Labor to Birth

October 16, 2008

I’ve been excited since September. I kept on counting the days leading to October 8 where we will finally meet our Julia. It seems that as the days draw near, it grew longer too. I also cannot wait to have my vacation from our office where I feel tired most of the time. Claro, Carol, and She visited the office to brighten up my otherwise monotonous day. Carol even went with me to buy baby things and Claro wondered why I still kept on going to the office with my ready to pop tummy.

Usually Henry takes me to the office while Nanay fetches me in the afternoon. I still attend Master’s Class which lasts up to 9 in the evening. I decided to take my two month leave of absence starting October 2 which was a Thursday.

I have a regular appointment with the obgyne every Saturday. October 4, she said that my cervix is still closed. I was apprehensive that the birth will not be on time. It would be anti-climactic when October 8 finally arrives then nothing happens. After the check up I think the mucus plug is starting to leak. The doctor was not that concerned and tells me that I will be in labor in about 2 to 3 days. I know from reading pregnancy books that it signals the start of labor. The duration varies, some takes only days while others weeks. And since this is my first pregnancy, I may be one of the later ones.

When I got home and took a bath, I noticed more bloody show. Ate Zeny said that I will probably give birth tomorrow. I panicked and thought that I still have two to three days left. We went to Nanay’s house because it’s starting to rain and we do not want to take chances and be stuck in Malabon. I kept on joking that Henry will be the one to perform the delivery when that happens.

Around 2 am Sunday morning, I felt contractions. Actually it was bearable although I was not able to sleep after that. I timed it to check regular intervals and even if I change my position does it still continue to contract. It started to happen every 8 to 10 mins. The book said that it will be best to go to the hospital once the contractions occur in less than 5 minutes but we live in Malabon so Henry decided to take me to the hospital around 6 in the morning.

I was examined and traced. I was only 1 cm dilated with contractions mild. The normal procedure was to admit when 4 cm dilated so I have the choice to either check in or return when that happens. I said I want to go home and was advised to walk to aid in labor. This decision was based on the fact that the pregnant doctor who examined me that time said that she is 1 cm dilated for one week already. I do not know if that may be same as with me and it will be a waste of money to check in the hospital for that long before delivery.

We went home, waited for Nanay and we decided to walk around our neighborhood. That night at around 10 pm it started to hurt again. This time it has more intensity that I really cannot sleep much less lie down. I kept on going to the toilet and changing positions. I even decided to sleep on the chair but was useless. The frequency of my tossing and turning made me think to go to the other room to get through the morning. I was apprehensive to go to the hospital again and then make me return home. I was continually pacing from 2 am to 6 am and doing the positions suggested in the pregnancy book that Malaya gave me. By the morning when people finally woke up I wanted to go to the hospital right away because the pain is getting hard to handle. I felt that people are moving in such a slow pace and I wanted to scream at them to get breakfast done. When we were in the car, I felt that Henry takes his sweet time as if cruising around. I swear I wanted to kick him but said sarcastically if that’s the best speed he can do. It was a Monday morning and people are off to work making it harder to drive faster. It also feels like every time I have these contractions, these are also the times when Henry drives on potholes making it twice as painful.

We reached the hospital at around 6:45 am. When they asked me why, I said drug me! I was examined again and was 5 cm. dilated. I waited to be taken to the labor room. They strapped me, put the IV, and strapped the tracer machine on my tummy. I was not in a good mood. I was feeling scared since I hate needles and pain. There is a drug they gave me through IV that made me drowsy in a few seconds. I felt the liquid gush through my veins and it hurts! Another one was given on my upper arm. It was not as painful as the drowsy drug but even after two weeks I still feel that part throbbing especially during cold nights. I can’t even raise my arms to pick up things.

I think I slept for the most part of labor. I woke up unable to breathe and feel excruciating pain in my tummy. It was so strong that I feel and see the contractions bulge every time. I cried for help then saw the attending doctor and her assistants check how far dilated I was. I was awake when they said I was 7 and 8 cm dilated. I felt so out of control because of the drugs. They gave me a mask to breath in pure oxygen but it was making matters worse. I was not able to take it. I kept on removing it even how many times they try to put it back on. The last thing I remember was I felt the urge to poo! And felt it twice. I even remember the doctor telling me to go push when that happens again. But I blacked out.

When I woke up, I wondered why there are no people around me anymore. I saw my tummy a little smaller when I arrived in the morning. I saw the television and saw the evening news. I must have given birth. I saw Nanay and Henry during my meal and they showed me the pictures of Julia in the delivery room using Henry ‘s cellphone. We bought our videocam but unfortunately because of the scandal in Cebu, it was not allowed anymore.

I saw a puffy faced child with a small nose and look a lot like me. I was released and was in my room by 8 pm. I saw my family and friends. I was a little shy because I look terrible. I know I still have my pimples all over me, puffy face, and puffy eyes. I do not remember what we talked about any more except they were greeting and singing Happy Birthday for Diane and Julia.

