To Induce or Not to Induce
When I got pregnant with my third baby, I was convinced that she would make her entrance into the world earlier than her due date, even though her sisters were both late. I don’t know what it was that made me think that because baby girl was still holding on strong a whole week later. One thing no one can prepare you for is the calls and texts from well-meaning family and friends asking you if you’re still pregnant every day for weeks at a time. I considered telling my mom that the doctor said she needs to stop asking if the baby is here lol! Even my four-year-old was annoyed with how long I was taking to “poop out the baby.”
I had never been induced before but my doctor advised that I was at a point in my pregnancy where she didn’t want to take the risk of overextending it. So when she suggested I come in on Sunday, June 18th, 2023, we set the date. But in the meantime, I walked, bounced, and begged to try to get this baby to come on her own. Not Mariama Cire Sow. She decided that if we wanted her out, we would have to come and get her!
So as scheduled, I waddled into labor and delivery on Sunday, just before Juneteenth, to be induced. Before I tell you about the actual delivery, let me walk you through my day. I have shared both of my other birth stories in the past (Diari and Fatima’s) and this one is very different in how it starts.
The Day of Delivery
First of all, I woke up very intentionally on that day. Although it’s not how we imagine it, there’s something very beautiful about “knowing” you’re going to give birth that day (hoping all goes well). I felt a power and a serenity in myself that I didn’t have with my other births.
When I got out of bed, I packed up my daughters’ weekend bags so they could go spend the days we’d be gone at their aunt’s house. I then had the presence of mind to answer some emails and set my maternity leave out-of-office notice. I made sure to squeeze in some cuddles with my girls to commemorate our last moments as a family of four and we ate breakfast together. It was beautiful to be able to take a nice warm shower, take a moment to pray, and get dressed in my comfortable outfit without rushing.
My husband and I packed up our daughters and dropped them off. I even got to stop and grab coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts!
Checking in for Birth
We checked into the hospital around 3pm. I will say – I was terrified. Despite being prepared and scheduled to have the baby, there were still all of the feelings of fear that come with having a baby. I was thinking of the baby’s health, my health, the pain! That’s the one downside of going in to get induced – you know the pain is coming today lol! But honestly, I was fortunate to have a very smooth experience.
Once we got checked in, the nurses immediately started me on pitocin. I always thought that as soon as they administered the drugs, you would have the baby. Wrong. I labored until about 1am before baby made her grand entrance. But I couldn’t have asked for a calmer labor. I was able to FaceTime my cousin and my nephew as well as my daughters. Labor didn’t start to really heat up until about 9pm, and of course the pain was there but I was fully conscious and present in the moment. Thank you to my epidural! Side note: I support and applaud moms no matter how they give birth – medicated or not, assisted or not, home or hospital. For me personally, I am team epidural all the way and it came through for me again.
The Plot Twist
The most stressful part of the day for me was learning that my regular OB was not on call yet and therefore would not deliver my baby. I freaked out inside. A little backstory on this: my OB has been the same doctor who delivered both of my first two daughters and had cared for me in all of my prenatal appointments with baby #3. So as you can imagine, the trust and foundation we’ve built is solid. She also happens to be Black and she is just amazing. I truly lucked out in finding her. More backstory: as a Black women, being pregnant and giving birth is one of the scariest experiences you can have. Our maternal mortality rates are significantly higher than other women’s and we tend to experience worse care from OBs.
So if you talk to most Black women, you’ll learn that the fear of birth is compounded by our identity [Please always look for a OB you can trust and please switch OBs as often as you need to in order to find one that you feel comfortable with. You are worth it]. Now, imagine me, learning that the woman I trusted to deliver my baby was not in. I think I had a harder time breathing through that news than the contractions.
BUT, hear me when I say how grateful I am for my doctor. The nurse team paged her to tell her that I was in labor and this woman left her house on her off night to come be with me as I had my baby.
So at 1:21am on Juneteenth 2023 (how fitting?!), my amazing OB delivered my third beautiful baby girl. I couldn’t have asked for more. On top of all that good news, I didn’t tear! I was shocked and grateful because I experienced tearing with both of my other two deliveries.
Third Time is a Charm
All in all, I had a beautiful birth. I felt so strong and vulnerable at the same time. I experienced a full range of emotions, fear included. It’s true that you quickly forget the pains of pregnancy when they hand you your baby. My brain always focuses on counting ten fingers and ten toes and watching them take their first breaths. What a privilege it is to carry and birth life. I am tired, y’all. But forever grateful. Now we enter the newborn stage, which comes with its own set of challenges.
For all the mamas experiencing pregnancy and birth right now, whether it’s your first or your tenth, I wish you all the best. I wish you strength and peace in this time. I wish you a birth with NO tearing!!! Thank you for tuning into my birth story <3