I'm up at 1 AM writing this final entry to my pregnancy story. I honestly couldn't go to bed without writing it because it's the best part. After my hard and difficult and long pregnancy, I've finally gotten to the best part. This was the only thing I had peace about my entire pregnancy. Not once was I nervous to give birth, and it was really odd. It was like in the depths of my soul I knew giving birth would be the best part of the whole nine months and I counted down the days, especially after I was scheduled for an induction.
You see, the part of my pregnancy that I don't think I've really touched on is the part about feeling violated. Pregnancy was so hard for me because I felt violated. My body was taken, and no longer mine, and I felt claustrophobic. It was a very difficult realization, and the one thing I knew I could do was have a good birth. A lot of people say you can't control how your birth goes, and I would agree in some ways, for example, I was not planning on having a scheduled induction yet that's what happened. But there is a lot you can control when birthing. For example, you can control your pain, breathing, movement, and mindset. You can do certain things to be better prepared for birth and you can have a lot of control over the environment you birth in.
It sucks to not have many options as to where you deliver. Sadly, I was only allowed due to my high-risk pregnancy, and my insurance to deliver in a hospital, and I think I would've decided on a birth center if I had the choice to go anywhere. Despite this I made sure to bring birth center vibes to the hospital space. Brought a big throw blanket from home, kept the dim lights, and let the nurses know that I needed to be asked before they could do anything because I wanted to further diminish that feeling of violation and needed to always be able to consent. I had a goal, and that was to deliver my baby before the turn into the new year. I went in on the night of December 30th, and everyone was predicting a 2022 baby. I looked at the nurse and doctor that night and I said, "I will not be pregnant in 2022". My intentions were very clear, a quick birth, in 2021. Well, folks, when you have set intentions, have peace of mind, and a deep understanding of what you can control, sometimes birth can go your way.
On the night of the 30th, I attempted to sleep with slight contractions here and there. Then on the morning of December 31st, I got up with the intention of delivering a baby. My husband and mom came to support me and I had the best nurse ever for the day. My nurse Kim had scheduled my induction and set up my care partner plan which she had to specifically get approved because of my husband's disability, and she had said she might be a nurse on that holiday. I prayed for her as my nurse, and there she was. Around lunchtime, after having made no progress and watching a couple of episodes of the office, I ate a meal and got in the shower, and my contractions began to pick up. By 2 pm, I was in full-on labor, working hard to handle the pain, and using all the techniques I had learned in preparation. My water broke at 3 pm, and I met my son at 4:31 PM. It was exactly what I wanted, quick, in 2021, and I really preferred not to have an epidural, which turned out to not be needed because it was so quick.
There were so many little details that day that made it even more evident that I was meant to have him that day. It was 18 days after my birthday and 18 days before his father's birthday. His father shares his birthday with Betty White, whereas while I was in labor we found out about Betty Whites Death. The baby had been so active that we couldn't keep him on the monitor, which was incredibly worrisome, but somehow someway his heart rate remained stable. When I began pushing, his heart rate had begun to drop, but thanks to what Kim calls "power pushing" I got him out in only three pushes (less than 15 minutes of pushing) and was able to avoid any emergency services for his heart rate issues.
He was born just in the nick of time. We were able to avoid a whole host of things that could've gone wrong, while we also got to give him enough time to develop and I got my wish, he got to stay with me and not in the NICU. It was honestly a miracle. Everything that day and the way he was born felt like a miracle. Miracles, I never really truly had witnessed any until that day. When I heard his very strong cry, it felt as though my soul had suddenly reentered my body and my heart grew three sizes. After such a rough pregnancy I wasn't sure I'd get to have that whole love at first breath thing, but I did. After about five minutes of him laying on my chest and I finally broke down. Sobbed tears of happiness that I wasn't dead, that he was alive, that we were finally there, the three of us together earthside. It was the most beautiful, raw moment of my life.
My nurse was right by my side, ensuring that I wouldn't die. It got really scary there for that 4 o'clock hour. His heart rate kept dropping while I pushed and then after I had him I was losing blood quite rapidly. And all the while, Kim remained calm, walked me through what was happening, and stayed present with me. She was such an amazing nurse, and I ended up nominating her for a nationally recognized nursing award which she won!!! She was an incredible nurse, and I hope and wish more nurses were like her. She was phenomenal.
Truly, it was the best New Years' Eve a girl could ask for. I got to watch the ball drop while holding my perfect newborn baby. I posted "Good News" exactly a year before on New Years' Eve 2020 and wow how widely different life was on New Years' Eve 2021. It was beautiful. Truly.
My journey ended beautifully but it doesn't always end like it did for me. Pregnancy is scary and birth is sadly not often the beautiful journey I've shared. I think everyday about Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac both who lost their lives during giving birth in the United States. We MUST advocate and fight for better, and always carry those we lost in our hearts. Because death is preventable. And we all, but especially our black and indigenous birthers deserve better. We MUST do better.