A Birth Story

It was a Friday and I just finished work. I was due in a week so I was excited to now have this time to rest, relax, get some last minute stuff for the nursery, and spend my last stretch of quality time with Aziz as a twosome. I left work on a really good note and I was full of energy and happiness all evening, continuing into the night. At 2 am, adrenaline pumping, I swear I knew she was on her way. I don’t know how. I never got a single braxton-hicks contraction throughout my pregnancy, so I had no idea what one felt like. But I felt little baby flutters and butterflies in my stomach and I knew she was coming. To put it mildly, I was exhilarated.

I prepared dishes upon dishes of frozen meals so I would have enough to eat for the next two weeks. While my darling husband, Aziz, was sound asleep, I was in a cooking frenzy, constantly peeking my head into the bedroom and giving him little kisses to see if he would wake up. Finally, at 6 am, I burst into our bedroom with my “When You’re Expecting” book I got at the hospital and started reading him articles about the signs women get when they’re about to go into labor. “Nesting” is definitely NOT a wives' tale.

They kind of scare you into going to the hospital too early, so we decided to chill out & go to the beach until my contractions were intense and regular. It was a gorgeous beach day – I was sunbathing and relaxing in my maternity tankini & cooling off in the water. I got lots of stares. Not the kind I’ve received in the past like, oh look at that cute pregnant lady, or adoring that I was confident enough to frolic around in a bathing suit while pregnant… These stares were blatantly, ‘this woman is seriously going to pop any second.’

While basking in the sun, I started to feel my contractions intensify and become more frequent. We began timing them like we were told. Aziz was counting along the second hand on his watch while I squeezed his hand every time a contraction started and every time it ended. I had to squeeze because I had a hard time talking for some reason. Once we hit the 5-minute mark apart, we gathered ourselves and hit the road to the hospital.

Except for the fact that the highway was backed up due to a car accident. Let me just insert now that the AC was also broken in the car. It was sweltering hot, my contractions were extremely painful, and I was beyond uncomfortable. The pain was getting worse and worse. I still couldn’t talk, so I was crying and squeezing. It seemed like an eternity until we got off our exit. I was being a freak of nature and made Aziz stop at home before the hospital so I could get Lelya’s baby bag (I had this thing packed and ready to go when I was like 6 months pregnant and there was no way I was going to leave it at home when the day finally came). We pulled up to our building and went to hazard it out front so we could hurry in and out. The doorman to the building next to ours was being a jerk and making us move the car. It was actually pretty hysterical, like out of a movie. Aziz yelled “WE’RE GOING INTO LABOR!!!” (I bet every guy just waits for the one chance they get to yell this in their lives) and the doorman yelled back threatening to call the cops. Aziz threw me the keys and I just scurried past the whole scene into our building. Snagged the baby bag. Then I thought to myself, when was the last time I showered? So in between contractions, I quickly hopped into the shower. And I also shaved. I know, I’m a freak.

Finally. On the way to the hospital. More traffic. By the time we got there, I was hysterically weeping like a child and could barely catch my breath. I could barely walk and I couldn’t speak. I checked in at the triage and they asked me what my level of pain was from 1-10 and Aziz had to speak for me, “I think a 20.” The nurse pulled me in, determined that I was 7 cm dilated, in active labor, and they admitted me right away. I got my epidural as soon as I could, and it was all awesome from that point on (except for one episode, which I’ll get to).

The epidural was a freaking lifesaver. Seriously, big props to anyone who gives birth naturally. I didn’t rule out delivering naturally beforehand, I was just going to play it by ear and see if I could tolerate the pain, but I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have cared if they had to stick that huge needle through my eyeball. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life and truly indescribable. I barely felt anything once the epidural kicked in, just pressure. My water broke shortly thereafter. Lelya’s head apparently didn’t drop as soon as they wanted her to, so they hooked me up to a pitocin IV, which intensified my contractions, which would then in turn get her head to drop. Except it was the worst idea ever. Lelya's heart rate was dropping. Fast. All the doctors rushed in, unsure of what was wrong. They had me on all fours and moving around in all sorts of positions. Turns out the umbilical cord was tied around her neck, getting tighter and tighter, and choking her with every contraction. They shut the pitocin off, and her heart rate went back up (they kept the pitocin off for the remainder of the delivery). Her head dropped naturally, and then I started to push. I was pushing for about 2 hours. At 1:21 in the morning on Father’s Day, Lelya Aziz arrived into the world.

And she was perfect.

6 lbs and 12 ounces and 19 inches. She was the most beautiful baby I ever saw. And I’m not just saying that because she came out of me. I mean it. Most babies look like aliens when they are born. Not Lelya. She didn’t even have a cone head. She was the cutest little thing I ever laid my eyes on and I literally felt my heart expand and I loved her more than words could describe.

After the delivery, my adrenaline was still pumping. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I just wanted to look and hold Lelya. They kept telling me I should get some sleep, but I seriously couldn’t even force myself to. I was so happy and so excited. I walked laps around the post-partum unit. I actually had the time of my life post-partum. Seriously, it was like a vacation. Aziz stayed with me the whole time and slept on the cot in my hospital room. We ordered in, went for walks, talked excitedly about our newest addition, and dropped baby Lelya off in the nursery with the nurses when we wanted to sleep. This sounds crazy, but that 3-day period in post-partum was the most fun I’ve had with Aziz in my whole life to date.

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