39w + 6 days (cont’d)
So I vividly remember wanting to eat Japanese food – specifically, SALMON AND TUNA SASHIMI, because I’d read somewhere that it was quite safe to eat sashimi this far along into the pregnancy. So we complacently took a cab to West Coast Plaza, assuming that Hei Sushi was still there. Well, they had shut down. So no Japanese food. There wasn’t even any interesting halal options… so we settled for… LONG JOHN’S SILVER HAHAHAH. We ate a quick lunch and my husband said that we’ll head to Jurong Library for me to borrow some books (I had been fervently reading the weeks leading up to this day and had wanted to replenish my TBR list) and then we can try Isuramuya at Jcube before heading to my in-laws’ place to chill with them.
So that’s precisely what we did. I distinctly remember while we were relaxing at his place, asking him if I could take a look at his baby photos because I was curious how he looked like when he was little. He unearthed a huge Toyogo plastic box of old albums and we had a nice time looking through his old photos. My MIL even joined in the fun.
So we went back home and as usual, I had a difficult time falling asleep because of how huge I was. Then, at 3am, I woke up because I felt like I was leaking (like I had my period), and when I went to check, I had bled. We made the decision to get me checked at the hospital, just in case, even though deep down I knew I wasn’t in labour yet. I woke my parents up, told them, and I salam-ed them and asked for their forgiveness before making a brave exit out the door.
We chose not to bring my hospital bag yet, just the essentials, because I kept telling my husband that I think they’ll probably send us back. Otw, I was timing my contractions and they were 6-7 minutes apart.
4am – Got myself checked in to triage and the on-duty doctor checked me. 2cm dilated! I remember this was the second time I had my cervix checked and it was HELLA PAINFUL. I hated this so so so much. I would dare to even say that it was my most hated routine.
On-duty doctor said that it’s best for me to stay in the hospital because I was already so close to 40w and she felt that I would be giving birth in the next 12 hours. She went off, and a nurse later came to inform me that the delivery rooms were all occupied (LOL wth?) and that I should go up to my Level 8 ward to rest and eat some food.
From 4am-6am – I tried to get some sleep but my contractions were a steady 5-6 minutes apart. They were quite painful but nothing too bad.
From 7-10am – A few doctors came in to check my cervix and I had progressed only to 3cm. Another doctor came in to prepare my hand for the IV drip later on. Another doctor communicated with me that my obgyn Dr. Chan is aware of my situation and has advised the doctors to possibly induce me later to speed along the process. On hindsight, I don’t think I would have been in too much of a rush, but I think a large contributing factor was the nerves and the fact that I was a FTM and just wanted to be on the safe side of things.
10am-11am – I had roast beef and potatoes. And I drank (more like tried to down) the air akar fatimah thingamajic that my mother had prepared for me.
Sometime at 12pm – I realised that my contractions had slowed down and I told the nurse and she said it was probably because I was lying down and that maybe I should walk around to kickstart more contractions. I did it and true enough the contractions came back.
1pm – I was finally wheeled into the delivery room and I got changed and all and I remember feeling like everything looked so weird and…. frightening.
4pm – Sometime around here, even though I wasn’t in MAJOR pain, I made the decision to get an epidural because I felt myself getting weaker (I was so exhausted from just waiting and waiting for the room to be assigned to me and I had been up without any proper rest since 3am basically) and I knew that i REALLY wanted the energy to push when the time was right.
5pm – Anesthetist came and Mizi had to leave the room. I remember feeling so vulnerable without him by my side :'(, just like how I was alone and cold in the triage earlier. Props to the lovely midwife who guided me through the process when I was acting like a major baby. I kept saying “omg is it done is it done” hahaha I was SO anxious. They made me sit up on the bed facing to the side. The anesthetist was behind me and explained the process and the nurse was in front of me facing me, and she hugged me when the dr was about to push the huge catheter into me because I told her I tend to flinch and that was a huge no-no. Luckily everything went well and honestly the epidural wasn’t even painful.. it was just nerve-wrecking because it was my first time!
