Mamahood, The Journey

A Birth Story: Lisa Joseph Metelus

Mama Glow | February 12, 2015

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August 6, 2014.  I was already four days past my due date. Three weeks earlier, my OB-GYN said I had started dilating and was 1-2 centimeters. I started telling close friends I could go into labor at any minute. But here I was…on this Tuesday morning…41 weeks pregnant – and still roaming the streets.

The day before, I went in for the fun-filled cervix check.  My doc came in…“you’re still here???”  She checked my cervix…I was 4-5cm dilated. But no signs of labor.  She scheduled me to be induced on that Friday.  I was upset.  I really didn’t want to be induced again…what’s the deal with my babies wanting to stay all cozied up in my womb?

I called my awesome doula, Na’imah Delpeche, to share the update.  Na’imah had been by my side during my first delivery – and she was one of the first calls I made when I found out I was pregnant again.  She suggested I book an induction massage and I was able to get her contact to come to my house the same day.  For two hours, she massaged my feet focusing on all the key pressure point areas that would help to naturally induce labor.  I was willing to try anything.  I even let my sister come over later that night with her special “Woosah oil”and rub my belly with it….I even fell for my husband’s pitch late that night.  “You know they say sex will help induce labor…maybe we can give it a shot? ” 41 weeks in…feeling like a whale…and super uncomfortable – sex was the last thing on my mind.  But at that point – I was willing to try it all.

Between the Woosah oil, induction massage and sex – I expected my water to break in the middle of the night.  I jumped up a few times, feeling the sheets, in hopes of finding a wet spot.  Nope…nothing.  I had a dentist appointment the next morning and I had enough people telling me I shouldn’t be driving at that point…so I asked Bob to take me.  But first, I wanted to grab breakfast at a local diner that I’ve been wanting to take him to.  I kissed Miss Bobbi (my 18 month old) good-bye and as I was leaving, I told our nanny that I was starting to feel funny…but I would be home right after the appointment.  And so begins the journey:

8:30 AM – We arrive at Bagel Cove diner and order breakfast.

8:45 AM – I start feeling some contractions, but I chalk it up as Braxton Hicks that I had been feeling for a few weeks.  I mention the feeling to my husband casually as I get up to use the restroom.

9:00 AM – “I wonder if I’m having real contractions babe.  This stuff has been coming and going for about 20 minutes…this might be a good time to use my contraction app”

9:01 AM – I call Na’imah: “Hey girl…I’m feeling funny…think I’m having contractions…not sure…but I have a dentist appointment to get to.  Yes…I’m fine…no worries…I’m good…I’ll just go to my appointment and head home after – to relax.

9:06AM – First recorded contraction.

9:10 AM – Second recorded contraction. “damn babe…i’m like 5 minutes apart!!!”

9:12 AM:  I call Na’imah again: “Hey girl…looking like I’m 5 minutes apart!  But I’m feeling fine!  Really…I’m fine! I think I can still go to the dentist…but let’s play it by ear.  I’ll keep you posted.” All the while still eating.

9:18 AM:  Check please…babe….get. the. check.

9:19 AM:  Car please…babe….go get the car…IN. PAIN.

9:25 AM:  Babe…call Na’imah…can’t. talk. Naimah suggests we head home and she’ll meet us there. I agree.

9:25 AM:  I disagree.  I see the highway sign for 95 North.  I know my hospital is off of 95 North.  Damn going home.  We head 95 North.

9:26 AM:  Babe…call dentist.  don’t. think. I’m. gonna. make. it. (calling the dentist was important to me at this very moment.)

9:58 AM:  We pull up to the hospital valet. I’m in pain.  I’m in tears.  My husband asks for a wheelchair.  Valet gives us specific instructions on where we should enter to register.  We follow those specific instructions as he wheels me into the entrance and I fall in line behind a few people trying to register.  In pain.  In tears.  The lady at the front desks says:  Ma’am – what are you here for???  I look at her. I look at my super huge, protruding belly…I look at her again and say through clinched teeth..I. AM. IN. LABOR.  She looks at me and says – “well you came in the wrong entrance.”

10:35 AM:  Finally was taken into labor triage – which is where they check to see how far you are BEFORE they get you into the labor unit. After my cervical check  I hear a nurse say “Oh she’s definitely in labor!  She’s 6 centimeters…get her to a room.”  Bob reports in:  The doula is on her way!  Thanks Bob!

11:00 AM:  I’m in the labor unit…yes!!!!  I finally can get my epidural.  See here’s the thing with epidural.  I started both pregnancies saying I wanted a drug free natural birth.  With Miss Bobbi – I didn’t really have a choice.  Being induced and getting pitocin is no joke.  I lasted 3 hours before I asked for the epidural.

11:05 AM:  Me:  WHERE’S MY EPIDURAL????

Nurse:  “Ma’am – we’re waiting for your labs to come back to make sure we can give it to you”…then my doula suggests that we get checked, again…to see how far along I was.

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The doula by my side.

