Since l took my leave of absence, the wait for Oreo to arrive felt like forever. So when l started to have regular contractions, l thought I was more than ready. Boy, was I wrong.
This is basically what happened:
1:00 pm Contractions every 15mins
3:00 pm Contractions every 5-7mins
3:30 pm Bloody discharge, advised by OB to go to Cardinal Santos
6:00 pm IE at 3cm, mild contractions still at 5min intervals;
went out for a walk & dinner @ Banapple
9:00 pm As advised went back to Cardinal Santos;
lE still at 3cm but stronger contractions
admitted to private room
11:00 pm Given IV and painkillers
8:00 am Given primrose oil to soften cervix
12:00 nn IE at 5cm, strong contractions;
Transferred to Lamaze room;
5:00 pm IE at 8cm; baby’s head already visible;
5:37pm Baby is delivered -7.6 pounds & 19.7 inches!
Unang yakap & successful latch
Daddy cuts umbilical cord
6:30pm Transferred to recovery room
8:30pm Transferred to private room w/ baby
So all against the ideal delivery l had in mind, l ended up staying overnight at the hospital during labor, strapped to an IV & baby monitor half of that time because l had painkillers and epidural. But my most basic goal did come true -a safe normal delivery, considering my baby was a whopping 7.6 pounds.
l did get an hour’s worth of stitches, and out of sheer exhaustion l blacked out after the baby latched (my OB and her team were so busy with the baby and down below that it was only Hubby who noticed at first; it scared them so much that later on there’s P4K worth of cardio-pulse monitoring charged to my bill), and when I came to I was already a very sore momma lying in the recovery room with a lactation nurse working on my breasts. But overall l can’t be more grateful at how well everything went, especially with healthy baby Oreo.
Even until now (a week later) l still can’t help but marvel how things went exactIy as everyone said it would, but how different it all still was than I had prepared for.
First- the PAIN. l did expect pain, but just how much l couldn’t have imagined, and it dwarfed my measly tolerance by a mile. 3-5minute intervals of mild to strong contractions easily broke my resolve; 24 hours of it made me puke twice (once all over my hubby, who still gave me a hug afterwards), snap at hubby, snarl at two medical interns (who were talking excitedly about, of all things, C-SECTION beside me), ask for painkillers twice, and by noontime, all I could do was count down to epidural. But even the epidural was administered light-handedly so that it would not interfere with labor; meaning it only reduced pain by 50%. By 8cm it felt like I was on nothing at all (though they assured me it would still be twice more painful without), plus a persistent urge to poop push.
The PUSHING on the other hand was simpler – breathe in, hold, push like your pooping but with your baby’s life depending on it, for ten counts (all 6-8 people in the room counts loudly). lt was, however, very exhausting, especially with my anesthesiologist bearing down on my belly (for which I got bruises until now). By the third try all that kept me from giving up was me thinking, N0 WAY after 24 hours in labor can l end up in CS.
But I kept on pushing and I felt the crowning, but still no baby. Eventually, they realised my baby was coming down sideways, so they applied counterpressure on my right belly to correct the baby’s trajectory.
Finally, the seemingly impossible happened – THE BABY CAME OUT. And it felt exactly like pooping, except it was bigger, felt a lot slimier, and no poop can make a person feel awash with so much relief and happiness. Cheers erupted around the room, and suddenly there was the sound of a baby crying, and then I saw him for the first time. And the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Pwede na bang umiyak?” and I did. To me he looked absurdly long for a newborn, had gnarly hands, and when I felt his weight on my tummy, the past 24 hours of labor suddenly felt insignificant.
At that moment the Universe shifted, and I’m a mom.
And during this entire ordeal, HUBBY was my hero. Minutes after l texted him that I was having regular contractions, he immediately excused himself from work and went home. He was the one who constantly reminded me to breathe like Rome taught us to, held my feet, and even cleaned my bloody self up. He gave me a lot of pep talk, chastised me gently when l wanted to give up, and rubbed & pressed on my back.
He was also adamant that he be in the labor room, and I’m pretty sure I could never have managed without him. And the first time I pushed, I felt a fresh surge of energy when hubby excitedly exclaimed, “Yemmy, kita ko na si Oreo, hindi kalbo ang baby natin!” He kept my eye on our prize, and with him l never felt alone the entire time. Well, maybe once, when my grumpy self caught him watching TV in the Lamaze room. But to be fair, to distract myself from the pain, I caught myself watching Winona Ryder too.
When I asked him afterwards how it felt like, he more or less put it like this – “Terrible, because my wife was in pain and I couldn’t do anything, but at the same time excited, because Oreo was coming.” And come Oreo did. And daddy cut his cord with shaky hands, and then we took our first ever family picture –
Much gratitude also to my OBgyne Dr. Carmela Dy, her husband The Anesthesiologist, the pedia Dr. Bayhon, the ten or so residents & interns (from the experts to the rookie students) and the countless nurses (all very chinita & caring). The hospital bill may be high and the rounds absurdly redundant (every 20-30mins), and my OB herself arrived just in time for the pushing (l suspect the pushing might have actually been delayed so she could be there), but we absolutely felt cared for by their highly competent hands.