6pm – Right after the epidural, another doctor came in and started me on oxytocin and manually broke my waterbag using some metal probe and YES THIS WAS ALSO VERY UNCOMFORTABLE just like the cervical check ugh ugh ugh. But yeah, my waterbag was burst and water was just gushing out uncontrollably.
6pm-9pm – A few cervical checks here and there… the epidural was heavenly.. I could basically nap for abit and I didn’t feel anything. Basically just very weak and limp and I was itching to get all the wires taken away from me… despite that general feeling of wanting to get up and move about, I was grateful for the pain management.
9.30pm – A doctor came by, checked me, and said that I was 9cm dilated! Dr. Chan would be on his way and I could start pushing!
9.45pm – A new midwife and a team of 2-3 other assistant nurses came in (was abit sad because I really liked my previous midwife) but they were sweet nonetheless! They started setting my legs up and prepared the surgical tools (I heard the clinking and clanking of scissors and god knows what on the table in front of me and was sooo freaked out hahahaha) for the doctor and taught me how to push. Did a few practice pushes and failed miserably lol. Apparently “pushing hard” gains a whole new definition in the delivery room. HARD MEANS HARDDDDD X 303085201048391
10.00pm – Dr. Chan strolls in in crocs and bermudas (LOL SO CHILL) and guides me to push. I start pushing and pushing. It feels like an intense gym work out. Oh yeah did I mention I started involuntarily shaking violently around 9.50pm? They said it was a normal side-effect of giving birth. I was so embarrassed LOL because I COULDN’T CONTROL THE SHAKING and I didn’t know why!
Mizi was completely magical at guiding me along the pushing. The midwife kept saying “harder! harder!” which was helpful yet demoralizing? It’s a very conflicting feeling because she was looking down *there* and her eyes kept lighting up as though she saw some progress but then I would run out of oxygen and needed to stop pushing and draw a deep breath, and I think that caused the baby to move back up my cervix? IDK HAHA but yeah her eyes would light up and then when I fell short she would keep saying “push harder!”
10.40pm – I reached a point where I REALLY felt like I couldn’t tahan already because it was literally like the end of a looooong 40 minute round of lighting crazy weights and running out of energy already… I started grunting and half-screaming and suddenly Dr. Chan said, “ok Izza ssshh shhh no screaming please.. you’re a champion pusher.. just a little bit more.. I want you to give a strong push and then when I tell you, just push softly.” So I followed his instructions and suddenly I felt something whoosh out of me… and Dian Sarah was born!
He carried her up and I saw this bundle of magic being lifted right in front of me. The nurses and the doctor gave her a quick wipe and I heard the beautiful song of her cries. It was surreal. Absolutely incredible. They promptly placed her on my chest, and the thing I remember the most till this day, was how she stopped crying and kept looking at me. I started tearing tears of gratitude and relief. I looked over at my husband – his face was the image of pure bliss.
The doctor guided him in cutting the umbilical cord. Don’t get me wrong – I was a MESS. I kept looking at her and enjoying our skin-to-skin while the doctor sewed me up. I could feel bits and pieces of it but it was nothing compared to the ordeal I had been through.
I was so exhausted, SO HUNGRY, that I immediately felt extreme nausea and had to let the nurse take Sarah away because I wanted to puke. Which I did, and later once more, because I thought eating a burger right after delivery to ease my hunger would be a wise decision. LOL. Never again.
After that, I told the nurses that I needed the rest and gave them the green light to take Sarah up to the nursery to be fed. That was the best decision for me at that point in time.
Well, after that, I thought I could be wheeled up to my ward to rest and connect with my daughter. NOOOOO. My doctor refused to let me go because I had an extremely low heart rate which was unexplained. I had a shock of my life when she said if the numbers dipped any further, I would have to be sent to the ICU.
Alhamdulillah, my heart rate went back up to normal within 2-3 hours. By then, I was SO desperate already to be back into my ward and just have a loooong sleep. I was aching everywhere, still a little nauseous, but really, I knew deep down that if they had just unplugged me from everything and let me sleep, I would be back to normal.
Finally, at about 5am on 20th December, I was wheeled into my ward where my husband and I spent the next 4 hours having the deepest sleep we’ve ever had since then. LOL.