I had my last check-up at 39 weeks on Monday, 14 Jan. My gynae advised us to induce birth by the end of the week because she did not want me to go post-EDD due to previous complications. (Joseph was born via emergency c-section at 41 weeks due to fetal distress) So I said ok la….Friday 18 Jan induce. I wasn’t too keen because I’ve heard that the pain is terrible but at that point….I was eager to deliver already.
On Thursday 17 Jan morning, I had the show. Ahh….I thought…this is good. Finally something’s happening. However, nothing happened after that. All day I was waiting for contractions to start or water to trickle down my legs but nope, nothing happened! We even went shopping at Jusco that night just to get me walking. Still, nothing happened.
Friday 18 January :
I woke up at 4am to go to the toilet (I had been having to go to the toilet 2-3 times a night). I felt some contractions and started to time them. After several painless contractions every 15-20 minutes apart, I fell asleep at 5.30am.
I woke up again at 7am and we got ready to go the hospital. No more contractions felt. Once in the delivery suite (that’s what it says on the door - “Delivery Suite”. Not “Labour Room”), the nurses started the pitocin drip at 8.05am. Edwin and I read the Psalms for baby and prayed together. Some time later, my gynae came in and was surprised to me reading the newspaper. “No pain?” she asked me. And I bravely told her that I was feeling absolutely fine. So she did a VE (vaginal examination) and said I was only 1.5 cm dilated but the good part was that the cervix was soft. She then proceeded to burst my water bag and it was so extremely painful. Ahh….little did I know that would be the less painful part of the day.
By 10am, I was having contractions every 3 minutes and it was getting very painful. In my mind, I contemplated asking for an epidural. But I told myself not to be a wimp! All women go through this and I wanted to see how much I could tahan!
Then the nurse asked me if I wanted pethidine. And I relented and said ok la….since she said it would help me relax and that would help me dilate. But all the pethidine did was to make me groggy in between contractions. I was offered entonox (gas) as well but it was so smelly and it didn’t work either.
Hours later, the pain was getting excruciating. My gynae came and did another VE to find me 4cm dilated. She stretched my cervix further and said it was about 7cm now. Ahhh….the pain…it’s indescribable! Only women who have gone through the same thing will ever understand.
Soon after, I felt very strong urges to push. Actually it felt more like I had a very big sai to pang. I insisted that Edwin call the nurse who came to check and found that I was fully dilated. She asked me to push with each contraction and I did. It felt like forever and with each contraction, I was thinking ‘that’s it….we’re closing shop after this baby’. The nurse laughed and said that all mothers say that while in labour. But human beings are forgetful creatures. We soon find ourselves back in the labour room after a few years.
Edwin tried to encourage me telling me that he could see baby’s head and black hair. But I just felt like I couldn’t push anymore. Finally my gynae showed up and with the final contraction, made a 2-inch snip in my perineum and baby plopped out head-first. Wah….that final sensation was like one big cannon ball rolling out of me. And then there she was, on my tummy, crying as Dr clamped and cut her umbilical cord.
The aftermath was still painful as I could feel every needle prick when my gynae sewed me up. She had to top-up with local anesthetic to make me more comfortable. And then…she gave me some painkiller suppository. I found out later that she gave me Voltaren to which I’m allergic. I had forgotten to tell her that I’m allergic to all painkillers. So a couple of hours after that, I found my eyes puffy and swollen. Thankfully the effect of Voltaren is not as keng chow as aspirin or ibuprofen. A tablet of piriton soon reversed the effect.
I could breastfeed Joy-Anne within the hour after her birth. It’s such a different experience from having Joseph. With Joseph, I didn’t even see him till several hours after the birth. Also, private hospital staff are certainly more smiley and friendly compared to govt hospital staff.
We were discharged the next day – about 22hours after Joy-Anne’s birth. I could walk but was still feeling a little woozy from all that blood loss.
In spite of the pain, I’m thankful for this experience. I really thank God that I didn’t need another operation and He answered my prayers. Now I understand the pain of childbirth. Since not all women get to experience it, I should count myself amongst the privileged. My gynae says that next time round, I won’t need an episiotomy. Ahh….we’ll take one thing at a time and wait and see it there’s a next time round.