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Meriam Alisha

Motherhood: Image

Meriam Alisha  Birth Story

Perfect Execution?...No Such Thing

My pregnancy was very unexpected (which is very rare for me since I am a huge planner). None of the less, I was beyond excited. Once I saw the "+" sign, I couldn’t believe the blessing that was bestowed upon me. I had tears rolling down my face because deep down, I've always wanted to be a mother. I am natural nurturer, a caretaker, and now, I get to take care of my own baby. Part of me knew I was pregnant because I was feeling very different, but the other half of me heavily relies on evidence and labs (the scientist in me) so I waited for the confirmation. 



I've put off planning for a family because I was solely focused on my education. I craved for financial independence. I was pursuing a career filled with negative stigma about medicine and motherhood. The general negative stigma in medicine about pregnancy and motherhood is frowned upon because school is a full-time job and a commitment. Could I really handle school and being a new mom? My study days are very long, and it can be very time consuming. There are NO rooms for breaks. However, this perception is very misconstrued. 

My inspiration is derived from other women who became pregnant during school. They had a family during residency and pursued their dreams to become doctors. If these women CAN do it, why can't I? Reading their success story inspired me that I CAN do it. My perception about having a family during school changed. Once I have put my mind to it, I worked very hard to achieve my dreams.


My pregnancy was tumultuous, I hibernated like a polar bear during my first trimester, and I had all day morning sickness. I despised all food besides watermelon and ice. The fluorescent lights would initiate vertigo and nausea, hence, I stopped going to department stores. After I overcame the misery of my first trimester, I was under the impression my second trimester would be easy.  Unfortunately, that was not the case. I was 20 weeks pregnant when I started to feel contractions. After first, I thought they were Braxton-Hick's so I ignored them. Throughout the day, my contractions were slowly getting painful; nausea and dizziness overtook me. I knew something was very wrong. I immediately dialed my Ob-Gyn (she is an amazing person, btw) and told me to go to the emergency room ASAP; my Ob-gyn wouldn’t’ explain to me why because she knew how stress can be negative. Once I reached the Ob-Gyn ER, they placed me into the labor and delivery room. My mind was racing at this point. I could understand the medical jargon that was being thrown around in the room between the medical staff (NICU, pre-term, decreased fetal heart rate, fetal fibronectin, fetal stress, terbutaline, betamethasone). Without asking, I knew I was heading into pre-term labor! I broke down because my baby, at 20 weeks, had 0% chance of survival. 


At 20 weeks gestation, my baby’s lungs, heart, and brain were not fully developed to survive the harsh conditions of the real world.  All I could now is pray, that if there is a chance for survival, I would want my baby to live. For once in my life, I believed there has to be a miracle. I would sacrifice my life and my health for the wellbeing and safe delivery of my child. Nothing else mattered to me. I would do anything for my child to survive. At this point, I had an IV placed, terbutaline was administered to slow down my contractions. The nurse placed an oxygen mask on my face to help the baby’s heart rate elevate since it was decelerating. The doctors administered betamethasone to help the baby’s lung to develop faster in case I had to deliver. NICU team was on standby. Amincators PMR test was negative which brought some relief that my membranes did not rupture; however, my fetal fibronectin test was positive. That is a strong indicator that the protein that sealed the baby in my body is leaking and there is a strong possibility for pre-term labor. 


Once my contractions slowed down, my doctor gave me prescription pills to take after 2 days once the terbutaline wore off. Luckily, I didn’t go into labor. I was placed on bed rest for the next 20 weeks. I was only allowed to go to the bathroom, kitchen, and then straight to my room. My Ob-Gyn suggested to keep my feet elevated when I was on bed rest and drink lots of water! Being on bed rest for long was tortuous (I am a very active person). However, I reminded myself that my baby must make it to full-term, therefore, I strictly complied to these restrictions. During my time on bed rest, I binged on Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus. Majority of my baby shopping was done online. I even started to work from home to keep me busy. I taught English to children in China online as a contractor. I really enjoyed teaching ESL to children because I helping these ambitious children learn a universal language.  


Over the months, my ultrasound was showing growth and increased weight gain. Being on preterm labor medications really helped, because by 26 weeks, my fetal fibronectin test came back negative. A sense of relief overwhelmed me. I thanked God every single day for turning my traumatizing pregnancy around. I knew by 36 weeks that I would finally get to meet my full-term baby girl! At 40 weeks, my Ob-gyn called me in to induce my labor. On November 17th, 2018, at 7:00pm, I was packing my hospital bag. Tears of joys were streaming down my face that I get to meet my baby girl very soon. She was full term, and I was finally off bed rest.  My nurse was amazing (all of them were), they hooked me onto Pitocin. For anyone reading this, Pitocin is an artificial Oxytocin (a labor/uterine contraction hormone that is naturally created in our body) to increase uterine contractions for labor and stimulates milk ejection. I asked for an epidural early on because I knew my pain tolerance is a size of a peanut. I didn’t want to feel any pain. I preferred to have a positive labor experience. 


Labor was long; I was famished to the point that my mind imagined how delicious a cheese quesadilla would be. I was only allowed to consume liquids, in case of an emergency C section.  My epidural wore off too and the pain was unbearable that I couldn’t breathe. I could feel my chest tighten and my breathing staggered.  The anesthesiologist administered a bolus of epidural to help me cope with the pain. On November 18th, 11:30, my Ob-Gyn said I am fully dilated and was ready to push!  I was READY to get my baby out of her hotel room!!! I was done being pregnant!!!! Pregnancy is exhausting both mentally and physically! My baby girl heart rate showed some decelerations, so they administered pure oxygen to bring her heart rate up. My epidural wore off too, thus I began feeling the contraction pains. While I was pushing, I remember how thirsty and hot I became. I kept chewing on ice and then continue to push. My legs were extremely numb from the epidural bolus that I could not feel them.  After pushing for 58 minutes, my little girl was born! She didn’t cry at first and I became worrisome. Then she let out her blood curdling scream. NICU team was on standby again in case she swallowed meconium. But luckily, she didn’t!  Meriam Alisha was born on November 19, 2018, at 1:10am weighing 6lbs and 2oz. 

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