It’s 2:30 in the morning. I’m visiting my parents in the Bronx. I’m currently 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, laying down next to my youngest brother after stuffing our faces with Chinese food, and watching silly movies all night. I’m starting to get uncomfortable, and I figured the food is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m giving it time to get better… but at 3:20am, I decided it was time to go home. I ordered an Uber and I snuck out of the house. I most definitely did not think I was in labor, but every part of me just wanted to be next to my partner, Steve.
I arrive in Harlem at 4am, still feeling weird. It wasn’t a sharp pain or anything, but it didn’t feel normal. I shake Steve a bit to let him know I’m home because I know the last thing he’s done is check his text messages, especially since I heard a little snore while I tippy-toed in the house.
He’s been in pain lately, mostly in his back, since he sits so much at work, and he has a shift in a few hours. The last thing I want to do is wake him up for no reason. I laid down for about an hour, tossing and turning. It wasn’t working. I decide to take a warm bath so I can relax, it was now 6am, and the water covering my body felt so nice. I kept rotating in the tub. I felt like a rotisserie chicken.
Once it was 7am, I figured I held on long enough. Maybe I should head to the hospital, “just in case”. Every part of me did not think I was in labor. This isn’t how it looks in the movies. My water definitely didn’t break, at least I think it didn’t— since I was submerged in water.
Nonetheless, it was time to wake up Steve, and as I walked to the bed, dripping water all over the hardwood floors, I still felt guilty for waking him up.
Steve wakes up, in complete confusion. These past few weeks he’s been on high alert, just in case I tell him it was time to go. Naturally, his first response is “Is it time?” Except I don’t have an answer. I’ve never done this before!
“Umm, I don’t know… but maybe we should go? I don’t want you to call out of work if you don’t have to”
“Ok, but what if it is?”
As I struggle to throw on the first pair of sweats I see, I overhear him on the phone ” I think the baby is coming.”
My heart smiles, and then I’m brought back to reality to the pain that kept getting closer.
The cab ride, luckily was quick, except for every single bump on the road, I felt. Which did not help. When we arrived at 7:30am, I start to begin the process of checking myself in. Due to Covid protocols, temperatures need to be taken before entering almost anywhere, it’s this whole ordeal. The security guy screams across the hall that visiting hours are still not available.
I mentioned to him how I think I’m in labor, and he quickly changes his mindset–“Oh, go upstairs! You don’t need to do this, go!”
I waddle myself to the elevators.
Steve checks me into Labor + Delivery… turns out, I’m already 4cm dilated. I’m told to stay, and I was reassured this baby was coming today.
For the past month, I’ve been wondering when you would arrive, turns out you wanted to make a grand entrance on Easter… the day of resurrection. Wow, girl.
Everything after this felt like it happened so fast. I, who rather have more information than less in every aspect of my life, ask in what time frame you normally start to dilate. I was told about a centimeter and a half per hour, at the rate I was going. So according to my calculations, I needed 6 more cm’s before it was time, which means by 2pm, I would be holding her in my arms.
Now that I know indeed that these are contractions, they seem to hurt way more now, and they’re coming closer and closer together. I’m sent to a room, where I’m being monitored. I had every intention of everything being natural. `Yeah, that wasn’t happening. I opted for the epidural, and thank goodness I did.
Her blood pressure was dropping. She was fighting the contractions. She wanted to get out of there so badly, I even had to get my water broken by one of the doctors. The more contractions I had, the more her blood pressure dropped. I was being rotated at every angle to see if it helped. It didn’t.
I was told I needed a C-section, and I did not want that at all. I kept denying it, and Steve, as amazing as he was, knew that I didn’t want that either. He kept advocating for me, holding my hand, and kept telling me that it was all going to be okay. God is with us.
I teared as I was rushed to an emergency C-section.
I was scared, and the tears kept forming. Everything happened so fast. Next thing I knew I was in a bright white room full of doctors. Not like I could barely see anyway, I had blue tissue paper blocking my view from my neck down. I felt the pressure on my abdomen, Steve walks in in full hazmat gear, tells me they’re cutting, and then I hear that loud cry… that’s my baby’s cry. It slowly started to fade, since she was being walked to the other side of the room, while I’m yelling, “Is she okay?” I feel another doctor shove their whole hand inside of me, it felt like what dough would feel like if it was being kneaded.
Steve rushes to her and yells “She’s healthy!” Her little cry is everything— the doctor brings her around, Steve over my head now holds her, and this time the tears of being scared turned into happy ones.
This is my daughter. I have a daughter.