I’m on my 39th week today with Baby No. 4, so I thought it will be a perfect time to talk about my last three deliveries. (I think “cramming” is more apt than “perfect time”. Hahaha.) Obviously, these happened years ago. So for now, I will be relying on memory, doctor’s notes and my personal contraction tracker. Here goes…
December 23, 2006. 40wks and 1 day pregnant. It was a regular weekly checkup in Makati Medical Center. The reliever OB mentioned that she found signs of a virus during an internal exam. Why she did not see it before when I had a weekly internal exam, I have no idea. So right there, she suggested a cesarean to be done on the same day. At this point, I couldn’t wait to give birth already. With this being my first pregnancy and with the words “risks to the health of the baby” mentioned, we decided to go ahead with the scheduled cesarean. I really wished I at least got a second opinion. Oh well…
In the afternoon, I was sent to the delivery room to prepare for CS. This was around early afternoon, and my CS was scheduled at 6pm. I was really clueless about some of the things that were happening. I didn’t wonder then why I had to be attached to the fetal monitor for hours when I wasn’t even having any contractions. I did not even move much. Ang sakit sa likod. It was uncomfortable and boring. And I did not even ask if it was really necessary. (Sorry… first-timer here).
Then, finally, it was time to go to the operating room. They prepared me for anesthesia. I remember lying sideways, and a man was holding me to keep me in a curved position. Two things crossed my mind then. One, I was like a croissant. Two, it was awkward. Hehe. Anyway, inisip ko na lang na marami na siyang nakitang pasyente kagaya ko.
And about thirty minutes later, my firstborn Adam, a 7lb 9oz baby, was placed on my chest. It was not a sentimental moment. My initial thought was that his color was weird – not weird in a bad way, but weird in an unusual way. If you’ve seen a newborn (as in seconds old), you’ll know what I’m talking about. And then it started to sink in – the reality that our baby is already with us.
I was glad that they allowed my husband to be there throughout the whole operation. Undergoing cesarian operation while awake was a weird experience. There were times when I felt like I was just an observer. I knew they were doing something, but there was no pain. Oh, and there was this really scary scene that I saw. There was this time when I really thought I was lying down with my legs straight, and then the curtain was removed. I saw that my right knee was bent. My brain did not realize it immediately, so my initial thought was that another leg was there. Creepy, right?
June 22, 2009. Forty weeks and four days days pregnant. It was before lunch, and I was lying on the bed when I suddenly felt a discharge that seemed more than the usual. It was not a big gush, so I wasn’t sure if it was really my water bag breaking. So my husband and I went to the clinic to verify if my water bag really just broke. After confirmation from my doctor, we then proceeded to Good Samaritan Hospital.
The experience was way better this time. Instead of being stuck lying down, I was allowed to walk along the corridors. I was still strapped to a monitor, but it had wireless telemetry. How awesome was that? And my husband was comfortable there on his glider chair. And they gave me flavored ice pops whenever I asked for one. I felt like a spoiled kid. Hehe.
Now, most of the following information are from the doctors’ notes:
I was admitted and checked at around quarter to 4pm that day. My cervix was about 1-2cm dilated and 60% effaced. There were mild contractions, but since we wanted VBAC, we decided to observe and allow for spontaneous labor. (Side note: I remember being asked to rate the pain. I said it was hard to estimate because I had no idea what a 10 would feel like. 🙂 ) About five hours later (around 9pm), I was checked again – 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Contractions had increased in intensity already. My doctor allowed us to continue waiting for progress in labor. Around 9am the next day, June 23, I was checked again. My cervix was only 4cm dilated. My OB now offered repeat CS or pitocin augmentation. Since baby tracing was good, we chose the latter. I also requested for epidural around this time. The anesthesia procedure this time was better. I just had to sit near the edge of the bed and hug my husband. Then, after getting the epidural, we decided to get some rest. So we put on Norah Jones and dimmed the lights. And I fell asleep.
