I realized I’ve never actually written Layla’s birth story! She is now 6 years old and before I get Alzheimer’s I suppose I should write down how it went. It was pretty eventful as I imagine all birth stories are.
I had Prodromal labor so that was “A lot of fun” (FULL sarcasm there lol.) In other words I was in labor for a whole week. In plain English…I didn’t sleep for a whole week because of the contractions coming and going. While everyone in the house was asleep I was in the living room doing labor exercises with my watermelon sized belly.
One of those nights I “thought” I was ready to go into labor, so my mom, brother and sister in law and I drove down to the hospital. Call me the pregnant rookie…because I was. I actually told my mom to take a picture of me in front of the hospital and I was smiling. Yeah…last time I checked that’s not how it goes when you’re in labor. Hashtag #abouttohavemybaby #not. To my surprise I was not dilated at all and they sent me back home. Boo-Hoo. We all went to IN-N-Out and ate hamburgers after that.
A few days later I was sitting at home on my parents leather sofa (which I scored a good deal on from a craigslist seller) and BOOM. I KNEW. THIS WAS HAPPENING. The contractions were real this time. I called out to my mom who was in the kitchen. My mom then excitedly called my dad on the phone. Within an hour we were all on our way to the hospital.
It was around 8 pm and by the time we got to the hospital (an hour from our home) I was in so much pain. I was sitting in a wheelchair just waiting to be wheeled to a room and I remember screaming and crying from the pain. There were a lot of people nearby that kept staring at me, some looked worried. My mom tried telling me to breathe and I remember screaming “I CANT BREATH!!!!!!!!” I might’ve scared some people at that point lol. Labor doesn’t always bring out the best in you. Im sure it would’ve been a great scene for a movie though bahaha. The thing is I felt I was getting kicked in the stomach over and over and couldn’t even catch my breath.
I was quickly wheeled to my room. It looked like a beautiful hotel suite. I was lucky I didn’t have to pay a single dime since my insurance covered it. Anyway, I remember this older nurse vividly who told me to stop screaming and start breathing. I remember those piercing little blue eyes looking sternly at me as she told me to act like I was blowing out a candle. I wanted to choke her.
She left the room, and I sat there in my bed trying to “blow out a dumb candle”. I probably looked ridiculous. My mom sat in the sofa a few feet away in our dimly lit room. A few minutes later I was no longer screaming in pain. All the pain …was gone. the contractions seemed to have vanished out of nowhere and I was starting to lose all energy and slump forward. My eyes were closing. At that point my mom got up worried and called the nurses. They came in and quickly went back out to get an IV and fluid solution bags. Once two fluid solution bags were administered I was sitting back up feeling fine as can be with no more contractions. One of the nurses said to me “Dr. Carter is here tonight – he’s one of the best doctors in the whole hospital. If you get him you’ll be really lucky.” Sure enough, I ended up getting him. But before that, I was checked to see how dilated I was and to my utter disappointment I was told I was not dilated at all. AT ALL. It was like the nightmare that never ended. They wanted to send me back home again. “but we live an hour away..” my mom told the nurse. “What if she goes into labor?” The nurse looked like she couldn’t care less. She looked at me, then at my mom and said, “Well you can go to a Wal-mart nearby and walk around for a while.” My mom and I went down to the Emergency room where my dad waited. He seemed confused when he saw us. My mom explained the situation and soon we were in the car…driving to a Wal-mart ! No way was I gonna have my baby at Walmart. I knew I was in real labor this time and I didn’t want to take any chances. I wasn’t trying to be Natalie Portman. “Turn around” I said from the back seat. “Turn around, I wanna go back to the hospital.” My dad turned the car around without asking questions. I didn’t care if I wasn’t dilated, I was going to demand to be admitted. I had enough of this prodromal labor.
They re-admitted me quickly and soon I was back up in my room, sitting on my hospital bed with the hospital devices hooked up to my arms and around my belly. Then, Dr. Elijah Carter walked in. I’m so glad he did. My case was not for just any doctor and he handled it with flying colors.
He sat on the end of my hospital bed, one hand over the other, and softly told me that I was not dilated and what that would mean. The possibility of being sent home again. At that point, my frazzled sleep deprived self burst out crying. “I ..JUST… want to have my BABYYY!!!!” I cried throwing my hands up in the air. “I hear all the other ladies having their babies down the hall and I just want to have mine too!!” I was a mess of tears, my bottom lip quivering. Dr.Carter looked at me as if he understood. He then said, “Look. I promise you this: One way or another you will have your baby tonight ok? ..ok?” he smiled warmly at me. I nodded trying to collect myself.
