Monday 9 May 2011

My Birth Story: the Day I Became a Mother

Yesterday I celebrated Mother's Day for the first time and I couldn't help but reminisce the time when I first became a mother to Girlee.

I chose to go with the best of both worlds: natural birth with a chance of emergency C-section (while praying that I wouldn't need it). I could make such a decision without worrying about the economic consequences as NUH do not charge extra for the additional emergency procedure. They'll just make the switch and you'll just have to pay one (vaginal delivery) OR the other (C-section) procedure. This is unlike private hospitals which, according to my friends, charge for both procedures (but I'll leave the private vs. public hospitals debate to another time).

On 4 July 2010, I was watching the World Cup 2010 semi-final match between Spain and Germany with the hubby, whom to say he's a football fan is an understatement. Somehow I too took a sudden interest in football (I have no idea why and has since lost interest after delivering the baby!). It could be that I was carrying half of the hubby in me or perhaps baby really wanted to watch. Her father had warned her not to come out until after the semi-finals and preferably before the finals so that all of us can make it back home in time to catch the critical matches. The miraculous thing? She listened and did just that.

Promptly at 3am right after the match, I felt strong contractions (similar to mentrual cramps) in my lower abdominal area. I slept it off as contractions are pretty common in the 9th month of your pregnancy. But in the morning, the contractions started to become more frequent and closer together. Instincts told me that we should prepare to leave for the hospital and I called my mother, who confirmed my suspicions.

Then at 12 noon, my 'water bag' (i.e. the amniotic sac containing the amniotic fluid) broke. I knew that, because fluid kept dripping out of my you-know-what and onto my legs. It was time! I took a bath and got into some comfortable attire before heading to NUH.

On arrival, they wheeled me to the delivery suite on the 2nd floor of the main building. I was both nervous and anxious to get it over and done with it.

As the contractions started getting stronger, it became more and more unbearable. I asked the trainee doctor how much my cervix had dilated and she said it was a miserable 3cm. The cervix has to dilate to 10cm before you can start pushing and most women dilate at a rate of 1cm per hour on average (and it turned out I was like most women). So I did the math in my head and realised I would have to suffer through pain for at least seven hours! No way! I asked for an epidural straight away.

FYI, epidural is an anesthesia injected to the base of your spine by an anesthetist. There are pros and cons to using this form of pain relief but I think the greatest benefit of the epidural (i.e. no pain!) outweighs the cons don't you think? *laughs*

Tip: be sure to ask for your epidural early if you're sure you want it. The anesthetist may not be at the hospital and may need some time to travel there. If you ask for it too late, he might not reach in time. Plus, the pain will make it hard for you to keep motionless enough for him to administer the epidural.

Anyway, because of the epidural, I was able to enjoy the rest of the labour until it was time to push.

Me in labour, relaxing after receiving my epidural

Of course the term 'enjoy' was relative. Seeing my hubby eating dinner while I couldn't (in case I vomitted due to the side effects of the epidural) was kind of hellish for me.

At 9.30pm, I was finally 10cm dilated. It was time to push! Deep breath in.. push, push, push (while the nurse counted to 10)! And this went on for more than two hours. My doctor, Dr Su Lin Lin, said she'd have to use a kiwi vacuum on my baby's emerging head to help pull her out while I gave my final pushes. I said, "do what you need to get her OUT!" And 5 minutes later, she was out!

Girlee was born at 11.50pm on US Independence Day weighing 3.4kg

I was sooo relieved! Like finally! But she didn't cry loudly. You know, the kind of cry that you hear in the movies when babies were born. So my OBGYN requested that the pediatrician take a look at her while she sewed me up. It took a long time of sucking out fluid from her throat and me calling out to her and begging her to cry when finally, she did cry. Not very loudly though, but good enough for the pediatrician to declare it unnecessary for her to be admitted to the NICU. Whew!

Held my baby for the first time!

By the time all the hoo-ha was over, it was 3am in the morning. I was exhausted and couldn't wait to take a nap (I really can't say sleep 'cos I had to wake up every 1.5-2 hours to breastfeed her).

Family members arrived bright and early to meet the new addition to our family

You'll never catch a smile from my dad-in-law in pictures but he'll always smile when it's with his only grand-daughter. My mum was ecstatic too. Said she has never loved any baby like she loves Girlee (what?! What about me?? -_-").

After taking a bath (yes I know that is not what Chinese women usually do), I dug into my lunch.

Devouring my hospital food

I either really liked the food or was too hungry to care! *laughs*.

Presents from my visitors

I felt very blessed to receive so many gifts and well-wishes from my friends and family. Everything went well and by Tuesday afternoon, I was home (checked into the hospital on Sunday). It was an experience I will never forget! =)
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