Every woman has her own birth story to tell. Yet, I found myself googling for birth stories to prep myself for what’s to come. And after delivery, I was still googling for stories to see if other women shared similar experiences. Different but same same. Somehow I found comfort in those stories … So here I am to contribute my birth story at NUH to the community of mothers.
Day 0 (20 Jun 17): Contractions
During the Day
The day before labour I had bloody show (stringy brown and pinkish discharge) in the afternoon. I wasn’t really sure it’s a bloody show because I had brown discharge days ago and nothing happened. Also, I was in self-denial, I didn’t want to admit it’s a bloody show partly because I wanted to deliver in July for various reasons.
Still the intuition was growing strong.. I was like oh no, I still had quite a lot of outstanding things (work and housework) to clear. I had slight contractions but they were still bearable. Hence I decided to sweep and mop the house, because it’s been quite some time and the floor was getting dirty and dusty. And if I were to deliver the next day, I don’t want to bring the baby back to a dusty environment.
The contractions started to become more regular (10mins apart) towards evening, and so I quickly packed my hospital bag. My husband asked if we needed to call the delivery suite and head to the hospital. I brushed him off because I was still in self-denial! Also because I didn’t want to make a wasted trip nor admit into the hospital too early and just wait in the delivery suite.
During the Night
I didn’t have a good night’s sleep. I was drifting in and out of sleep because of the contractions. It’s getting more painful and regular. I was getting worried, but hubby was sleeping soundly beside me.
God knows my anxieties, because at 3am, a friend who is a mother herself texted me and asked how I was! She didn’t know why she suddenly woke up and even thought of texting me. I must say it’s divine! God knows I needed some assurance! I shared my anxieties with her and felt better. Then she told me I should just bring the hospital bag along to my gynae appt the next day.
It was God’s good timing that we had gynae appointment the next morning because I wasn’t sure when we should call the delivery suite. At least we could let the doctor assess the situation during the appointment.
D-Day: Gynae Appointment
Prof Su Lin Lin, our gynae and us
First Check of Dilation
We saw our gynae (Prof Su Lin Lin) at about 12pm. I described the contractions to her and she was in her usual chillax face and said that yup I’m having the contractions but probably NOT in labour yet. In any case, she would check my cervix just to confirm. And when she did, she was visibly shocked that I’m already 4cm dilated and in labour! If I had called the the delivery suite and simply described my contractions, would they have asked me to wait?
Strep B Virus
Anyway because I have Strep B virus, I needed to be injected with antibiotics which will take 4 hours to take effect. It’s to lower the chances of the baby getting the infection. If I am not wrong, the baby has to undergo tests and injections after delivery if I had delivered before the 4 hours were up. Basically, you wouldn’t want your newborn to go through them. Nevertheless, Strep B is quite a harmless and common virus for mothers. The test for Strep B virus was done on 37th week.
According to Prof Su, I could not have my lunch first before going to the delivery suite. Good thing hubby had gone to pack some breakfast for me to eat while waiting for our gynae appointment. One reason I could not have lunch is just in case I have emergency c-sect, I can’t remember the other reason – it’s probably due to the antibiotics. I was immediately wheeled to the delivery suite from my gynae’s office even though I requested to walk. I think it’s because walking will speed up the labour process, which we try to avoid because of the 4 hours required for the antibiotics to take effect.
From the varicose vein of my hand, the antibiotics was injected in and blood drawn out of me – it was uncomfortable and felt dangerous, as if the needle would tear through my skin. To think I had to endure contractions with that uncomfortable needle! And I still had to keep it on for another 24 hours after delivery just in case I needed more antibiotics. You can see the monstrous needle setup in the photo below.
D-Day: Delivery Suite
Prepare and Wait
When I went into the delivery suite, the midwives commented to each other about me, in front of me, “Wah so fast admitted, haven’t even check the ECG.” I think usually they will check the rate of contractions first before admission. So I am considered fast!
They prepped the room and injected me with antibiotics at about 1:00pm. So, the best time for baby to come is after 5:00 pm, after the antibiotics kicked in. In the midst of my contractions, I drifted in and out of sleep because I didn’t sleep well the night before. It’s a waiting game, so I asked hubby to go have lunch first. It’s quite dreadful to have to wait for 4 hours. I wanted to pray for labour to come earlier, especially when I started having stronger contractions, but I knew it’s better to wait until after 5:00pm.
Divinely, in my sleep at late 4:00pm, contractions came on stronger and they felt different, like bad constipation yet at the same time I wanted to shit. At this point I was in such pain I wanted an epidural! Moreover the midwife was telling me the pain will be worse when my water bag breaks, and I didn’t think I could endure much more than this.
