On the 3rd February 2004 at 04:20am, I began experiencing extreme contractions, one’s that were so bad, that I actually thought I needed to go to the bathroom every time.
I kept on getting up from my bed, then finally, at 05:00am, when I felt like I could climb the walls, I decided to wake my mother. She immediately called my other father, Branton Riddles(my uncle) to rush me to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital about 05:35am and was taken up in the maternity ward. Nurses, who were not very pleasant, especially with young mothers told me to walk around so I can dilate. First question popped in my head, “how do you even know how far I have dilated if you haven’t even checked?” Not in the frame of mind to argue, I walked around the ward, then finally 30min later, the nurse instructed me to lay on the bed. I dilated to 6cm and as she removed her hand from you know where, my water broke. At this time I could not contain myself and all I wanted to do was push.
As the contractions came and went, my mother was rubbing my back but even that felt like the heat of her hand made the pain worse, so I kept on pushing her hand away. And then, this MASSIVE contraction raided me from head to toe and as it hit me, I lifted those steel draws that you find in government hospitals with my left arm…..not taking note that there was a jug of water on top of the draws.
I still could not resist pushing and my inexperience’s taught me no better, I pushed. The nurse came back to feel how far I have dilated, “7 cm”, she says. I kept on pushing, even though they kept on telling me not to, I had to.
Then at 07:35am, the nurse did another dilation check and she says, “9cm” and instructs me to lift my legs and start pushing.
I thought I was about to die and with my final push, my beautiful daughter was born at 07:53am at Elsies River Hospital weighing in at a whopping 4kg. Me not knowing the sex of my baby, I ask my mother, “what sex is the baby?” She turns and says, “It’s a girl.”
She did not make a peep, she just lied there, looking at the light above her. Eyes as blue as the beautiful ocean and she was all mine.
I was not able to allow them to place her on my chest and I could not lift my head from the pillow as I lost consciousness every time I tried. The doctor walked in and said, “You lost a litre of your blood and we need to transport you to Tygerberg Hospital.” My question to him was, “where is my baby?” and he replied by saying, “with your mother, she doesn’t want to leave your baby’s side.”
I cannot remember how I got to Tygerberg Hospital, I think I lost consciousness as when I woke up I was at Tygerberg with my mother and daughter by my side.
My mom eventually had to leave and the nurses wanted to take Shay-Leigh to the baby room and I looked at them and said, “My child is not going anywhere, she is staying right here.” I manoeuvred my arm in such a way that if someone wanted to take her, they would have to move my arm.
I was restless, scared but yet bonded with her in such a way that made me feel like I was a mother way before giving birth to her.
Every time she woke up I stared into those blue eyes……..
it gave me an Endless Ocean of Hope.