We have a saying in Swahili, kuzaa mtoto sio kazi, kumlea ndio kazi…( pregnancy and childbirth are easy, taking care and raising a child is the true work) never has there been a saying that I have come to realize to be more true
My pregnancy went along smoothly, when I was admitted at the hospital one nurse described it as ‘a boring pregnancy with no issues, just how we like it’
Labor was the most dramatic part of the pregnancy I would say, completely unbearable pain. I was planning on having a natural birth, like so many women have throughout history, my body was built to do this, but with the knowledge of drugs being available, knowing I didn’t have to feel this pain, it is was close to impossible to do it drug free.
At 8cm I got an epidural shot, the relief….oh God the relief was amazing. I was completely numb; I could not feel a thing from the waist down, all I kept saying was who ever invented that shot, God bless them. Now I could actually have a phone conversation and take some pictures of this epic moment.
Finally it was time to push they told me,
‘How do you know?’ I would ask, I feel nothing, am completely numb.
‘’Grab her leg,’’ yelled the nurse at my husband, my legs were completely numb, ‘you need to hold it and push it toward her chest’’, says the nurse.
PUSH! the nurse instructed me, and like I had practiced at my Lamaze classes I pushed my chin onto my chest and pushed.
‘Stop’ she said, the baby is coming, she paged the doctor. When the doctor arrived in the room he came in with a pediatric team. He told me the baby had had a bowel movement, and it was dangerous for her to inhale, so we needed a pediatric team to check the baby as soon as she was delivered, and a team it was, I remember them being about 10 people cheering me on as I pushed.
I can see her hair said the doctor and my husband couldn’t help but take a peep at it. The next thing I heard was a cry. The look on my husband’s face was priceless. He was overwhelmed….with love. They immediately took her away to make sure she was ok. My husband was on the phone with my mum…shes here, shes here….everybody said she had a great set of lungs, her cry was loud, bold, like an announcement, I am here.
Looking down I can see the reflection of blood and placenta on the doctor’s glasses, I am numb from the waist down, I feel nothing
Are you planning on breastfeeding asks a nurse, yes.. I catch myself responding. They bring this little creature and place her on my bare chest, this will stimulate breast feeding…
She squirms and moves on my chest, I have nothing to say to her, I have waited such a long time to meet her, I have talked to her every day for months and now she’s here and I have nothing to say to her.
We are finally alone and she latches on my breast. She breastfeeds all night, she doesn’t sleep at all, something must be wrong I tell the nurses when they come in to check on us.
In the morning the doctor tells me it’s called cluster feeding, they usually do this…well at least it has a name I tell myself, it’s an actual thing, am not imaging it.
I look at her and I don’t see her just like she doesn’t see me, I can see her physically but am not feeling connected to her like countless women have claimed, love at first sight..
I take home this squirmy little creature, I never ever get to sleep, I am bleeding and have to wear disposable panties, I am engorged, Lord why is this breastfeeding thing so hard I have seen tones and tones of women do it, why am I having such a hard time with something so simple and natural.
Sleep deprivation + hormonal = resentment
I resented this little person, I fantasized about sleeping, I miss my independence, I miss eating a meal with no interruptions, I miss long, hot showers…I miss everything I took for granted and my life before
‘I can’t do this anymore’, I heard myself tell my husband while he was changing her diaper one morning. ‘I don’t feel equipped for it, I don’t feel the love and connection am supposed to feel’
After uttering those words, I felt guilt come down on me like a ton of bricks, how could I say that and feel that way about my little precious, helpless baby. She needs me, she was made out of love, she’s healthy and beautiful. How could I resent her…
And for the first time, I saw her….I saw her for the perfect, adorable, precious, gift from God that she was, and I have never stopped seeing her.
She’s my world, my reason for existing, my everything…..