Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birthing Nathan

Just before I was due to deliver, I was very interested to read or hear other mummies' stories about how they had their babies. I guess it was because I wasn't sure what the signs of labour would be and just wanted to "check out the market" so to speak! Anyway I thought it would be nice to pen my own birth story so I never forget the funky details and also in case any mummy-to-be out there likes checking out birth stories like I did! :p

Most of my friends birthed at 38 weeks so there I was, bags packed, all psyched and ready to pop anytime after 37 weeks. I didn't go out much but just stayed home. You know, just to be safe. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in peak hour traffic on PIE with contractions!

The 38th week came and went. So did the 39th. Finally I decided I had enough about idling at home and went out shopping or meeting friends for most of the week that I was due. But still no baby! Shop assistants and strangers would look at me puzzled, your tummy is so huge you look like you're about to pop anytime! Shouldn't you be resting at home?!!

Exactly one week after my EDD, I woke up in the morning at 7am to pee and discovered I had what people call "the show". For some reason, a thick liquid kept trickling down my leg so I had to use a pad but it never occurred to me that my water bag had burst as well! My gynae appointment was at 830am and when I mentioned the liquid to the kind lady at the counter, she immediately put me at the front of the queue so I could see the doc straight away. And just as the gynae examined me for signs of labour, a whole load of liquid just gushed out of me and wet the bed!

At this point, I still had no contractions but was 1.5 cm dilated. The gynae warned me that if contractions did not begin naturally by that afternoon, I had to check into the hospital to be induced.

But we were assured that Nathan would come at God's appointed time without needing to be induced. So we took out some dimsum for breakfast at home and soon after I felt the first contractions! For some reason the time 3pm kept coming to me and I didn't want to be presumptuous and assume it was God's voice so we continued to monitor the frequency and duration of my contractions. By the time 3pm came, the contractions were 1 min long and 5 min apart! Time to go to the hospital!

At this point in time, I was 4.5 cm dilated. You could really feel the waves of contractions! They were starting to get more intense and obviously uncomfortable, but still manageable. The contractions picked up as the time past and each time it peaked, I had to close my eyes and squeeze Matt's hand while praying the scriptures I had memorised in preparation for labour. It was all ok if not for the fact the nurses kept coming in to persuade me to have pain relief! I had already stated in my birth plan that:

1) I wanted a birth plan as natural as possible without medical intervention unless necessary.
2) I did not want a pethidine jab or epidural. If I really needed it, all I would use was gas.
3) No episiotomy unless required.

They would go, oh you are obviously in distress, it's better for you to have pain relief. I was so annoyed! It didn't help when they said matter-of-factly that "the pain gets worse after you're 8cm dilated". Gee thanks!

Perhaps what the nurses said affected me, cos it really seemed that the contractions became so much stronger when I was 8 cm dilated! It was about 7pm and I had been in the hospital for about 4 hours. I was so tempted to ask for an epidural at this point! (Thankfully I did not, cos I would have been greatly upset to learn that you could only have an epidural before you're 5 cm dilated!)

It was also at this point that Nathan's heartbeat was showing signs of distress so I had to be put on oxygen. By then I gave in and decided to use the gas but no one told me you had to inhale as the contractions began, and not at the peak! The nurse said that it would be another 2 hours before I was ready to push but we trusted God to make sure it wouldn't be that long!

Soon enough, just 40 min later I felt a sudden urge to do a major poo! So this is how bearing down feels like! I quickly told Matt to go get the nurse and he was like, are you sure? Are you sure? I felt like screaming, yes I'm sure! Now go!

The nurse came in not believing I could be ready but when she examined and found me to be 10cm dilated, she quickly shouted for someone to get the doc cos it was time for me to push!

Then came the arduous part of pushing. I'd always imagined it would be a short time of intense pushing and then whoosh! The baby would be out. But no! I ended up pushing up for more than and hour and a half, sipping milo in between contractions for energy. Each time the nurse said oh we can see the baby's head! And I would be like, yes this is it! But I could not sustain the push and his head would withdraw inside me. These were the most exhausting moments of my life!

Finally my gynae who had been most supportive of my birth plan said we could not wait any longer as Nathan's heartbeat continued to show signs of distress so I would need to have an assisted delivery by vaccum suction (which also meant having an episiotomy. sigh.). By this point, I was sapped of energy and really, I would have said yes to anything to have the baby delivered! A quiet prayer for extra strength, a final push and at long last we saw our baby boy!

Because I had only used the gas earlier, Nathan was a super alert baby whose eyes were opened straight away and he scored a 9 on the apgar scale! The nurses cleaned him up and gave him to me to nurse which he did so right away with gusto. While I was being stitched up, Matt had the audacity to ask me casually, "So, how many babies do we wanna have again?" The nerve!

Post-delivery I could not stand up straight for 3 days as I had over-exerted my lungs while pushing. And my bottom was sore for the longest time!! It took the whole month of confinement for me to feel normal again. All these while having to grapple with sleep deprivation and adjusting to a young baby! Looking back now, I still get the shivers and wonder if I would be able to go through the whole process again.

But we know God has a special way of making mummies forget the pain when they see their babies! And then it's hello to baby #2, baby #3, etc.

Now is that cool or what? :)

After reading what I wrote, I realised I had made it scarier than it actually was! I hope I haven't scared people off having babies haha! Childbirth is really a very special experience that only we as women are blessed with. The men will never get it! The miracle of life within you, the joy of birthing your child... I thank God for my short, complication-free and definitely easy delivery (6 hours from the time I was admitted to when Nathan was born) and for the strength He gave me during the labour process. Everyone knows I'm a wuss when it comes to pain so it definitely was not my own strength that got me through it!

Having a birth plan also helped me to be sure of what I wanted and did not want during delivery - like not having epidural (i didn't want drugs which could affect the baby) - so you don't get pressured into making difficult decisions when you have to focus on your contractions! And it helps to have a supportive loving hubby inside the delivery suite with you! Matt was a darling, he braved the ahem, smells and sights, and prayed with me through the 6 hours till his mouth was all dry.

I think, with all honesty, that by God's grace, I could, and I would go through this all over again :)


P.S. It took me half a day to just write this one post in between changing nappies, nursing and getting a baby to sleep!! I feel so productive.


Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for the post! I'm a first-time mummy-to-be and am totally confused what to watch out for and hoping for the birth to be as natural as it can get like you too. Praying to the Lord for strength :)

fiona said...

thanks for this beautifully written birth story. :)


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