Sunday 14 May 1000 hours +8 GMT
The first of the regular contractions woke me around 10am on Sunday. I dozed a little after but the next woke me again at 10.30am. Rather suspicious, I rested in bed till 11am when the next came at 11am. These were no CONs and they hurt quite a bit.
I called in hubby and we timed the next few. They came every half hour and he deemed it still too early. By noon I was writhing in pain whenever the contractions came and at 1pm, we decided to go to the hospital. Another came at 1.15pm while I clutched the bathroom door and I was never surer that it was time.
Hubby dropped me off and I waddled into the labour ward, clutching my belly as another contraction hit me. The nurses quickly helped me into an exam room and stuck a probe on my stomach. A doctor came to take my history and another came to examine me.
Sadly I was only 1cm dilated although effaced (aka cervix thinned) quite a bit. Now, the annoying thing was that my contractions eased. They were still there but hardly a blip on the monitor. Granted, a couple of painful ones appeared for a cameo but the medical team declared it too early and offered us the option of checking in to the ward upstairs or going home. We went home.
My parents brought Mother’s Day lunch over and sat with me till about 5pm. No pains intervened with my Hakka noodles nor an afternoon of Animal Planet.
Just when I was about to lament how off-schedule this labour was going to be, the next contraction came around 7pm… and continued on every half an hour to an hour throughout CSI Sunday, each bordering on unbearable. But I reminded myself, if women since antiquity have been enduring labour pains without pain relief and still work in the padi fields, so could I. Plus it was a great triple CSI.
Monday 15 May 0000 hours +8 GMT
We went to bed around midnight. Hubby examined me and found me still at 1cm. Disappointed, I tried to sleep. But the contractions were now coming every 15-20 minutes which made it quite impossible. I tried every position in the book that allegedly made enduring contractions better. None worked.
We decided to wait till the contractions were closer or if I dilated more, then we’d go in. No point going in for another false alarm.
At 1.30am, hubby fell asleep and I got up to surf. I figured I might as well distract myself while my cervix was dilating. Oddly enough, sitting up on my squidgy cushion made the pains slightly less painful despite the now 10 minute apart contractions.
But by 4am I was exhausted and headed to bed. When I stood up, the pains got worse and I clutched the walls (very dramatically). The contractions closed in at 5 minutes apart. Hubby woke up and examined me. Still 1cm! He did see that I needed pain relief and we agreed to head to the hospital. So off we went again, this time, we hoped, for the real thing.
I was quite delirious with pain by now but still managed to waddle to the labour ward myself as hubby parked the car. I did have to stop and endure one contraction en route.
The nurses ushered me in again. Ah, you’re back, they mused. Yeah, still 1cm though, I grunted. They strapped me in again and I wondered if the contractions would play me out again. But they came… hard and fast and soon I was squirming in the bed.
The nurses wowed at the contractions spiking the charts. Good contractions, they cheered. Good as in strong, I asked. Yes, they said. Ow, I said. The doctor came in and examined me again. Examinations, if I hadn’t mentioned before, hurt. A lot. He was quick and gentle. I was grateful. Bad news was I was still 1cm, he said, but she clearly needs pain relief. I was grateful.
They wheeled me into the labour room and gave me the gas mask. It eased the pain and I rested placidly for a while. It gave a strange high when wheezed too much. I tried not to do that.
At 6am they gave me an injection on the leg to “let me sleep”. I barely felt the needle. That is the beauty of the gas. But by this time, I was beginning to feel the contractions again. The truth was, the jab was to let the husband sleep. :p And he slept like a baby.
By 8am, the gas and jab were losing their effectiveness. I was starting to feel really painful contractions again. This, I gasped to the nurse, and she summoned the doctor.
Okay, at this stage I was quite delirious (yes, again) and am not too certain of the timeline.
The doctor came in around 8.30am and examined me. I remembered the earlier agonies of being examined and took a nice few breaths till I saw stars and the dead again. It felt like he was digging out my innards and some sentence fragments like, good… is 4-5cm now. And then more digging. I wheezed more and started to actually talk to the dead people in the stars.
Finally that was over and they asked if I wanted the epidural (I had informed them earlier I was open to all pain relief options where needed) and I agreed.
The anesthesiologist arrived around 9ish. She was very pleasant and chatted about her twins. She told me what she needed to do and what she needed me to do. I told her we’d need to time the injection in my back between contractions (those 2-5 minutes!) and she said yeah. I curled up into a ball with the help of the nurse and squirmed when a painful one hit me. They gently reminded me that I had to keep still and I promised.
The first injection to numb the site was quick and fairly painless. I think at this stage my pain threshold had gone sky high, although the IV line still (and always does) hurt. The next injection I didn’t feel and then they taped the hair-thin epidural catheter up and I was all set.
Around 10-15 minutes later, instant bliss. It was 10am. I checked the clock. I smsed my office to say I was in labour. They were quite amused. I still felt and could move my legs at this point so really it is a fallacy that you can’t move your legs although they felt numb around noon.
The nurse helped me practice pushing from around 1030am or 11am (I think – I just remember thinking, ah finally I can sleep but then the nurse appeared to have me do practice pushes). It was important. You’ll see why later.
At first I felt weak and could push no more than a ping pong ball an inch from me (with my pelvic muscles). She was very encouraging and we were buoyed to find out that I was already 9cm dilated and they could already feel the top of baby’s head. No wonder the crazy pain. My body was working overtime to get baby out on schedule. Okay this didn’t hurt because I think my cervix was already very low. None of the seeing dead relatives and raw digging pain I experienced earlier.
Anyhoo, the doctor came around 12.30pm and everyone agreed it was almost time. I practiced pushing for another forty-five minutes (watch monitor, breathe in, hold breath, and push) and finally dilated to 10cm. Showtime! My gynae was called in but at that point, I was aching to push. Some physiological thing. So I held back…
She appeared and we got to work. I pushed with all my might and everyone (2 nurses and hubby) screamed for me to push like it was the World Cup. I saw her turn and pick up the scissors and squeezed my eyes together tight and pushed. I felt baby slide out of me.
They showed him to me and said, it’s a boy, and then swiftly took him away to be cleaned before I had a good look. I heard him cry and saw a little someone with a pink leg waving. I felt the doc sewing my wound up but I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to hold my baby.
Someone put him in my arms moments later and I gazed into the face of this person who had lived in my tummy for the past 39 weeks and 6 days. He opened his eyes, gazed at me, and I felt something inside me just melt.
Overhead, the nurse said, why don’t you try to nurse him? I put him to my breast and he suckled straight away. Not too long after, they took him to the nursery and I waited to have the tubes removed from me. It wasn’t till 4pm did I get wheeled into my room.
My parents danced in a moment later. They’d sped to the hospital despite us not telling them I’d given birth nor found out the room number. It must have been telepathy or my Mom simply figuring out from the last update (hubby and her had been smsing) I’d probably given birth.
Baby Wolf was wheeled in shortly and my parents gleefully greeted him. My Mom carried him for a second and then put him in my arms. I cuddled him as his Dad admired how much his baby looked like him. I never felt more content in my life.
Welcome to the world, my sweet son!
Picture first posted 19 May 2006 at 1917h.