Number of kids: 2
Hospital & country of delivery: Pisam (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); Lister (Accra, Ghana)
What your journey to becoming pregnant? Was it easy?
We are one of those lucky couples that get pregnant whenever we decide to. I am a very fertile soil 🙂 One day we just decided that we should have our first kid and we did. We are a no-nonsense kind of couple 🙂 Then we moved to Ghana, I could not find a job and wanted to pop all my babies before 30, so we got pregnant a second time. It was all very logical 🙂
Did you deliver on your expected due date? Which hospital did you use and what did you think of their services?
I had to be induced for my first one. I just went to the gynaecologist for a routine check and she told me that the following day I’d have my baby. He was born at nearly 38 weeks. My second one was an elective C-section. He also came at almost 38 weeks. I was happy with both hospitals, but I preferred the room and food in Abidjan.
What was your birth plan and did it go according to plan on the D-day?
I wanted to have my first baby naturally – no *Pitocin, no C-section. I had prepared myself to use the hypnobirthing method. Man, I was ready to push. I ended up having a C-section. My second birth went according to plan with a scheduled C-section.
What was the birthing experience like?
When I was having my first baby, after 6 hours of labour, I was told that my son was in distress and they did not know what was wrong with him and had to take him out immediately. So basically my natural birth had turned into emergency surgery, it was my first surgery ever, and my husband was not allowed in with me. I was so scared, I was in tears for thirty minutes. Thankfully, my doctor was a family friend so she calmed me down and introduced me to the best pediatrician I have ever met. Then I was wheeled to the theater. They tried to prick me for spinal tap at least ten times and then they finally opened me up.
They found that his cord was wrapped around his shoulder, so he was suffocating with every contraction. At that point I thanked God that I was induced because God know what would have happened to my baby otherwise.
Back in the recovery room, I started sweating. I was physically sweating like someone had dropped a bucket of water on me. An old nurse felt sorry for me and gave me cotton and cold water for my face. She advised me to start walking as soon as possible. You never ignore what an old nurse tells you, so the day after, I was up and walking. It was painful, but it had to be done. Everything hurt – laughing, moving, sitting … everything. But I had my baby so I didn’t care.
During the second birth, again they tried the spinal tap multiple times. They actually manage to prick my nerve. I could feel the pain from my hip to my toes.
Again, I had a bad reaction to the anesthetic. There was nausea, intense sweating, then came a panic attack, and finally, tears. They had to delay surgery until I calmed down.
Then hubby got in and they got my baby out, but his crying didn’t feel right. They kept telling me he was fine, but did not give him to me. They took him to an incubator straight away. That was the beginning of one of the worst weeks of my life. I found out my baby was born with a lung infection. For three days he fought hard and they had to change his medicine three times because he was not responding well. During this period, I found the communication to be very poor. I got no real answers, just miscommunication and lots of “maybes”. I put my baby’s life into God’s hands and I prayed, prayed, and prayed. I don’t know for how many hours I sat in the hospital praying, but in the end he pulled through, and now I have a big, gorgeous nine-month old baby.
Did you have any fears during labour?
I did not really go through the classic labour, but I have learnt that a doctor should always investigate a pregnant woman’s fears.
With my first one, I was afraid that his cord was around his neck; he was born with the cord around his shoulder. With my second baby I kept asking if his lungs would be fine with him coming out at 38 weeks. I was told he would be and he ended up with infected lungs. Self-fulfilling prophecy or mother instinct? I don’t know.
When you saw your baby for the first time, did you have any particular emotions?
With my first baby, I thought, “Okay … where is the crazy love? Nothing’s happening.” Thankfully a friend of mine who had three kids told me this was normal so I didn’t panic. However, I felt my protective instinct kick in when the nurse was holding him to show me how to wash him. He started crying and I wanted to jump on the nurse and chop her head off.
With my second one, the mummy love was somehow already there. I think this is because I was already a mother
Is it all over after the birth? Were there additional experiences or weird reactions you think are worth mentioning?
For the C-section ladies, there is new water-proof cover for the scar and you can actually take a shower after. That being said, be careful in general. The scar can actually open up. Also, if you start having pain in your hip, go and see a doctor. Side effects of an epidural can lead to damage in your hip muscle and excruciating pain to the point where you can’t walk.
What was the most challenging thing you experienced during the whole process of pregnancy, birthing, and the aftermath?
I could not deal with the morning sickness. The anesthesia was also difficult. God willing, I will actually never get pregnant again because I do not want to go through that again. The sleepless nights suck too.
Do you have any words or tips for expecting mothers?
Everything passes, even the sleepless nights. Be happy to have your child in yours arms because some of us are not that lucky.
*Pitocin is s brand name of oxytocin