jaden parenthood

My Birth Story

Friday, May 15, 2015tee

It took me weeks to get settled and adjust to life with a newborn, and weeks that it finally dawned on me that I am finally a mum. That someone so tiny, fragile and small has been entrusted in my care and depends on me for everything 24/7. It didn't help that I had go decipher every whimper, every cry, either. It took me much longer to finally accept that my birth story wasn't exactly as I had envisioned it and made me come to terms with what happened and be okay with it. 

My journey to birth begins way earlier than the day I've given birth so let me start with that. This is going to be a very lengthly one, more for me to look back and document my story.

A few weeks in Australia and just entered my second trimester. First trimester was when the nausea and dizzy spells came, and I was glad second trimester was here! Little did I know, second trimester would be full of surprises and the full-blown nightly projectile vomits would be during this period. Around 2am, woke up wanting to do a wee, just normal pregnant stuff. Except that no matter how hard I strained and tried, I couldn't. It happened a week ago but after an hour of straining, I was able to go. I tried for an hour, sitting in the toilet for the longest hour ever, and resigned back to bed. I tried again at 5am and just couldn't. At that point, I knew something was really wrong. It was getting very uncomfortable already, I woke up J and told him we have to go to the hospital or see the doctor. We didn't have a car at that time, and since it was wee hours, I decided to wait it out. I can still handle it, at least I'd try. 6am, I told my sister who gave me heat packs and told me to take a hot shower to see if it would help. I was practically in tears due to the discomfort of a full bladder. Almost an hour in the shower, nothing. It was then we knew we had to go to the emergency room quick. Good thing the bro-in-law was off-duty so he could drive us. With the little girl in tow, we arrived in the hospital at 8am. Imagine having to fill-up standard paperwork while in excruciating pain, haha. I was in tears signing the papers. When they finally saw me, they had to drain my bladder's contents. "Amazing", the doctor said, "no wonder you were in such pain, you had 800mls in your bladder. ". After a few tests, they had to do an ultrasound on how bub was doing. What they discovered was so "amazing" to the doctor that she had to call two other colleagues to see, "standard textbook", I heard them say.  It was later I found out that my retroverted uterus was blocking my bladder, causing the pain and discomfort. It occurs in 1 in a few thousand pregnancies, and somehow, it didn't exactly make me feel special. It would take a few weeks for the retroversion to correct itself when the bub gets bigger, and is bound to happen again soon before that happens. It was probably the longest two weeks ever, walking and commuting in the cold, going to the office and pretending I was OK. Sporting loose yoga pants everyday at work because that was the only discreet piece of clothing I had. And walking real slow for almost a kilometer a day. I was filled with self-pity and most of the time, cried because of the situation and inconvenience. It was cold winter for crying out loud, and while we were planning to get a car and look at car models within the month or so, having me complain and cry expedited the process. Looking back, J has been very patient with me, loved and served me every day, helping me out with the not-so-fancy things involved with my new bling. It was then I saw the "for better or for worse" part of our wedding vows materialize and I am so grateful for a husband who stood by me during that time. 
As early as 13 weeks, we knew we had a special little one.  Look at that position! :))

15 weeks
Two weeks didn't come so soon. Everyday, I woke up with a countdown on my head to help me go through the day. Finally, it was the day to go back to the hospital. They don't get you off quickly, though, more tests had to be done. The trial of void was done to measure input vs. output and to check the bladder was emptied or not. It took me a gazillion tries and I kept on failing, there was still a substantial amount left in my bladder after I peed. I had to stay overnight at the hospital, drinking water and ringing the staff to check me every hour or so. It was my first time to be hospitalized and I was all alone - here, nobody was allowed to stay with you overnight. They finally let me go the next day, after umpteen failed tests. The doctors admitted that the bladder check may not be effective as I was pregnant and that what may be sensed by the machine maybe amniotic fluid. I'd never forget the nurse telling me: "I bet this one's a boy, so cheeky."

