This is the birth story of our first born – Lira.
I am writing this story a little over six months after I gave birth. I have been meaning to write it so I will not forget the details of this wonderful experience but procrastination and being a mama has gotten in the way.
My initial due date when I was in the Singapore was on December 22 but when I reached Philippines on my 34th week, my OBgyn told me that my new due date is December 26.
My frills free birth plan: natural birth, epidural free, skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping and for my husband to cut the cord.
December 23, 2017
The day was supposed to be spent requesting for quotes at Toyota San Fernando and at the Toyota showroom near Marquee Mall with my father in law and husband. After we got the quotes from Toyota San Fernando, we took the NLEX to get to our second location and we soon realized that this was a bad decision the moment we saw the traffic upon entering NLEX. Apparently there was an accident and our supposed to be 15 minutes journey lasted for hours but we had no choice as we cannot turn back. We were literally stuck in traffic and since I am very near my due date, I had thoughts of “what if my water broke in the middle of this traffic, will I give birth here in NLEX and how are the paramedics supposed to get to us”. Anyway, moments later I felt like I was bleeding. I did not tell my husband or my father in law this because I did not want them to panic and I was not having contractions so I was pretty chill. As soon as we reached Toyota Marquee, I excused myself to go to the toilet and my suspicion was right, I really had blood show and I was hoping to see a mucus plug there but mainly it was just blood. I returned to our table, my husband and father in law were busy discussing with the agent when I blurted out a calm and chill “I am bleeding”. My father in law’s initial reaction was panic and asked if we should go to the hospital now. I told them I am ok and they can still continue with their conversation. The agent from Toyota also went on panic mode and quickly did the calculation and passed it to my father in law. Our house is literally a couple of blocks away so we were back home in less than ten minutes. By this point I know I am not supposed to rush to the hospital yet since there are no contractions but I still called my OBgyn just to let her know. She initially instructed me to just stay home but she called me back moments later and instructed me to go to the hospital to get my cervix checked since she remembered I have high tolerance for pain and I may be in labor but just not feeling it. We had our hospital bag packed weeks ago so we were very much prepared for this moment.
We reached the hospital and I was strapped to the CTG and it showed that there were only very minor contractions. The nurse also did an internal exam to check my cervix only to find out I was at zero dilation. By this time I was expecting and hoping that my cervix would have dilated to a couple of centimeters considering I was very near my due date so a zero cervical was a bummer. I went home with Lira still inside my tummy. I was then instructed by my OBgyn to get an ultrasound the next day to check for amniotic fluid level and to make sure that Lira does not pass motion inside the womb.
December 24, 2017
We went for the ultrasound early in the morning and the sonographer advised that my amniotic fluid is starting to dip (7.6 cm) although it is still in a healthy level. Her intestines are also starting to be filled up but meconium is not a cause for alarm yet. Baby was also not yet in distress but my placenta is already very mature since my due date is on December 26. After assessment from my OBgyn, she made the decision to get me admitted to the hospital on that day since one quadrant of my placenta has zero water. I asked her if we can just go to the hospital in the late afternoon but she told me to get admitted as soon as I can.
We prepared and went to Marquee mall first to have lunch and went straight to the hospital after. My last lunch meal before I gave birth was Peri Peri chicken! Prior to getting admitted at the hospital, I already researched which room I wanted to book. I actually envisioned myself going through labor in that room but again apparently this is not how it works in this hospital as their fetal monitoring device is in a separate labor room wherein nobody is allowed except the doctors, nurses and pregnant women in labor. This was shocking and appalling for me. This is one of the things that I would change (if I can) in this entire experience as I would have wanted my husband to be by my side while I go through labor. After an hour or so of waiting, I was finally brought to the labor room while my family and husband went to the hospital room where they would wait for me. I was the only one in the labor room that day, I was given the hospital gown and was instructed to strip and remove all jewelry (including my wedding and engagement ring). I initially wore my hospital gown the other way around so I had to properly put it on before the nurse was able to conduct an internal exam to check my if my cervix has dilated but alas I was still at zero! I certainly was not expecting a zero.
At around 4pm I got the IV drip and by this point you would think that I will be nervous but I was actually very calm and super excited to meet our baby. Since I was not feeling any major contractions, I was super bored and to make things worst, the 3g signal in that room was non existent! I actually knew this prior to being admitted since I had been in this labor room the day before so I was prepared to “camp” in there while I was labor. I brought my power bank, packed my kindle with books and magazines and had my water bottle with me. I was eventually forced to activate my Singapore 3g roaming just so I will be able to contact my husband and family via line chat. Another bummer is since I am hooked to the fetal monitor, I was unable to walk around and was stuck in bed. I actually asked my gynae if I can be put on intermittent fetal monitoring so I can go out and walk and hopefully induce labor but she wanted to be on the safe side and instructed continuous fetal monitoring.
At around past pm my cervix was still not dilated and we had to start cervix ripening via IV drip. At this point, inducing labor via oxytocin was not yet an option since I have not dilated and going straight into induction with no dilation may just cause fetal distress. I also knew at this point that I had a high chance of getting a caesarian surgery but I was thankful that my gynae did not immediately order a c-sect and still wanted to give natural birth a shot. The plan was, I will be given three doses (one dose every four hours) of cervix ripening (forgot the name of the medication) overnight. If the my cervix opens to at least a couple of centimeters the next day, we will try induction and aim for natural birth. If not, we will straight away schedule a caesarian since there is no point in inducing if my cervix is still at zero centimeter and it will be dangerous if we wait for labor because my amniotic fluid is also running low. At around 10pm I was sent to my room since baby was stable and gynae agreed not to hook me on the fetal monitor overnight. We had our noche buena in the hospital which consisted of take away of food and chocolate ice cream and opened our christmas gifts before everyone left for the night. I did some squats that night in hopes of getting things moving.
