31 August 2013

The First of September

This time last year, I was literally trying to tear my hair out and thinking of prisoners of war.

But let me backpedal just a little bit.

Kuting's (nickname was neutral because we didn't want to know the gender) EDD was 25th of August 2012. I was convinced that we were going to have a Leo baby because how cute it would have been to have me, Japo, and bub all Leonine and celebrating all our birthdays, plus our wedding anniversary, in August right? So as soon as August struck, it was like everyone was waiting for me to give birth. It felt like the longest month! And apparently, Kuting had other plans.

Since bubs was overdue, our midwife penned in a check-up/scan at the hospital just to see how things were looking. Turns out that my fluid had been leaking for quite a while and this posed some risks of infection and stuff. So what they did, and had to do, was to try to get me into labor asap. I had a shot of antibiotics (I think) then they burst my bags and had me climb up and down the hospital stairs for about 2 hours. Still, no contractions. I had to be induced. Sadface. All my dreams of having a serene, natural water birth (would have made really nice photos huhu) - gone! But I told myself that I had to be strong and carry on.

So a monitor was strapped to my belly and they started the IV at around... 9pm, I'm guessing. Baby's heart rate became erratic and so they had to drip it slowly then faster then slower again and I was actually able to take a nap in between contractions which I didn't know was possible! Then I don't know, I just woke up and OMG CONTRACTIONS.

Leading up to labor, I've been asking a lot of my friends with kids how contractions felt like and I just have to say that noone was able to explain it quite well. A few of them said it will feel like when you have your period but 1000x more painful. A lot said it will feel like when you need to poop.

I'm sorry, friends, but it did not feel that way for me. The only time it felt like an extreme period was when I already had the epidural (which obviously didn't work very well), and the only time it felt like I was about to poop was minutes before baby got out. When I was in labor, it felt like I suddenly woke up in a bad dream where my body has turned against me and was torturing me, punishing me for all the bad things I've done. It felt like I was trapped in a room with walls made of pain.

Other than squishing Japo's hands to a pulp, I had to tap into my reserve of mental soundness to make sense of it all and to give me a much needed boost. I was telling myself that so many women have done this, in worse conditions, and they have all pulled through. I was telling myself that the pain I'm feeling is necessary for my body to do something beautiful. And that I signed up for this, unlike prisoners of war or victims of whatever.

For pain relief, they suggested gas. It didn't work for me! I was puffing and inhaling my lungs in but nada. Zilch. I complained that it did not work, and Japo had a puff and got high hahahaha! I would have laughed if I wasn't going crazy with pain at the time.

And after all that, I was only dilated five friggin' centimeters! It was so frustrating. And then I noticed that there were about four or five people attending to me. Turns out that baby wasn't feeling okay with all this, too, so they were considering a C-section and was already preparing the theater upstairs.

I was like 'Nooooo, please no.' I wasn't able to get my water birth but I really didn't want to be cut open and take a much longer time to recover. And it's cold here! Scars act up in the cold, tsk. So I chose the "lesser evil" and asked, pleaded, for an epidural. I was going to get my body to birth this baby naturally by any means.

The anaesthesiologist came in at around 1:30am. The thing is, epidurals are usually administered in the early stages of labor so that they can stick it in in between contractions when women are relatively calmer and steadier. I was way past calm and steady. I wasn't screaming my head off, sure, but if not for the monitor, I probably would have sprinted out of that room to try and escape the physical stress. Japo had to hold me still. And then they had to do it again because it wasn't done right the first time, ugh. But the relief after a few minutes was divine. Until I noticed a small part that still felt pain but that was okay. It was still a lot better.

So I was able to rest quite a bit and recuperate for the pushing part. I don't remember a lot, really. I read somewhere that one of the body's way of coping is to forget things like this. Because how will women want to have children again if they remember everything? So yea, I remember resting a bit and next thing I can remember is dealing with contractions again and feeling this desperate need to push.

It took me several tries. This senior specialist person who was assisting, and whom Japo calls 'Dr. House,' told me I wasn't fully dilated yet but if my body was telling me to push then we'll try that and I can do it and a lot of other things like use my whole body or something.

I've never been so scared. But I've never felt braver.

Blu was born on the 1st of September at 2:32am. :)

I wish I can say that I was flooded with joy and love and all those nice, mushy things when I first heard him cry but it was primarily an overwhelming sense of relief that washed over me. When I saw Japo holding him, that's when the love and joy etc hit.

It was like a dream come true when I first held him.

It was amazing.

Still is. <3