Throughout my pregnancy and at incrementing levels I dwelled mostly on:
a) trying to block the very thought of giving birth altogether
b) mind-note-taking, nodding and/or cringing at friend’s birth experiences
c) watching wide-eyed like, a million births from the show “The Midwives”–dread and tears of joy got me every time, high five to all the midwives out there!
At 35 weeks, Aaron and I were told that my ‘fluid’ was low– ‘visceral’ is the word that comes to mind for all things pregnancy, there are: bags, membranes, cords, sacks, pockets all slimy and warm, homey and life sustaining. It turns out that my amniotic, ‘The main fluid’ yah, was lacking. So, am I leaking it or how does one lose it?? Holding my breath and tightening my thigh muscles wont do. Nope.
Distress creeped in.
It is not an exact science as to what the numbers should be but all my OB could say was that from a level of AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index)8-15 being normal, I had 6 and then 5 and then 4; Ava was probably not ‘floating’ anymore but poor thing, she was very much squished in drying womb. Initially our doctor was not concerned but as the numbers continued to go down and Aaron and I began to bite our nails a little.
Is the baby moving? How many kicks a hour? Is she getting enough oxygen? Cord compression? How much water can I drink before I drown? Should I get induced? Would it be too early at 37 weeks? What? there is no proper emergency C-Section in Calcutta?
“Take a breather,” is what I told myself and “don’t cry it’s gonna be ok” but I still cried.
We scheduled a C-Section with all my hopes of a ‘natural’ delivery shattered, I was going to be another number (in Calcutta about 90% of women who go to a private hospital deliver by C-Section by their own wish). I hated it and I cried again; I felt cheated, although not exactly sure of who had cheated me or why. There is nothing more distressing than not being able to provide for your baby and now also couldn’t take her to the culmination of pregnancy alone, the way I wanted to, the way a mother wants to.
There would be no water breaking or pushing or sweating.
They told me not to move while the anesthesiologist inserted the needle in my spine (boo-hoo ugh). Both my OB and pediatrician held my hand tightly and told me top stay still, I held my breath. Having anesthesia from the waist down feels like your are getting into a hot tub, there is a warmth from that trickles down your legs until you don’t feel them anymore; kind of a good feeling actually this anesthesia thing. If you’ve ever gotten your wisdom teeth pulled, you know what is like to feel the pulling and tagging but not really hurt, that is what it reminded me of. Of course the pain WILL come later.
Aaron was looking over the emerald green sheet as he held my hand when she came, and she cried and loudly. Then Aaron cried, then I cried, then a flood of emotions came over me “she is here! she is finally here.”
The nurse put her on my chest and for brief moment and our mouths touched each other, I could feel the warm breath on my mouth, one of the purest most beautiful moments of my life.
Pain really seems to take second place when all you can do is look at what has just come out of you , and I mean h o u r s of contemplation. So defenseless, plump and downy. She had this heavenly human scent.
It doesn’t seem to matter how baby comes, but that it does come.
Ava Emmanuelle is sunshine. She makes me want to be a better person. I love her so much it hurts.