I’m finally able to blog about this! Been meaning to do so since forever but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to finish this long story. Take that as a warning. Haha!
Anyway, my baby boy’s official due date was October 2. However, I knew I wouldn’t last that long because all my other 3 kids were born 2 weeks early. So, I was expecting this time around would be the same. I was prepared to give birth around September 16.
My hubby’s birthday, though, is September 11, about a week earlier than the 16th. He wanted so badly to share his birthday with our baby. Since September 11 marked the 37th week of my pregnancy, it was actually already safe for me to give birth then. The baby would be considered full term already. However, my check up with my OB-Gyne the Friday before (September 9) revealed that my cervix wasn’t even open yet and I was told I’d have maybe a week to go before I actually give birth.
Hubby was disappointed. But we knew that the baby would come when it was the perfect time for him to do so. I was skeptical also that it would still take a week because I had been having lower back pains and stronger Braxton Hicks contractions already that entire week. So based on past experience with my 3 other kids (or call it mother’s instinct!), I felt like I could already give birth any time then. And so, we planned to do whatever we could the day before September 11 to sort of “encourage” labor. Haha!
We decided to celebrate hubby’s birthday a day early instead. So on September 10, we went to Awon Korean Barbecue at the Commercenter for dinner. The plan was for me to eat a lot of kimchi that night. We were hoping spicy food will trigger labor. So funny now when I think about it.
We came home that night and discovered that the air con in our master’s bedroom was busted. It wasn’t producing any cold air at all. We barely slept the whole night because we were covered in sweat. Heat and pregnancy don’t go well together especially since I was already on my 3rd trimester. So, we were hoping to have the air con repaired the next day. Unfortunately, the next day, the air con repair guy said that there’s something in the unit that needs to be replaced and the earliest he can get things done will be Tuesday. Imagine my despair!
So that day we resolved to check in at a nearby hotel for that Sunday night, hubby’s actual birthday. The small hotel was a mere 10 minutes away from our house and was cheap anyway. But before that, we had to take our girls, Zoe and Ziya, back to their dad’s house (if you don’t understand this, read my About page). I didn’t want to let them leave though without taking a photo with them. I somehow instinctively knew that the next time we get to see them the baby would already be out. So, here’s my last photo with all 3 kids before I gave birth.
Here’s our last photo as a family of five, before we became a party of six.
Before checking in at the hotel, we also had dinner out near CCP with our then only son, Ziggy. Of course, I had to have a photo taken with him, the last one taken of the two of us before I gave birth.
After dinner, off we went to the hotel. Our room was comfortable enough with two beds. Best of all, it had air con! Hubby and Ziggy shared one bed and I took the other one. I slept late as usual, around 12 midnight. I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past several weeks prior to that night so I didn’t think much of it. But I still continued having lower back pains and Braxton Hicks that night.
By 3 am I woke up to Ziggy transferring to my bed. I let him but I got up to go to the bathroom to use the toilet. When I got up, to my shock, I saw blood on the toilet and on the tissue I used to wipe myself (sorry TMI!). I got a bit scared because in my other pregnancies I never got to see the bloody show. I calmed myself down though and decided to wait until the contractions I was feeling became more regular and more painful.
But instead of going back to sleep, I turned on my laptop and started leaving messages to my client and to my friend, May, saying that I was on labor already and will not be able to work that day anymore. May was going to sub for me at work for a week while I recuperated from giving birth. After that, I started to pack. By 5 am, I was convinced that it wasn’t just false labor. My contractions were already 10 minutes apart. So, I woke up hubby and Ziggy and checked out of the hotel. We didn’t even have a chance to avail of our free breakfast then. Good thing they allowed hubby and Ziggy to come back a few hours later to have the breakfast.
The hotel was actually only a few steps away from the hospital. But we had to go home first to get our hospital bags. Our initial plan was to leave Ziggy at home with my mom but we ended up taking him instead. On the way to the hospital, I called my friend who was going to be my anesthesiologist only to find out that she was out-of-town that weekend. I didn’t panic though. My brother-in-law is an anesthesiologist too so I tried calling him then.
By 10 minutes to 6 am, hubby dropped me off at the emergency room while he and Ziggy parked the car. I had admitting orders already from my OB and so the hospital staff took me directly to the Operating Room.
The staff at the OR took me to smaller room where they began to monitor the baby’s heart beat. I later on learned that they now allow the husband or another companion to stay with the mother in this room. I was so happy that they also allowed Ziggy inside. Hubby and Ziggy were able to stay there with me for 10 – 15 minutes until the monitoring was done and they were convinced that my contractions were strong enough to really be on active labor. They let my boys out after that with instructions to go reserve a hospital room already. I was then asked to dress up in a hospital gown and was transferred to the labor room.
I was in the labor room already before 7am. At first I was the only one in labor there for about an hour. By 8am another mom in labor came in and occupied another bed. All that time they were trying to contact my brother-in-law to no avail (We later on learned that he was out-of-town and couldn’t have come to me anyway). They informed my OB then and she instructed the staff to call another anesthesiologist and they chose one who just lived nearby, apparently just walking distance from the hospital. So, I had nothing to worry about, I thought.
They continued to monitor my contractions. But by 9 a.m. I still hadn’t progressed from 3 – 4 cm after a few times that they performed an internal exam on me. My OB called that she was on her way already. Upon learning that my cervix hasn’t dilated more, she instructed the nurse to give me Oxytocin to help further my contractions. I knew that once I take the Oxytocin, I’d be giving birth within an hour because that’s exactly what happened to me when I gave birth to Ziggy.
