• Anwuli Anyah

A Second Birth Story

Updated: Oct 9

I write this with so much love in my heart. I sit here on the couch, looking through my phone, blogging for the first time in over three months. I see all these pictures of this past summer and I can't help but cry. I am so thankful for all the joy Olona Louise has brought into our lives. It is befitting that this is my 100th blog post! (Randomly happened to be this one. I was so happy when I reallized it).


I am thankful that God has blessed me with these children. Both my kids were born during surgical residency. I am so thankful that I was able to have these 2 blessings during a stressful stage of my life. It meant extra planning - using all my vacation days for maternity leaves and working for a few years with no vacation, but it was well worth it.

Throughout my pregnancy with Olona, I always wished for a spontaneous labor. I didn't quite get that the first time around with Tobe, so I was quite disappointed when at my last prenatal appointment, at the end of May, my doctor, after checking me, recommended that I schedule an induction because my cervix was 'thick and high'. She knew about our upcoming move to California and our timeline. The baby had to be born by the beginning of June for her to be a month old before we hit the road. Although I was disappointed, I knew that, in the big picture, all that mattered was having a healthy smooth birth so I scheduled my induction and began making plans.


Due to COVID-related travel restrictions, my mom was not with me as we had initially planned so we had to leave Tobe in the care of my brother. Being born during a pandemic has some disadvantages. There were strict restrictions on visitors and on going in and out of the maternity ward. Each mom was allowed one support person. I am so thankful I was able to have my husband there because I have heard stories of women giving birth alone. the sale of our loft less than 24 hours after the baby was born, in the hospital parking lot.. he pregnancy so the fall just made it so much worse.

Patrick was my rock. He was and he always is dependable. I know that I can always count on him. Somehow, he was able to find a wheel chair in our condo building. He took me to the ER and after they made sure the baby was okay, I was given muscle relaxants. They really couldn't scan me because of the baby. So basically we just had to wait till after the baby was born to do something if needed. To this day, I still have some pain especially while I try to sit down or get up from a sitter position or from bed.


Ten days before my due date, I woke up at 2 am with cramps. I told Patrick to time them but I didn't think I could be going into labor because just a couple of days prior, my doctor had said it wasn't happening. But the contractions were regular. They were lasting 60 seconds and happening every 4-5 mins. So we packed our bags and headed to the hospital. I was so thrilled to be going into labor spontaneously but I was worried that I would not be able to go through labor without an epidural because I still had the pain from my fall.


The night I went into labor, there was a lot of civil unrest in downtown Grand Rapids. There was rioting related to the Black Lives Matter movement so we were a bit apprehensive driving to the hospital. We had to take different routes due to road closures related to the rioting. The drive to the hospital felt like it took forever. The pain that came with the cramps seemed to bring everything to a standstill.



Due to COVID related travel restrictions, my mom was not with me as we had initially planned so we had to leave Tobe in the care of my brother. Being born during a pandemic has some disadvantages. There were strict restrictions on visitors and on going in and out of the maternity ward. Each mom was allowed one support person. I am so thankful I was able to have my husband there because I have heard stories of women giving birth alone.


So after the nurses confirmed that I really was in labor and making cervical change, I was COVID tested and admitted to L&D. By the way, the COVID testing was more painful than labor cramps. Things progressed somewhat slowly till about 2 pm. During this time, I spent time in the Tub, on my knees, walking. I also ate a large breakfast and some lunch because I was starving. I technically was not allowed me to eat, so, I asked Patrick to order, then I ate his food. I felt like I was doing the right thing for myself in that particular situation. ( I am not saying you should do this, I am not recording anyone not follow healthcare personnel's advice) I knew my body needed that strength to push and go through labor. It was my second baby and my first delivery was uncomplicated so I knew the chances of me needing a C-section or needing to be intubated were low. It just made so much sense for me not to go through the rigors of labor hungry. Patrick wasn't pleased with me for not following doctors orders but all l I could think about was the hunger. lol. I had to eat.


I was getting anxious and wanted to know if I was making progress proportional to all the pain I was experiencing. My nurse checks me and then tells me that I was 6 or 7 cm dilated and still had a ways to go. My heart sank. It was the same number from my last check during my labor with Tobe. I was, again, in so much pain, that I couldn't believe I still had more to go. So, just like in Tobe's case, I asked for an anesthesia consult, for an epidural. My husband who was calmly witnessing this a second time strongly believed that I was close to delivery. He didn't think I would need one. Soon I couldn't sit so I got on my knees. The anesthesiologists comes in and gets a history and begins to set up for the epidural.



I was getting anxious and wanted to know if I was making progress proportional to all the pain I was experiencing. My nurse checks me and then tells me that I was 6 or 7 cm dilated and still had a ways to go. My heart sank. It was the same number from my last check during my labor with Tobe. I was, again, in so much pain, that I couldn't believe I still had more to go. So, just like in Tobe's case, I asked for anesthesia consult, for an epidural. My husband who was calmly witnessing this a second time strongly believed that I was close to delivery. He didn't think I would need one. Soon I couldn't sit so I got on my knees. The anesthesiologist comes in, gets a history, and begins to set up for the epidural.


Twenty-four hours later, as soon as we were cleared for discharge we rushed home so that Tobe could meet his new sister. He was so happy and excited. We took this video of him seeing his sister for the first time. It is my favorite memory of my children to date. on my knees and Patrick grabs my hands then I grab his shoulders. It seemed so natural. This was the same position we held when Tobe was born.


I heard Patrick telling everyone in the room to get ready because 'this is how it usually goes for her'. 'The baby will be here very soon'. He tells the anesthesiologist to hold off on the epidural. He even tells the nurse to get ready. I am not sure if they believed him but I start to push. I gave it about 2 or 3 good pushes. It felt so good to push. I could see, I could feel the light at the end of the tunnel. Before I knew it, Olona was born. It was about 4 pm. I was so proud of myself for doing it again without an epidural. I felt on top of the world. The best human experience I have ever had is the rush of pushing a baby out. That welcomed pain combined with the adrenaline rush and happiness that comes right after is simply indescribable.

I was anxious to get back back to Tobe because we left home without even telling him. Olona came early so it was all a surprise. Funny thing, we were closing on the sale of our home. Before I went into labor we initially scheduled the closing appointment for the morning after she was born. Being the stubborn woman that I am, I did not want to move it so I asked the notary to come meet me in the hospital parking lot. So we completed the sale of our loft less than 24 hours after the baby was born, in the hospital parking lot..


Twenty four hours later, as soon as we were cleared for discharge we rushed home so that Tobe could meet his new sister. He was so happy and excited. We took this video of him seeing his sister for the first time. It is my favorite memory of my children to date.

We were so lucky that the situation of things with COVID-19, although inconvenient, was manageable for us. We were under strict quarantine for 3 weeks before our proposed induction date, per hospital protocol. Before that, the fear of getting sick while pregnant wore heavily on my mind. We exercised extreme caution with work and whenever we made essential trips out of the house. I was very strict with social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing. I am so thankful we made it out of that delicate life stage healthy.

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