And today, I actually feel like I have enough energy to document the birth story of Sammy before the details blur into fuzziness.
Labour. Nothing can ever prepare you for this age-old reproduction process. I went for a birth preparation course where I was taught breathing techniques and different positions of labour.
However, when I had to go through the actual thing, breathing techniques were more like "survival 101".
Word of caution: This entry is not for the squirmish.
Saturday night (3.9.11) - I was spending some time with the Lord.
This was when I was led to Psalm 22.9 "You brought me out of the womb, you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast".
I just knew there and then that Sammy would be born the next day. I felt in my heart that the Lord wanted me to "release" my baby into the world and that I needed to trust God to look after Sammy when he is no longer in the "safety" of my womb.
Blame it on the hormones but I felt so emotional knowing that this would be the last night I would spend pregnant with my first baby. I felt like as much as I wanted to see him in real life, there was nothing I wanted more than to protect him from all the "dangers" of this world we live in.
Still, I released baby in my heart to the Lord in a simple, heartfelt prayer and went to bed. I didn't know then how prophetic this prayer would be.
Early morning - I couldn't sleep well this night. Kept tossing and turning, while having intermittent cramp-like contractions. I didn't think too much about it, because all I wanted to was to fall back asleep!
5 am - I felt a little balloon "burst" inside me. For a while I thought, "Could that be my water bag?"
When I went to the toilet, I saw that I had some discharge but it wasn't enough for me to confirm. My cramps started becoming more frequent.
5.30am - My water burst just like in the movies. I had to wake hubby up and we started timing my contractions. It was coming every 5-7 minutes. We called the hospital and they said to come in right away since my water had burst.
7am - Arrived at hospital, contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and were very, very VERY painful! Upon internal examination, I was so disappointed to know that I was only 1-2 cm dilated and the doctor said that I should go for a walk.
I couldn't even stand up properly, let alone go for a walk! I ended up sitting on a stone bench at the park while the poor hubby kept urging me to get back on my feet.
I pleaded with him that it was close to impossible, cos the contractions were coming at such close frequency and I was in increasing pain!
9am - Went back to the hospital where they placed me in a birthing room and strapped me to the machine which monitored baby's heartbeat. I was still only 1-2 cm dilated but my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes!
By this time, I could barely do anything except concentrate on my breathing. The contractions were just crazy! There was another lady who was close to giving birth and whose heartbeat monitor I could see from my room.
My contractions were more frequent and the intensity was worse than hers! And she was in the end stage of her labour, while I was only in the first!
10.30 am - Decided to get the doctor to administer Epidural for me. The Epidural didn't hurt at all and I was soo thankful for the time off.
10.30 to 7pm - I slept intermittently while my cervix continued to dilate at about 1cm / hour to about 6 cm.
7pm to 8pm - No progress. Doctor said that baby's head seemed to have been "stuck" in the wrong position and was not directly at the entrance of the pelvis.
She manually emptied my bladder and amniotic fluid left inside me. I was also made to lie down on the left and right side at 15 minutes intervals so that this might hopefully help baby to settle into the pelvic region.
All this time, I could still get up on my feet so I was on the birthing ball, doing my standing exercises to help ease baby's drop. I did basically anything and everything I could think of! The doctors and midwives were very amazed that I could have motor control over the lower part of my body because they said that many women are unable to move once Epidural has been administered.
8pm to 8.45pm - Dilated from 6cm to 8cm in 45 minutes!!!!!
My joy was short-lived when baby's heartbeat fell by 50% and there was a flurry of midwives and doctors who fussed over me in their efforts to bring baby's heartbeat back into the normal range.
I was given an injection that would cause my heartbeat to increase so that baby's heartbeat would be elevated.
The injection caused me to shiver uncontrollably while baby's heartbeatshowed signs of improvement.
8.45pm to 11pm - No progress. I was stuck at 8cm.
By this time, the Epidural no longer had an effect on me because I was feeling every single bit of nerve-wrecking, spine-tingling contraction. I was convulsing so violently whenever the next wave of contraction came.
Tried so hard to breathe through each contraction, but it was hurting so bad! I had both stomach and back contractions, so I basically had to deal with pain jotting through all my muscles at 1-2mins intervals.
I was also so mega exhausted that I was falling asleep in between my contractions! Before my labour, I didn't even think that would have been possible, but here I was, sleeping through my contractions!
11pm to 12 midnight - Finally my cervix opened to 10cm and I was ready to push!
BUT, baby's head was still not low enough! I was supposed to push him to sit right at the entrance of the birth canal.
The first push was semi-successful. Second push was awesome, in which the doctor said that the baby was coming out soon.
This was when the head OB-gyn came into the room, at about midnight.
He looked through my birth progress and said that something was not quite right because I didn't have any progress for 2-3 hours when I was stuck at 8cm. This meant that he suggested me having a C-section.
They decided to wait until the next contraction to see if my push was "good" enough to get Sammy out.
With this type of pressure, I caved and wasn't able to push properly with the next contraction.
At this juncture, I had to decide if I wanted to do C-section (as recommended) or just keep trying to push, keeping in mind that Sammy's head was still not entirely sitting at the entrance of the birth canal. :(
I decided to go for the C-section mainly because that's what the head-OB Gyn recommended.
By this time, I was soooo beyond my ability to really think that all I wanted was baby out! I fell asleep during the C-section as well, which might have been a good thing cos all I remember was that people were tugging and pulling my insides.
5th Sept 2011, 45 mins past midnight - Baby Sammy entered into the world looking all red and pinky.
Below is the first-ever photo taken of him at the hospital by one of the mid-wives and oh man, he already looks so different by now!
When people ask me what was my labour like? I candidly tell them I felt like I gave birth to two babies! One because I was fully-dilated at 10cm and the other through the C-section.
I was really disappointed that I had to go through a C-section but the midwife told me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck once, so perhaps it wasn't entirely a bad decision. And he was afterall a pretty big baby, so I might have tore badly too if I had gone for a vaginal birth?
Questions for which I will never have answers for. But the most important thing is that my little one was born healthy and fine. I think that's the only thing I will still remember 20 years down the road. And I simply have to trust God that with so many people praying for me, it can't have been "sheer coincidence" that the head-OB gyn popped by out of the blue to recommend a C-section.