little lion man- a birth story

It was September 21st 2009 and I had just returned form my Americorp position. Tired and emotionally exhausted I plopped myself on a large lawn chair opposite from my mother on their tiny porch. For a while we just sat there, tired listening to the leaves on the trees.

That summer we had decided to move back home to Vermont. We wanted a slower pace of living and more nature surrounding our future child. We also knew that having my parents near was going to be a big help to us. Due to a really bad job market, Amer was unable to find a job and since my due date was nearing we decided that I was going to move and he'll follow as soon as he gets a job.

I suffered from insomnia and anxiety during my pregnancy partly due to two previous miscarriages and being afraid that this one will end badly as well, I pretty much worried all the time. Moving to a new environment, changing my doctor and moving back in with my parents made this pregnancy a pretty difficult one. I slept one to two hours a night and had a nervous feeling in my gut almost 24/7. On top of this I was not happy with my "job" and pretty much knew that I was going to give it up once the baby arrives.

That day I had talked to my supervisor and pretty much pored my heart out to her telling her the difficulty I've been having with this job and that I thought it was not the right match for me. Of course she understood but I was just emotionally drained after that day that I couldn't wait to go home and just unplug on my parents porch.

After sitting there in silence for a while I complained to my mom about my swollen feet and how it was the first day I felt
 they were swollen and how being at five weeks before the due date it was the first time I felt heavy. I also mentioned that I think I peed myself a little a few times that day and how I thought pregnancy was just strange and a bit grows. She said that I should go check if the "pee" smells like pee and if it had color. I went upstairs and when I came back I nonchalantly said that no, there was no smell and that I think I did it again. She said I had to call my doc and that it was most likely not pee. Sure enough, it was not pee and fifteen minutes later we were in my moms honda on the way to the hospital.

It's strange how we remember many details right before the hospital and right after the baby is born but somehow the blurry part to me is the thirty six hours in-between. I was placed on pitocin right away and given an IV. My water broke shortly after that but labor progressed slowly. I consider myself a person with a high pain tolerance but I have no tolerance for hunger, that was what made me weak and tired. I called my husband to let him know that he should leave New York as soon as possible because I was not sure how long this was going to take and wanted him to be there just to hold my hand. He was in Burlington three and a half hours later ( it usually takes five and a half hours) Countless hours later, lots of position changes, ice chips and nurses changing shifts I was becoming weaker. The pitocin was not working properly so they had to turn it off and give me 45 minutes to rest before they try it again. Once they started it up again it seemed to be working and it started kicking my butt. All I remember is that it was late and I was tired and hungry, the nurse had checked my progress and after more than twenty hours I was only 5 cm dilated. I decided that it was time to surrender and take the epidural because the babies heartbeat was becoming irregular and the docs were not happy with the stress the baby was feeling.

I remember getting the epidural and fifteen minutes later all the pain was gone, so strange and unnatural, all of it was just gone. I slept for a while which seemed to help a lot, the nurse woke me up to check me and she proudly said that I was at 10 cm and ready to push. A swarm of doctors, students, NICU docs flooded the room as I pushed as best as I could. No pain, no pressure, all I had is the monitor to look at, that's how I knew when to push. After forty five minutes of pushing the doc raised his head and said " if he doesn't come soon, I'm going to have to use the forceps" his heartbeat was irregular and he didn't like it. I gathered all my strength and pushed hard. I felt like my head was going to pop off but that's ok because the next push he was here, our little lion man. Screaming his lungs out, the doc was happy to pronounce that he looked healthy and his lungs sounded great.

In the early hours of September 24th 2009, Hamza was born. He was so tiny, 5 lb 6 oz 19" long. I stared at his chalk white face and was in awe of this tiny human being that I brought into this world. He was everything. We spent the next five days at the hospital due to his blood sugar levels being low and even had him stay in the NICU for one night. I struggled to get him to nurse in the hospital but I kept being persistent and after a week or so he was doing much better even at his tiny size.

Hamza is a joy to be around, he brightens every room he walks into, he is the light in our home and he is the best of both of us. My birth story is not very pretty or even happy in parts but it's real and it brought our little lion man to us. His name Hamza means strong like a lion!