I love being pregnant. I love the experience of giving birth.
It is amazing to me to see what I am physically capable of, how well I know my body, and that I was blessed to have an informed and empowered birth experience with Ivy.
This was due in part to both birth experiences progressing the same way — both starting at fajr prayer and ending at maghrib. Both with mild and manageable contractions until transition. Both with an incredibly short pushing phase.
So while I had fears that this labour would be different due to a longer hospital presence to treat Group B Strep — because the progression was similar, I knew exactly when it was time to go to the hospital. I knew the precise moment when my cervix dilated to seven centimeters. I knew this meant the baby would be born within the half hour, if not sooner. I trusted my instincts completely. I trusted my body.
Ivy’s birth has key moments that will take time to process. Moments that mark her birth as special and wonderful. Moments that still send shivers down my spine and make me feel incredibly alive and powerful.
Like the unspoken pause when the Hubby and I decided to go about our day as if nothing was happening — a crystal moment when my consciousness asked me, “are you sure you really want to hop on a bus and subway alone to take Eryn downtown for Friday prayers?”
I responded with an enthusiastic YES! (but please honey, pack a bag and the car just in case.)
The sense of pride and self satisfaction I had by labouring during Jummah prayers. Feeling the strength of womanhood within the mosque and standing during the sermon to sway through contractions was a religious experience in itself.
Envisioning a Divine presence touch me and surround the baby. The invigorating shiver I felt when, with my right hand pressed against my belly, I prayed for a safe, easy and healthy birth. And then being doubly blessed when the congregation made the same supplication for us.
Laughing and joking with staff after entering triage. Creating a festive atmosphere with Eryn and the Hubby while waiting to be processed. An atmosphere that soon turned to light concern when I realised they weren’t exactly listening to me when I said, “I labour quickly. I’m GBS positive. I need the antibiotics right away.”
Concern that turned into a derisive snort when two hours later they said, “We’re sorry, the baby won’t wait long enough for you to get the rest of the antibiotics.” If only they had listened to me when I walked through the door instead of taking those additional hours to process me.
Feeling warm liquid running over my hand, only to look down to calmly and factually observe that “oh, my blood is pouring onto the floor” — when (the kindest nurse in the world) accidentally knocked out the plug in my saline lock.
Kneeling eastward during the contraction that kick-started transition and reflecting that I was in a position of prayer. I envisioned myself raising my hands in supplication and smiled peacefully. Minutes later I felt the urge to push.
The moment my best friend blew through the final contractions with me and thinking just how wonderful it was to feel her breath on my face. They were like caresses easing me through an unspoken worry. Worry that was inspired by a marked absence of medical staff. A worry that turned my thighs into solid marble.
I told them moments ago that I had the urge to push and that the baby was coming — but they couldn’t understand just how well I know my body, and left to attend to three other labouring women.
Turning onto my side instinctively in the hopes that this would slow the birth. Riding two contractions, gripping the side of the bed, inwardly focusing and shunning the urge to push with long and steady breaths. The nurse next to me shuffled in nervousness. She knew it was progressing quickly.
Feeling the baby slide down through me — God that was incredible! My uterus was doing the work it was made to do without any help from me. But I couldn’t move. I was frozen and asked, “where are they? Is someone coming? Tell me they’re coming.”
Mentally refocusing when the medical staff rushed back into the room. They told me to push. In full control of the situation I said, “No. At the next contraction.” So we waited. I told a couple of jokes and asked if the staff wanted to take bets on how many pushes it would take.
Laughing in true amazement when the OB’s phone twittered, booped and beeped like R2-D2. I got the sound and my elated reaction to the ridiculousness of the situation on tape.
Riding the last crest with my eyes closed, I looked towards the darkness. It only took one push.
At 8:31pm Eryn clapped. The Hubby kissed me. My best friend shouted, “It’s a boy!”
“Nope! It’s a girl!” My eyes flew open and when they laid her on my chest I smiled.
In that moment it didn’t matter that it was Jummah, Star Wars Day, or the start of the Supermoon. The only thing that mattered was being able to hold and kiss my precious bundle while being surrounded by people I love and care for deeply.
In that moment my world shattered and was remade. A moment filled with overwhelming joy, fear, worry and life-completeness that I will carry forever. A moment to welcome perfect and calm Ivy with blessings and an abundance of love.