After 57 hours of labor and 3 return trips to the hospital, Miya Nariko was finally born at 8:02 pm on November 17 in Philadelphia. This is her birth story.
At the time I went into labor my husband, Noah, was on an unavoidable business trip to Europe. It was 11pm on November 15th, as he was headed to the last country of his 3-city tour I called him to say that my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was headed to the hospital. We both knew going into this that there was no way that he could stop traveling for business. I gave him my blessing. We were a team no matter what- and if he missed the birth, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But we kept our fingers crossed that he would be in the country by the time our little girl was born. For peace of mind, we decided to hire a doula. We told her of our special circumstance and that in the event I go into labor and Noah wasn’t around, she agreed to drive me to the hospital and guide me through my labor. Our doula, Sarah, was God-sent. Hiring her was the best decision we’ve made in this pregnancy. That first night, shaken and feeling utterly alone- she drove me to the hospital and helped me breathe through my contractions as I waited to be admitted. When the doctors checked my cervix, I was only 2mm dilated and unless I chose to be induced they told me I should go home. And since I opted for a natural childbirth, they advised me to come back only if my water broke or my contractions are 2 minutes apart. I was both disappointed and relieved to be sent home, hoping beyond reason that I can keep the contractions at bay until Noah arrives two days later. So at 4:30am on November 16, I crawled back into bed, trying to rest between contractions. I continued to stay at 5 minutes apart with mild pain. I ate what little I could. I took a long, hot shower. At around 9:00 am, the pain intensified but stayed at consistent 4-minute intervals. My mother-in-law (MIL) drove me to the hospital, admitted at 4mm dilation. I tried to speed up the labor by walking up and down the hospital corridor with my doula. Noah called incessantly but I haven’t slept for over a day. I was worn out and couldn’t answer the phone. Sarah dutifully kept Noah updated with my progress. At around 3:00pm, since I was only dilated 5mm for the 5 hours that I was there, they told me once again to go home. So I did.
There was no relief in being sent home a second time. I was frustrated and exhausted. And even though my MIL and doula were next to me, I felt utterly and completely alone. I wanted my husband to hold my hand, and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I wanted him to hug me and help me breathe through the pain. I wanted him to come home. I needed him to come home. And at that time, I started to resent him for being away.
I tried to eat and rest that evening- doing whatever I can to distract myself from the pain, digging my brain for any last bit of information from birthing class on how to sit on the yoga ball. The damn yoga ball didn’t do squat. At 3:00am on November 17, the pain has intensified so much that I wasn’t able to time my contractions anymore. I couldn’t control my breathing, I felt the pain swell, wrap around my back and squeeze. I cried. I howled. I have never felt so alone in my life. My MIL was still asleep next door and I didn’t want to wake her. I was afraid of going to the hospital too soon only to be sent back home for the third time. I was terrified of the trip in the car, cursing myself for choosing a hospital all the way in the city when there was one located 2 miles away from our front door. “Screw the birth plan,” I thought. “I just want this thing out of me.” I no longer caressed my belly. I shrieked and screamed and tore my hair as the intensity grew. The pain transformed me into a heaving, shrieking animal. I could no longer recognize the sounds that came out of me. I felt raw and primal. And so alone. I started to hate Noah for being away.
I was finally admitted to the hospital at 11:00am, screaming and crying in the corridor. Nurses flooded around me, telling me to calm my breathing so my baby could breathe as well. I tried. I begged for the epidural. I wanted it now. I felt as if the entire bottom half of my body would fall apart. The rectal pressure and pain was more than I could have ever imagined. I cursed every Hollywood movie that made this seem like a piece of cake. Since it was a Saturday, there was only one anesthesiologist in the hospital- who happened to get called into a surgery. The sweet nurses paged another anesthesiologist to come in especially for me. And when he administered the epidural, almost instantly, I felt a cool, numbing sensation wash over my body- and fell asleep for the first time in 2 days. It was a heavenly numbness. I loved everyone again.
Sarah played Yo-Yo Ma through Pandora, dimmed the lights, lit some candles and scented the room with lavender. It felt like a spa. And with the silvery nothingness I now felt, it might as well have been. At that moment, Noah was already on his flight back home. He told the flight attendants that I was in labor- so the plane cheered him off as he raced to the hospital. Even the customs and immigration officers rushed him out. At 5:45pm, he walked into my hospital room and kissed me. Everything was right in the world.
I started pushing at 6:00 pm, and within 2 hours- Miya came out of me screaming, fully embodying her name- Nariko. Child of Thunder. She had searching eyes and a shock of black hair. After a quick review of her vital signs, weight and height- they immediately placed her on my waiting chest, her skin warm and wet against my own. I felt her little heart flutter on the surface of my breast. In that moment, I was truly and deeply happy.
It was a rough first night- and an even rougher couple of months that followed. It also took awhile for my relationship with Noah to heal. There was just so much trauma involved in going through that journey alone. I will elaborate on those last two statements on a later post… but for now, all is well. And my God- I have never felt so lucky in life as I do now.
| Photos: (1.) Newly born and bundled (2.) Cuddling with daddy at 3 days old (3.) 1-month old (4.) 1 1/2 months old with big sis (5.) 2-months old (6.) 3-months old (7.) 4-months old |
Photo credit, photo #4:
via Jackie Bayne of Love Shack PhotoTags: baby announcement, baby progress, family video, motherhood