It has taken me some time just for me to be able to wrap my head around the events of the birth of our baby boy, Asher. Motherhood is really tough but enjoyable at the same time. While juggling between work and taking care of baby, I keep having flashbacks of my birth experience.
I’ll start from my regular check up at the gynae’s – it has been great until week 37. She told us that the baby is in a posterior position (face up) and the head is not really engaged, so we might have to go for caesarean delivery. My heart sank. All these while I was hoping for a natural delivery and the past few scans showed that it is highly possible. She even gave us dates to choose for a scheduled caesarean delivery but I told her that I wanted to wait for another week or two.
As we got into the car, I clutched KampungBoy’s hand as tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t contain my disappointment – all the daily walkings and prenatal exercises that I did resulted in nothing. KampungBoy hugged me tightly and told me that nothing matters more than a healthy baby and a smooth delivery process. I clearly know that, I just couldn’t keep my sadness under control.
Nonetheless, we keep our hopes up. Every night we would talk to the bump asking him to turn down and go down. We continued with our daily evening walks and I forced myself to take the stairs more (it’s killing me).
At 3.00 a.m. on the morning two days before baby Asher is out, when I was almost 39 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. The pain was so sharp that it woke me up from my sleep. Being a first time mum, I wasn’t too sure if it’s Braxton Hicks or real contractions. I started to time it and it happened every hour or so.
We had a lunch appointment with our friends the next day and we went ahead because I was feeling alright. Never did I know that that I might go into labour on the same day. The pain escalated in the afternoon, with contractions happening every 10-15 minutes or so. We got ourselves checked into the hospital at 5.00pm.
The funny thing about contractions is, no one can tell you what they’re going to feel like. It feels like menstrual pain but 10 times worse? There were so much pressure down there that I feel like my vagina is going to drop. I started crying in the car while we were on the way to the hospital.
As we got into the hospital, the nurse put a monitor on my stomach to check on the baby’s heartbeat, and did a cervical exam to check my progress. That was the MOST painful thing ever! I was a mere 1 centimeter dilated, and I was devastated to hear that. They asked me if I wanted to go home and wait for it to progress further. I asked them to check with my gynae. My gynae suggested that we go home first, take a hot shower, eat a big dinner and then come back at around 10.00 pm. She knows that my pain threshold is really low so it is better to spend the night at the hospital.
By then, my contractions came swiftly at every five minutes. I’m pretty amazed at myself because I manage to get something done within the 4 minutes window, and then clutch onto something at the next minute when contractions hit.
We went back to the hospital at 10 pm, and again the nurse put a monitor on my stomach to check on the baby’s heartbeat, and did a cervical exam to check my progress. I hated it. Then the midwife came and did a cervical check again, then my gynae came to see and did a cervical check again! I couldn’t bear with the pain and asked for epidural. They called the anaesthesiologist in at 12 midnight. I was told to lean forward while I am sitting on the edge of the bed. I have to stay completely still while she performed the epidural in order to ensure it gets entered in the right spot.
It was a disaster due to my scoliosis condition. It took her not just one, but 6-7 attempts to get the epidural to work, during which KampungBoy watched in horror the whole time. “So much blood everywhere”, he said while having tears welling up in his eyes. It was the only time that he cries throughout the whole delivery process, not even when he holds the baby for the very first time. Our anaesthesiologist also said that my blood is too thin so there might be more blood loss when I deliver, so she needed to prompt my gynae.
At the final attempt, I felt something like a cold stream running down one leg, then the other leg. Within a few minutes I moved on to a numb paradise. The catheter was inserted after that. As I lay there, finally able to relax, I looked over at the monitor and watch the contraction indicator going up, without feeling anything. It was pure bliss. The nurse and midwife came in a few times to do the cervical check and I couldn’t feel anything at all.
By 4 am or 5 am (I can’t remember), my gynae made the decision to break my water to try to help things progress. I was feeling hopeful that I can be dilated but sorry, nope. After all the ordeal, I was only 2 cm dilated. She said she will come back at 6 am to check on my progress.
Next morning, our gynae came and she said that my cervix is still not dilating and the baby actually moved up(?!); so she suggested that we go for caesarian delivery. Two nurses cleaned and shaved my pubic area, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting.
I was being rolled into the cold operating room, and slid onto the operating table in the morning. They began to hang the blue sheet as I waited for KampungBoy to get change and come in. The anaesthesiologist tapped my legs to test and make sure the epidural was effective. KampungBoy came in and sat by my head. My gynae told me that everything was good to go, and she is going to cut open and stitch back slowly due to my condition.
The surgery itself took a little longer than expected, and I can feel a lot of jostling and tugging while the surgeons worked behind the cloth. My gynae even asked KampungBoy to stand up and take a look lol! It was a scary experience as they pressed my stomach really hard and the whole bed moved? At that point in time, I told KampungBoy I’m not sure if I want to have a second baby. He laughed.
After a while, I heard a loud cry but I didn’t get to see the baby first as they whisked the baby off to the paediatrician who was on standby and KampungBoy followed. After what seemed like ages, they sent the baby back to me and I got a first glimpse of our little boy – red and furious, all wrapped up like a little dumpling. Our anaesthesiologist offered to take some photos for the three of us.
I fell asleep as they stitched me up and wheeled me down to the recovery room. KampungBoy stayed with the baby who was placed under radiant heat for three hours! I didn’t know that three hours have passed until I woke up in my ward. KampungBoy said that baby Asher was quiet and patiently waiting while all the other babies were crying loud.
Finally I was able to have a skin to skin contact with my baby and latched him on. It feels amazing. I didn’t cry (surprisingly) but I kept telling KampungBoy that he’s soooooooo cute!! All the pain (post surgery) was worth it. I was glad that my recovery was pretty good, I was able to walk slowly 12 hours post surgery and had my first pee.
Even though the baby’s birth didn’t go the way I had hoped we’re so thankful to have a healthy, happy baby. Just remember, no matter how much you think ahead, labor and delivery rarely go according to plans.