BIRTHING BABY Z
I gave birth to my son in the UK in the winter, I arrived London at 33 weeks, my doctor practically pushed me on to the plane, but I was so freaked out about leaving Lagos, my home and more importantly, Zashadu HQ, that I secretly hoped to arrive at the gate and be sent back home, banned from flying; but my mother’s prayers over-powered mine and there she was waving frantically and beaming widely at me, at the arrival in Heathrow “You don’t even look that pregnant Z!” she fibbed as I waddled my way through, huffing and puffing, pushing my luggage trolley along.
I planned to stay till he was 3 months old, before heading back to Lagos. Once at my parents’, I was glad to be away from the hustle and bustle of my Lagos life. I slept and slept and slept Ziemife grew large in those last few weeks. “Mum, my lower back is going to break, I’m certain of it” I groaned over and over, the only thing that helped was yoga which I did daily, swirling my hips and trying to remain calm.
I did everything extra, that was available to me; homeopathic therapies for the psoriasis that flared up from nowhere, acupuncture for general good feeling, reflexology to stimulate labour, hypnobirthing course, I employed a doula to be our own personal cheerleader and support system, and when Zie was 10 days late, after two membrane sweeps and the promise of being induced in 48 hours, a deep tissue, Thai massage. “Zainab, your beck soo tight, you put a brick in there?! Pan our long time family masseuse howled in laughter as she kneaded my legs and lower back for two hours, and I winced in pain.
I went into labour the very next day, “Stina what does early labour feel like?” I fired off a text to my doula, at 10pm she replied describing symptoms I was feeling, “But it’s probably just your membrane sweep, I wouldn’t be too worried” she replied. At 4am, I was rudely awakened by the most intense cramps and quickly rushed to the loo, certain I was going to do a monumental number 2. Nothing.
What is this? I thought, angry at the interruption to my sleep, I got up to head back to my bed, when another wave of cramps from hell engulfed me, I writhed around for sometime, trying to find a comfortable position, then my body was silent once more. I tried to stifle my moans, intent on not waking my mother in case it was a false alarm, but the surprise of warm water gushing between my legs gave way to a stifled shout. Then I was sure, I was in labour. I was also sure that I wouldn’t make it to the birthing centre in a taxi, the only position that gave me any comfort was not going to work in a taxi; I looked at the time, 6am, My contractions were strong and fast, my mother was a frantic mess, and I was having to calm her down, “Omg, Mum, chill out, It’s just a vagina!” I felt sorry for the emergency services operator on the phone, all he asked was whether she could see the baby’s head from my vagina, “It’s an abomination”, she retorted haughtily, “How can I look at my daughter’s vagina, you people are sick” the ambulance arrived at 7am, my mother gave them a dirty look, we got to the hospital at 7.20, and after 5 smooth pushes, my 4.1kg heavyweight of a baby was born naturally, and without drugs, at 8.22, my active labor had lasted all of 4 hours. “You’re a birthing goddess” gushed Stina in admiration, and as I munched on my second Pret chocolate croissant and between sips of hot sugary tea, whilst my mother cooed over her grandson, I smiled widely and deliriously, nodding in agreement.