This is my pregnancy story and my journey to baby number 4. Hope you enjoy reading!
One thing I truly cherish in life is the process of carrying my babies. Lately, I was privileged to go through the whole process again. Just like I cherish my pregnancy experiences, I love to write about them so I can come back and read in the future and remember the journey I went through before these tiny humans came to be.
You can read my first pregnancy story here, my first birth story here, my second pregnancy and miscarriage here, my third pregnancy and second delivery here and my fourth pregnancy and third delivery here. Basically, I have been pregnant five times - one resulted in a miscarriage and I have 4 living babies. So glad to be writing my fifth pregnancy and fourth delivery story today!
My fourth delivery was one of firsts! Though it was my fourth time, I experienced a couple of firsts. But first, let me tell you how the pregnancy went.
How I Found Out I was Pregnant
The very first thing that made me suspect I had been knocked up was the unignorable urge to pee. One day, while visiting a relative, I literally ran to the bathroom to pee. That's unlike me because I am the queen of holding my urge to use the restroom! I always prefer to hold in it. You know that saying, "home is where you poop most comfortably"? So true in my life! And it applies to both doing the number 2 and peeing for me. But on this day, I just couldn't hold it in!
So I bought the $1 pregnancy test from the Dollar Tree, then woke up one morning and took the test. Bam! There were 2 red lines! That's how I knew I was continuing my mission to multiply and fill the earth.
The First Trimester - Oh Thou Days of Morning Sickness!
When I found out I was pregnant, I had no other signs of pregnancy unless the I-need-to-pee-right-now kind of feeling! In fact, I felt great! I hoped that unlike my previous pregnancies, this one will be void of morning sickness. I even planned to eat lots of vegetables to nurture my body and my growing baby. So I made some really good salads and enjoyed but that didn't last long!
Before I could say "I am really enjoying his pregnancy!" morning sickness hit hard! Like really hard! I could hardly keep anything down! There was throwing up then throwing up some more. I threw up so violently that it forced me to pee at the same time. So embarrassing!
My mouth was always filled with saliva! I could spit for Africa! I was spitting so much that I had to start keeping Ziploc bags by me to spit in.
My days were spent trying to figure out what foods I could tolerate. I really only enjoyed foods that were very bland.
I hated thinking about food. I hated seeing photos of food on Instagram. I couldn't even edit pictures of recipes I had photographed because I didn't want to look at them! I was miserable.
I hated the smell of almost everything! My house smelled bad to me! I could smell people's lotions and perfumes in public gatherings. I hated it! I also couldn't cook because I couldn't stand the smell of anything simmering on the stove.
During these days, I asked my sister-friend, Melvis to help me cook. Boy, did she do a good job! She cooked all sorts of delicacies at her home and brought them to my home. She cooked in large quantities so my family could have food to eat for a long time Melvis, if you are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH.
My aunty-friend Aunty UK, also took upon herself to cook for me. She made huge quantities of Egusi Soup, Ogbono soup and even made me a special Nigerian delicacy with Uziza leaves, believed to be beneficial for pregnant women. Aunty UK, if you are reading this, thank you so much!
In those days, I mostly craved for African food made with red palm oil and crayfish. Something about the taste of traditional food was very appealing to me.
Other things I loved were plantain chips (my friend Melvis, made huge quantities of this for me. Thank you, Mel!), cornflakes with very cold milk with ice in it (the coldness helped me to be able to eat it), "ankop", a bitter-sweet yellow-ish fruit with a hard back from a variation of palms, common in Cameroon. In fact, ankop was my greatest antidote to nausea.
I envied those who ate food easily. I planned that when I was finally able to eat again I would eat any and everything. I so looked forward to my second trimester because I normally feel great during my second trimester.
The Second Trimester - Morning Sickness, Why Art Thou Still Here??
During my second trimester,
morning sickness all-day sickness didn't vanish as I hoped. I was still throwing up here and there, still being tormented by smells around me.
It was during my second trimester that we moved from Minnesota. Planning a move and packing while pregnant wasn't easy at all. Thank God for the friends that helped me. I am so grateful for the love they showed me.
Though morning sickness was still there, it wasn't as intense as before so I was grateful that I felt better. Iremember being able to cut an onion at my friend's house and I was happy that I could finally cut an onion. During the first trimester, I didn't want to go anywhere near an onion!
Gradually, I started cooking again and I was able to eat many more varieties. I was thankful.