20-week scan
It was finally the gender reveal week. We found out we were having a boy and everything seemed normal.  The doctor, however, nonchalantly told us I had a low-lying placenta and it was no cause for worry. Yet. Apparently, most low-lying placentas move up by 30 weeks as the uterus expands. 
Oh yes, it's a boy!

32-week scan
To check on the low-lying placenta if it was cleared or not, we went to the scheduled 32-week scan. Ultrasounds here for pregnancies are only done during 12 and 20 weeks, but since I had a special case, we had to do it often. The only good thing for this is that we get to have a glimpse of the little one again! Ultrasounds became something I actually look forward to despite the discomfort. The doctor told us it was still low-lying at 1.5cm and will have to check again in 4 weeks. If it doesn't move up, an elective CS had to be done as it will be unsafe for both me and bub, as the risk of blood loss and hemorrhage is great. Since CS bookings easily fill up and in case things don't pan out, I was booked for elective CS on March 5th. It felt surreal, like even the birthdate was planned down to the last minute. For the planner like me, it wasn't so bad but still I felt cheated of the opportunity to experience natural and normal childbirth. 
Little Jaden plumping it up at 32-weeks. 

36-week scan
The last 4 weeks had been time for me to finally accept and be open to the fact that I may not have the normal delivery we were praying for. We left everything in God's hands and know He is in control and let His will be. More importantly, it was all about my safety and bub's. During the scan, we were told the placenta was relatively low-lying still but has moved to 2.3cm. 

37-week doctor's appointment
I spent most time researching if 2.3cm was enough for the doctor to be happy for me to do a normal delivery. But it varies per doctor. Some would want at least 3cm and some would be ok with 2cm. Upon seeing the doctor, she said I was good to go! We were so happy to wait it out and finally deliver normally! 

39 weeks
Thursday, March 12th at around 4.30am.
I woke up in the middle of the night for my usual middle of the night wee. Heavily pregnant, I noticed something was different - I was feeling mild cramps. Now, when you're almost about to give birth, you'll google and read every "labor sign" you could and I knew mild cramps could be a sign. I had my 39-week appointment that morning so I called to cancel - I wanted to rest it out. However, the hospital insisted I go and have myself and the baby checked. The doctor told me to rest it out and see how it goes, I may just be having false labor. I got some pain relief, bub was doing fine. 

We went home with the cramps turning really bad, it was mostly abdominal and back pain. I kept on calling the hospital telling them the pains have been getting stronger but the duration and length have been inconsistent. I was told again and again to rest, wait and take Panadol. Even hyperactive little girl at that point would pause and "behave", sympathetically look at me and hug my legs as if to console me, seeing how pained I look when each wave of contraction came.

Counting contractions. Each time a "wave" hit I'd tell J "START!" and "STOP" when it stops. 
Or I'd grab my phone to start the timer, just to be sure it was time to go to the hospital or not. :))

Friday, March 13th. 
Already 4am. 24-hours since I felt the first pain. I didn't get enough sleep, have rung the hospital a few times and have been waking J up each time a strong one goes. Poor guy had been pinched and grabbed in his sleep. Finally, the hospital told us to go and have the bub checked again since it's been a while. They told us we might be sent home in case of false alarms. In my mind, I was like: if this is false alarm, what would the real thing be?

We arrived at the hospital 5am, got myself checked. The bub was closely monitored as well, to make sure he's okay and not in distress. I was offered pain relief which I took, I was already starting to get exhausted from a day's worth of pain. They told me I was 5cm dilated, half-way there. I was amazed how my body could've taken it up to that point, I had very low pain tolerance. I was asked if my water broke, I told them I didn't know. They said I would know if it did for sure, and they might have to break it within an hour. After a few minutes, a strong gush. My water broke, as if on cue. I took a shower and we waited it out. I was told the bub was posterior position, which was not optimal for childbirth. That was the reason for the painful back labor and inconsistent spurious labor. After, it was a blur - anesthetist came, midwives and doctors checking up, mom and dad visiting me in the birthing suite. Mom would later tell me that we were so calm and collected, and I was the image of zen that she felt she was more nervous than us! It was true, I was all smiles at the birthing suite, doing selfies, messaging family and friends up until the time I was ready to push. At 12 noon, I was fully dilated, J and I spent this time praying and excitedly waiting - we would finally meet Jaden soon. I started pushing at 1PM. An hour after, little progress due to bub's position. We need to do an assisted birth, and worse case, a CS. It was a haze of preparing to go to the theater, necessary paperwork and setting up for the birth. 

