by Danielle N. Hall
I’ve had a host of memorable experiences in my lifetime, but something that left an indelible impression on me was the pregnancy and childbirth experience! I’ve had this great pleasure 3 times and EACH time was a different experience. Of note, is the journey to Maurice’s arrival: the debut of the second child. What a journey it was from the beginning to the end! I’m here to tell you alllll about it. Take a peek into my history…
Picture it…Washington, DC…2002. In the wee hours of the morning of May 12th I wasn’t feeling too well. I wasn’t alarmed, but I was feeling hopeful. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered I was with child. The added joy of this news is that the discovery was made on Mother’s Day! I was so grateful because I was confident that God had been unhappy with me and I wouldn’t be able to bear any more children. This was a significant experience of God’s grace towards me. I will NEVER forget how that made me feel. The joy was overwhelming, but then the real journey began and there were some tough moments.
In the first few months, I wasn’t able to keep down any water, ginger ale, soup, crackers, or anything else. The doctor’s response to this was the prescribing of Phenergan suppositories which were ineffective. Additionally, I would get severe headaches and I blacked out a couple of times. I was then prescribed Duradrin which seemed to be helpful. While I was indeed still grateful for grace, I have to admit I was NOT enjoying this part of the process. It gets even better, though! As much as I am a seafood lover, I recall being really excited about our to-go order from the Fish Market in Clinton, MD. We arrived home and proceeded to dig in. Unfortunately, both the smell and sight of the seafood made me severely nauseous. How could this be??? Time progressed and I began to crave very strange things: alphabet soup was one. The even more strange thing is that I would get sick if I waited too long to satisfy my craving and I would get sick each time I ate the soup. All of these foods my body rejected somehow translated into massive weight gain. I’m still perplexed about that. I also experienced consistent swelling of the ankles and very dry skin. This was a whole new world for me, especially since the previous pregnancy was much more calm and delightful. Oh, but there’s more…
A little after the midway mark, I began to not be able to sleep in a lying position and had to start sleeping in a sitting position with my back against a back rest pillow. The third trimester arrived and so did labor pains. I paid multiple trips to labor and deliver: long before he was due. I would have consistent contractions, but no dilation. I was prescribed yet another medication: terbutaline. My understanding was that this would alleviate the contractions and also help with asthma. That was a bonus since I was asthmatic during that time. Well, I can’t say that I was surprised, but the meds didn’t stop the contractions and it actually made me begin to have problems with asthma more. I was placed on bedrest in November with a due date of January 18th. This journey had been less than ideal, yet I was grateful still.
On one of the later trips to L & D, I received the first of a series of two shots in my rear to help strengthen the lungs of little Maurice in the event that he decided to arrive before his scheduled time. This was followed by a second visit 24 hours later to receive the 2nd shot. Did I mention that this was around the 11pm hour?! Fortunately, he decided to hang around inside for a little while longer.
The infamous day finally came! At 37 weeks, on December 31st, the contractions were truly coming and THIS TIME, I was not being sent back home empty handed. The contractions grew stronger and I wisely made sure I got an epidural. The problem was it kept feeling like it was wearing off too fast…this wasn’t good. By the time I was about 5cm dilated, I felt this extreme pressure to push. I was afraid because I knew it wasn’t time, but it sure felt like it. I got a few boluses to relieve this feeling, but the pressure was so strong. I was only halfway dilated and I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was quite an emotional experience. Several hours had passed. I was exhausted from resisting the urge to push and I was hungry. I snuck some of the Starlight mints I had developed a craving for earlier during the pregnancy. I also had some mini chewy Sweetarts. Unfortunately, this didn’t mix well with anesthesia so I got really sick. I grew increasingly frustrated because my body and proper timing weren’t in sync. When I had reached the time to push, I was almost too tired to do so due to all of the festivities before hand: extra anesthesia, nausea, and mental exhaustion. The time was here so I had to suck it up and rise to the occasion. The difficulty didn’t end before the push: it continued. Due to exhaustion, my strength was declined and little Maurice required the assistance of the doctor’s hands: that’s a nice way of saying the doc reached “in” and pulled him out because his shoulder was stuck. He was turning blue and needed a bit of stimulation to let us know he was ok. He did just that and I was finally relieved. WHAT A JOURNEY! I’m proud to say that he is a thriving, young man who has overcome many obstacles: including shoulder dystocia from the time of his arrival.
I shared this experience because when we spiritually conceive, it is a joyous occasion. As the journey progresses, we can encounter all sorts of challenges: discomfort from the baby growing inside, cravings for things that only will make sense to the one carrying, and the pressure to deliver before it’s time. This experience may exhaust you and you, too, may require a little birthing assistance. It is my prayer that whatever it is you’re carrying will be carried to term and will thrive when delivered.