What a wonderful weekend it had been. Eid ul Fitr is my favorite Eid, and I was secretly hoping I would go into labour. What a dramatic and fun story that would have been to tell my son!
You were an Eid baby!
We went to an obscene number of houses as you do; when it’s Eid and you aren’t strapped to your bed. I changed outfits more times that weekend as well because I wanted to “encourage” this baby out before I administered an eviction notice. But the last two days came and went and nothing. No Eid Baby.
My mother kept reassuring me that I still have two more weeks left till baby arrives. I just finished 37 weeks and was out of the woods! This entire pregnancy had been a roller coaster ride and I was ready to meet my baby.
July 20, 2015
The morning after the mayhem that was Eid weekend, I woke up feeling sore. Naturally. Thinking nothing of it, I pattered around my mother’s house (I don’t believe I have mentioned in my story that I had basically moved back in with my mom after going on bed rest because I didn’t want to take care of myself anymore and I just wanted my mommy. Not a very “nesting” attitude, but it was the truth.
It was also easier to get to the hospital for the insanely regular and frequent “baby watch” appointments from her house because I wanted to deliver at a particular hospital.
My lower back was sore, my legs were wobbly. I basically chalked it up to end of pregnancy troubles. My phone rang. It was another bestie checking in on me. She’s a bit of a bossy one when it comes to health matters.
“Go to the OB’s office, and get your soreness checked.” she said.
“‘I’m fine. It’s just that time in the pregnancy, I’m going to take a nap, maybe it will go away.” I said.
“GO NOW. Or I will come to your mom’s and drag you to the OB and get you checked out myself. You could be in labour.” she said.
“I’m not going,”
“Ok, im getting in my car.”
“Ok fine! I’ll go. Jeez”
*bossy bestie hangs up the phone*
“Your water isn’t broken but you are five centimeters dilated. Congratulations, you’re in labour! Get ready to meet your baby!” said the OB.
I hate when she’s right. But the idea that I would meet my little one filled me with so much excitement, I went on to ask the doctor:
“How much time do I have?”
“Can I go home and take a shower?”
“Can I eat lunch?”
“How long do you think it will take until I actually give birth?”
“Do you know if my water will break if I move too much?”
“Is it gross if my water breaks at home?
I headed home because the doctor told me, since I am not feeling major contractions; that I’m probably a ways away. I could go home, take a shower, grab my hospital bag, eat some lunch and head on over to the labour and delivery unit at the hospital.
YAY! This is so exciting! I went home and took a shower and blow dried my hair, put on some eyeliner and called my husband and told him the good news!
While all this is happening, my mother is absolutely beside herself. Why is this girl blow drying her hair? Why is eyeliner important right now? But she resisted the urge to say anything.
Let the preggo do her weird ritual and stay out of her way.
“Ammu, I’m hungry,” I said.
“I’m getting lunch on the table, come eat.” she said.
“No I feel like having pad thai and soup! Let’s go to that restaurant for lunch before going to the hospital.
“What?” she said “You want to go to a restaurant? NOW?”
“Yea, it’ll be fun!” I said.
Let the preggo do her weird ritual and stay out of her way.
As we sat for my soup to arrive I could start to feel pain at regular intervals. YAY CONTRACTIONS! The funny thing was that these felt like mild cramps. Nothing I couldn’t handle, given my pregnancy track record. I wasn’t going to let a few contractions make me skip lunch. It’s fine. Let’s eat.
“Here’s your pad thai,” said a server.
“Thank you,” I said while holding my tummy, cringing.
“Are you okay?” asked the concerned server.
“SHE’S IN LABOUR. My daughter, she is having a baby today. But she wants her lunch. Yes!” blurts out my mom.
“Like right now? She’s in labour right now?”
Suddenly our service became quite quick and efficient. We were out of there in less than 25 minutes. I don’t know in hindsight, I think the server got nervous.
To my mother’s relief, we get to the hospital in one piece, nothing crazy to report from the ride. The contractions were still mild and nothing hurting unbearably.
At the triage in labour and delivery, the nurse gives me a once over and says,
“you don’t look like you’re in labour. You are too happy”
“The OB sent me here, he says I am.”
“OOOooookkkkaaaaayyyyyy, let’s get you checked.”
It was a waiting game. My family descended upon the hospital to get some good news but were disappointed to know, nothing had progressed. I was told to walk and wait. Around midnight, I asked my exhausted family to go get some rest.
Baby wasn’t coming today.
My husband and sister opted to do night duty while the rest of the family headed home. Around 3:30AM in the morning, things began to get interesting. They saw that despite my lack of painful contractions, I was almost fully dilated. The nurses decided that they would manually break my water and see how quickly I progress.
They wheeled me into the delivery room. Stationed by my head, my dream team – husband and sister were ready to coach me through my labour. I was set up in the bed and I made quick work of reminding my husband that he was to discourage me from getting an epidural. I didn’t want one. I told him under no circumstances should he let me get one. He knew it was a bad idea to agree, but he wasn’t going to upset me. Not now.
“Okay, it’s 4am now and my shift is done at 7am. Let’s try to have this baby by the time my shift ends, shall we?” said my nurse, Mary.
“Sure! Let’s do it!” I said, sarcastically. I mean, the way I was progressing, I wasn’t sure that was going to happen.
I felt a small prick. They broke my water with a needle. Whoosh. Then the most excruciating pain began to explode from my lower half. I was in full blown active labour. Imagine pulling on a chicken wing to separate the two parts. That’s what it felt like was happening to my hips and thighs. After about 5 consecutive contractions, I said, “I need an epidural.’
“We said we wouldn’t do that, my husband approached nervously.
“I. Want. An. Epidural.” I gritted.
“Nurse, we need an epidural. He said.
“I’ll call the anesthesiologist,” she said.
My sister fans my hair and is increasingly getting worried because she’s not supposed to be in the delivery room. My mom is. But she’s at home.
The anesthesiologist is in the hall outside my room and the doctor decides that one more check at the situation before administering the epidural.
“Sorry sweetheart, no time for the epidural. You are crowning. That baby is coming out!”
“WHAT? No epidural? No way… I’m not pushing…”
“Knock it off! Your baby needs you and I’m here. Have you done any birthing classes?” She asks me.
“No, I was on bedrest, I watched a few YouTube videos.”
“Basically you know nothing.” She says. “Listen to me girl, I will get you through this. Just stay with me and do as I say!”
“Okay. Got it.”
“Deep breath in. And bear down and exhale. And do not scream. Channel that energy into your PUSSHHH.”
“Take a break. And PUSH!
Okay! The head is out!”
I’m in shock. I want to scream. No screaming she said, but this hurts like a Bi…. And PUSH!!!!
“He’s out! He’s here! Look at all that hair! Daddy, do you want to cut the cord?”
Nervously excited, my husband cut the cord and the baby got taken to the side to get cleaned off.
“Oh mom’s gonna kill me,” said my sister. “What why!?” I asked her.
“Because she missed the birth and I got to see it instead.
“Do we have a name for baby?” Asked the nurse as she put his little body on my chest to greet for the first time.
I only knew of two names that I loved for my son. One, Jibran as in Khalil Jibran. The other came to me in a dream. I referred to the baby as Azan in the dream. It was short, cute and having been born just past the Fajr azan, it was a perfect fit.
“Azan Ali Hossain. That’s his name.”
Twenty-six minutes of active, drug free labour later, my son, my first born Azan, came into this world.
Welcomed by his Abbu and Khala – NikiMa, and on the way to the hospital, and my mother and father, who had been praying Fajr at the time of his birth.