True replica, all three and I can't wait to see what she grows up to be.
I inhale her, deeply. I'm making memories. Mental keepsakes to cling to when she's no longer this tiny and doesn't want to be cradled in my arms. I am storing them forever in that part of my brain with her name.
She's one week old today.
I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.
I was advised to keep my appointment with the Jubilee Maternity clinic by my OBGYN and so I did. I got up early last Wednesday morning and I prepared breakfast for the boys and my husband. I got up the whole house and sat with them to eat then I showered, dressed and asked my husband to call a taxi before seven o'clock.
I remember getting annoyed because I felt it was getting late and the taxi service told him five minutes but the taxi didn't come when actually, he did come but when we called out to him he continued driving as if he didn't see my husband waving him down outside.
Kevin called them again and this time they said ten minutes and by this time I was very annoyed and I remembered how I prayed during devotion saying that I trusted God and the plans he had for my life and I believed that He works all things together for my good.
It had given me a new outlook and with that in mind I tried to remain calm and not worry despite the fact that I felt the long hand of the clock slipping past the twelve on my watch like loud gears on a rusty vehicle.
The taxi came a little after seven and I bid my husband adieu, kissed the boys and made my way out to the gate and into the car.
I say good morning but he has a crass look on his face so I already know how this is going to go. He asks me where to and I am sitting stunned like "Really?"
It turns out he is about as foolish as they come and answered for a job that he didn't want to do. He was telling me some horse head and cow fat story about how he thought the operator said the drop was for New Kingston and that he cannot take me and he had a eight o'clock contracted client.
I didn't care.
I was no about to get out of the car or feign sympathy for his plight. I had my own issues.
He calls for a relay and doesn't get any. Then he ends up wasting my time driving me all over the place to end up in New Kingston at a few minutes to eight.
I hiss my teeth because had he taken me at the time he arrived at my house he would have been back to keep his appointment with his client.
I don't say anything because it's too late for words and I honestly wasn't in the mood. Another taxi comes to pick me up in New Kingston and by this time-almost eight o'clock-I am having regular contractions.
I like this car better anyway and the driver too. He smells nice, is appealing to the eyes and doesn't speak at all.
He sees that I am pregnant and he puts the AC on and he doesn't drive too rough though it's a little too slow for my liking considering clinic is a whole day thing and I should've reached already if I wanted an early number.
He drives into the compound and I get out and I waddle a little because the pains are getting stronger and I can't believe I reached to get number 92 after getting up so early this morning and putting out so much effort. I begin to remind myself that all things work together for good to them that love God.
I go inside but I can't find a seat because clinic is full. I "kotch" beside another pregnant woman on the bench at the back and just listen and wait.
I begin to breathe deep and sweat is washing over me.
The contractions are getting closer together and even more painful and I wish I didn't have number 92.
A nurse calls me and takes me around to another area to check my vitals and she insists that I keep timing the contractions. She is very nice and her voice is soft and eager to help.
I go pee in a container and take it back to be checked and a disgruntled nurse asks me what number I have and tells me to sit and wait.
I comply but the nurse who checked my vitals earlier calls me and puts me in the line telling them to test my urine and take my weight and she is persistent.
She doesn't leave my side until they do.
Everything seems to be happening really fast now and the contractions are now five to seven minutes apart.
I hear my name echoing through the hall and I almost don't believe it since I have number 92, but it is my name. I make my way to the nurse's desk midway contraction and I sit down and it's over. She takes me around back to the doctor. The doctor calls me, check me and orders for a porter to take me up to the ward because I am "7-8cm dilated".
"You're having baby this morning!" He says almost surprised that I had sat all that time in labour and seemed so calm.
He poked fun about me being a veteran having gone through it twice before but a few hours later as A R I A H crowed I didn't feel like such a veteran.
I am rushed to the hospital and given a hospital gown because my husband hadn't arrived with my hospital bag as yet. I am checked by a nurse and my docket written up again. Then I am put on a bench with other expectant mothers to wait to see the doctor. I am surprised when my name is called and I go in before everyone there because I had just arrived and they had been there for a while.
I spread my towel and I go up on the bed and this doctor is a girl much younger than me-I think. She asks me some questions then she tells me that she is going to break the amniotic sac. I prepare for the discomfort and she reaches into me with the longest pair of scissors I had ever seen guided by her hand and she snips and something flows out of me but it's not what I am used to. There's no gush-it doesn't feel like water-she set a bed pan underneath my buttocks to catch "whatever".
"We're going to have to monitor you and baby because baby has passed feces inside the sac!" she says.
I am not alarmed and I am not sure why.
"Your cervix is feels damaged on one side, did that happen with this pregnancy?" she asked.
