5 years ago…
Warning: This post is VERY long. This is the story of my Babe’s birth, as I remember and told to me by Mommy.
I’m sitting here looking at my Baby Boy and I feel a tear sliding down my cheek. His birthday past just last week Tuesday, the 19th of July. He turned 5. I think of how much I wanted him and knew right away that I was having a little boy. I remember every time my brother sang a song, my whole stomach would move from side to side with his swaying. I remember reading the books and going online and getting excited. I remember craving Taco Bell with a vengeance. I also remember my brat of a sister not helping me put lotion on my feet! But when my feet swelled to the size of my thighs, she was the one to lay next to me while our feet were in the air, propped against the wall (or bed head) laughing and giggling with me. I remember my grandmother cooking and serving me a heaping plate of food because I needed it for the baby.
I also remember that I was huge because my short torso could barely contain all of that baby! I remember laughing at how my breasts and stomach always were running a race, my stomach barely keeping the lead. I remember that I had to go on bed rest when I was 6 months pregnant because I had already started dilating and contracting. I remember the fear that something was going to happen to my Babe. I remember the depression and fear of going through this by myself. (His father kinda got stupid when he found out I was pregnant. He just didn’t do the things necessary to make sure that my Babe and I would be secure. Needless to say, I left him before I gave birth.) I remember the immense relief when my due date came closer and my mother came up from Florida to be with me in Brooklyn. I remember saying to myself that now she was here and I could have my baby, because Mommy would take care of me.
I went into labor on Monday July 17th. My son was born Wednesday, July 19th at 5:50pm. I had him with the help of lots of drugs, a midwife (that I credit with saving both of our lives) and the love of my family. We nearly died, my Babe and I. I say that because it’s true. Eclampsia, they told my mother. Full blown eclampsia. No one had picked up on the condition during my pregnancy. There was only the swelling in my feet. No high blood pressure, no protein in the urine. Every time I had a contraction I would start vomiting. As labor progressed, I started seizing and shaking. I had no control over my body. I begged my mother for help and became frightened as she looked at me crying, stroked my head and told me she didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t scream. I just tried to bear the intense pain ripping my body in two. I was given an epidural to help with the seizures, the lights were dimmed and I was left alone with minimal noise. I was left alone to realize that my mother was scared and something was going terribly wrong. My pressure would jump and drop, my Babe’s heart rate would do the same. My contractions would literally jump off of the scale. What we thought would take at most 10-18 hours slowly turned into 36 hours.
The option of a c-section was brought up. I looked at my mother and told her no. I knew that if I went on that table, one of us or both of us wouldn’t make it out. I knew. The same way that I knew he would be a boy before anyone else, even the doctors. The same way that I knew I was pregnant before I took the pregnancy test. I just knew. I was still conscious of what was going on. So I told the doctors, NO. My babe was meant to be here. I wasn’t making that choice. I would give birth to my baby. I would breast feed and gag at the foul smell that could come from a small body. I would smile and take pictures and tell him I loved him. NO, a c-section was out of the question.
Labor continued and I wasn’t dilating. He hadn’t moved down. I wasn’t progressing. Pitocin to bring on labor that the epidural may have been stopping. I was high. Really high. I had tubes, and IV’s and monitors all around me. “I feel like an octopus with all of these tubes”, I told Mommy. She laughed and said I must be on some good stuff because I was high. LOL I was dying, I could feel my body starting to give out, and yet, I still wanted to make her smile. I’ve never seen my mother scared, truly scared, until I was labor. I started blacking out. Wafting in and out of consciousness.
My story ends here. My mother’s begins. Apparently, it was Wednesday morning. The nurse came to check on me and went to get the doctor. The doctor came in, checked on me and pulled Mommy out of the room. “She’s not progressing. She’s declining. The baby is in distress. We have to do a c-section or we will lose them both.” Mommy shook her head. She didn’t want to choose. She didn’t want them to cut me. As I knew, she knew. Something would go wrong on that table.
With shaky breath, “No c-section. If you have to choose one over the other, save my child. She’s young. She can always have another baby.” Mommy tells me this is the hardest thing she has ever had to say and do. The doctor nods and gives her until 5pm. If I don’t progress, he will be forced to perform a c-section.
“Trianna, wake up.” Mommy walks over to me and shakes me. I’m in a fog. I’m exhausted and weak. She tells me to push when I have a contraction.
“I can’t tell anymore. I’m tired.” And scared. I’m so scared.