December 25, 2017
I had a good night sleep and so did my husband. I have a recording of him sleeping soundly and snoring (loudly) away. I was supposed to be back in the labor room by 7am to get my cervix checked so I had a hearty breakfast before calling the nurse. By 7am I was back in the labor room and the nurse conducted yet another internal exam. She said I still have bleeding and my cervix was still at zero. ZERO! I knew I was not wide open yet but I certainly did not expect a zero! The moment she said that I said “oh ok I am gonna be cut open today”! She tried to console me and said wait for the doctor and I brushed her off in a no big deal tone and said I know I will get a C-sect today because that is the plan if my cervix is not opened. I actually was not upset about it. I planned for a natural, epidural free birth and obviously everything did not go as planned but I was not a tiny bit upset about it despite the preparations I made. What preparations you ask? Well I regularly swam and exercised in the pool, I walked, stretched, did squats, researched on hypnobirthing techniques (I was so ready to try this!), meditated, diffused essential oils, ate ajwa dates, etc. but as I said I was not a tiny bit upset. I was just super excited to meet our baby on Christmas day! CHRISTMAS DAY! How exciting! A lot of people actually joked about it that I may give birth on Christmas day and I did not expect to because I was confident I would have given birth before Christmas already but alas my baby was too comfortable inside and had to be forced evicted. I was just estatic to have a Christmas baby!
Before 9am my OBgyn arrived and she confirmed what I already knew, that I will have a C-sect on Christmas (I felt bad that she had to work on Christmas). She said our baby’s heart beat is already below normal but she is still very reactive. My amniotic fluid is running low and there is a risk of baby passing motion inside the womb which can be fatal. My operation was scheduled at 12 noon since I had a full stomach. I was sent back to my room and my husband helped me to take a shower prior to the operation. My OBgyn also told me to put on make up just for fun and I did just that!
Before 12 noon, I kissed my husband goodbye (and see you later) and was sent to the operating theatre. My husband will only be allowed in the operating theatre once they are about to pull out our baby from my tummy! I was bored so I took some selfies while waiting just to remember that very moment when I was literally minutes away from meeting our baby. The nurse noticed me and asked if this is not my first time getting a C-sect. I told her that in fact it is my first time and have never had an operation before (not even a wisdom tooth surgery). She was surprised when she heard this and she told me she is amazed at how calm and chill I was and that I do not look nervous at all. At that point in dawned on me, yes why am I not nervous? I am about to undergo a major surgery and a lot of things could go wrong. And yet, after this realization, I was still very calm, happy, excited and thankful for that very moment. I am about to meet our baby. This was all I was thinking of.
Loud 80s music was blasting outside and I could hear it from the operating theatre. I was finally put on the operating table and my arms strapped. I passed my cellphone to a nurse and she asked me if I wanted her to take photos for me as soon as my baby is out. I was pleased with her pro-activeness. The anaesthesiologist came, introduced himself and told me the procedure. I was given a sedative via IV and the anaesthesiologist said it will make me sleepy. It was noon time and I was actually already quite sleepy and I did not think it would have that much effect on me but as soon as the nurse administered it, within minutes I was super sleepy. The anaesthesiologist also mentioned that I will not be entirely unconscious during the operation as doing so will also make our baby unconscious. He also told me that the anaesthesia will be administedred via my spinal column and I knew epidurals were administered the same way. After the sedative, I was in a daze and my recollection of the events were in bits and pieces. It felt like in the movies, blackout, I saw my OBgyn, blackout, I heard voices but could not pathom what they were talking about, black out I saw my husband, then next thing I know my baby is out and we are taking photos. At exactly 12:52 pm on December 25, 2017 our most perfect baby Alessandra was born. She weighed 5.84lbs. She is beautiful. Before she was even born we already nicknamed her Lira just because we do not want her being called Sandra, Sandy, etc.
After that I had no recollection of what happened. This is another part of my delivery process that I would change if I can. This is also the main reason why I wanted to opt for a natural, epidural free birth. I wanted to feel the pain (mainly out of curiosity on what hardcore labor is like and curious if I can endure it), the adrenaline rush, the excitement of being in the moment seconds away from meeting our baby. What I experienced was the total opposite, I was semi conscious and grogy during the entire process that I was not able to feel all the emotions that i am supposed to feel. I cannot even remember hearing Lira cry for the first time.
I woke up groggy in the recovery room. A male nurse asked me how I was feeling and if I wanted to see my baby. I of course said YES! He brought Lira to me and my first words were “she is so tiny”. I could not believe how tiny she was. She looked so precious. I froze and did not know what else to do since I am still grogy afterall. The nurse then asked, if I wanted to kiss her. I actually did not want to because she looked so fragile and I did not want to “contaminate” her with my kiss but of course I kissed her and she smelled so good and so yummy. That newborn smell. I cannot believe it. I am now a mother. A new chapter begins and it is oh so beautiful!