The Third Trimester - Thou Shalt Pee a Thousand Times a Day
In the third trimester, I peed a lot. Like a lot! Waking up several times at night to go pee wasn't fun at all. The last days were the worst!
Also, I slept like one who had been bitten by the tsetse fly. I had pregnancy-induced sleeping sickness. I slept on the couch while watching my favorite TV show and this is a show that I totally love!
I struggled to go through church services without sleeping! I would be so sleepy during a service that lasted just above 1 hour. I could sleep (and dream) anywhere!
In the third trimester, I watched a lot of YouTube videos with pregnancy tips. One tip I learned which I applied though not religiously was to do a perineal massage while taking a shower. I am pretty sure it helped because I didn't have a single tear when I gave birth!
I also had weird dreams. Like I would dream about the same thing over and over again like ackee and saltfish. In case you are wondering, ackee and saltfish is a Carribean meal. Why would I dream about it? I don't know.
I had some hormonal struggles. One day at my doctor's appointment, I was angry with everything and everyone for no reason. In the waiting room, I sat and faced the wall because I didn't want to speak to anyone and I didn't want anyone to look at me.
For some reason, my baby always kicked whenever Mr. N touched my tummy! It was amazing. Even if the baby hadn't kicked for long, once he places his hands on my tummy, boom! She kicks!
My Delivery Story
My delivery was overdue and let me tell you: it could be one of the most frustrating things for a pregnant woman to go through. Especially if you've had previous pregnancies that weren't overdue. My first two deliveries happened at 38 weeks! My third delivery happened at 40 weeks! I was hoping I would go into labor around 38 weeks but Jesus had other plans.
38 weeks came and went and Precious was still pregnant. In these days, everything looked like the beginning of labor to me. Like I would cough and say could this be labor? Okay, that was an exaggeration but I was looking for labor signs all the time!
Each time I used the restroom, I hoped to see my mucus plus - the expulsion of a glob of mucus covering the cervix - often a sign that labor is imminent!
I cooked many supposedly last meals! When cooking, I would say, this is probably my last meal before the baby then no baby would come.
Just like that, I reached 40 weeks! At my 40 week appointment, the doctor asked me: "so when do you want to be induced?" I hesistated answering because I didn't want to be induced! My doctor explained that if I waited too long, my baby might get so big and it might be hard to push out a big baby. At the end of that appointment, the doctor asked me to choose an induction date so I chose Sunday, that weekend. I was hoping I would go into labor before then. And I did!
After leaving the doctor's office, I stopped by an Asian store to get some African food to go cook! I cooked up a storm from about 11 am to 8 pm, my girls and I were in the kitchen cooking! I made Pepper Soup, Fish Stew, Okra Soup, Ndole, then boiled some African white yams and plantains. I put the food in bowls with lids to safe in the refrigerator for us to eat after I hopefully had the baby.
Throughout cooking, I was having contractions but I managed through them because I really wanted to get done with the cooking! Also, I had been having false labor contractions for weeks before then. They will get really strong and regular then stop! So my contractions at this point were not a strong indication of labor to me.
Around 8 pm, my water broke! But it wasn't a huge gush! It was just a slight trickle. I was so happy that finally, I could see some REAL SIGNS of labor.
Shortly after my water broke I went to use the restroom and I saw the infamous mucus plug! I was so glad that I screamed and did a crazy dance and one of my girls had to ask if I was okay. I called the hospital and they asked me to come in.
So around 10 pm, my 3 girls, Mr. N and I left for the hospital! We went with all our girls because we had no one to babysit them for us. I really didn't know how the delivery will turn out - I was hoping Mr. N will be near me but with 3 kids in tow, I knew that probably wouldn't be possible. So I made up my mind that I will have the baby alone if that will be the only way. I felt sad about having to go through labor without a support person near me.
But Jesus had other plans!
I arrived at the hospital after 10 pm, left my family in the car in the parking lot then walked alone to the hospital. The walk from the car into the hospital was tedious because of my contractions. I kept stopping to go through contractions. They checked to see if my water had broken and said it hadn't!
But I was certain it had because I had had my water broke before and I knew how it felt. I am guessing the hospital equipment couldn't figure it out because it was a little trickle.
My contractions were so strong and I could hardly talk through them. I was taken to another room at the hospital triage when a doctor came in to check how dilated my cervix was! When she checked, she said, "You are 7cm dilated and your bag of water is bulging!" At 10cm, you are ready to push out the baby! So the doctor said they were definitely admitting me.
