I have tried several times in the course of a month to write my birth story but it has been difficult since I am in recovery and also a crying hungry baby doesn’t help. The purpose of this blog post isn’t to intimidate you about birth or having children. It is simply a way for me to share my journey (and your journey will be different and uniquely your own) and to let women know that birth may not be what you expect. I feel that a lot of women knock themselves down so bad when something doesn’t go as planned but that is what motherhood is … a lot of unexpected moments!
I didn’t think my baby was going to be late because around the 37 week mark I had some brownish discharge and I freaked out and thought labour was going to be soon. But she didn’t come and on the Sunday, which was Fathers Day and her due date (40 wks) I thought my water broke which I revealed on my stories. Another false alarm, I thought it was odd I didn’t feel contractions after a day and called my midwife who and said if my water breaks within 24 hrs with no labour movements they were going to induce me because it can be dangerous with infections since the baby is no longer protected by the amniotic fluid. So the next day we saw the midwife at the hospital and she examined me (which was very painful btw) and did some testing and told me that my water didn’t break after all it was just vaginal fluid. I think it’s quite common to confuse water breaking and labour signs especially if you are first time mom. My false water break felt like a drip (which can be) but my actual water broke at the hospital and it’s a strong warm gush and I was soaked. Looking back all these were just signs of labour happening soon. So with the news, we were both relieved and a little sad at the same time because I really wanted to give my husband a great Fathers Day present but also thankful that I didn’t have to get unnaturally induced because the contractions are super painful meaning they come quicker and more intense. On the Monday, I thought I was going into labour again because I had contractions for about a few hours but eventually they went away (so they are Braxton and not contractions which doesn’t go away) and since our crib furniture arrived we spent the day (well my husband did) building the crib and just putting the last bit of stuff into my maternity bag/luggage. I also was told to drink some labour tea and cervix dilating tea (yes there is such a thing) and not sure if it actually worked or not but it gave me a nosebleed but I think it’s because I took a shower after and maybe the heat caused it so I discontinued drinking ASAP. So finally on Tuesday morning I thought I was having my regular Braxton Hick contractions this time (which is tightening of the stomach in the beginning but becomes more intense in the later stages of your final trimester) however these ones didn’t go away and became more intense around the noon. The thing with hospitals is that they won’t admit you until your contractions are more close together but my pain was getting so bad that my mother in law and husband were massaging me so much (need that massage especially when they go towards your back) and went to the hospital where they gave me a shot of morphine. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t dilated enough they sent me home but once I got home I started having intense cervical contractions ( I guess I was dilating) and had to rush back to the hospital where I finally got admitted. When I did get to my room, I was luckily given my epidural really fast but before they were encouraging me to use laughing gas which did nothing for me but I heard a lot of women love it but sadly I didn’t find it useful.
With the epidural which was HEAVEN btw I was able to get some relief and some rest and it was great! I did remember vomiting after the drugs not sure if it was epidural and since I can’t eat and drink water I loved munching on ice chips. So I was progressing and dilating well so everything seems fine but with the hours continuing towards Wednesday baby still hasn’t come and my epidural became patchy meaning that on one side I felt the contractions! It became painful again and I also didn’t have any urge to push. They gave me this peanut ball to dilate me more but just made my epidural more patchy and I was just more uncomfortable. So when I was checked again, they told me the great news that I was dilated to 10 cm and said I can push. I pushed and pushed but baby wasn’t coming out (which is normal for first time moms can take up to two hours) and gave me all these different ways and apparatus to push. Everything to us seemed fine except the baby’s vital started dropping and suddenly my midwife seemed very concerned and called in the OB-GYN. The doctor came in and immediately checked me and said the baby was STUCK and needed an emergency c-section which was my biggest fear. I remember walking through the maternity ward for a tour a few weeks before and looked at the Operations Room and thought to myself thank god I won’t be going in there and ironically that’ was where I had to deliver my baby. I still remember that moment, the anguish and defeat on my husband’s face when she broke the news to us. He knows how much I didn’t want a c-section but sadly I knew in my heart that I needed one because something didn’t feel right. I also remember pleading with my designated nurse if there was any way around it but she said no and looked incredibly sorry for me. I tried to cry but tears wouldn’t come out. Now my biggest fear was going to be my reality but at that moment as my baby’s vitals dropped and I was in so much exhaustion and pain I was not scared of the C -section anymore because all I wanted was for my baby to be alright. All of a sudden (like immediately) my hospital room was filled with like a dozen people, asking me to sign papers and hurried my husband to put on scrubs. The only thing I felt bad about was putting him through all this – he told me he would rather take the pain for me which broke my heart. My nurse took out a razor and started shaving me down there ( I didn’t get a bikini wax because I heard it was better not to but don’t quote me on this) and as they wheel me into the OR, I remember the lights and the room and it didn’t feel as cold as I thought it would. As like ten people try to put me on the operating table they asked me if I could feel anything as they put the anesthesia in me and pretty quickly I felt drowsy and tired and numb, and then I felt some movements and sudden relief from my belly as they baby came out. The only thing at that point I wanted to hear was my baby’s cry and when I heard her and I looked at my husband..I fell asleep. I didn’t remember this but my husband told me later that we actually talked and I was panicking because I didn’t hear the baby cry at first and the doctors were yelling at each other (not something you want to hear) but my husband thinks that probably happens quite often because the surgery has to be quick and also I was awake for the whole thing where other surgeries you would be completely under.