By 9:15 a.m., my OB arrived and she performed another IE and reported that I was already 5 – 6 cm dilated. So the Oxytocin was already working. They didn’t think I’d be giving birth within an hour though. And so she went out of the labor room that time. The staff took their time preparing the OR for me. Since then I started feeling more pain, more regularly. So I kept asking the nurse where my anesthesiologist was already. I said I need the epidural already because the pain had become more intense. I told her several times but she kept telling me the anesthesiologist was coming soon and that we had to wait for contractions to be more regular before the epidural could be given. What the heck, right?! This wasn’t my first birthing experience so I knew she was just giving me excuses.
Still, I tried to remain patient. I kept trying to convince myself that this too shall pass. I kept trying to focus on the fact that I’ll be seeing my baby boy soon. I kept praying with tears running down my face. Yet, I did not scream. I didn’t wanna be one of those women I see on TV. Haha!
By 9:45 a.m., I couldn’t take it anymore though. I told the nurse that the pain was no longer tolerable. She still kept saying the anesthesiologist hasn’t arrived yet. But because the pain was already THAT painful, I insisted nicely that she call my OB already and tell her I already felt like pushing. That finally alarmed her and she readily called my OB to check on me again. When she came back and performed an IE, she discovered I was already fully dilated and about to give birth. That alarmed the hospital staff who at that time were not done prepping the OR for me yet. Everybody started working double time and I was transferred to the OR.
All that time, I was patiently asking where the anesthesiologist was although I knew that I could no longer get an epidural. I was WAY past that point. But at least they could give me SOMETHING for the pain. I was starting to become delirious already but I was still trying to maintain my composure and was still able to control myself from screaming. I remember hearing a staff telling my OB that the anesthesiologist was on the phone asking if she should go to the hospital already. I remember my OB telling the staff to tell the anesthesiologist she was no longer needed.
I remember the orderlies asking me if I can still manage to transfer myself from the trolley bed to the OR bed. I remember thinking “Are you kidding me?!!!! I was already super duper in pain!”. But I still managed to reply with a nice “No.”. So, they carried/rolled me over to the bed instead.
I remember my OB instructing a nurse to inject something on my upper left arm. She jabbed it in but I didn’t care. I could see the OB also injecting something somewhere down there. I later learned both injections were anesthesia that didn’t help me during labor at all but made me sleep after giving birth.
I remember, in between contractions, reminding the nurse to get my camera and to take photos of the baby. I remember all trying my best to still stay in control and calm down even when I felt I was already dying in pain. Then finally, after what seemed like forever, my OB told me it was time to push. I pushed three times. At 10:07 a.m., my baby boy was finally out. FINALLY!!!!
I didn’t care about anything else after that. I remember hearing my baby cry. I remember them putting him on my chest. I remember smiling for the camera. Sorry, I won’t share those pictures here though you might have seen it on Facebook (if we’re FB friends) when hubby posted them.
Then I don’t remember anything else after that. Apparently, that’s when the anesthesia finally worked and I fell asleep. I woke up around 2 pm in the recovery room feeling parched I couldn’t speak. I struggled to ask for water. I felt so groggy and couldn’t move my body but I kept trying to. A few minutes later, a nurse came in with my baby and asked if I could nurse him. I said I wanted to but couldn’t even move my arms much. Thankfully, she agreed to carry him while his mouth was latched on to me. I remember asking groggily if he was doing fine and she said yes. I remember falling in and out of sleep the whole time. After I nursed, they took him back to the nursery and I was taken to my hospital room.
I was fine and walking already by dinner time although I was still too groggy. Hubby and Ziggy were there in the room with me. They hadn’t seen the baby yet because visiting hours were only from 10 a.m. to 12 n.n. They had to wait ’til the next day to see him. I was able to see him again that night though because I had to nurse.
Meet our baby boy, Zander! For the first time, I was finally able to hold him and stare at him. I was finally able to look at his whole body, count all his fingers and toes. Haha! He was born on September 12, weighing 3.03 grams and 50 cm in length at 37 weeks and 1 day.
I was super happy to finally hold him, see him and smell him. Yes, he’s already my fourth child but the feeling of utter amazement at this newborn child of mine was still super strong.
They asked if I wanted to room him in that night but I refused because I was still feeling too groggy. I was so scared I might drop him. So I just said I’ll wait for them to finish the newborn screening the next day before we room him in.
The next day my boys finally saw him. This was the first photo of Ziggy and his new baby brother.
Unfortunately, because I was just so goddam tired, I forgot to take a photo of hubby with Zander while we were still at the hospital. So their first photo together was already taken at home.
My OB actually said I could already go home the day after I gave birth. But since Zander’s newborn screening was to be administered only that afternoon and our air con was still being repaired Wednesday morning (one day later than what was promised), we opted to stay another night at the hospital and just went home on the third day.
I can’t believe all that happened two months ago already. Yes, Zander just celebrated his 2nd month just this past weekend. Sometimes I still can’t believe I actually gave birth sans anesthesia. But part of me is glad for it because at least now I know how intense the labor pains can really get (I’ve had epidural during my first three birthing experiences so although I felt pain also then, they were not THIS intense). Now, I can be proud that I survived that kind of pain.
That’s not to say I want to experience it again though. Haha! Zander’s going to be our last baby. So, we’re relishing all his newborn baby moments no matter how hard it is sometimes with all the sleep deprivation etc.
After all the challenges though (read all about them in my pregnancy journey posts during the first, second and third trimester), would I say it was all worth it? Yes, definitely. NO question about it.