• tawana townsend

Share Your Birth Story

I love to hear birth stories. They are inspiring, moving, funny and bring me so much joy and insight. We should share these stories more because they encourage us and serve as threads that bind us together. I'd love to hear your story. My own birth story began on my 30th birthday. I went to my OBGYN for one of my final checkups and was told I was being admitted to the hospital for an emergency c-section. Being the type of person that is obsessed with food, I jokingly said,  "but it's my birthday and i have dinner plans".  The doctor looked at me sideways and said Happy birthday, I hope you had a good lunch because we're about to have a baby". I immediately went into panic mode. I don't remember being told at the time, but I later found out I had preclampsia.  Preclampsia also called toxemia can be a serious condition affecting blood flow to the placenta and placing both the baby and mom in danger. It is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling of the hands and feet. More information on preclampsia can be found here https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745

The nurse at the OBGYN's office, who i think was well meaning in her attempt to ease my fears, said "don't worry little black girl babies are strong, they always survive". It's ironic that before birth, before our first breath, before we even have a chance to enter into and see the world, we are labeled with a word that attempts to define us for our entire lives. So I mustered up the strength and set out for the hospital. I laughed at how unexpectant life can be, as I grabbed my elaborate hospital bag and detailed birth plan out my car. I made a few phone calls and texted my ex. We were technically divorced, but I still wanted to share the birth of our child together. I remember being asked my name and anxiety brewed up again because i still hadn't decided if I'd give my daughter my name or her father's. Would we get back together and if so how will she turn out? Am I making the right decisions? How did I end up in this situation? I didn't have time to answer any of those questions as my parents arrived and the hospital staff began to set me up in a pre-op room. I was hooked up to machines and relatively unaware of what was going on around me. A student nurse (bless her heart) was struggling to insert the IV tube in my veins. She stuck me 3 times before the senior nurse finally took over and apologized. I wasn't upset, I was really in a fog.  I didn't understand what was going on, I was nervous, anxious. To make matters worse, my ex still wasn't there.  His parents whom i hadn't talked to except once during my entire pregnancy were there. It was a very awkward situation having to be fake, but I was too accommodating to ask them to leave. I felt like a machine,  a necessary evil in their minds as everyone put on fake smiles and held small talk as if we were the happiest family ever. Not long after my ex arrived they took me back to  surgery. It was a bright room with lots of strange people. I wasn't introduced to anyone in the room, although I was exposed on the table for all to see.  I remember hearing the OBGYN and staff discussing with each other how much they loved greasy burgers and fries from five guys restaurant. Annoyed and confused and well now hungry, i asked when are we going to start the procedure.  The doctor looked at me, smiled and said "we're almost finished" and they went back to their restaurant review.  Next thing i know i heard a baby crying and they brought her to my face to have a look. Her lips were bright pink and she had a head full of hair. I remember saying she doesn't look like a gremlin at all (i thought all babies looked like gremlins at birth lol). She probably did too, but i cried and said i love you already beautiful and kissed her on the cheek before they whisked her away.  I got to nurse her and the nurses in the hospital were very helpful.  Some were a little pushy because they wanted me to leave her in the nursery because they didn't have many babies in the nursery that night,  but i refused.  I'd had a fight with my ex and he left mad so i refused to spend the night alone in the hospital. It was just my sweetpea and I. We bonded really well, reflecting on our now shared birthday and dreaming about the many more we would share together.  Funny thing is, my emergency didn't seem like an emergency. I had an early afternoon checkup and waited until the evening to finally bring my baby into the world. Honestly, I felt a little guilty and deprived that i didn't get to labor and push my baby into the world, nevertheless I picked up my shovel, buried those feelings and embraced motherhood.  And that is my birth story. #shareyourbirthstory #preclampsia #csection #strongblackwomen #birthdaybaby #doulasoul #huntsvilledoula

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