At around 11am, I woke up and felt like I was about to do number two big time. I informed the nurse, and when I was checked, my cervix was already 10cm dilated. By this time, I was starting to have chills as well. The doctor also saw that the baby’s heart rate was a bit fast. Fortunately, the baby’s station was already +3. With vacuum assistance, I was able to push the baby out quickly. Baby Frances was born weighing 7lb 11oz. She was immediately sent to NICU because she had fever and tachycardia. She only stayed there for about a day for monitoring.
Jan. 4, 2014. Thirty-nine weeks and 3days. I woke up at around 4am. I felt very tiny, unusual flutters in my stomach. The movements were so tiny that I thought it could have been just my imagination. I decided to focus. The movement happened again, even when I changed positions. At around 5am, they were still very light, but they were regular – about 30 seconds long and 15 minutes apart. I continued monitoring my contractions until I dozed off at around 6:30am.
I woke up two hours later, and the contractions were still regular. This time, I started to include intensity in my tracking. Up until lunchtime, the intensities ranged from 1 to 3 (out of 10), took about 15-40 seconds long and happening every 6 to 20 mins. By this time, we are starting to prepare to go to the hospital. Since my contractions were not consistently close in interval, my husband went to the grocery first to make sure that the kids and our helper had food at home.
Between 1pm to 5pm, I’ve reached level 4 intensity several times already. Contractions were longer at about 20-50seconds and closer in intervals between 4-10 minutes. We finally decided to drive to Makati Medical Center.
I went to the Labor and Delivery Room to be assessed. At around 6pm, my cervix was 3cm dilated and was 60% effaced. And contractions were about 4-6minutes apart. So I was finally admitted. My husband and I chose one of the birthing rooms. (Ang ganda eh. :))
I was initially hooked to a fetal monitor. Then, at about 9pm, I requested to be unhooked for some time so I can walk around the room. And my dear OB gave the approval. I was still in pain, obviously, but this was a reprieve. I then decided to continue with my personal monitoring. During this time, my contractions were getting stronger (mostly at level 4, but sometimes reaching up to level 6), about 2-6minutes apart lasting for about 30secs to 1 minute. In short, labor seemed to be progressing. But when my OB performed an internal exam at around 10pm, I was still at 3cm dilated, 60% effaced. Ugh! That was so unfair!
I got hooked again to a fetal monitor, and again, labor felt progressing. To entertain ourselves, we tried watching some shows. Then at 12midnight, my cervix was 4-5cm dilated, 70% effaced. A few minutes later, pain reached level 7. Honestly, I was starting to get nervous at this point. Sumasakit na talaga. Hehe. (nervous laugh there). And at 1am, my cervix was already at about 6-7cm. I was informed that my bag of water will be broken soon. At 1:30am, I finally requested for an epidural. Thirty minutes later, with cervix dilated at 8cm, my OB broke my water bag.
One hour later, it was still at 8cm and the fetal heart rate was sometimes getting low. I was monitored closely. At 3:30am, my cervix was already about 10cm dilated and 100% effaced. So they started preparing for delivery. During this time, I loved how my OB took charge. Game face na siya. 🙂 She directed the nurses on the items to get. She also instructed them to increase the temperature, because I was starting to get chills again. (By this time, I realized that the chills I got from my previous birth was probably due to the epidural and not the several ice pops I had. Hehe.)
What happened next was a blur. All I remember was that the resident doctors were counting during each contraction, but to me they sounded like a pep squad. “Push! And one and two and three and four… and breathe.” Hehe.
At 4:06am, my third baby, Liam, was born weighing 7lbs.
It seemed the stitching took a while though. I think I had more than normal amount of blood loss. I remember there was something injected into my leg. I felt okay though. At 5pm, I was finally sent to the recovery room.
Side story: While I was in labor, our helper called. Apparently, there was an accident at home. Frances accidentally kicked Adam’s eye. My husband, who talked to my son, said that it must have been really bad, because his cry sounded like he was really in pain. Eventually, it seemed as if things will be okay. So my husband gave instructions to our helper. The next day, while I was in recovery, my husband went straight home to check on Adam. And his eye got really injured. Since it was Sunday, he had to be sent to the E.R. So my husband brought our two kids to the hospital, left Frances with me and brought Adam to E.R. It was good that I was recovering well (I was already walking at that time), so I was able to look after Frances and Liam.