About an hour later, he came back in. He looked like he had bad news. “We’ve ran some tests, and your baby is not getting enough oxygen. This is very dangerous and if left in this state, babies can be born with severe problems and mental retardation,” he explained. “I know…I know a C-section was not something you wanted to do but at this point..”
“Its fine,” I said immediately, “whatever is best for the baby.”
He looked at me to confirm I was ok with it. after I nodded again, he said, “OK! we’ll get some nurses in here to prep you for the operation and get the operating room ready.”
As I laid in my hospital bed waiting, I remember staring at the clock on the wall. 3 AM. I was about to be operated on. I wished I was anyone else in that moment. “WHY DID I GET PREGNANT?” I thought. My own thoughts vanished as soon as the nurses whisked in to prep me for the operation. Soon, I was on the operating table in a big cold operating room. The anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural shot quickly and painlessly – I’m so glad he didn’t hit a nerve like some of the cases I’ve heard of. A nurse held my hand for support during the procedure but seeing as I didn’t experience pain, she said “See that wasn’t so bad?” and smiled at me. I appreciated her support.
Minutes later I was laying on the operating table when Dr. Carter and about 8 other surgical aides, doctors and nurses swarmed in ready to start the operation. A small curtain was pulled up in front of me, and my mom stood beside me. “Before you start can you make sure I really am numb ?” I asked the doctor closest to me. “we already started” He said with a blank stare. “Oh. Ok.” Well, that answered my question since I didn’t feel a thing.
Until I did. The same doctor begun to press down over the top of my uterus to deliver Layla. He pressed down harder and harder each time with unbelievable force. It was as if he was a China sumo wrestler instead of a doctor. It sounds funny but I screamed and cried from the pain. My mom witnessed the whole thing. The only thing we could think of is that Layla must’ve been really stuck.
A few minutes later my mom and I knew Layla was out – we could hear a few things here and there from the doctors but we couldn’t see anything. Then there was silence. Just silence for minutes with no one telling us anything. My mom got worried. I got worried. But we waited.
Then finally we heard it. The beautiful sound of a baby crying. MY BABY. I cried from the joy I felt and so did my mom. A nurse brought Layla over so I could see her. She was wrapped tightly in a pink hospital blanket. I remember looking at Layla’s tiny face. Her eyes stared into mine and I wanted to hold her but she was taken away to be checked by the nursery nurse. My mom went with them, and I stayed on the operating table as they finished stitching me up. Minutes later though she was handed to me and the nurse instructed me on skin-to-skin and breastfeeding. Then I was wheeled back to my room where I could finally just enjoy looking at my new baby and staring at her tiny fingers in awe. About 20 minutes later we were wheeled to another room on the post-natal ward where I would be staying for the next 5 days.
Dr. Carter paid me a visit two days later. He walked in with a big warm smile and congratulated me as I sat there with my baby in my arms beaming with joy. He then asked if they had me on solid food yet. When I told him they still had me on a liquid diet he nodded quietly, walked out of my room to the nurses outside, and screamed at them to get me on solid food immediately. He was so mad at them. Then he came back in with a warm smile, said a few words of farewell and left. Ill always be grateful for the way he took care of me.
There was a night time nurse who adored Layla. Mind you Layla had crazy hair that looked like she’d been electrocuted, but it was nothing a cute little beanie couldn’t fix. This night time nurse (who watched Layla for me in my room while I slept a little each night) actually knitted her a little cap with a flower on it and I have kept it all these years. It was one of the sweetest gifts. It was really special to me the way the nurses cared for Layla at night. They changed her first meconium diaper and laughed as I looked horrified at seeing black poop for the first time.
My mom came during the day any chance she got, and so did other relatives with gifts for Layla. For some reason I really wanted flowers and balloons but I didn’t want to say anything. So imagine my joy when my mom walked in with a huge bouquet of flowers and balloons the day after Layla was born. I’ll always treasure that – It made Layla’s birth that much more memorable.
And that’s the story of how Layla was born. A story she never gets tired of hearing. A story I actually still remember every detail of! My little baby is now 6 years old, and as I always tell her: I’m so glad it was her who was in my belly.