Sunday 29 December 2013

The Birth of My Baby Boy

*Warning: This post contains very graphic documentation of my crazy birth experience, which may result in significant stress reactions in some mums-to-be (true story). Reader's discretion is advised; if you feel squirmish, you may want to look at pictures of my cute babies instead =)

The birth of our 2-day-late Christmas baby boy was nothing like how I had anticipated it would be! It was both terrifying yet amazing at the same time!

As with most pregnant mothers, I started to get impatient with the arrival of my baby the moment I reached the 37th week of pregnancy. With every invitation to Christmas gatherings came my favourite caveat, "I'll be going.. IF I haven't given birth. I reaaalllly hope that I won't be there though.."

And each party came and went and I was there, pregnant belly and all (>_<). One of my bosses came to work one day, saw me and exclaimed, "you're still here!?" *sigh*

"Don't rub it in.." I grumbled.

And just when I had lost all hope that my baby will be born in 2013 and was prepared to attend the last Christmas lunch of the year, with the colleagues no less, my wish finally came to pass!

On the morning of 27 December 2013, I woke up with strong menstrual-like cramps 15 minutes apart. There was also a little bit of bleeding and as usual instincts told me that that day was going to be D-Day!

As I had an appointment with my OBGYN, Dr Su Lin Lin, I warned the hubby and mum-in-law to be prepared and headed to the clinic with the hubby for my regular checkup. I brought along my diaper bag (in case it was the day of delivery) and my office laptop (in case it wasn't).

Dr Su gave me the dreaded cervical examination (thankfully for the first time for this pregnancy) and found me to be 3cm dilated. She thought that I should have a CTG just to objectively track my contractions and the heart beat of the baby.

CTG scan from the week before

During the CTG, my contractions started to come about 10 minutes apart. Even then, my doctor felt that the baby could still only come the next day (I think she must have experienced a lot of false alarms!) and advised that I could either go home or wait in a ward. We decided we would go home as it was really boring (not to mention more expensive!) to wait in a hospital ward.

But as we were leaving, I told the hubby that I was 80% sure, based on my instinctive gut feeling, that the baby was going to come out that day. I suggested that we go to the nearest mall for lunch and shop while we waited.

When we arrived at Star Vista at 11.30am, the hubby brought me to the famous Canto Paradise for lunch, hoping that the good food will take my mind off the contractions. However, no matter how tasty the food was (and believe me, it really was good!), my mind was focused on the painful contractions which were coming every 5 minutes! I was in labour right in the restaurant and no one seemed to be aware of it!

At Canto Paradise with the baby, 5 days later!

Although by now I was sure that it was time to go to the Delivery Suite, I told the hubby to walk with me around the mall just to be doubly sure. It was a walk I will never forget! Every few metres I would stop, clutch the hubby's shoulder and grimace in pain until the contractions went away. We had only walked for about 20 minutes before we finally headed for the Delivery Suite.

Upon our arrival at the Delivery Suite at 12.50pm, I asked for epidural right away as the pain was getting really unbearable.

Nurse: "Have you seen your doctor yet?"
Me: "Epidural. Where's my epidural?"
Nurse: "You've got to be at least 3cm dilated in order to be administered epidural."
Me (clutching my abdomen): "Yes... checked. 3cm. Epidural!"

They checked that I was 4cm dilated before calling for an anaesthesiologist. When the anaesthesiologist finally arrived, I was more interested in when he could finish administering the epidural rather than what he was saying.

"So you have done this before.. blah blah.. side effects.. blah blah.." but all I could think of was, "OMG just shut up and give me the epidural!!"

When he was finally done with explaining, I was already experiencing very bad contractions every 3 minutes. I was looking forward to relaxing during the rest of the delivery after I was administered the epidural.

However, that was not to be. The big shock came when he tried many times and FAILED to administer the epidural correctly! For some reason he could not find the right nerve and when he finally did, I felt numbness only in my right leg! *gasp*

By then my contractions were so intense that I was crying out in pain and praying to God that the epidural will work! The experienced nurses guessed that I must be progressing faster than the epidural can work so they did another check and found out that in the very short time I had dilated to 8cm!