Let’s back up…Na’imah and I met a few months earlier and discussed my birth plan.  I said to her that if I get a chance to have this baby naturally – then I would try to go without the epidural – however…I wasn’t opposed to it either.  I would give it a shot – but if the pain was too much…I would take the shot.  She suggested that once that moment comes – we would see how far along we were and determine if it was really needed.

11:07 AM: Cervix check.  8 centimeters along.  I see it in Naimah’s face…you don’t need the drugs…you’re so close!”

My sister was also in the room with me.  She was there for my first delivery as well.  “Lis…oh my god…you are doing soooo great!  You don’t need the epidural.  You’re almost there.”

Bob:  “Babe…you got this….I don’t think you need to do this….we’re here with you.”  Me.  In my head:  SHUT UP BOB…YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!

At that moment – the anesthesiologist rolls in with the shot…like a pusher.  I’m in pain.  I’m in tears.  I know this drug will make me feel good…I’m confused.  Can I do this?  What about all of the other women who have delivered naturally?

I asked the nurse: what should I do????  The nurse says“you’re honestly doing such a great job – I don’t think you need it!”  I look at my sister – she shakes her head…I look at Na’imah:  “this is the worst level of pain you’re going to experience.  If you made it this far – it won’t get any worse.”

I’m now making this epidural decision by committee.  The anesthesiologist says to me: “If you’re in pain – I got what you need.”  I’m tempted….but I have a quick moment with myself.  Didn’t I say I wanted to do this without drugs?  I can do this.  My sister, my aunts, my mom, friends…so many women around me have done this.  I will feel like a failure if I give in now, simply because I was fearful. I chose to acknowledge my fear, but still proceed in spite of it.

Na’imah had me out of bed – in different positions to move the baby around.  I was exerting so much energy during contractions – that I fell asleep in between them…my time in yoga (both normal and prenatal) helped me breathe through the pain…alot of times in a low humming voice.  I realized, this is all mental. Once each contraction hit – I reminded myself that in a few seconds – it will pass.  I remind myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel…my child is making his way down to enter this world.  I hyped myself up because I spent 9 months not knowing what was growing inside of me – girl?  boy?   And for each painful contraction – I reminded myself of the awesome feeling that I will experience once I discover who this person is.

In the zone.
In the zone.

1:00 PM  The nurse decides to check me again.  10 centimeters.  Its time.  They call the doctor.  I’m scared. I’m in pain.  Bob is holding my hand.  His cell phone rings.  He goes to answer it.  I’m in the middle of a contraction.  He fumbles.  Yes…He drops the phone…on my head.  Not just the phone…the corner end of the phone…hits my head…its still ringing. I’m in pain.  The room stops. I can feel everyone literally stop breathing.

1:15 PM  The doctor comes in. “I’m gonna break your water and see if we can get the baby to move down and out…”  She broke the water. At this point, the pain is numbing so I don’t even feel it.

Lisa – let’s try to push and see what we can get.  On the count of 3…push for me.”  1…2….3.

I push….I. am. shaking. I see lights.  I mean, they were the lights in the ceiling…but at that moment – the lights look like something else.  Like I was having an out of body experience. My legs are going in different directions. My mind just went somewhere else.  I am gone.  I am a movie.  And I have an audience. And my audience tries to snap me back.

Lisa…LISA…if you want to have this baby…if you want the baby to come out – you have to push the right way.  

Audience:  Lisa – stay focused.  Lisa – you’re almost there.  

Doc:  Let’s try this again…push.

1:29 PM: I want this baby out.  Its gotta happen so might as well go for it.  Second try…I focus.  I breathe.  I push.  HARD.  “We see a head…keep going Lisa…you’re doing great!!!”  I push again.  I am not myself.  There is a greater power within me taking over.  I feel the baby come out of me.  Every inch.  I feel it.  I hear him cry.  What the hell just happened?  I see the baby.  They put the baby on top of me.  It’s a boy.  And it’s all over.  I hold him.  I’m still in shock.  But I feel no pain. Did I just do that?

Yes I did.  And with all the pain – I would do it all over again.

The one good thing about a drug free delivery was that I felt like myself almost immediately. So much so – I was up in the middle of the night organizing my hospital suite.

Throughout the pregnancy, I kept saying I was scared to have a boy…that I’m not a boy’s mom. I’m so in LOVE with my son and I’m grateful to have the chance to raise a young man in this world.

Becoming a mom is a wonderful and powerful thing!  I have a new found respect for women.  We are unstoppable!  #GIRLPOWER

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Lisa, Bobbi Elle, and newest arrival Amarii Joseph

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Lisa Joseph Metelus is a mother of two, a successful agent at CAA Sports and operates the website: One Balanced Mama. This birth story originally ran on One Balanced Mama.

Black History Month: Saluting Black Midwives
The Pregnant Mama's Power Suit Revamped!

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Black History Month: Saluting Black Midwives
The Pregnant Mama's Power Suit Revamped!