Before I was pregnant, I would watch videos on Youtube about women giving birth, listening to their birth plans, and how those plans drastically changed once they went into labor. Once I became pregnant in late November of 2019, I went back to all those videos I watched and decided that I wanted a natural unmedicated birth. I was aware that the baby would ultimately decide how labor and delivery would go, but I never imagined that our first experience with labor and delivery would go how it did. Here’s the story of Yemaya Sade.
July 20, 2020
Today was my 36-week doctor’s appointment. I was 36 weeks 2 days pregnant on this day and was going in to get a recommended vaccine before delivery. I think it was for whooping cough if I’m not mistaken. Although I was scheduled only for the vaccine and to hear the baby’s heartbeat, I wanted to know if I was dilated at all. I have a family history of delivering early and wanted to know if I would be delivering early as well. I’d asked the doctor once I got there if she would do a vaginal exam and she told me no. She said that at their practice they did not do vaginal exams until 38 weeks. I was about two weeks too early for her to do that for me. Knowing my history and hearing about African American women having issues during childbirth, I pressed her about checking me and so she did.
I was asked to put my feet into the stirrups and she would do a vaginal exam just to check and see if there were any changes to my cervix. She completed the exam and walked out of the room. Being a first-time mom, I wasn’t sure if this was normal, but within two minutes, a nurse walked in with an ultrasound machine. I began to get nervous, because no one had said anything to me at this point except, “the doctor will be right back”. I begin to text Geeshian explaining everything that was happening. During covid, no one was allowed to come to the doctor’s appointments with me.
The doctor came back and did a quick ultrasound, she checked the heartbeat, length, and weight of the baby. She printed me some pictures and left out of the room again. Now, I am really looking at her like, “Um, ma’am, can you please tell me what is going on?” She comes back and tells me that I am 80% effaced and 2cm dilated. Effacement is how thin the cervix is in preparation for delivery. Once you’re 100% effaced, your cervix is ready to deliver. She then told me I needed steroids just in case the baby came before 37 weeks (before Saturday). The steroids would ensure that baby’s lungs are strong. I won’t even hold you, those shots were the worst shots I’d had in years. Completely painful and unnecessary.
Please note, you can be stuck at 2cm dilated for weeks! According to my doctor, my cervix had progressed at a rate they usually see when someone is already in labor. She asked if I was having cramps or noticed any bleeding and I said no. The only cramps I’d had were Braxton hicks contractions. I left my doctor’s office excited that I could be delivering any day now. It was time to get things in order at the house.
July 21-24, 2020
A few days before Yemaya was born were normal days in my pregnancy, as normal as it could have been with quarantine and covid-19. I was in the thick of nesting and began taking everything from our closet to reorganize it. I was rewashing clothes, reorganizing shoes, throwing away old things, and taking frequent breaks to eat snacks. During this time I was also reading every article about “when will I know it’s getting close to delivery?” To my knowledge, I wasn’t having any signs of labor except what the doctor had told me.
I continued my daily schedule as normal. Youtube, snack, clean, repeat. Geeshian still had a normal work schedule and was pretty much on call at this point. He had to be ready at a moment’s notice if I’d call and tell him it was time. Luckily for him, this dramatic scene never happened and we made it to Friday without any issues. Geeshian got off of work around 1 am (July 25th) and we watched some comedy shows, he had a few beers, while I had pregnancy tea and we both went to bed around 4 am.
This is part one of my birth story. As I was editing this post I realized how long and detailed it is and figured I should break it up into parts. I hope that you enjoyed part one of the story behind my daughter’s birth. Part two is the big day. I can’t wait for you to read it.