At the hospital
Born on June 20th at 10:26 am, my daughter Adelina Rosalynn Lee came after 32 hours in labour followed by a complicated and emergency c section! Since my baby was so squirmy and strong (she weighed 8.65 pounds) she launched herself into my pelvis bone with the contractions and got stuck hence I couldn’t push her through vaginally. So the doctor had to pull her out so fast and quickly since her vitals were dropping that they had to cut deeper (than a usual c-section) which tore some parts of uterus and she had a little bruising too. I was recommended not to give birth again until 2 years and I was disqualified from vaginal birth meaning I will have to have a c-section if we ever want a second child. So after the Cesarean, I woke up in the recovery room where a nurse asked me if I was in pain and gave me even more drugs. Then I was wheeled into my private room where I finally got to see my husband and newborn baby daughter. I have to admit that moment was magical when I finally got to meet the little person whom I was carrying inside for 9 months and 3 days- she was simply perfect! As they put her on my skin for the first time, I immediately burst into tears because I truly felt that I became a mother then and there -I was a MOM and my husband a DAD and we are both now more than ourselves.
I stayed at the hospital for a total of 4 nights and 5 days and I have to admit the first couple of days were such a blur and you will hear that a lot about the birthing experience. You are in this delirious state from the pain, drugs, trauma and sheer exhaustion of the whole ordeal and there is just so much going on that it’s hard to remember anything. However, I do recall that I was immobile, swollen on the legs (I was never swollen during pregnancy but after birth it got really bad and took about two weeks to go away super uncomfortable) and was attached to an IV, a catheter and didn’t eat anything just drank apple juice and water in the beginning. Reminiscing back, one of the most stressful points during my hospital stay was when we send my mother-in-law home because she was simply working too hard and not sleeping. So that third night it was just me, my husband and the baby and it was brutal as my husband was simply exhausted beyond and wouldn’t wake up when I tried to call him to feed the baby. That night was memorable not because of the ordeal but because we were left alone for the first time even though we did have nurses it was such an important learning lesson for the both us and realized that we can get through it no matter how tough. Another significant moment was that I decided not to breastfeed my baby after the third day because I was in too much pain and wasn’t breastfeeding enough and the nurses were forcing me to do it which upset me. But then my midwife came in and explained to me that it’s a now or never kind of thing and you have to stimulate your breast now or else your milk supply will be gone. Breastfeeding also meant that I’m constantly feeding or pumping and with the amount that my baby is eating right now looking back it was the best decision of my life. However, at the hospital I had the initial vision that I would breastfeed even for a month but because due to my health we decided it was the best option as my nipples were ravaged from earlier sessions and I was in no state to nurse. I cried hard for 10 minutes holding my husband’s hand as I felt like I failed her as a mother but I can barely cry for longer cause my abs were hurting. She didn’t even get a taste of my breast milk and I gave up (she did get colostrum) But like how I knew I had to have a c-section, I knew that breastfeeding wasn’t for me and also not the best for my daughter. Finally the last memory I want to share is that the hospital wanted to kick me out a day earlier because they were short on beds. Nurses come and ask me daily if my pain is tolerable so I would say yes when I’m in bed after I taken my medicine. But when my midwife came in and saw me she grew super angry at the nurses because I was in no state to go home. She said I can go home when I seemed like I can go to bathroom by myself and walk and I can barely do that yet. Somehow that day, we were met with lots of miscommunication and I didn’t appreciate the two nurses that were working at that time but the rest of the staff at the hospital were AMAZING and I couldn’t simply say enough on how grateful we were for their kindness and care. But staying that extra day was really helpful.
Now that I got this off my chest, I finally realized what an incredible journey this was. From pregnancy (especially the final month where it was just ridiculous and I got so big) to labour, breastfeeding and now recovery (I also got hemorrhoids which is excruciating) nothing went the way I wanted it to. Was the experience painful and traumatic? Yes and would I do it again for my baby the answer is Yes! I get now why people have children because when you see her twinkling little eyes looking back at you every morning and you see a little piece of you and your husband’s love- it’s just everything. I have such a greater appreciation and understanding for every parent now including my own. To be honest, I didn’t have the best relationship with my mother when I was young and we fought constantly because we were similar in the worse ways. But now, I feel like our relationship is great and I appreciate everything my parents do for me and realized how much she loved me after all lol. I also want to mention my in laws (father in law great too) but especially my mother- in -law. I initially wanted a son not because I prefer a son over a girl but it’s because of how wonderful of a son she raised and I wanted that same connection. She is my ultimate mom goal and I can’t say enough on how much she does and loves me as her daughter. Both my parent and my in-laws are remarkable grandparents and I see that Adelina will be raised with so much love. Lastly, I don’t think there is not enough credit given to dads because what I saw what my husband had to go through and do for me I can’t even put into words. He was my chef, driver, masseuse, therapist and at the hospital learning for the first time to diaper change and feed the baby all while tending to me like getting me food, feeding me water, taking me to the bathroom and even changing my pad for me and bathing me. Even now after a long day of work he has to come home and cook and take care of baby. He’s my rock, my best friend and continues to impress me everyday even after being together for 15 years. He’s already a great dad and melts my heart everyday when he holds her and smiles uncontrollably at our angel. On a happier note, I’m on the fifth week of recovery and things are looking a lot brighter! I mean it’s still day by day some are better than others but now I’m walking better, able to cook a little and take care of baby more while all off my pain meds completely. I still can’t drive yet (not until six weeks or later) but I’m not going to push myself and just rest and enjoy my daughter. I look forward to this journey as a mom which will be our biggest accomplishment in life.
Thank you for reading this extremely long blog post and allowing me to share this experience with you and good luck to all of you out there looking to conceive and/or giving birth soon. Best of luck xx