22 Oct, Monday
On my 39th week check up, I asked Dr C to postpone the membrane sweep to the following week because I was determined to let the labour to start naturally. And true enough, the first sign of labour came exactly on the morning of my EDD on 22 October, which was a Monday. I had a bloody show. Texted bf, but I told him to stay at work because I still feel okay and I wanted to wait for more signs. But he told his colleagues that he will be leaving the office after lunch, and then they all kanchiong and asked him to go home straight away. By 11am, he was already home, which just made me more nervous. We started packing the last few items into the hospital bag. That afternoon, we went for a walk at the airport to bring the baby down.
23 Oct, Tuesday
More blood and mucous plug came out. I also felt cramps like I was having my period. But still no further signs yet. So we went out for lunch at Pasir Ris and walked around Pasir Ris park. We actually got ourselves 2 venti-sized starbucks drink. So guilty! A friend of mine randomly texted me to ask whether I have given birth or not, and I told her about the bloody show. She said it will take some time. And in my heart, I was like WHAT! I thought it should be anytime soon already. Ugh.
24 Oct, Wednesday
The first real contractions started at 3am. I couldn’t sleep well from then on. But still, I knew it was early labour since it was manageable. My parents became more excited and dad wanted to send me to hospital straightaway, but I told them not yet. Bf managed to persuade me to go downstairs for more walks although I really didn’t feel like it. We even went to my parents’ place. By night time, I could feel the contractions getting stronger, but it was still bearable so I knew it was still going to take some time, which just made me more impatient. I kept bouncing on my yoga ball the whole night with Surah Maryam in the background and did not managed to sleep much at all except for 5-10 minute winks in between contractions.
25 Oct, Thursday
Mum texted me at 4am, around the same time bf woke up. We agreed to go to the hospital, since I already started groaning in pain, although the contractions were still not very consistent at 5 to 15 minute intervals. And so my dad came over after subuh and sent us to NUH. We reached the delivery suite at about 6am. The resident doctor did a VE on me, and I was 3cm dilated at 6.20am. My water bag still has not broken yet, and they said it was still quite early, so we were sent up to the maternity ward. I don’t know why I agreed to be pushed in the wheelchair although it was veryyy uncomfortable to be in a sitting position during each contraction. Turns out the delivery suite and maternity ward was quite far apart, so in my head, I was thinking to myself that I better tell the nurses early when I’m about to give birth so that they can quickly send me back to the delivery suite. If I say too late, I scared I ter-give birth before we can reach the delivery suite pulak.
Reached the maternity ward at 7+am, they gave me breakfast. Bf managed to go downstairs to get some food for himself too. After our meal, I wanted to take a nap since I haven’t slept since the day before. But the contractions became stronger and stronger, one after another. Bf kept massaging my back. By 11am, I couldn’t take it and asked to be sent back to the DS for laughing gas.
11.45am: I insisted on walking by myself. But what was supposed to be a 5-minute trip, turned out to be like 20 minutes since I had to stop every time a contraction came. Reached the DS, I was given the gas, which was effective only for awhile. I was 5cm dilated. Active labour got me quite excited!
2pm: The gas was no longer working. I was half screaming in pain. I kept tensing up and could no longer apply the correct breathing techniques to manage the pain. Bf has been massaging me non-stop for 3 hours and missed his lunch. He looked visibily very very tired and at that moment, I felt soooo kesian for him and I knew I couldn’t go through labour if my husband was burnt out. So I caved in and asked for epidural, even though I wasn’t sure it was possible.
2.30pm: Epidural was successful! It kicked in within 15-20 minutes. And I had a nice longgggg nap. Asked bf to rest and go out to get food, but he refused to leave my side.
4pm: 7cm dilated. Doctors said it was progressing quite slow, so we agreed to break my water bag. Somewhere around this time, the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping randomly. So they gave me oxygen and asked me to lie on my left. I think they wanted to give me pitocin to speed up the labour too, but it was too risky. I continued my nice long nap.
7pm: Baby’s heart rate kept dropping again. Before this, we managed to reject male doctors but by this time, the only doctor available was a guy and it was quite an emergency. So he checked me and I was 8cm dilated. Nobody had any clue why the baby’s heart rate kept dropping and nothing seemed to help anymore. Dr C came in around this time too. Because we were worried for the baby’s safety, she offered either an emergency C-section, or an assisted vaginal birth since I may not be able to push well due to the epidural. Obviously we would rather go for assisted birth. She also asked if I was okay with an episiotomy, just in case. I said I want to avoid it if possible.
Since I was 8cm, Dr C reached inside me and tried to stretch my cervix to 10cm. Surprisingly, it worked!
7.35pm: 10cm dilated. Midwives were called in to prepare for labour. We did some practice pushes and suddenly baby’s head could be seen already! Dr C even encouraged me to reach down and touch his head. It felt so moist and soft, like jelly! We did several more pushes. The male doctor and the midwives were also pushing my belly down super hard.
7.53pm: Post-maghrib, on a malam jumaat, my baby was born, alhamdulillah! No episiotomy needed after all. It turned out that the umbilical cord was wound up around his neck, so Dr C quickly removed it. This was probably why his heart rate kept dropping. But alhamdulillah, he was well and healthy. His skin was very fair and clean too. We even managed to have delayed cord clamping for 7 minutes. Placenta was also delivered naturally. I had very minor internal tears which took a few stitches. Apparently Dr C kept stretching and massaging me, which really helped to avoid a major tear. Bf managed to take a short video of our baby’s first cry, and I still cry whenever I watch that video from time to time.
We had skin-to-skin and I noticed my baby was showing signs of rooting, so we quickly tried to get him to latch on me with the help of the midwives. MasyaAllah, he is such a natural pro. From being wide awake and alert after birth, we watched him slowly calm down as he laid on me and listen to my heartbeat. We took our own sweet time bonding with him, that I still haven’t touched my dinner by the time the nurses wanted to bring us back to the maternity ward although I haven’t eaten since breakfast. So we asked for more time and I gobbled down my food just so that I can quickly get back to cuddling and staring at my baby.
Almost 2 hours after labour, the epidural still have not faded yet, so I struggled with the nurses trying to move myself from the bed to the trolley. My leg even accidentally fell and hit one of the poor nurse since I couldn’t control it. So sorry, makcik. By 10pm, we were back in the maternity ward.
And that’s my labour story. Alhamdulillah, I couldn’t have done it without His help and my husband, who did not eat or rest for more than 12 hours on that day. Was I upset that I didn’t have my natural birth as planned? Initially yes. I can’t deny I was slightly disappointed for resorting to epidural. But I’m glad I took it anyway. I had not slept since the day before. If I did not take epidural and have that nice long nap, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to push. That epidural is probably the best medical invention ever. But I really salute all mums who went through natural labour without any interventions. I was also very lucky that there were no other complications and that we managed to escape Dr C’s suggestions of emergency C-sect, assisted birth and episiotomy! Her skills were also really impressive. Bf and I agreed to go to her again for the next one (HAHAHA).
We had an unexpected extended hospital stay due to baby’s jaundice which required 48 hours of phototherapy. But alhamdulillah all is well now. I really enjoyed my stay in NUH. The doctors, nurses, midwives and anaesthetists were all so nice and lovely. They took care of us really well. There’s just something nice with the way they talk to patients, that makes me feel so comfortable instead of making me feel like a sick person, if you know what I mean. So respectful too. Without a doubt, I would love to return there again for the next one, insyaAllah. 😀
Will write more on my breastfeeding and post partum journey soon, insyaAllah.