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Friday, April 14, 2006

The Final 15 Hours

Foreword: Beware, this is a very super duper long entry. Please speed read or skip it if you are feeling drowsy. I am just journaling down every minute detail of what I went through in the final 15 hours before I gave birth, for memory's sake. : )

Day 1: 7 April (Friday)

I was scheduled for induction today because Joey is getting big and Dr Chew advised that I should quickly give birth so that it won’t be too difficult for me to push her out. Isaiah & I reached Gleneagles at 8 plus in the morning and I had a light breakfast of Delifrance crossiant and coconut juice (so that Joey will come out clean), before checking into the labour ward at approximately 9.15am.

The labour ward was in a way considered luxurious. It’s a huge room with an attached bathroom, single bed and a single-seat sofa. The walls were plastered with lovely floral wallpaper, and a TV was inclined from the ceiling. There were machines of several kinds around the bed and on the side, there was a sink and cupboards labeled with words like ‘syringes’, ‘needles’, etc.

I was told to change into the patient gown and was asked a series of routine questions by the nurse. Then the nurse injected me with a super cooling liquid from the anus to clear my back passage. I had the urge to go to the toilet almost immediately. After everything was cleared, they put me on a drip. It was not exactly a pleasant experience because the nurse poked me in 3 veins unsuccessfully. She said my veins were too tiny. Finally Dr Chew came & the drip went in properly on the side of my wrist, which accordingly to Dr Chew, would be more uncomfortable because of the position but they had no choice because of my tiny veins. The induction process then started with the first bag pumped into my drip.

All these while, 2 nodes were stuck on my tummy to monitor Joey’s heartbeat and to monitor my contractions. At the beginning, my contractions were hitting around 30-50, which were just mild. I couldn’t really feel anything. After 10 minutes into the drip, my contractions started to escalate to hit between 90 and 120, with a close frequency of 5-10 minutes. We were happy to see that the medicine had taken effect so quickly. Also, I wasn’t really feeling any pain yet. The contractions can be felt clearly but no pain at all. The time now was about 11am.

By 12 noon, Dr Chew came & examined me. It was not a favorable result because inspite of strong contractions, my cervix were not dilating. It was only open 1.5cm, a far cry from the 10cm I need to hit to give birth. Dr Chew wanted to break my water bag to speed up the process, but because I was ultra sensitive when she tried to touch me, she couldn’t do it at all. And because of that, the labour process can take as long as till midnight. So she advised that I should opt for epidural so that my lower half of the body can be numbed and she can break the water bag & do a proper examination for me.

It was a difficult decision for us. I was not against using epidural, but I was not having any pain even up to this point and the nurse told me that the contractions were as high as it got already and even commented that my pain threshold was high (which greatly amused Isaiah and I)! But if I continue to clamp up when Dr Chew examined me, I would not get anywhere. So in the end, we agreed to go for epidural. The nurse and Dr Chew were very happy and reassured me that more than 80% of the patients opt for it because it would greatly reduce the pains.

The wait for the anesthetist was a nervous one. Isaiah was told that he must wait outside for me, which freaked me out, because I knew the only reason was because the needles were so long & scary that they did not want the look on isaiah’s face to frighten me. Dr Dicky arrived soon and started to tell me that the preparation process for the administering of epidural was a long one, but the actual injection would not take long. He explained that he would first give me a local anesthesia on my spine area and he will guide me through the breathing. I felt some sharp poking sensation on my back, but they were quickly over and Dr Chew announced that that was the most painful part of the whole procedure (phew). When everything was numb, Dr Chew started to administer the epidural. All I could feel was that he was using some strength to push it in and a very cool liquid went into my spine area.

Dr Dicky then explained to me how the epidural works. He said the epidural tube was inserted into the area between my spinal cords in a very precise position so that the numbness can occur. I saw the tiny tube and almost couldn’t believe it. Inserting a needle is imaginable, but a tube?? The time now was about 4pm.

Anyway, the rest of the time passed quickly with hopes high that my cervix has dilated fully. I can’t tell anything because I am totally numb from waist down. It felt like I was half paralysed! When the nurse came to check me around 8pm, she said that my dilation has not really improved, but it has defaced completely. Don’t know what it means, but she said it’s favorable. We were quite happy. Dr Chew said it’s likely to drag till midnight.

The last check came at around 11pm, when the nurse said that my cervix is not making any progress at all, still only 1.5cm. We felt quite disheartened by now, because 14 hours have passed but nothing has progressed. Dr Chew was very surprised because she was sure that I would dilate to 10cm, given that it has defaced completely, water bag burst by itself and my contractions were super high & frequent at 2 minutes or less apart. But in the end, she decided that since 10 hours have lapsed since my water bag burst, I better go for a C-section. Mainly, Joey’s breathing is getting weaker either because she’s sleeping or she’s slipping into a coma which can be possible if she's getting distressed by the wait. So I was placed on an oxygen mask and the decision was made to go for an emergency C-section.

I was quite disappointed because I wanted to have my baby naturally all along. And horror stories from some friends about C-section, like having hallucinations while in anesthesia and the feeling that they have ‘died and slipped into eternity’ during the operation, etc, all frightened me. I just prayed silently in my heart that all will be over soon. Dear Dear consoled me that the wait is finally over and in less than an hour, we will see our baby.

I reminded the doctor many many times to ensure that I have fallen asleep completely before she starts the operation. Haha.. I am so scared that I would be in a state where I can’t move or make a sound, but can still feel and they’re already cutting me up! Of course, it’s all paranoia. The moment the GA went into my bloodstream, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I just felt so tired, so tired…..

The next thing I know, the nurse was asking me to turn to my side so that they can wrap me up properly. All the way from the operating theatre to my ward, I was in a semi-conscious state. It was the first time I experienced that state. It’s hard to keep my eyes open for long. I just slipped in and out of sleep. I felt so exhausted and weak. Then a comforting face came into view. It was Dear Dear. The first thing I asked Dear was whether Joey was ok. And he said that everything is good, baby is very healthy and heavy and long. Hahha… With that, I fell peacefully back to sleep….

It was a long journey as I think about it now. But definitely something I want to remember forever. That’s why I am journaling it down. : ) I would say it’s a worthwhile experience, and no matter what pains are involved, it’s totally worth it. Some women have it easy, some have it harder. I guess if it’s a bit tougher for me, I would begin to treasure many things more.

It’s still a mystery why my cervix didn’t dilate accordingly despite having all the favourable factors. But one thing I know for sure is that it’s all part of God’s plan. Joey is a huge baby by all standards. Even taking her out of my womb during the operation was a hard one cos she’s so big – according to Dr Chew. So I believe it would have been a very difficult labour if I had given birth naturally. Her shoulders or head might have been stuck for all we know. So, thank God He has chosen the best method for her to be out.

All glory to God.