There was no time to wait for the epidural! My doctor entered the room (in her pretty work dress as it was clinic day) and told me that the best thing to do is to break my water bag and expedite the process. She said a bunch of things about how it was good that the labour is progressing so quickly but all I could think about was, "Oh crap, NO EPIDURAL!!!"

I was still half hoping that a miracle would happen and the epidural would work as I continued to clutch the side of the hospital bed while crying out in pain with every contraction. By now the contractions felt like someone was twisting my womb sooo hard that it was going to explode! The nurses coaxed me into inhaling gas to help with the contractions but it didn't help me at all! I felt nothing of the "high" or "out of this world" feeling that other mothers say they feel.

But I took many whiffs of it anyway as I was so desperate to cope with the pain. When it finally came time to push, I held my knees up to the side of my boobs and screamed like a crazed woman! The nurse kept telling me to focus my energy on the pushing instead but I just couldn't help myself. The feeling was exactly like how all mothers who went through real childbirth described it: forcing out your excrement when you are having a super bad case of constipation, but worse. Much worse!

With my last push, I felt like my skin was tearing apart (although my doctor did an episiotomy) and the head of my baby popped up from under my skirt. My doctor quickly placed him on my stomach and he started crying loudly immediately!

I heaved a sigh of relief that the worse was finally over! My baby was delivered safely into my arms at 3.06pm! He weighed 3.5kg =)

Tired out but ridiculously happy

You know what, I've always wanted to experience real child birth without pain relief but simply did not have the guts to do it! Now that I've experienced it, I have to say that though I'm still super traumatised by it, I'm also extremely proud of myself that I did it! =)

After the baby's all cleaned up

After getting stitched up, I attempted to latch my baby and was happy to find that he was able to latch well. All that experience with my girl had definitely helped =)

And just 5 hours after I checked into the Delivery Suite, I was brought to our single-bedder ward with our best Christmas present this year!

Merry Christmas Mummy & Daddy!
(Red ribbon is courtesy of baby's maternal grandma)

Besides handling a brand new baby, I was faced with the need to transition my girl to her baby brother. Despite all that I have done to prepare my girl, it was definitely still a challenge to ensure that she doesn't feel left out.

Excitedly welcoming the arrival of her baby brother!
With my 2 beloved babies

Initially she was genuinely excited to see her baby brother and even got a present from him. Even the nurses commented on how well she was adapting to her new sibling. I was less optimistic as I knew my girl well. Soon after she saw how the baby was getting all the attention from our visitors and how I could only carry her brother (for breastfeeding) but not her due to the pain in my abdomen, she started to act out. I could tell that she had tried really hard to be a good big sister and be "grown up" about the whole thing but truth is she is really still a kid, a very sensitive kid. She kicked up a fuss over little things and refused to listen when told that she cannot be rough with the baby.

I confronted her on her feelings and she finally admitted with loud cries that she was jealous of her brother. After much assurance and some disciplining (you know me, I don't take well to temper tantrums even if the reason is legit), she began to behave herself and only required regular reminders.

She did start to behave like a baby too though..

I'm a baby too.. a very BIG baby!

On the last night of my stay, the hospital prepared a nice celebratory meal for the two of us to enjoy!

Table for 2

I have to say that compared to my previous experience of the 4-bedder ward, being in a single-bedder ward made a world of difference and was definitely worth the money (see charges here). As the environment was quieter and I had a bathroom all to myself, I could rest and focus on taking care of my baby. My family also had adequate space to relax when they came to visit and my girl had a place to draw or play with her toys. I will definitely recommend it if you can afford it.

As usual, 2 days later I was discharged and ready to go home. Nice as the ward/room was, there is certainly no place like home!

Some of the many presents from various friends

Thanks everyone for your visit, gifts and well wishes! We are definitely very blessed. All glory and thanks to our Lord Jesus! =)

A most wonderful time of the year indeed *grin*
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