With a couple pushes from my side while I was on the operating table, and with the aid of forceps, I felt tugging in my belly, as if there was a huge tug of war inside. A few minutes after, 3.25PM, for a few seconds, Jaden was placed in my belly. I remember stroking him before his cord was cut by James and before he was cleaned up, weighed and everything else. It was so quick and bittersweet. And the first cry. I was wheeled off to recovery which was standard procedure and I was supposed to meet bub there if all goes well. I remember giving J and Jaden a quick peck before I was wheeled off. Unfortunately, things went south after that. 

I lost a substantial amount of blood (about 4 liters) and required tranfusions. Jaden was rushed to the nursery while I was under observation. Hours later, I was still in recovery, shaking, itchy and swollen. I had an allergic reaction to the blood transfusion and my blood pressure was low. While trying to normalize my blood pressure pumping me with fluids and what-have-yous, I heard talks of rushing me to the ICU. After a while, the doctors checked my chart and prenatal visits record and saw my blood pressure was lower than usual ever since. Hah! I was pretty normal after all. It was evening when I was rushed to the HDU to be taken care of for the night. I didn't get to hold or see my baby or get the crucial skin-to-skin contact and did not establish breastfeeding. During that time, Jaden had some drama on his own too, and James was shuttling to and fro the nursery and to me, worried about both of us. I only saw photos of the little one from James' phone, I never got a glimpse of him except for a quick kiss before I headed off to recovery. Jaden had to be rushed to the special care unit because of his low temperature. He wasn't sucking well, they had to insert a tube on his nose to his tummy. It was only the day after that I finally got to hold the little man in my arms, in my wheelchair at that. 
Our first family photo. Finally get to see and hold Jaden the next day.
Oh the love you never thought even existed!

Jaden's "hello world" photo by dad.

Little tyke inside his cot in the Special Care Unit. They must have done gazillion tests and needle pokes on him during that time. Thankfully, everything's okay and our little guy got the AOK to go home after a week.

A couple of days after, I was discharged. Jaden's temperature stabilized, they stopped his antibiotics, and finally he was sucking and taking feeds well. However, he was still under observation for low sodium and possible jaundice. J and I stayed most of our days at his side at the SCU. It was a challenge to feel that I've missed out on our first bonding after birth, we didn't get to have skin-to-skin or establish breastfeeding early on. We got a room at the hospital for a night and had our alarms set every 3-hrs for feeding time. We tried to be there for him most of our waking times, leaving only to take our meals or go to the toilet. I tried to make up for lost time, too. It was disheartening to go home late every night on our own and then get up early again the next day to go to the hospital to visit Jaden. It was pretty emotional to see an empty cot in our room, we wanted so much to bring him home already. It was indeed a test of faith for both of us, and we couldn't help questioning ourselves and asking alot of what-ifs, and asking ourselves if we were to be blamed why little man's condition was like that. A week after his birth, we finally got our discharge papers, Jaden was gaining weight, feeding well, and cleared. We finally brought our little one home. 

Nothing could ever prepare me for the wave of emotions that followed suit, it certainly wasn't the pregnancy and birth I had in mind. But God has been good and gracious and faithful, always in the background, reminding us to keep the faith and know He is God and He is in control of everything. Somehow, that gave me the reassurance each time. 

In the end, I didn't get the perfect birth experience and we had some complications and hiccups, yes, but it made me realize how God saw us through. It made me grateful how God's hand has been at work, orchestrating every single detail - strengthening us,  comforting us, guiding us. Nothing really is impossible in God's hands and my birth story and pregnancy has shown me that. Hopefully this testimony of God's grace, faithfulness and love will inspire and be a constant reminder to be grateful and to trust God no matter what. 

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