"No," I answered drained and almost unconscious "it happened with my first born, it got torn up during delivery."
"So we have to make sure that doesn't happen again." she says to a nurse sitting in the cubicle.
I am glad that that part is over but I feel the baby near and my bags are still not at the hospital yet. I am taken to the induction room and I fear what is to come because I am already in active labour-why would they induce me?!
A nurse takes me to the neighboring room and I sigh with relief as she says "You're going to have to stay in this room because there are no beds over induction room." Two other nurses comes to put in my access but I learn after being stabbed in my left hand three times that they are both trainees and incapable of carrying out the task.
One of them go to fetch a doctor who inserts the access in record time and fills two vials of blood for reasons that were not expressed to me but I am unconcerned about this as the baby's head is now near my opening ready to come through.
A nurse is left to close off the access and apply a drip for hydration and whatever else "lies" they tell you this bag of fluid is for.
All I know is once it goes on me the pain escalates and I am reminded of why women spew insults at their husbands during the birthing process.
I am sweating profusely now and the pain is at that threshold that I can no longer bear. I whimper a little and my lips quiver and my hands begins to shake and my blood is getting everywhere and I almost send my sweet little nurse into a panic.
I breathe and squeal all at the same time as ARIAH's head begins to tear new borders into my perennial frame.
"I need to push." I tell her and she looks at me as if she has a difference of opinion, as if I am crazy, as if baby and I are supposed to wait until she gets done with what she's doing.
She's a nice nurse though and I like her!
"No, not yet," she says "how many centimeters did they say you were?" she continues to fondle with the access getting it on and unlatching it so the liquid begins it's journey into my blood.
My voice deepens and I am a bit upset as I ease my buttocks up off the bed just a little. The urge to push stronger than I have ever felt it before but I answer her nonetheless.
"Seven centimeters, but that was more than a few hours ago!"
"Keep your legs closed..." she begins but I don't let her finish.
"I need to doo-doo!"
I snarl at her hissing my teeth continuously "I haven't even got my bags yet. I need to go over that room now. I have to push, the baby is there!"
She tells me to calm down and not to worry
"Your husband is here with your bags and I will go get them."
I knock my knees together and lean forward, which was all I could do to stop myself from pushing. She helps me over to the delivery room and she tells them to prepare me a bed and she goes to get my bag.
A nurse helps me up onto the bed and tells me how to position myself then they check and by this time I feel like I am going to black out.
I am shaking and sweating and I just want the pain to stop.
"The baby's head is right there." I hear a nurse all but gasp.
I wanted to say "yes, yes it is" but I decided to focus. I had a goal and they were trained professionals there to help me reach that goal. I begin to breath and blow on my contractions and the head of my little girl makes it debut and suddenly I hear
"Mrs. Richards stop pushing."
I feel hands down there and a ring of fire consumes my lady parts.
"The cord is around baby's neck." the voice chimes in forcing me back to reality again.
I wait calmly as they reach into me worsening that burning pain and the umbilical cord is removed from her precious little neck and Ariah forces her way into the world pass the vaginal boundaries with a cry so strong that it resounded the potency to her name.
My little lioness is born and I know she's going to be just fine.
They put her on me and they clean her up. I touch her and she feels like velvet with all the goo on her skin.
Then they deliver my placenta and clean me up.
I can't wait to hold her and I peer at her from across the room and say almost breathless
"Happy Birthday ARIAH."
All the nurses join in jubilant celebration and they say happy birthday to my little girl and I feel overwhelmed because I had never gotten this nice treatment at Jubilee Maternity Hospital before.
The same nurse that was with me from the beginning checks my blood pressure and is so shocked by the reading she goes and gets another machine because my pressure is too high to be right.
They give me ARIAH and put me back into the room they had me before because the second reading came up just as high and now they have to keep me near for observation.
ARIAH is still on the breast, still sucking and a nurse jokes about her being determined to be born today because she wanted food.
I go down to recovery ward that evening feeling thankful. I look at my daughter and I think "GOD you are amazing!"
I see Shantal.
She is as pretty as she ever was, donned in her nurses outfit but her face is a little more chubby than I remember. It's good to see her-until she put sutures in my vegan area poking fun about returning Mr. Richards vagina to him how it was before baby girl was born.
I laugh out loud.
It was so good to see you girl.
Thanks for taking care of me and coming to see me before you went home. It might not seem a big deal to some but it was "everything" for me.
I showered and bedded down with my queen, my lioness that night and I learn that my boys are at home so sick they couldn't eat and went to sleep before 6pm.
They never go to bed that early.
I became weary quickly but I was thankful when I was told the next day that me and baby was being discharged.
I took a taxi home.