(To give some context to the first sentence... I started writing this entry last thursday (8 august), but only managed to finish it today.)
Today marks exactly 2 weeks since the little boy entered this world, and I thought I should pen down his birth story before I forget (though every mother who had been through labour would know that there are certain things you will never forget).
The ultimatum given by my gynae was for me to be induced by 25 July should the baby show no signs of making his own way out. And so we waited patiently until that day and we knew we had to serve Sam the "eviction notice". I kept wondering when the usual signs of labour i learnt in the prenatal classes would suddenly happen... But as it was, no water bag bursting, no contractions and no "show". What a disappointment.
So on the evening of 24 July, Jon and I came home knowing that our lives will change completely the next day. We took a short nap, had a late dinner, took my time to have a good warm shower and double-checked the hospital bag to make sure we brought everything. We left the house slightly before 2am and slowly made our way to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital and got our admissions sorted out, I was immediately asked into the delivery suite and my first dose of prostin tablet to kickstart my contractions at 3am. Once they monitored and made sure everything was going on fine, I was brought up to the ward at 5.45am to rest and wait. And so we power napped again to conserve energy for what is to come.
The nurse had told me that my gynae asked for me to be given the second dose at 10am, but by 6ish, I started getting slight contractions. And by 8ish, I was told I'm 3cm dilated with contractions about 10 minutes apart and ready to go down to the labour ward. It seems that the little one just needed some nudging to start his journey out.
Down in the labour ward, I figured that the contractions were quite manageable and since my mum could give birth to my brother and I drug-free, I wanted to see if I could do the same. And so all I depended on was the laughing gas (that wouldn't make anyone laugh!) until I was told that if I wanted the epidural, I needed to let the nurses know early because the anaesthetist will take at least half an hour. 5 hours with the laughing gas was all I could handle before I thought to myself that I should just ask for epidural. After all, I was about 5-6cm dilated and would probably have a few more hours to go.
Just as the anaesthetist turned up and prepped the epidural, my body went into panic mode, I curled up into a ball with one of the worst contractions I ever felt (I later realised that the intensity of the contraction was lower than some I've had earlier) and I started getting drenched in sweat because of the pain. I mustered up enough strength to sit still for the anaesthetist to do his thing, while I hung on to the gas mask to ensure that I did not get another bout of painful contractions during the insertion of the epidural catheter.
My gynae popped in to check on me an hour later (he has earlier told me not to take the epidural because he thinks I can handle the pain), and found I was fully dilated. (It seems that the doctor who checked me out before my epidural measured my dilation wrongly.) So he gave orders for my epidural to be reduced so that I would feel some contractions to push the baby out. Somehow, even reducing the epidural to the lowest dosage, it still took me about 2 hours to get the sensation and around 3pm, the action began.
The next hour plus was just a series of pushes until I was told that Sam's head was "almost out" and "2 more pushes will get him out". But that last 2 pushes didn't seem to do the trick. The gynae called in 2 more junior doctors whose primary role was to press my tummy to help the baby get out. I did 2 more pushes which almost made me run out of breath and blue in the face, and the gynae realised that the baby's head was not going to coming out. He made the decision to use the smallest forceps to aid the delivery and within a minute or two, pop came the little one! What a relief!
The first question I asked when I saw the gynae carry the baby out was "why is he not crying?". All the shows I've watched had the baby crying the moment they breathed their first breath, but mine was quiet for a few seconds. And just as I asked, Sam started to wail and the gynae joked that the baby was waiting for me to ask.
I looked at the frenzy happening around the room. I looked at the nurses trying to clean up my baby. I looked at the gynae trying to draw the cord blood which I was donating to the Singapore cord blood bank. I looked at Jon as he smiled back at me (and I saw how equally tired he was from being with me throughout the whole process). This is what we waited 9 months for.
(Sidenote: the nurses in KKH's delivery suite are all so friendly and attentive. We had such a great experience during the 8 hours because the nurses were very assuring every step throughout the process. They made all the difference!)
I reminded Jon to take photos of Sam and the nurses apologised that they wrapped my son in a pink blanket because the blue one was dirty. (Those photos were never sent to anyone to avoid confusing people if my baby was a boy or a girl.) We stayed in the delivery room for about 2 hours before I was brought up to my ward where our families were waiting. I gave my mum a hug as I told her I can't imagine how she went through the pain drug-free twice. I had a newfound respect for all the women I know who delivered their babies that way too.
Back in the ward, everyone was excited to see the baby and here was our first family photo together...
Sam was born at 1649hrs, weighing in at 3.558kg, at a length of 54cm (97th percentile for newborns!) and 36cm head circumference. (That's why he was stuck and I couldn't push him out towards the end.)
The birth is only an event to mark the end of the 9-month wait. Now, the real journey begins... And I'm so glad I have my best friend to walk this experience with me. Just looks at him beam with daddy pride as he carried Sam for the first time. (And yes, he was inducting Sam into supporting liverpool at the same time.)