I wrote this shortly after J's birth to remember the experience and finally got round to posting it here almost 3 years later. Well, better late than never, I suppose? :)
9 Jan 2009
Woke up and discovered some staining that seems to be like show when going to the toilet. Wondered if I should cancel my lunch appointment with my friend, Erni. Decided to observe. Took a shower and sent hubby a sms about the signs.
No further signs – did not experience any contractions or further show. Started stuffing hospital bag – why didn’t I pack it earlier?? Made a cup of raspberry leaf tea and told baby J to hang in there and let me attend my old friend’s, Yining, wedding tomorrow night before he comes.
Still nothing happening, since Ginny (of Four Trimesters) mentioned that show might take a few days, I decided to proceed with day’s plan. Got changed and went to Republic Plaza for lunch.
Was having dessert when I experienced very mild menstrual-like discomfort. Went to toilet, but no show or bleeding. Hubby texted me that he’s meeting his mates for some beer and will be home around 8pm.
Left Republic Plaza and headed to Carrefour to exchange the night lamps I bought a few days ago. Was fed up when staff said I can’t test the new lamps and I have to come back if I want to exchange them again – can’t she see that I’m heavily pregnant??!! Had to explain that I’m due any time now and don’t want to make another trip here. Had to speak to supervisor before getting exchange done. Took forever and had to stand the whole time. Tiring!!
Finally could leave. On the way home, felt some mild menstrual-like cramps and backache. Nothing unbearable though. Wondered if baby J will come before the wedding dinner.
Arrived at Boon Lay MRT and felt that I had to do some last minute shopping in case baby J decides to arrive. Went to Jurong Point – rushed around to shops:
- NTUC: got a pack of rice for rice socks
- Sports shop: hunted high and low for socks with highest cotton content for rice socks
- Book shop: bought a magazine and a funny novel to entertain me in the delivery suite
- Homeware shop: got 2 pedal bins and various odds and ends.
Ended up with huge bags of shopping to carry home. Decided to take a cab home.
Home at last! Feeling pretty tired… but started preparing dinner of sausages and ratatouille. Noticed that surges are becoming more regular but didn’t time them as they weren’t bothering me at all, besides, I’m busy cooking…
Hubby texted me again to say that he’ll be late and will only be back around 8.30pm. Replied asking him not to drink too much as we may need to go to the hospital tonight.
Had another round of surges during dinner. Made an estimation that surges are occurring every hour or so. Bertil gets excited and starts singing, “my son is coming!” He asked if I think we would go to the hospital tomorrow morning or afternoon – I replied that we would be lucky if we didn’t have to go in the middle of the night today!!
After dinner, did the dishes, made rice socks (finally!), last minute tasks and packing.
Asked Bertil if he knows what to do in the delivery suite. His reply? “No.. you’ll have to tell me what to do..” *faint* oh well… at least I know what to expect now…
Surges were difficult to time. They would come persistently for 15 to 30 mins then stop, before restarting in 1 hour with the same pattern – what is that supposed to mean?? Found that slow breathing and squatting down during surges helped me feel more comfortable. Otherwise, I continued to breathe normally.
Texted Yining to say that I’m having early signs of labour. We’re on standby and probably can’t make it to her wedding.
Texted gyne that I had show in the morning and now having contractions approximately 1 in 1 hour since 7pm.
Decided to exfoliate and do a deep cleansing mask before taking a shower – just in case I wouldn’t be able to for the next 1 month! Also trimmed my nails so that I wouldn’t scratch Bertil (aren’t I considerate??)…
Gyne replied “Observe yrself at home if the contractions reach 1 in 10 min or too painful go to hospital and the nurses will inform me on yr status. Otherwise see you in my clinic at 8.45am for assessment”.
Double checked hospital bag with hubby. Vain pot me threw in more toiletries but decided to give make-up a pass.
Highlighted things in hypnobirthing book and notes for Bertil to take note of and asked him to familiarize himself with the Support Strategies cards.
10 Jan 2009
Surges felt like they have picked up speed – seems to be 1 in 20 mins. Told hubby to start timing. According to timer, surges lasted 50 secs at a frequency of 1 in 7 - 10 mins. Didn’t believe that surges were so close, thought that there must be something wrong with Bertil’s timing technique – doesn’t feel that intense. So far surges haven’t been painful, just felt like intense tightening sensations.
Kept trying to time until we both got fed up. Decided to try and get some sleep first.
Can’t sleep but still feels too early for hospital.
Went to the toilet and saw fresh blood. Surges intensified. Took deep breaths. Went to wake hubby who literally jumped out of bed. Instructed him to carry all the stuff down and I will follow once we’re ready to leave. I got changed while he was carrying the bags to the car - had to kneel on the floor several times when surges came in continuous waves.
Finally it’s time to go! When I was sure that the surges were over, I walked down the stairs to the car. A new surge hit just as I reached the car. Tried to get into the car but it was locked and hubby is still upstairs!! I swore, thinking he’s nuts to keep the car locked in the middle of the night when no one is around. Kneeled next to the car while waiting for him to arrive. He came down and couldn’t / didn't see me kneeling on the opposite side. Once he realized I was there, he got into the car and waited for me to get in. So much so for male chivalry, I thought – couldn’t he at least help me into the car??!!
Finally able to move off… called gyne on the way to Mt Alvernia and he sleepily told me to check in first, the nurses will update him.
Darn! I forgot to trim my eye brows!
Had surges in the car, tried timing them and they seemed to be 1 in 5 mins – I still thought that I wasn’t timing them correctly… Told hubby that I find surges easier to manage than menstrual cramps as they are regular and consistent.
