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The C – word (C for Cesarean)

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Let’s talk about the C Word, no not contraceptives but Cesarean Section, C-Section, CS, Cesarean, whatever you want to call it. When I came to terms with being pregnant, I decided that I was going to give birth naturally. I had read and heard bad stories about CS.

They ranged from “You’ll never be able to give birth properly after that” to “Your next pregnancy will be stressful” to “You’ll never have a flat stomach again since you won’t be able to do sit ups because of the stitches” to even “You might die during the surgery”. The last statement is what prompted me to stay awake during the surgery. If I was to die; I wanted to be awake to see it come. Honestly, I was scared and I kept on hoping and praying that I’d give birth naturally.

According to Google, this was easy and the healing process would be okay. So here we were a few days past her EDD (expected due date) and boo boo had no desire to join us in this world, maybe she knew how crazy it can get at times and she just wanted to stay in the warm cocoon of my tummy.

Imani was already late by two weeks and during my last checkup the nurses told me to go to the hospital and have the pregnancy induced if she had not arrived by 11th of April (Friday). Here I was on Monday morning having the worst pain of my life ready to be wheeled into the theatre but still smiling since my Mum was already worried for both of us.

I had to be the strong one plus I don’t believe in showing the world what you’re truly feeling all the time.

Between Saturday and Sunday, the nurses and doctors had had conflicting decisions as to the position of boo-boo. According to the nurses, boo-boo was presenting the frontal fontanel and that is a bad position for a baby to come through especially for a first pregnancy. Some doctors said that she was presenting the crown so it was okay to go ahead with natural labour.

Ladies, always listen to the maternity nurses they know what they’re doing, due to the fact that it’s them who’ve been with you since you got admitted and the fact that they will do most of the work when it comes to delivering your baby (natural method). I decided to chill and pray for the best. As I was chilling in the maternity wing reading for exams, 3 or 4 women came and gave birth and Lord was I dreading going through the same.

They were screaming in pain for hours and the nurses were telling them to relax. “usiskume hadi nikuambie uskume ama utaumiza mtoto.” (Don’t push till I tell you, or you’ll harm the baby)“Usijali nitakushona vizuri urudi kama teenager, bwana yako ataenjoy kabisa. The last one had me in tears.

After consultations, the doctors decided to induce the pregnancy on Sunday. The agreement was we induce the pregnancy, wait for 6 hours then hopefully by then, the cervix would have dilated to a good width and it would be okay for me to give birth. The drugs are hormonal and they’re meant to induce hormones that will prompt the cervix to open up.

I was given the medication at around 9.00 am and I finally started getting contractions at around 3.00 pm but the cervix dilated as much as expected, something like 4 cm and I needed to get to 10 cm (that’s how big babies’ heads are). We even took walks around the hospital with Mom to help ease the pain but my body had decided it wouldn’t listen to any of us.

Sunday night arrived and this was the longest night of my life. I don’t know how women give birth to more than one kid after going through the pain of labour and the actual delivery and the 4-6 weeks healing period. My grandmother gave birth to 11 kids; she went through the same pain ELEVEN TIMES. The labour pain is 10 times worse than a migraine or normal cramps, I bet it’s even worse than breaking an arm.

You feel it spread from your lower back to your lower stomach, you feel like you’re being cut into two and your back is about to break. The pain alternated between being dull and being sharp. You feel like someone has inserted their arm and are twisting and pulling your insides.

So during one of the evening rounds on Sunday, one of the senior doctors decided that breaking my water physically was a good option to pursue since the contractions were there (though not as strong as they were meant to be) and the cervix had dilated by only two centimeters (we were now at 6 cm, I still had to get to 10 cm).

At around 9 pm, the strong contractions finally kicked in. The pain was from hell I even blamed Eve, at one point during the night, for having eaten the fruit and passing on her curse onto us. They were 5 -10 minutes apart, that meant I couldn’t even close my eyes to sleep properly though I must have passed out more than 5 times throughout the night due to the pain.

Monday morning came and we were still at the 6 cms. The only option that we had was to go in for a cesarean since I had been in labour for far too long and we were afraid that boo boo would have started running out of food in my tummy. I called Mom and she rushed to the hospital.

The nurse asked her to pray as they were about to wheel me to the theatre and that’s when she begun to cry (I love you Mum). I don’t know what was going through her mind at that moment. Maybe she also thought that I’d die or that something had happened to Imani and we didn’t want to tell her. I left her praying the rosary as they pushed my bed away from her.

Read More on Muthoni’s blog

Related: Choosing your Birth Companion Carefully

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