One of the few memories left from my pregnancy and antenatal visit days were some books and pamphlets we had been given to read. They were on pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, and the first few weeks into the motherhood journey.
For me, these books did not inspire me to read them. They were too poorly made, and I assumed it was the same with other women at the clinic. As far as I was concerned, they were those kind of items that took up permanent residence in my handbag. I went with them everywhere, just like every other scan report and hospital bill. It was just part of the lot.
However, recently, I was doing some cleaning, and I found that old handbag of mine…and guess what I found in there! All those books, hospital bills, scan reports, my family tree chart and all the leaflets and whatnots, the nurses kept handing out during my last antenatal clinic. (I know, I’m a hoarder.) I found it hard to throw those things away, so I moved them to a new place…but the bag had to go.
Looking through the books, which were even more uninteresting right now, I realized I had been sitting on a treasure trove. Symptoms, what to expect, what to look out for during labour, as it relates to a first time or multigravida, all were listed there. My sisters! I did not open it to read, not even once. Even the different options of medications and methods, with which a baby can be brought out, forceps and all the help available to a woman in labour were all there. I did not read a thing. That’s why it’s good to never judge a book by its cover.
It was there that I read about childbirth inducement. I know births can be induced, like the case of a stillbirth, late term miscarriages and even D&Cs, but I had just thought you give the woman a pill, and then contractions kick in, and everything else is fine. Oh No! Far from the truth! Indeed, very far from the reality.
And it was around the same time that I watched the YouTube video of a lifestyle blogger in Nigeria on her pregnancy. I had chills down my spine, at what she went through. Mehn, Women are trying o.
In the video, she spoke of how she was over a week past her due date, and it did not look like her bundle of joy was in a hurry to arrive on the scene any moment. So, her doctor told her to pack her bags and come to the hospital.
Day one, she was given childbirth inducement drugs. They did not work. She was busy eating and flexing in the hospital. Day two, she had something stuck up her vagina, which she described as resembling a balloon, that made walking near impossible, but the idea was that if it did its job, it would come out by itself. For where? By the third day, the ‘balloon’ was still firmly in place. No show.
That was when the doctor decided to take matters into her hand. She told her she was going to give birth that day. So drips were set up, which sort of hastened the contractions, but rather than dilating as expected, she wasn’t, and her baby was now in distress.
To cut a long story short, she was wheeled into the theatre at the very last minute for an emergency C-section. She had her baby, but it was after horrendous pain.
Well, it is not all dreary and drudgery. There are women for whom, an inducement worked fine and they did not have to go through so much pain to have their baby. However, one of them is not Taiwo. Taiwo was induced when she was 38 weeks pregnant, because her blood pressure suddenly spiked, and the doctors were not willing to take any chances with the lives of both the baby and its mother.
She was asked to stay back in the hospital and call home, for someone to bring her already packed maternity bag. She was there, and her drips were set up. A few hours into the drip, she started to feel this pinprick-like pain all over. But it was still manageable. Very soon, it graduated to period cramp contractions, she was used to that one, but by the time the contractions became like period cramps multiplied by 1000, then she was screaming the whole hospital down, the nurses who had merely been coming in to check on her, had made her room their station, begging her to keep the noise down and that it was normal, and for her to breathe through her mouth, and for her to stop pinching the skin off one of the nurse’s arms. They wanted her to do so many things, none of which she was doing.
And the examination did not help at all. Every time a medical gloved covered-hand went down there, she literally ran mad with pain. She was like a rabid dog. The medications that triggered labour had a done a number on her brain cells; they were frying, not able to process the pain anymore.
Eventually, they were able to time her contractions to 45 seconds apart. The final lap was here. As the nurse made to ‘shook hand’ again, she bared her teeth literally and dared her to try. Her pain was unbearable at this stage, she could feel the baby’s head, she felt the urge to push, even though the nurses were telling her to wait.
In the end, she did not listen to them but to her body. Her body said push, she did and her baby’s head popped, a less strenuous push later, his whole body slipped through and she hit the bed in exhaustion.
While the nurses scrambled to clean up the baby and bring him to her, the doctor was checking her blood pressure to make sure everything was fine. Phew! What an experience for her. It was not the kind of birth she had wanted, but then, her baby determined the type of birth he wanted and he got it.
She wondered about the myth that said a girl child’s labour lasts longer than a boy’s, because they would be busy preparing and packing so much for their arrival. Well, her son took his dear time! He did not come on time, and even when she was induced, it took a record 23 hours later before she gave birth.
However, Stephanie had an easy ride with her inducement. The first time, she had been pregnant, she had been in labour for 9 hours, but by the second pregnancy, when she was induced, she gave birth five hours later, which the doctor mostly attributed to the fact it was a second birth, and her body had become wider, making passage for the baby easier. Whatever, the case might have been, Stephanie was just thankful that she did not have to go through the same long labour again.
No mom-to-be knows whether she is going to be induced or not, but it pays to be prepared, much like the scout’s motto.
Be prepared. The reward at the other end is more than worth it!
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