Fatima Binta Sow was born on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at 2:00pm, weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 20 centimeters. She was named after our beautiful strong, hard-working, and caring role model: my mother. I couldn’t think of anyone else who deserved the honor more.
Every birth story is different! Mine goes a little like this: The day before I gave birth to my second daughter, I woke up so angry. I was in pain. I was annoyed. And I was over 40 weeks pregnant. My doctor actually thought that Fatima would be born at least 2 weeks before because I started dilating super early, so it was really surprising to all of us that I made it to my 40-week appointment. Fatima was due February 28th, but I found myself at another appointment on March 5th at 11 am. When my doctor checked me, I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I was absolutely over it. She decided to schedule an ultrasound for that Friday and also scheduled me to be induced the following Tuesday, March 12th, just in case. After that was done, she asked me if she could “swipe my membrane” to help me go into labor. She explained that there could be a chance that it doesn’t change anything. I asked her how painful it was and this woman said, “it’s uncomfortable” but worth it. Now, I love and trust my doctor so I told her to go ahead, but I knew I effed up when she told me to hold one of her hands while she uses the other to swipe my membrane. I SCREAMED so loud the whole office heard me. So not only did I wake up in a bad mood, but now I’m in a lot of pain too. In tears, I left the office and decided to blame my husband for everything that went wrong since he didn’t come along. While he would usually blame it on the hormones and forgive my attitude, I think he was also over it. 40-week pregnant Aicha can be very mean, so let’s just say we had a HUGE fight. I was not backing down – I’m the one making life over here!
I got home from my doctor’s appointment around 1:00pm and decided to stay in bed because I was cramping (which my doctor said would happen). I spent all day in bed crying and cramping with my emotions ALL over the place (thankfully, Diari was at daycare). Around 5:30 pm, my husband picked Diari up from daycare and bought her home. After feeding her and giving her a bath, I spent some time snuggling up with her, which really helped my emotions. We stayed in bed until she fell asleep. Around 8:00pm, I realized that my mucus plug had come out so I decided to get my hospital bag ready…(Yes, I know, I’m a procrastinator). From 8:00-10:00pm, I had contractions but they were manageable. By 11:00pm, things were getting bad enough that I texted my husband who was watching TV downstairs (remember, I wasn’t talking to him lol) and asked him to move Diari to her bedroom because I didn’t want to wake her up or scare her if my contractions got worse. He came upstairs, brought water (he always brings me water even when we are fighting because I drink a lot) and took Diari to her room (he ended up falling asleep next to her, probably to avoid my evil ass at this point).
I started monitoring my contractions using an app on my phone and tried to get some sleep…But, of course, I didn’t get much sleep. I was in and out of it until 4:00am when the sharpest pain literally made me jump out of bed. From then, my contractions were so painful I could barely focus, but I was trying to be patient because I knew that if I went to the hospital too early, they could send me home. I decided to take a very hot shower to ease the pain but that didn’t help. I was cold and sweating bullets at the same damn time! I called my husband and asked him to bring me some ice, hoping that could help me. He asked if I wanted to go to the hospital but I told him not yet. By 5:00 am, I could no longer bare the pain so I told him to get ready to go. I called my right-hand person (my cousin, Hadya) so she could come and stay with Diari. Thanks to her and Diari’s uncle, JR, I could focus on my contractions knowing Diari was taken care of. The moment we got in the car and started moving, my contractions got so bad that I almost passed out. I screamed for my husband to stop the car, which in turn scared him because of course, he thought I was having the baby in the car. I don’t know how we made it to the hospital 40 minutes away, but when we did, I waddled from the car to the check-in desk. My husband actually sat in the car and prayed before we went inside – I think he was still traumatized from Diari’s birth!
We checked in around 6:30am but I was STILL only 3.5 centimeters along. Luckily, they called my doctor and she told them to admit me. THANK GOD. The staff hooked me up to monitor the baby’s heartbeat while they prepared a room – I’ve never prayed so hard in my life. By the time they transferred me to the delivery room, it was 8:00am and I was begging for an epidural. Not long after, the anesthesiologist came in and gave me my relief. FINALLY, I was able to relax and get some rest. At 10:00am, my mom called while I was in the delivery room (she always calls a few times a day to see if I’m not in labor). I spoke to her and told her that I was in my bed and I would call her back. A little secret about me: with Diari and Fatima, I never told anyone I was in labor besides my husband and my cousin because I think there’s just no point in worrying everyone. Labor is scary and telling my mom while she is thousands of miles away doesn’t help her or me. That’s why, with both of my kids, she got a call after they were born. That’s just me.
Around 12:00pm, the nurses broke my water because, of course, it was still intact. Ugh! Finally, sometime around 1:30pm, I started feeling so much pressure like I needed to poop (yes, TMI, but it’s a birth story, duh) and I told my nurse. She checked me and told me that the baby was ready to come. They could actually see her hair before I even started pushing. Once my doctor came in and everyone took their positions (my husband was to my right holding my hand and my leg as if to keep himself from fainting), it only took ONE hard push and baby Fatima was born. It’s like she knew she had been chillin in my womb too long; baby girl had overstayed her welcome and I was ready to evict her! Hassan cut the umbilical cord, which surprised me because he wasn’t able to do it with Diari since he was trying not to pass out at the time lol. They gave Fatima to me so we could get our skin to skin contact on and at this point, all I was feeling was all the love that makes the hell we go through worth it. This is where we would usually add all the fluff about emotions and loving our baby in a birth story, etc… etc…but you know all about that, right?
Anway, I thought I was finally done after the labor, the birth, and the stitches (from tearing, ugh), but noooo! Thirty minutes after Fatima was born, while still getting our skin to skin time, I had this sudden urge to throw up. I managed to quickly pass Fatima to her dad before I emptied my stomach all over the place. I threw up for another 20 minutes before I felt better. The nurse explained that it was normal and it was due to my hormones. Like I said, I was over it!
The moral of this birth story is that babies are great. Making life is beautiful. But at this point, adoption sounds pretty good too! LOL! No, but seriously, there is no better feeling than looking into the face of this new little person who takes the best of both of you and makes you forget all that is wrong. It’s all such a huge blessing from God. The fact that no matter how painful, our bodies are able to do this magical thing that we could never imagine. I’m grateful. I’m excited. All the pain I felt the morning Fatima was born turned into hope for her future and all the memories we will make together inshaAllah.
Fun Fact: Fatima was born on March 6th, which is twenty days earlier than Diari who was born on March 26th! Looks like I’ll be celebrating two March birthdays every year, which I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a scary, expensive thing, but we’ll see!