Looking back, at this day a year ago, I went through my morning walk just like any ordinary day. Apart from last night’s tightening of my belly muscles (enough to rob me some sleep), everything’s fine. Pain here and there. But it’s gone before I could finish counting up to ten. Few minutes later, it’s back. But the pain was manageable, nothing that I couldn’t handle. I was already spotting (blood), a result of the “tissue-stripping” performed on me by my OB during my last check-up (Saturday). I was already expecting this, thanks to my online pregnancy class! And boy was I so calm!
With my parents’ insistence, I was brought to the hospital at 3PM. Being a Sunday, my OB was not in the hospital. A not-so gentle resident doctor at the ER IE-ed me. Thanks GOD, she’s a "she." I cringed at the thought of a male DR performing an IE on me! My dilation was still at 2 cm so we asked if it’s okay to go home. In reality, I had wanted to go to the Mall but the resident DR advised me to stay put (as she’s coordinating with my OB ). Minutes passed, I was advised to be sent to the Labor Room and was given the option to climb the stairs myself or have somebody push me in a wheelchair. I said I’m fine [and that climbing the stairs was perfectly okay to me.]
The LR, where I was ushered was not so big; but it had 1 CR, an examination table, a bed and some tech to monitor the baby’s heartbeat etc... When I got there, I was made to wear a gown having this big slit at the back, making me feel a bit uneasy. I was not so keen on staying in the LR. First, because when we came, somebody in the LR was already writhing in pain, looking as if she’d collapse any minute. I got really scared just watching her. Second, the number of nurses in the LR bothered me. Too many, to my viewpoint.
When the OB came, she looked at our stats (we – me and that "writhing" girl- shared the same OB ). Obviously, that girl was far ahead in labor than I was because the OB said I could go back to my room in the hosp (not at home-lol) and that I could call the nurse if my labor pains get worse.
Since there’s no available private room for us, Mama and I spent our night at the OB ward. That night the pain didn’t get worse. Like last night, it would come and minutes later, would go away.
This is the day!
Morning of November 14, 2005, I was still feeling okay- a little anxious but still calm. Anxious because I really had no idea what MY labor would be like. Calm, because I knew I needed to be calm. A nervous wreck would be the last thing I should be, I counseled myself.
We – my mother and I -- walked around the hospital lobby early in the morning in the hope of advancing my labor. Still there’s no notable progress so Mama left for work when my father arrived in the hospital (hubby was an overnight trip by boat away).
It was at almost noontime when I was ushered to the LR again. I was still feeling okay, no “steady pain” felt. However, when an IV tube was inserted on my hand, I flinched ouch! That was painful! I had wanted to scream (That was my first IV ever, as far as I can recall).
"For what?" I had wanted but forgot to ask. Hours later, I became aware that I was “drugged”.
And later on I would know, what the drug was for - meds to induce my labor. For Christ sake, I wouldn’t want to be induced! I had wanted to have a drug-free labor, if possible. No sooner had I thought, Oh well, too late now than I was already feeling its effect by having contractions, though not much and not for long.
Noontime came and from the little breakfast that I’ve had, I could hear my stomach complaining. My father Papa had to buy arroz caldo to silence its demands. No solid food yet, advised the OB.
Little after noontime, I was IE-ed again. No big improvement.
Noting that there was little response with the drug, the OB ordered for my dosage to be increased. An hour later, my contractions were getting close at interval. And I was already getting the “pains” -- but the extent was still manageable.
About 3PM, because my progress is quite slow, my OB had to perform amniocentesis on me (to break my bag of water to hurry the labor).
Mama came to the hosp at about 4PM or so. With the increased dosage, I was already having real pain then but I kept it to myself. I was not shouting or crying, just acknowledging my pain in silence.
My bag of water broke and blood was trickling down on me. But I was so ready for all of these. I had anticipated more pain – I kept on expecting more and more and some more while remembering my yoga breathing exercise and the tips of my online class. I willed myself to stay calm because I am aware of the effect of fear to our organs. And I was at peace. I had never been calmer in my whole life. Mama, on the other hand, was a bundle of nerves and seeing her that way was making me uncomfortable so I asked her to just wait outside the LR.
Minutes after 5PM, I was feeling like moving my bowel again (earlier, I moved my bowel in the LR’s CR). Little did I know that this signals the later stage of labor (I must have missed this tiny but relevant detail in my online class). It was then that the attending midwife requested for a wheelchair, but instead a stretcher was sent for me. There was no time to ask questions.
As I was rushed to the delivery room (DR), it dawned on me that this must already be “it.” In one corner of the DR, I can hear my OB asking the midwife how far in labor was I. Vaguely, I heard say, “crowning”. Crowning in layman’s term means the head is already coming out.
Acting on an instinct, I could remember myself trying to make out the position I should be in the delivery bed. And I was already in the process of pushing when the OB advised me to relax and hold my breath for just a sec.
The next moment, she was already coaching me to push and I was already pushing hard. As far as I can remember, I only got to push thrice - the third time I pushed, my baby came out. My world came to a halt at that instant as I heaved a sigh of relief and whispered a prayer of thanks. While the word “mother” echoed in the far recesses of my mind, my baby was handed to me. “Welcome to this world” were the very first words I heard myself utter to my baby as I lovingly held him in my arms.
I couldn’t believe that after months and months of carrying a heavy and bulging tummy, here he is and I am holding him now. At last! I thought: I am a mother and I am this baby’s mother. It was a very tear-jerker moment. Just amazing. A moment of surreal quality.
And the next thing I knew, I was being stitched already (yes, I had an episiotomy and although I can clearly remember the feel of tissue tearing, I didn’t feel much pain while being slashed then. I must have been numb with all the emotions). But in my euphoric state of mind, I mumbled a request for an anesthesia (And to think I had wanted an all-natural delivery! LOL) but my OB only laughed and said “Do you think you need one?”
Days later, in the confines of my OB ’s clinic, I would know that I only had analgesia the entir time I was stitched. And if it were any consolation to my part, the OB said that my tolerance to pain is remarkable. [But then I think that pain must really be all in the mind. I hope I don’t sound smug, but then my mindset must have made the real difference.]
I just hope my recovery would be fairly easy too.