Giving birth to Roman is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I’ve lost people, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve been robbed, I’ve been attacked and molested, I’ve been assaulted and heartbroken, I’ve fought for my life, I’ve acquired two degrees in a span of 6 years and I’ve worked for a multinational. And giving birth to a 2.8kg baby is literally hands down by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. My body shows it.
When we found out about Roman, it was a surprise. There’s no need denying that. Not a HUGE surprise because everyone knows that if you eat too much yam, you’ll get fat. But a surprise nonetheless because sometimes you just want fried yam at 11 pm and you’ve eaten it at that time previously and nothing happened so why should this time be different? My brothers and sisters, I got fat.
I had had a weird feeling for weeks and my period was late. A normal human being would have immediately known what was going on considering the fact that my period has NEVER EVER been late. Honestly. I can track the phases of the moon with my period. But me being me, I was sure it was something else.
Two weeks before that, we had gone to Omu Resort (which made me happy because it’s Karo’s last name, not that anyone cares. But they should) and I was excited to get on the rides. I was wearing the sexiest jumpsuit on the planet I promise, and my skin was glowing anyhowly. Deji even mentioned it and I was feeling fly. Next thing, I had to be escorted to the sitting area because my vision was thinning and I literally couldn’t breathe. Obviously, we know now that it was Roman giving me a sneak peak of the type of wahala he can cause but it’s all good.
Deji had bought a pregnancy test months earlier because he secretly wanted a baby. That’s my explanation and I’m sticking to it. So I woke up randomly in the middle of the night in the first week of June 2017. It was about 5 am, maybe 5:30. I just got up and went to the bathroom and peed on the stick. I came back to the room. And waited. And waited. And waited. Then boom. Positive. 3+ weeks. My heart was so warm but my hands were shaking. I knew Deji would be happy but I wasn’t sure if we were ready for a baby. I thought I knew how different things could be but I really had no idea.
So we went to a hospital that day. We held hands the whole time. I remember noting that. I’ll be honest, we hold hands all the time. They confirmed our pregnancy and I just had this feeling. I can’t quite describe it. It was like an out of body experience. Where something is happening but you’re not sure it’s really happening and to you of all people? I knew the journey wouldn’t be easy but I knew it meant a couple of things for us as a couple.
I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I’m not a fit person so pregnancy was really just the absolute worst. I had all the nausea in the world and I was grateful that I wasn’t vomiting. Until I started vomiting and then I started being grateful that I wasn’t dying. Until I started feeling like I was dying. I like walking around but I couldn’t do that. I stopped eating much because if I ate before 2 pm, I would spend the whole day vomiting. I couldn’t stand my favorite things anymore and wanted all the pepper in this world.
Everyone said I looked good but I felt like a whale and it really was just a stressful situation. I was in so much pain for the last trimester, we all agreed that I was better off in bed. Until I started exercising a bit to build up strength for labor. This is a real thing by the way. You need to prepare your body before labor. Obviously consult your doctor but building endurance went a long way in saving my life.
At 35 weeks, I had pre-term labor. I noticed that I was having contractions and I quietly lay beside my husband the whole night. I mentioned it to him the next morning and he thought I was crazy for not insisting on a hospital trip. So we went to get it checked out. We were told everything was okay but looking back, it wasn’t. I kept losing weight in pregnancy and everyone kept telling me that it was normal or a good thing because I was fat. It affected my son’s birth weight and almost cost us our lives. Just a sprinkle of fatphobia in the healthcare system is enough to end in death.
I was induced on a Wednesday. I was so happy that this was finally happening. I hated being induced. Basically they stick an inflatable pipe up your vagina and inflate it with water. This load sits on the opening of the cervix and irritates it which leads to the ripening of the cervix. This means that the cervix start opening up so the baby can move further down and go through the birth canal. Alright that’s the biology of it basically. In the layest man terms. The catheter stayed in for 12 hours and caused me an intense amount of pain from contractions. So labor had officially started.
I was moved to the active labor ward (which is essentially just them moving you to a place where they’ll be ready if anything goes left. Because the truth about labor is that you’re doing it on your own and everyone else is just there to assist). I progressed well but the doctor kept putting his whole arm in me to see how much I had dilated. When the labor process starts, the cervix is supposed to dilate to 10 cm before you can begin pushing. I got to 10 cm after 24 hours of unending pain. And I pushed for an hour. But my son wouldn’t come.
This whole process sounds like I was alone but I had Deji and my mother. I had all the support I needed at that time but I wasn’t really present in the process. The pain was all I could feel, see and taste. I marked the passage of time with my pain. Deji was holding my hands but I couldn’t really see him. I was begging him to beg them to cut my boy out because I couldn’t really feel him. The doctor admitted that he was very concerned about the baby’s heart rate. It was about 75 from 145. I wanted to die. I asked to die if it would save my boy. I asked Deji to sign whatever he needed to sign. My boy was in trouble because he had been in there so long. And I was prepared to die if anything happened to him. That was the first time I felt the type of love that mothers always talk about. It was the only thing I felt apart from the pain. It overshadowed the pain.
The medical team discovered that my boy was face to pubis ( he was coming out face first instead of head, which wasn’t funny but till date, he does everything face first) so a C section was inevitable. I didn’t mind because I had run out of energy all of a sudden and a voice told me to stop pushing. We later found out that I would have snapped Roman’s neck if I had kept pushing.
The anaesthesiologist was missing. Nobody could find him. I lay on a bed contracting every 30–45 seconds without breaks for 4 hours before I was administered an epidural for the c section. Before it was administered, they took my blood pressure and started whispering. The doctor said “this machine must be faulty” and asked for another one. It took 4 machines for them to realize that my blood pressure was actually that low and that they’d have to get it up to administer the epidural. Or I wouldn’t wake up afterwards.
I thought they found a solution because I received the epidural but 2 or 3 minutes into the procedure, I started feeling all the cutting and all the pain. I screamed and begged the doctor to stop but he told me that he couldn’t because they had already started. So he started shouting for me to be put under completely. Earlier, the doctor had exclaimed on seeing my uterus and asked for antibiotics to be pumped into me. They had pulled Roman out and announced his time of birth but he was whisked away very quickly. I think I was fading in and out because Deji kept saying my name.
I woke up in the recovery room 10 mins post emergency c section and they wheeled Roman in. I kept trying to sit up but I couldn’t feel my legs so eventually someone brought him close to me. My boy was soooo tiny and his breathing was very labored. I was praying in my heart for him to make it through. I stayed up the first night to make sure he didn’t die. I was so scared. I couldn’t believe he was here. He was smaller than my lower arm and he looked just like his father. He was so beautiful and I kept staring. All the nurses loved him because he would immediately bury himself into your body. God has given me the perfect child and all of a sudden, I didn’t mind that I had almost died to get here.
I’m not sure we are having another baby. I think the labor process was too traumatizing for all of us. I had nightmares for weeks afterwards where I’d be dying or falling into an abyss. It’s just so tough and we aren’t sure about going through that again.
I’m still trying to figure out post-partum life. I’m only just starting to even feel the least bit like my former self. Just a tinny weeny bit. Nothing is the same but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Shout out to all the moms. Old moms, new moms, elderly moms and young moms. I love our little community of love and support.