On Saturday February 28th 2009, I felt my Braxton-Hicks contractions coming in stronger and more pronounced. They had been stronger the whole of my 2nd pregnancy anyway, but nothing more than feeling a little uncomfortable on my part.
Early Sunday morning, before the sun was up, I discovered that I had a little bit of the show when I visited the restroom. And when Pete woke up, I told him that I had a strong feeling the baby would be born within the next 2 days (Pete and I knew *somehow* that our baby girl wanted to be a March baby..hehe). The contractions were getting slightly more painful now and I had some brownish discharge throughout the day, but still, they did not stop me from doing some grocery shopping and going about my usual business.
It was only close to midnight that the contractions became increasingly unbearable. I started monitoring the frequency and duration of the contractions that night, and before I hit the sack, they were about 6-8 minutes apart, lasting about 40-45 seconds each. Throughout the night, I could hardly sleep a wink, as I was awaken every few minutes by the pain. I kept checking the time and wondered when morning would come.
At 6:30a.m. I woke up and had frosted corn flakes for breakfast, eating and moving VERY slowly because of the pain I was enduring. My belly had definitely moved LOWER by a mile from the night before! I took a shower and then timed my contractions again, and this time they were 5 minutes apart, lasting about 60-80 seconds each time. I woke Pete up immediately and told him we had to go to the hospital NOW.
So we got ready, got Ethan ready and I kissed Ethan goodbye for the day as Pete drove Ethan and dropped him off at daycare. I then proceeded to pack my last minute essentials for my labor bag. Pete came back a few minutes later to fetch me to the hospital, but we took some time to get to the car, because my contractions made me stop every now and then for a breather.
Pete called the hospital to give them a heads up that we were on our way and at last we arrived at the hospital (after what seemed like an endless car ride filled with contractions and deep breathings). After Pete found a parking spot, we headed for the labor and delivery floor, where we were immediately ushered into one of the delivery rooms. I was already pre-registered, so that saved us a whole lot of time. I immediately told the nurse that I wanted the epidural. Haha..
The nurse strapped me onto a device that could detect the baby’s heartbeat, which was very comforting. My blood pressure was also automatically taken at regular intervals.
Then the nurse checked me and surprise surprise, I was already 8cm dilated! I could hardly believe my ears when she told me that… in any case, I wanted the epidural, and the anesthesiologist was asked to come right away to administer it. Having experienced childbirth the first time round sans epidural, I figured I would choose to have epidural for my second birth. I still felt the pain of contractions this time around too, all of the 8cm of dilation! 😛
A few weeks prior, I had tested positive for the Group B Streptococcal bacteria, so I had to be given a dose of antibiotics before the baby was born, to ensure that baby would not be infected. My doctor says the antibiotics needed 4 hours to take effect, so he was gonna give me the dose and then if all went well, deliver the baby only 4 hours later. My water bag had not burst yet, and my doc was not gonna speed up the delivery by doing so. It was approximately 10:30a.m. at that time.
My epidural was administered at the same time too, and although the effect was not felt instantaneously, the pain wore off slowly after a few minutes. I could still move my feet and feel them, but the bottom part of my body felt slightly numb. I could still tell when a really strong contraction was happening, but the difference was that I could talk through the contractions and even smile and laugh 🙂
The epidural is definitely the best thing to have been invented in the world of labor and delivery!
Pete went off to get some lunch from a nearby cafeteria, while I stayed in the delivery room. Then we both waited for the 4 hours to pass by (I don’t know how I would have survived the pain for 4 hours without the epidural!).
During this time, I was to inform the nurses if I felt anything *different*, since I could not feel much of the contractions with the epidural. I was not advised to drink any water, instead I was given fluids via IV-drip, and I “snacked” on ice chips to soothe my throat. I was hungry but I had to bear the hunger till after the delivery.
At about 1:45p.m. I felt two consecutive contractions coming in, which also led to a little bit of stretching on my perineum. I wondered if this was the “different feeling” they were referring to and when I told the nurse this, she said my doc would be there shortly to check. And when I was checked, I was already 10cm dilated! Yipppeeee!!!
It was about 2:00p.m. then, I think, and my water bag STILL had not burst at that time, but something rare happened. The water bag plopped out of me and hung like a balloon of fluids (trust me, I saw it with my own eyes with a mirror!). The doc says they hardly ever see anything like that before, and after that he announced that we were ready to have a baby! We were about 15 minutes away to the 4-hour timeline, but the doc figured it would be sufficient.
I could already see the baby’s head through the water bag, and I was VERY surprised that it was a head full of hair!
My doctor then manually punctured the water bag, and told me to wait till the next contraction to push. And push I did.
I saw the baby’s head crowning a little, and then the contraction stopped, so we waited for the next one.
And when the next contraction came, I pushed and pushed with all my might and strength, all the while Pete by my side giving a whole lot of support and love.
I felt the baby’s head sliding out and then I heard my doctor say, “Okay, stop pushing now.” So I stopped and took deep cleansing breaths and relaxed. I did NOT have an episiotomy but there was a slight minor tear which was stitched up. As the doctor guided the rest of the baby’s body out, I felt a sense of relief sweep through me, and then I heard Hannah’s very first cries.
The nurse announced, “2:17p.m.” – which is the time of her birth, then the doctor clamped the umbilical cord, and invited Pete to cut it. Such an honor, don’t you think?
Hannah is such a beautiful baby girl, and she was immediately brought to me after delivery for cuddling. I could not believe how warm she felt, and she was truly PINK all over! I tell you, I fell in love immediately, and I could not stop my tears from falling. All those feelings of being a mother came back to me all over again, and all the pain of the contractions I felt were forgotten momentarily as I was filled with such pride and such joy just seeing and finally holding Hannah, my little perfect miracle.
They took her away for a while to weigh her and get her vitals, including her Apgar score. Hannah weighs in at 3.044kilos (approximately 6lbs 11oz) and she was born at 19inches. She was then brought to me for her first breastfeeding session… boy, was she a pro! In fact, she was already sucking her fist before I put her to my breast.
And then she slowly opened her eyes and looked at Daddy and Mommy. Our precious little angel (check out that full head of hair!)…
Daddy then took Hannnah to the nursery, to accompany her while the nurses gave her her first bath, while I got prepped to be transferred to the maternity room.
I asked to room in with Hannah, and that night I was practically up the whole night breastfeeding and also getting to know my girl. It was definitely tiring, but well worth every minute of it. Here’s what a tired but happy mommy looks like:
It was an experience to cherish, giving birth to baby Hannah. It was as if she purposely waited for March 2nd to be born. My OB/GYN is part of a group of doctors who take turns to be on duty delivering babies in the hospital. During my 38th week checkup, I asked the receptionist when my doc would be on duty, and she said that for the month of March, he would be delivering babies only on March 2nd. Well, in a way, my body probably reacted to this piece of information and Hannah was born on this historical date.
I asked if I could be discharged the following day after giving birth, and I was glad that my doc gave me the green light. The pediatrician, however, said that we had to wait for at least 24 hours after baby was born, and also we had to wait till Hannah pooped. She did not poop the whole night after she was born.
However, just as the nurses came to check on Hannah at about 10:30a.m. the next day, we saw the familiar black meconium in her diaper, so hurrah! We made plans to be discharged after dinner that same day itself. By the way, hospital food was quite good…here’s what I *ordered* for lunch:
Yes, if you are wondering, that IS a slice of cheesecake you see on the left of the picture… 🙂
Pete brought Ethan to see me and baby Hannah that evening, and we left for home shortly after. It was definitely good to be home… our little family of three has grown a little bigger to become a little family of four 🙂