The nurses praised me for being so strong through active labor! The main nurse attending to me asked if I had any support person to stay with me. I said I sadly had no one. She said with a smile, "no problem, we will take care of you". That immediately made me feel at ease. They placed me on a wheelchair and started wheeling me to the labor and delivery room. I was so nervous and shaking at this point!
I had called Mr. N to bring in my hospital bag since I was getting admitted. Mr. N and the girls met me in the hospital corridors while I was being wheeled to the labor and delivery room! They followed me into my room!
When we got into the room, I stood up to get onto the bed and my water gushed heavily down my feet! Right there, in front of the nurses and Mr. N and the girls! I screamed, "my water broke!"
It was a flood! The nurses got me settled in my bed and went ahead to clean my pool of amniotic fluid. Mr. N and the girls were in the waiting room at this point. My Labor and Delivery nurse asked if I wanted them with me. I said yes but I was concerned that my girls would witness me going through the pain of labor and delivery and would be traumatized by it.
My L and D nurse said it was something natural and it was okay for them to be present. So Mr. N and the girls came into the room and they could hold my hands while I went through contractions. It was truly amazing!
It was great for me to have all of my people around me while I labored. What wasn't great was my active labor took too long!
After breathing through contractions, listening to gospel music to help me cope and trying other kinds of techniques, I had still not given birth. I was exhausted due to endless hours of labor!
The nurse kept asking if I wanted pain medicine. I said no because I really wanted a delivery without any meds. Well, she eventually gave me the Nubaine when she saw how exhausted I was and it helped lessen the pain of the contractions. It also made me very sleepy so I didn't feel the pain as badly as before.
At this point, I did something I had never done before. I asked for an epidural! You guys, I had said I would not take an epidural because I had 3 natural deliveries. I was concerned with the side effects any medication could have! But at this point, I wanted the epidural because I had read that women had much easier deliveries when they took it!
"Is it too late to have an epidural?" I asked my sweet nurse. She said would if I could sit still and not move while the needle was being inserted, then I could get one. I told her I was going to sit still. I was also scared of the thought of a needle being inserted into my spine. But at this point, with the pain of the labor, the pain of a needle in my back sounded very minimal to me!
The nurse said the anesthesiologist was in an operation room working and she will get him to come to me as soon as he was done. Well, she got him to come.
He was a really nice man! The nurse told me he was one of the best at the hospital. I only felt a little prick after he gave me the epidural! Moments after that, I felt great! I was numb from my waist down. I could feel the pressure of contractions but not the pain! I was so relaxed that I slept off!
I told myself, this was an amazing delivery experience! Me sleeping in the labor room instead of screaming bloody murder was a first-of-its-kind experience for me. My nurse signed off her shift at 7am and another wonderful nurse took over. It was with her that I had my baby.
At around a few minutes to 9, the nurse told me she could see the baby coming. So she called the doctors and what seemed like the whole of Asia entered the room. I could see so many Chinese-like eyes on the faces of the people around me. It was a HUGE team of mostly Asians gathered around me and my hoo-ha.
They brought a mirror so I could see how my baby entered the world. They had asked me before if I wanted this and I yes. They told me to push! My first push wasn't great. I apparently pushed from my head instead of pushing down below. They asked me to push again. I pushed the second time harder and they kept shouting "keep pushing" so I kept pushing until my sweet baby girl slipped out!
That was how my sweet baby girl entered the world at 40 weeks 3 days, at 9:05 am.
They told me to reach out with my hands and grab her and I did! It was the most amazing thing: almost like I caught my own baby. They asked Mr. N to announce the sex (we didn't know the sex).
He looked and shouted, "it's a girl!" I held my baby on my chest, doing skin-to-skin for about 45 minutes before she was taken from me and weighed. She weighed a whopping eight pounds!
The first sister who saw her was Yoyo (the older girls were kept in another room just when I was about to push). When Mr. N lifted Yoyo to see the baby, she said "wow!" And that was all she ever said. My older girls were thrilled to meet their baby sister.
It was the first I had an epidural, the first time I had a mirror in front of me while giving birth, the first time I had my kids with me during labor and delivery and the first time I reached out to catch my own baby as soon as she entered the world.
Baby Essie is almost 3 months old now and she is the sweetest little human. All the morning sickness, pain and peeing were worth it.