birthing story mauimama

My oldest son was born nearly fourteen years ago during one of the worst storms Maui had seen in awhile. 

I woke up next to my partner at 6:00 am in a puddle. I would have thought I peed the bed, except I had to pee really badly so there’s no way it was pee. My water had broken.

I knew it was early but I called my grandma anyway. Our roommate started cleaning the house as we got ready to go and my grandma picked us up. At the hospital, I walked up to the window and said, “I’m having a baby,” and they brought me to a room. They hooked me up to machines to monitor my contractions. I was told there wasn’t a doctor to do epidurals on island so they did a spinal block instead. 

The spinal block was not my first choice as I knew that it had to be timed right to be effective during active labor. They rolled me over on my side to help me sit up. I had to hunch forward while they put it in which was pretty uncomfortable but bearable. My younger sister wanted to watch. The nurse was having a hard time finding the right angle and had to poke me twice to get it right which created a bit of a stir because blood ended up on my little sister when they took the needle out to reposition it. Like many first-time births, my labor period was long and lasted from 7:00 am until 12:01 am the next day. 

The effects of the spinal block wore off before I was far enough along to start pushing, but I was told it was too close for them to do another. In the end, I may as well have skipped it as I had my son with all the feeling possible. My partner was filling out paperwork when the time finally came to start pushing, I didn’t curse because I was too busy angry breathing. All the training I thought I had for giving birth slipped through the cracks, everything except the breathing. 

My doctor was very encouraging, my sister and aunt helped to hold my knees up, pushing against me as I pushed my son out. Finally, the pressure subsided as they pulled my son free. I was told I may have to push a while longer to make sure the afterbirth also came out, but in my case, it came out easily. 

I expected to have my son handed to me as soon as he was out, but they took him away to clean him and weigh him, which confused me a little bit.

When they handed my son to me my heart stopped. 

The world stopped. 

I could have lived in that moment forever. 

My son and I were both so happy to see each other. 

Nurses tried to teach me how to breastfeed, but my son totally had it under control. 

Just after my son was born the rain started. By morning the island was under so much water you couldn’t leave Kihei. I was clear to be discharged but no one could leave the hospital, the roads were flooded. We stayed another day until my best friend came and brought us a car seat and took us back to our house, taking back roads and side roads that were open. It was good to be finally home.

Image Credit: Ayla Whalen

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Ayla Whalen, mother, toy store owner, dinosaur wrangler, and science maker. “I have lived on Maui most of my life and feel most at home where my feet feel only seawater.”


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