“I know, baby. I’ll be right here. If I’m not here, then Fern will be here. We’ll let you know when to push. Ok, my love?” Mommy’s smile doesn’t reach her eyes. I nod and swallow the lump in my throat. I look at Fern, my cousin. I remember when she had her daughters. She had insisted on being there with me, as I had been with her. I do as I’m told and push on each contraction, forcing my baby to move down and out of my body.
It’s 4pm. Mommy leaves the room and comes back with a woman she remembers from 10 years before, when she had my sister in this hospital. A midwife. She sat in front of me, put on a glove and felt around manipulating my body and my baby. She took off the glove, and moved up to sit next to my head. It was 4:45pm. I could feel everyone looking at the clock and at me. They knew something I didn’t.
I felt the urge to push. For all of my exhaustion and fear, I pushed myself up and told them I had to push him out…NOW. The doctor came in and declared that I was fully dilated and the baby was getting ready to crown. It was 4:59pm. Because of all the drugs, I couldn’t push like I should have. Because of the exhaustion and weakness, it was monumental to me, but did nothing to get him out. The nurses took me off of the drugs, leaving only the IV. I was in a reclined position trying to push and it wasn’t working.
“Sit me up. I can’t do it like this. Sit me up.” I don’t know what came over me. They did as I asked. I had my legs in the stirrups, my body almost off of the bed, one arm swung over my mother and the other over the midwife. They held me up, as I used gravity to help me push. “I see the head! Keep pushing Tri!” Fern yelled excitedly, her hands in the air. I smiled to myself but focused all of my energy into pushing. No yelling or screaming or crying. Just the need to get him out and make sure he cried. I needed to hear him cry.
5:50pm my Babe was born. He came out and I allowed myself to lay back. I listened. And listened. I tried to sit up on my elbows. “Mom! Why isn’t he crying? What’s going on?” The nurse told me to lay down, they were just making sure he was ok. I refused to lay down. And then I heard it. He cried, loud and strong. And I lay back down. They put him on my chest for me to hold and I couldn’t stop touching him. He was red, wrinkly, not very cute, and still a little bloody. He was the most beautiful baby in the world.
They took him from me to put into observation. Mommy followed and Fern went to make the phone calls. They forget to show you about the afterbirth on A Baby Story and all those other shows. The pain hit and my body started pushing the placenta out. I was in pain. Then I was numb. I started getting tunnel vision. I didn’t know what was going on.
Turns out, when my placenta was coming out, the doctor tugged and I started bleeding everywhere. Great! After surviving all of that, this idiot made me bleed out. The doctor’s and nurses were trying to stop the flow of blood. They were pushing and massaging my stomach. I still have no idea why. My blood pressure dropped and I blacked out. Mommy walked in the room to be greeted by a pool of blood so large she thought I was already dead. I was very pale and not very responsive.
I woke up in a room. The nurse was checking on me, and Mommy was sleeping in a chair next to me. My head was fuzzy. My body hurt and I was STARVING. I hadn’t eaten in days. Because she’s Mommy, she knew I was awake and woke up. She looked at me. She kissed my face and told me she was blessed to have me. “God said your soul was too beautiful to take from this world. You fought for you and your baby, and he decided he wasn’t taking either of you from us.” She came and curled up with me on the bed, as the realization of what could have happened hit me and I cried my heart out.
And then they brought him in. The most beautiful baby in the world. MY baby. MY son. MY world. MY reason. My soul weighed 7lbs 7oz and was 21.5 inches long. He was swaddled with his eyes open looking around. Mommy says that his eyes were open when he was born. He just had a problem “catching his breath” and that’s why he didn’t cry right away. His hair was jet black and he was as red as a sunburn. I just looked at him for a few minutes. Taking him in. Then he started crying and my breasts started leaking. No help needed, he latched on quickly. Those things were twice the size of his head and I wondered if a baby could suffocate while being breast fed…
“What are you going to name him?” Mommy asked. I thought about all the names I had thought of. I knew that Xavier would be his middle name, if not his first (I’m a huge X-Men fan). As I looked at him, and he looked at me, I forgot every other name that I had come up with. “You look like a Michael. Michael Xavier.” I smiled down at him. As I said his name, he stopped suckling, stared at me slack jawed, eyes wide open and…I swear to this day…smiled.
I never made it to my due date. My Babe was born 5 weeks early. I don’t remember her name, but she was a Muslim midwife at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. Wherever she is, I want to thank her for whatever she did to help me progress. Without her help, both of us may not be here right now. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for saving both of our lives. To my beautiful boy…You are intelligent, beautiful and loved more than you can ever imagine. I would go through all of that again and more to make sure that you were a part of this world. Mommy loves you. Happy Birthday.