’re having a contraction so that way you don’t move and damage a nerve or something when in pain. It felt like another 10 years had gone by waiting for the process to be over (yes, I’m being dramatic!) But boy oh boyyyyyy when that epidural hits your system?! Lord have mercy on my soul, the relief you feel is amazing. I immediately went to sleep. I want to say two hours later I was back up watching Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel while James and my mother slept. My mother-in-law is part robot and would not go to sleep (If you subscribe to my blog, you will learn just how dramatic I am.) so she kept me company. Another hour later, I could move my legs and looked at James like Miss Sophia looked at Harpo when he hit her on “The Color Purple.” I was confused as to how the numbness was wearing off, and I could feel my legs again. We notified the nurse on duty. She said, “Can you feel the contractions in your stomach?” I said, “No, not yet.” She responded, ” Well then you’re good. If the epidural had truly worn off, you would feel the contractions.”

I wish you could see my face as I type this because I’m definitely rolling my eyes. Maybe 30 minutes later, the pain started to shoot through my body all over again. The slow-paced breathing James and I had learned Lamaze was no longer working. He quickly reminded me how to do the fast-paced breathing in order to cope with the pain. It only worked for a little bit. The contractions were coming so fast, then all of a sudden there was so much pain at my butt-hole. I swear Taniya had it all confused and had began to press her way out of the wrong hole! We called the nurse back, and I told her “The baby is trying to come out of my butt hole!” Her response, “Well let me go do my hair and makeup because the news cameras are gonna be here if that baby comes out your butt hole.” It’s a little funny now, but I could have slapped the perm out of her hair the moment she made fun of the pain I was in. She left out of the room, but the doctor came in and checked my cervix. She said that I was only 7 centimeters dilated and if I pushed my cervix would tear. When she left, I told my family that the baby was pushing and I couldn’t help it. James is my homie for real. He said, “Man, just push a little bit to help her get down.” I want to say 15-30 minutes later I screamed at James and told him that if he didn’t get someone in there to deliver the baby, she was coming out on her own. He picked up the phone, and when the nurse asked how may she help us, she heard me scream. James didn’t have the chance to say we need a doctor, she said the doctor is coming right in.

When she checked my cervix that time, the baby’s head was right there. Everything began to move so fast. Nurses swarmed in to set up everything for the baby, and broke the bed down for delivery. I got so nervous and forgot about the pain for a second. I remember saying “Wait! I’m not ready!” No one responded so I wonder if I just said that in my head?? Sooner than you know it, James is holding my right leg, his mother has my left, and my mother has her big head right there front and center beside the doctor. Mind you, this was after months of her saying that she will be there for support, but she didn’t want to see the baby coming out. Well homegirl was so close you would have thought she was delivering the baby! Anyways, the doctor who was a direct employee with the hospital was the woman who was delivering me, but because I was a Kaiser patient, a Kaiser doctor had to be present as well.

Having the extra doctor there was annoying. There were way too many people in the room to listen to. On one hand, my family is encouraging and motivating me, on the other I have the doctor from the hospital telling me to listen to my body and to push when I felt a contraction, and then the Kaiser doctor looking at the monitor telling me when to push. I kept my eyes on the doctor in front of me and tried to listen to her, but eventually gave up and stopped pushing. Well that was a big no-no. Apparently, Taniya’s head was all the way out and my vagina closed on her neck. The Kaiser doctor came over and said “You have to push now!” while roughly stretching my vagina to release the her neck. I screamed out and put my eyes back on the doctor in front of me. Once she and I were on the same page, baby girl made her way into this crazy world at 10:59 p.m. weighing 7lbs 15.9oz (8lbs per birth certificate). Small for gestational age right?  A little after, the placenta was born.  I didn’t have the opportunity to do skin-to-skin contact because they wanted to make sure my daughter didn’t swallow any of the meconium (poop). My husband and I cried so hard! I remember his knees buckling and him hanging on to the bed crying and saying, “Love, she’s so beautiful.” Behind him was my mother with her arms stretched to the ceiling saying “Thank You Jesus!” over and over. To the left of me was my mother-in-law rubbing me, crying and saying “Oh my God, she’s here! You did so good!” I eventually got myself together and told James to go check on our baby to make sure she was okay. He came back, started crying again, so I began to cry with him. He put his hands together making a mountain peak with his fingers and said, “She looks beautiful, but her head is so pointy!” In the mist of our tears, we burst into laughter like our normal silly selves. 22 hours of labor, 17 hours with no epidural! Well I would say I went longer without the epidural because God answered my prayers and I delivered my daughter naturally. Because the Kaiser doctor stretched me, I had small tears. I felt every stitch. That was true confirmation that the epidural had worn off.

After birth, I was extremely exhausted. I was so tired and weak, I could barely hold my child. She felt so heavy. I kept giving her back to James, and then I eventually told him to hold her because I couldn’t do it. I guzzled down the cranberry juice that had been waiting for me after a day of nothing but ice chips. And just like that, my journey of motherhood had begun.

Things that I now know from experiencing pregnancy a second time: August 5th was the due date given to me based on my last menstrual cycle. When I went to get the testing at 13 weeks to see if the baby had down syndrome, the sonographer told me that the she actually measured smaller than the due date I was given. He said the due date was actually August 11th. Kaiser refused to go with that date. I gave birth on August 12th. That nurse saw that I was in early labor because I was actually starting up naturally on my true due date! Also, there was no reason for me to be induced. According to their due date, I was 40 weeks. I now know a woman can go as long as 42 weeks before delivering. Lastly, the first doctor on duty didn’t allow enough time for my water to break on its own. When you are admitted to the hospital, they really want to speed things up and get you out of there. She rushed me. But I’ll stop there. You’ll read more about what I’ve learned in my second go at pregnancy. 🙂

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Love, Mommy…

April 21, 2020, my husband and I experienced the loss of who we knew was our first born son, Jamir Titan Gurley. As I share my thoughts and feelings, he will be known as TJ and/or Titan.
My hope and prayer for this space is for it to be therapeutic not only for myself, but other women who've experienced pregnancy and/or baby loss. My goal is to build a genuine community where women who were unfortunately thrusted into this life truly find comfort and know they aren't alone. I'm no expert, and I won't pretend to be.

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