The duty doctor (not my gynae) was supposed to check on me at 5pm, but she’s nowhere to be seen! I asked hubby to go call the doctor to check my dilation, so that I could get epidural if possible. But still the doctor was not in. Finally she came in at 5:30pm, almost 45 mins since the constipated contractions kicked in. Then she told me I was already 8- 9cm dilated! And the water bag would burst anytime – it’s at the edge. She said I could get epidural but it’s dangerous because I cannot move during the epidural injection. And it’s hard to control my body movements with the contractions.
Midwife and me
Epidural and Water Bag
Shortly after, the doctor changed her mind when she saw I couldn’t even stand a simple dilation check. She said I should take the epidural because the pain would only get worse and I might not be able to withstand. What a fickle doctor! But hubby read the consent form for epidural and felt it was too dangerous for me. But I was in such pain, I didn’t care.
At this point, Prof Su came in and said I probably shouldn’t do epidural at this time and let her checked on me. The water bag burst when her fingers went in to check my dilation. From the corner of my eye, I sort of saw a dramatic water splash. Hubby said the water splashed all over the gynae’s whole arm. Oops.
The Initial Pushes
Once the water bag burst, Prof Su, the doctor in charge and midwife suddenly got excited and asked me to push. I thought this was it. I just needed to push 2-3 times and the baby will be out. But slowly, Prof Su left, then the doctor left, and only the midwife was left with me. They kept telling me I was pushing the wrong way – my body should not back up and I should not shout. Shucks, am I doing it the wrong way? What’s happening? During the pushes I asked the midwife if this is common and she clarified that usually people push for half an hour to an hour plus, depending if the mother is first time or not. Phew, so it’s normal to pushing this long.
BUT, it felt like it would never end. It was a “horrifying” pushing experience. I think I was pushing in the wrong way. My arms were super tired as I used them to pull my body downwards. Shit kept coming out during the pushes and the nurse kept pulling the perineum area, which was super uncomfortable in the midst of the contractions. And she tried to insert the catheter to drain my bladder – which was painful! Apparently a full bladder will make it hard for the baby to come out.
I had to push during the painful contractions – what a pain. At least there were breaks in between contractions. So apparently, there are three stages of pushing. For the initial pushes, it means the baby’s head will keep moving in and out – between stages 1 and 2. And once they see the head crowns, it means the push has past stage 2, and the midwife calls the gynae over. And so after an hour,
I finally pushed her out! Yays!
After the Push
I didn’t even feel her coming out. They had to ask me to stop pushing so that I wouldn’t tear further. Later, hubby said Prof Su’s hand went in and pulled the baby out! *GASP* Imagine how wide *ahem* can go.
After delivery, quite a few of the nurses and medical personnel came by and asked if this is my first pregnancy. I think it’s because I dilated quite fast. According to the midwife, usually it’s the non-first time mother that dilates 1 centimetre per hour. Prayer works because I was praying for a short labour! And not too short, otherwise the antibiotics will not be effective.
When baby Evangeline was out, the midwife whisked her away to clean and weigh her before she was put on my chest for skin to skin. They left the room and gave the three of us alone time in the room for an hour.
Hindsight to Improve
On hindsight, there are certain things I would like them to be different. So if I am going to have a second child, I definitely would highlight the following in my birth plan:
- The Pushing: I only remembered what I read from the Hypnobirthing book (Amazon, Book Depositry) after delivery. Midwives in hospital will usually coached you into forceful pushing, which is counterproductive and traumatic. Instead, it should be mother-directed breathing, working with her body and natural expulsive reflex to labour down. It’s believing in the mother’s innate ability to birth as nature intended.
- The Catheter: I will request it not to be inserted unless absolutely necessary. The midwife wasn’t successful in inserting it in me, but I feel the aftereffects now. After sitting for long hours I will feel spasm at my urinary tract.
- The Perineum: To have the mid wife stop pulling my perineum. Or if necessary, not to pull it all the time. It’s uncomfortable and I think it will make that area more sore after delivery. I did ask for breaks from the pull and they were granted. So it’s not necessary to do it all the time. I didn’t know that initially and still endured through more discomfort than necessary.
- Skin to Skin: I felt kinda robbed of the true skin to skin contact as baby Evangeline was whisked away to be cleaned up instead of putting on me in the first instance. I wanted her to crawl from my stomach to my breast for milk, but instead she was placed on my chest straightaway. Coming from a hospital that’s pro-breastfeeding, it’s interesting they didn’t teach me to breastfeed in the first hour, which will help in the milk supply.
Anyway, I had wanted a natural or rather a supernatural pain free labour, because that’s how it should be after Jesus redeemed all pain and curses! Hence, I specify to opt out for epidural in my birth plan. And even when I wanted to give up and have epidural, God answered my prayers by not letting me have it. Even though the pain was there, I think it’s not as bad as how others might have experienced. And when the water bag broke, hubby said my pain seemed lesser, even though I think it’s as painful. But at least it didn’t get worse like what the midwife said!
So all praises to God that I survived without any pain relief! All thanks to the prayer support group covering me in prayers. :).
What’s your birth story? Come share in the comments below. 🙂