Meanwhile I am writhing and crying in pain. Forget culture! This is intense and colossal pain and I will show it and scream it to the moon if possible. I don’t care if they hear me in China.
Today is my birth day but I was not born on this day.Today is my son’s bornday. I birthed him 7 years ago hence my birth day. I smile and drink my tea as I reminisce this day 7 years ago. Here is my birth story;
It is 18:00 hours on Christmas day 2010. I start feeling small sharp pains every now and then. We are at the dinner table with friends, K and R. Surely it is not labour pains because the calculated due date (uitgerekend) is in 13 days, I think. I courageously don’t show the pain. African women are meant to be strong. In my culture it is a given that a woman will bear children and do so courageously. Display of pain is for weak spoilt women. It is a natural, fast and pain less process. As a matter of fact, women in the interior villages in Africa have been known to give birth in the morning and be working in the fields in the afternoon. I shall follow my culture I say as I grit my teeth and smile. I am a good actress.
It is 02: 00 hours and I cannot sleep. The pains have become sharper, consistent and regular. Again, I dismiss the pains and assume it is Braxton Hicks. My husband does not agree. We call the hospital and within 10 minutes we are on our way to the OLVG hospital, east of Amsterdam. It takes us 30 minutes because of the snow and ice on the road. Meanwhile I am writhing and crying in pain. Forget culture! This is intense and colossal pain and I will show it and scream it to the moon if possible. I don’t care if they hear me in China.
We are rushed to the birthing room and I am screaming for an epidural (rug prik). “let us check you first”, a blond heavyset nurse says. I immediately dislike her. What a masochist, bad woman! I mumble. For what feels like 30 minutes I am lying down and being examined by the whole population of nurses in the hospital and I am hating all of them. I want this baby out! Finally a friendly face says he has called an anaesthesiologist and he begins setting me up for the epidural. I love him. I am put on the epidural and the pain subsides. I can smile now and joke with my husband. But wait! The pains start again. They increase the medicine. The pain overpowers it. They increase it to the max. I still feel the pain. Nine hours pass and the baby is begging to come out but cannot. I am not dilated enough. I am still in pain and begging for an increase in medication. The evil doctors and nurses claim they upped it to the max. One of them claims they have also added another medicine that begins with a D (can’t remember) to ease the pain. I am pretty sure this person is going to hell because she is lying. My husband is all the time by my side trying to cheer me up and I’m thinking he owes me for this.
After 36 hours of pain and suffering a senior obstetrician comes to check on me and declares it an emergency c-section situation. The baby is in distress and the mother has been in labour too long. I am wheeled into the theatre and everybody is up to speed. My son is born very fast, at 20:34 hours to be precise. They lift him up to me and his first cries are music to my ears. I ask my husband to check that he has ten fingers and ten toes then I pass out for a while. After fifteen minutes I get to hold him and lie with him by my side. He is a healthy 3475 grammes and has the correct number of fingers and toes. What a beautiful miracle. He is a strong boy. He is a smart boy. That July he had made his way to the graduation podium to graduate in utero with a Msc. He is his mother’s son.