One Black Mother’s Birth Story (Pt. I)

by Channing White

Before I get into it, let me assure you that every birth story carries its own unique interest and experience.

{Getting right into it…}

I always prided myself on knowing

Call it intuition, call it discernment, call it intellect – but your girl just understood the directions AND the assignment at whatever came her way. 

This birth story does not fall under any of those categories of understanding. 

Before this written reflection, my story has only been shared in fragments, hiding away the most piercing parts.  For the first time, my experience will be shared in all its raw glory. I learned to be transparent literally and figuratively and I would say this experience was the catapult. 

This was my second experience with birth as I had my son six years prior, via cesarean. I won’t even get into that, that’s another story for another headline, but I will say, you don’t know until you know honey. I headed to the doctor for what I thought was my final appointment only to realize that all the walking, ball bouncing, and natural remedies won’t it. To my surprise, my cervix was only 2 centimeters dilated. Did I mention, I was 40 weeks in the dead of summer in North Carolina?! Ok, so you know mama was ready to meet my sweet baby, even if that meant an eviction notice. 

My OB-GYN left it up to me to decide when I felt most comfortable to “call it quits.” 

Again, very different from my initial experience (I had a scheduled c-section with my son).  

I specifically chose this practice because they were referred by the birth clinic I originally desired. Sis was trying for a holistic doula but my blood pressure took away that option. I wanted to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) very badly. 

After my full birthing experience, I now realize that I wanted this for all of the wrong reasons – mainly, to prove I was strong enough. 

Although, the entire time, I was putting myself through unnecessary anxiety. 

Disclaimer: Mama, no matter the modality of the birth, birthing a whole human is bad ass. 

I subjected myself to my own pressure (very on brand for me). 

Pressure to prove imaginary points and denote theorized principals. 

Trying to place myself in a club or box that doesn’t exist. 

That good ole imposter syndrome was at an all-time high. 

And the biggest lesson I learned is that we are all trying to figure this thang out – Just get it done. 

So, after a week of postponing my induction to give the baby one last chance to come on her own, I was presented with the same outcome as my first experience, an induction.

This did not diminish my joyful anticipation to hold my baby girl and snuggle her with all my love. My husband and I loaded the car and headed out to the hospital. My emotions were at an all-time high, but I had decided that after my chaotic journey to this moment, I would ensure that it was peaceful. 

I was still trying to be in control, whew. 

It was just me and my husband initially.  Refer back to my previous learning: You don’t know until you know. Well, with my son we had both our mothers there and it just didn’t work for us. 

We got signed in, wrist-banded and headed to triage. Which would be one of the three rooms I was in during my stay. 

They brought me some water, took my vitals and started my IV. 

I chilled out and watched some TV, but I could not eat. 

Eating is very important to me. 

People say, “you are not hungry”. 

I wasn’t. 

I was starving! 

Once my birthing room was available, I was moved. It took the hospital hours to get me situated. If you have been in the hospital before you know what I mean. It took forever. 

So, once in my room we set up our diffuser, played some gospel and settled in. The nurse told me if I started to get uncomfortable, they would give me IV medicine, along with Tylenol. It took a couple of hours for the contractions to begin. 

In hindsight, I realize I was in labor and experiencing real contractions and they did not offer any reprieve. I thought they were not very productive, because again, I was not informed that I was in active labor. So, I thought the baby was still taking her time to make her entrance. 

As the night went on, Sunday night, that is, I continued the wait, exercising the small amount of patience I had left because I really wanted the baby to come on her own. 

The contractions started getting worse, but I was proud of myself because I had yet to ask for the epidural. 

Yes -proud.

Somehow I managed to carry my big ego with my belly into the delivery room. (Sigh)

I still had unnecessary points to prove… (to be continued…)

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