As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to have my own children. I often fantasized about what my adulthood would look like. It always was the same image. I am dressed in Ankara from neck to ankle with a scarf loosely tied on my natural hair. In my fantasy, I walk into the kitchen to prepare dinner in anticipation of the arrival of my husband from work. As I wash the vegetables with a perfect smile on my face and a low hum under my breath, my plump child crawls up to me in the kitchen, clings onto one of my legs beckoning to be carried with pleading, beautiful eyes.
Many aspects of that fantasy changed as I got older and understood a lot about life and the treatment of women in marriages and the world at large. What remained unchanged was my unwavering yearning for my own child/ren. Interestingly, the place of your greatest desire can be the point of your greatest pain. Like many women around the world, I became familiar with the acronym TTC (trying to conceive) as that became a journey so hurtful to sojourn on. I could say a lot about this period but I’ll leave it for another day. What’s important to note is that at the point of my complete surrender to God and His will, He acted.
The moment I muttered and truly meant the words ‘I trust you’, God breathed life into what seemed dark and empty. I had already prayed about what I wanted and He manifested it to the T. I had prayed for a son as a first child right from my teen years. My desire for a son isn’t because I believe males are more valuable than females. On the contrary! I simply have experienced and witnessed way too many unprincipled and entitled men in my life that I hoped and still hope to raise my own son to be the exception.
Pregnancy Journey (1st to 3rd Trimester)
My pregnancy journey itself was an eye opener but in its entirety was beautiful and favour filled. I came to the quick realization that our mothers never prepared us for what pregnancy really is. I had always heard about the unimaginable pain of labour but never about the discomfort and strain of carrying a child for nine months. The first trimester was brutal. The nausea was never ending. Constipation, metallic taste, heightened smell, painful breasts, cramps, fatigue, loss of appetite, throwing up, general body weakness amongst many other things became my companions. Amidst all of this was the need to show up in the workplace and perform just as well, if not better than your male counterparts…because like a menstrual period, pregnancy isn’t considered a disease or a disability.
My second trimester was a bit better though with a new set of aches and pains in the form of round ligament pain, braxton hicks and heaviness. Unluckily, my first trimester’s nausea and metallic taste persisted for the entire duration of my pregnancy. Consequently, I never got to experience the ravenous appetite of most pregnant women at this stage of pregnancy. An interesting experience in my second trimester was depression. Considering my circumstances and the influx of hormones, it wasn’t entirely surprising. I was alone in a big city away from my family and friends. I felt I had no one to speak to, in real time, about my feelings. Despite going through something so powerful, supernatural and miraculous, I felt small, insignificant and sad. Looking back now, I am eternally grateful to the distant support group I had in the persons of my sisters, my parents and my friends who prayed, checked in and listened to me many times. Here’s saying THANK YOU again!
My third trimester seemed unending but despite the discomfort of my huge bump, it was my happiest. At 35 weeks, I went into premature labour after going grocery shopping and lifting heavy bags. After taking myself to the hospital, I laboured alone for a day and a half in the labour and delivery ward, scared and uncertain of what was to come. Thankfully, I was blessed to have the best nurses and again my distant support group calling and texting to encourage me through the pain.The medical team was able to slow down the contractions to give my baby more time to develop and on Christmas day, 5 weeks after my premature labour, I went into labour again after eating an obscene quantity of roasted chicken.
Labour and delivery
My mother always told me that the pain of labour cannot be described. I had heard many different descriptions over the course of my pregnancy. Some women had described it as having your bones broken all at the same time. Others had described it as the worst menstrual pain you could have multiplied by ten thousand and some others had described it as having the worst diarrhea pain without reprieve. Seeing as I had experienced contractions and labour at 35 weeks, I thought I had an idea of what to expect. I was mistaken. LOL. I laboured at home for over 18 hours after been sent back home from the hospital because I wasn’t dilated enough. In that time, I could not eat because I puked numerous times from the pain. I could not sleep though my eyes remained closed for the duration of all my contractions. At about 10am on Boxing day, my mother, who flew down to be with me, encouraged me to go back to the hospital where it was determined I was 5cm dilated and in active labour. I was offered gas for pain management but it simply made me light headed. My contractions were excruciating. Similar to my premature labour, each contraction was lasting 3-4mins and was back to back. It meant that I had little to no breaks to take a breath or feel relief. At about 7cm dilated, I caved in and got an epidural. It was very uncomfortable to administer as I was in so much pain from active labour and looking back now, it was unnecessary.
After the epidural kicked in, the doctors realized that my baby’s heart rate was tanking and he was in distress. To save him, I was rushed into the theatre for an emergency C-section. Honestly, the entire surgery was a blur. I was tired, hungry and anxious to be done. All I remember was hearing the cry of my son and sobbing with great joy! He came into the world with strong lungs and experience. I say experience because he taught me how to breastfeed him and had a perfect latch from the second he was put on my breasts. He led the way and I simply followed.
There is so much left unsaid but one of the many dilemmas of a writer is finding that happy centre of oversharing and being private. I knew I’d write this one day, mainly to testify of God’s goodness and also to hopefully encourage anyone currently TTC or pregnant. God is with you! He’s always there. Always. Do not lose hope. Do not fear.
As I write this, I am recovering well. It hasn’t been smooth sailing. Taking care of a newborn is challenging and a whole new world of its own. In many ways, it is almost more difficult than pregnancy BUT it is so rewarding and joyous. After experiencing pregnancy and now motherhood, I have a greater respect for all good mothers especially mine.