When they left, Henry was with me through the night. I remember needing to pee but was a little afraid of the pain due to the episiotomy. I tried waiting for nanay but the morning nurse said that I should not overwork my bladder.

The next day I went to the nursery excited to see Julia. It was a jittery experience while waiting for my baby. I saw Dr. Carlos and she explained the mechanics of breastfeeding and my baby’s physical appearance. She said that she vomited before she was brought to me and if that persists we may have to do a cbc blood sample. She asked for my blood type and Henry’s because of the redness of Julia that may have something to do with its combination. She also said something about passing on my hormones especially because she’s a girl. I tried breastfeeding for the first time and I think I was successful. (Although I do not know if she’s getting the right amount) The nurse assured me that she has enough fat reserves to last her until I can sufficiently produce milk.

I was in the hospital until Wednesday. My episiotomy still hurts but not as painful as I thought it would be. I was given medication for pain and iron supplements. My tummy is still big, as if six or seven months pregnant but was not bothered by it. I read somewhere that my uterus still has two weeks to return to their normal size. Besides I was adamant about breastfeeding and it may be the key to losing weight. My pimples flattened probably because of the mega doses of antibiotics.

My auntie’s family and my friends visited me on my second night. I was a little late when they came because breastfeeding Julia usually takes me two hours. I was thankful for the visitors I had since it’s just a short stay in the hospital.

We went home after clearances from our doctors. Nanay was a little sad because she learned that we will be staying home and not with her. I assured her that it will only be for this week since Henry is on his paternity leave. I guess she wants to see more of her granddaughter.

The day was spent on cleaning the room and arranging the crib and ooing and ahhing over Julia. She was with mommy and daddy while we were preparing the room. Henry also invited tatay, nanay, mommy, daddy, and janel over for dinner for Julia’s welcome home party. The menu was all store bought since we do not have time for cooking. I guess they enjoyed it because most of the time I was inside the room breastfeeding every so often.

The first night was a nightmare. I think she is not getting enough milk from me to be satisfied. She cries every 15 minutes for breastfeeding. I was so sleepy that I think I was being a little careless of handling the baby. I was guilty the following morning. I can normally sleep in an instant but starting that night I can not even nap during lunch. The second and third night was a little better than the first with Julia crying every hour. My only problem was my arm where they inserted the IV. It throbs continuously and maybe the major reason why I can’t sleep. We also tried giving her formula so she can sleep better. I was totally against it but my mom persisted. She said that we have to give her something or she’ll end up malnourished. I guess because of soreness I finally agreed. We gave her about two oz in the morning and another two at night. I was feeling guilty about it.

We went to our doctor for a check up. My ob-gyne was expecting me to check my uterus and my cut. I was given an ok signal and was instructed to stop my antibiotics and pain reliever and to continue my iron vitamins. Julia’s pediatrician was expecting us for another week but checked her up anyways. We were briefed on the immunization schedules, how to clean the belly button, vitamins, and praised our baby because she’s already pink in color which is the ideal.

We went home immediately after that and on to our rituals. Henry went home to do his job. We were with nanay so I can get help taking care of the baby. Sunday came and I went with Henry to the mall so we can buy Julia a thermos and other necessities. Ate Rouselle also came to see her new niece and encouraged me to breastfeed. It was part of what she’s researching now and she said that it should be exclusive or she may not get the full potential if it’s mixed with formula milk. During our evening discussions, it seems I’m not yet well and that evening I felt ready to faint. I excused myself at the dinner table because of headache and shortness of breath. I think Henry’s a little worried that I may have high blood pressure and was ready to take me to the hospital.

A few minutes after taking my folic acid plus iron vitamins, I felt better. It was probably because of my sleepless nights after delivery. Honestly I have not slept for a week after delivery. I never imagined that it would be that way and people are exaggerating when they said I would have sleepless nights. Weird enough, I could not sleep during the day even if I sleep from 12 nn to 1pm this past three years. It’s hard to explain but it seems like I’m an outsider looking at my own body feeling different. I preferred the out of the ordinary experience during pregnancy than this.

The Baby

The baby looks a lot like me at first. She has a round face and cute little nose. I prayed for her nose to look like Henry’s because mine’s so “pantal” small. At first I was disappointed but when I think about it, I am more thankful that everything turned out normal and my baby is so cute just the way she is.

She’s behaved and only cries when hungry. She’s supposedly strong for a normal baby because she lifts her neck in the nursery when put in the prawn position at two days old. She tries to turn sideways at two weeks old. She’s my super baby.

The pediatrician advised her to sunbathe every day at 15 minutes between 6:30 am and 7:30 am. Unfortunately the weather has been uncooperative sometimes.

I call her turtle because she likes to stretch. Her slim neck looks like a turtle’s neck at the beginning.

I love her pouty lips and when she smiles, the whole room lights up. She’s really a charming baby. The whole family loves her so much.

Nanay scanned my baby pictures and showed them to me. It has been a while since I saw these pictures that were initially bound by a checkered black and white album. Julia looked like me when I was a baby… But I refuse to believe that she looked exactly like me. She should be prettier with a better nose than mine.

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