Arrived at Mt Alvernia. Walked to the registration desk and told the nurse “I’m in labour”. Hubby tagged along behind with the bags. A guy came up with a wheelchair. I sat on it even though I felt that I could walk. Thought it would be fun to ride on a wheelchair for once. Was wheeled to the delivery suites on level 3, where the nurses asked for my name and frequency of surges. Was immediately sent to one of the suites with 2 nurses. Hubby was told to go downstairs and register while I was given a cup to collect a pee sample and a hospital gown. Went to the bathroom to pee and change – took a while as surges started to intensify even more. Nurse knocked on door to ask if I’m alright.
Finally came out of the bathroom – able to walk once the surges were over. Nurse led me to the bed and I was thinking that hubby was taking really long with the registration. Nurse was about to strap on the CTG when another surge came, I had to grip her wrist really hard. I think I must have hurt her but she was nice enough not to complain. Once CTG was on, I could lie down in the semi-supine position.
Surges came and went – I stopped counting and lost track of the time. Concentrated on counting and deep breathing. Somebody asked if I wanted gas – I shook my head. A nurse did a V.E. and announced in surprise that I was already 7 to 8 cm dilated! Wow!! I could hardly believe my ears and felt very heartened by the news! I felt inexplicably thirsty and asked for water – gobbled 2 cups of water to the nurse’s surprise.
Hubby finally came back and was just as surprised that I’m already so dilated… told him to get the birth plan out and leave it with my notes on the nurses’ counter. He also started playing the Rainbow Relaxation CD and sat next to me. Nurses left us alone after reading our birth plan.
My left hand was gripping his while my right hand gripped the bed rail as we moved through the surges. At some point, I felt hubby prying my hand open so that he could transfer my hand to his other hand. He tried to do some light touch massage on my left arm – I couldn’t decide if it was irritating or distracting so I just let him continue. A nurse came back in to free me from the CTG.
Felt a sudden need to pee and hubby helped me to the toilet – it took a long while to get there and back with frequent stops and kneeling on floor during surges. Decided that it’s not a good idea to move and that I should just stay in bed.
At some point, hubby went to replay the Rainbow Relaxation and I heard him take the opportunity to go to the bathroom. I was doing well and was ok with that… surges came while I was waiting for him to come back out… then suddenly I felt a ‘pop’ sensation and warm water flowing out – my water bag had burst!
Hubby is still in the bathroom – what on earth is he doing in there!??! Sleeping?? Could still wait until I felt an strong feeling of something moving down very quickly – a feeling that I can’t describe in words… like having an express train going through my insides, perhaps? But it wasn't painful or uncomfortable. Couldn’t wait anymore and shouted “Bertil!!” at the top of my lungs. Heard a commotion in the bathroom and hubby came running out, sounding flustered... “Get the nurses!” I said… I don’t know how he did that but a nurse came very quickly… “Water bag has broken” I told her. It felt like there was some action going on but I was too focused to pay any attention to what was happening around me. I felt an intense pressure to push and instinctively started… at some point, the nurse told me not to push, the doctor is not here yet!! I tried but couldn’t stop – the urge was just so primal - she came over and made the bed completely flat despite my protests… this will help you to stop pushing, she said. She then turned me onto my left side and I was left in this position, breathing heavily and gripping hubby's hand. I didn’t know how long I was in this position until I couldn’t bear it any longer and really really had to push despite the nurse telling me to “control” and “don’t push”. Thankfully, hubby finally spoke up for me and told her “I think she really needs to push now.”
At that moment, Dr Kee finally arrived – I was both relieved and angry that he took so long but no time and energy to dwell on it – at last I was allowed to push. Someone must have put me back up into the semi-supine position. Dr Kee asked if I wanted to feel the head – and it distracted me. It took me some effort to shake my head. I heard him say that an episiotomy is not needed. A surge came and the crowning sensation, so different from the surges that I was used to, took me off-guard and I lost my focus… “I can’t do it… I’m giving up” flashed through my mind. Just then the surge subsided and Dr Kee was still telling me to push… I couldn’t muster up any energy. We waited for the next surge and I felt something large and round (the baby’s head) coming through followed by a wet slithering movement which I assumed to be the body…
Dr Kee announced the time of birth. I just closed my eyes and leaned back. When I opened my eyes shortly, I saw Johann, lying bloodied while the cord was clamped and Bertil cut the cord… it felt like an out of body experience… I didn’t feel like I was physically present. Instead, I felt like a third party observing the scene from a bird's eye view. Reality or hormonal effect? I don't know
Johann was hastily wrapped in the green hospital sheet and given to me. When I first held him, I felt like it was “hello, stranger… so you’re the guy I’ve been talking to for the past 9 months.” The nurse squeezed out colostrum and helped him to latch on. Meanwhile, Dr Kee swas saying that my uterine contractions were very efficient and the placenta could be delivered naturally. He started massaging my uterus. I did not notice when the placenta was delivered. At some point, I told Dr Kee “I can’t believe I just did this.” He told me that I sustained a minor tear and some abrasions and stitched me up.
Things started winding down. Johann was taken to be weighed, measured and cleaned up with hubby in tow, before being returned to me. Dr. Kee ensured that we were fine, changed out of his scrubs and left.
Hubby, Johann and I were left alone to spend our first moments as a family together…
After some time, the nurses came back, cleaned me up and transferred me to a gurney as we made the transition to the wards. Hubby wheeled Johann along, while the nurses pushed me out. Just as we passed the reception desk, a nurse there said “next time, come in earlier…” On hindsight, maybe I should have done so, but then again, maybe not! This felt just right! (",)