Here’s to share Vee’s birth story with you, just before he turns 2 years old in 9 days. I’d a natural delivery in a pro-breastfeeding Malaysian hospital, accepting epidural only after 20+ hours of contractions. If you’re expecting a baby (congratulations!), perhaps you can get a little idea of an actual birth experience.
The article “My Baby Valentine — A Birth Story” has been published as the feature story in the latest issue of Today’s Motherhood. Read it below or in the Feb/Mar 2011 issue, pages 12-13.
Two years ago, my son was born around Valentine’s Day. Here is a sharing of my birth story…
How It All Began
After my wedding, I shuttled frequently between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (where my husband was working). Several months later, I was surprised to discover my pregnancy. Suddenly, all-day sleepiness, indigestion and vomiting overwhelmed me, and I rested in Kuala Lumpur.
The expected delivery date (EDD) was 28 Feb 2009. My husband and I decided that if baby were to be born within one week of Valentine’s Day, his name would begin with “V”.
Throughout pregnancy, our baby grew well and we waited eagerly for D-day, hoping for a natural vaginal delivery with minimal medical intervention.
14 Feb 2009: My EDD was still two weeks away and “the show” occurred, right on Valentine’s Day. I went to the hospital for a check by the midwife. She said all was fine and I could rest at home. So no Valentine’s Day baby.
At night, I experienced a 1-minute cramp. Then nothing else. This was probably Braxton Hicks contractions. We were so looking forward to holding Baby Valentine in the next few days!
First Stage Latent Phase
16 Feb 2009, 8.05p.m.: We were watching a Hong Kong drama serial when I felt a minor cramp. One hour later, it happened again – this time slightly stronger. Then the cramps started coming in every 10 to 15 minutes.
My husband went to bed while I couldn’t sleep with the frequent cramps. Bad move as I still had a very long journey ahead!
17 Feb 2009, 3.a.m: For seven hours, I have managed the cramps with deep-breathing techniques learnt at antenatal classes. When the contractions reached about ten in an hour, I dragged my husband out of bed, and wanted to go to the hospital. He thought I was over-enthusiastic, told me to relax, and continued sleeping. I carried on managing the contractions and we finally reached the hospital at 6a.m.
6.40a.m.: The midwife checked me (ouch, that was so painful!) — I was 1.5cm dilated, contractions at 10 minutes interval.
Five hours later, I was STILL 1.5cm dilated! Things were progressing at a snail’s pace, so I was transferred from the labour ward to a normal ward.
Through the day, the contractions built up and lasted longer, up to 70 seconds at about 6 minutes interval. There was hardly any time to think about anything, as I was still managing the contractions with only deep-breathing exercises.
7p.m.: It has been 22 hours since the first contraction, and I was finally 3cm dilated, considered entering first stage active labour.
First Stage Active Phase
17 Feb 2009 11p.m.: Contractions were strong and regular, manageable with deep-breathing techniques. However, I was getting drained from lack of sleep and standing almost the entire day. It certainly didn’t help that I was only 3cm dilated and had seven more centimetres to go. So much effort yet so little progress. We decided to opt for epidural, so that we could catch some rest. It was a reluctant decision.
18 Feb 2009, 1.30a.m.: The epidural anaesthesia was administered. Soon after, I felt the numbness and no more contractions pain. What a relief! I probably dozed off immediately.
7a.m.: I was 5-6cm dilated. The ob-gyn broke my water bag and gave me an oxytocin drip to speed things up a little
Then, I started vomiting, possibly due to the side effects of epidural.
9.25a.m.: Ob-gyn checked me – 7cm dilation but baby was turning towards the back.
10.45a.m.: I vomitted again. Midwife examined me and said I was almost ready. Baby would be out in about 20 minutes. Finally, the time has arrived!
18 Feb 2009, 11.10a.m.: Midwife told me to start pushing and briefly explained how to do so. I gathered my energy and focused on my core abdominal muscles, learnt from Pilates classes. Within 12 minutes and three pushes, my Baby Valentine was delivered! He was born a hefty 3.48kg, considered huge for my petite size. No wonder I experienced severe backache during pregnancy.
After a brief cleaning up, the midwife passed my newborn to me. But just at that moment, I felt like vomiting, so hastily shoved the bundle back to her. What a way to start our bonding time.
During delivery, Vee stretched his arm out and gave me a first degree tear. While the ob-gyn stitched me up, I continued to bleed rather profusely. In the end, I lost about 1000ml of blood and became anaemic – a close shave from blood transfusion.
18 Feb 2009, 11.43a.m.: While the doctor was stitching me up, I tried to latch Vee onto my breasts for the first time and it was a steep learning curve. This was the start of our 18 months breastfeeding journey.
For two days in the hospital, I roomed in with baby as much as possible and breastfed him every 1 to 2 hours. He was colicky and impatient, while I learnt the ropes of cradling and latching him on correctly. Although my nipples became rather sore from the frequent feeds, by our discharge on the third day post-delivery, Vee was nursing happily up to 45 minutes for each feed.
Time flies and my Baby Valentine has grown into Toddler Valentino. I shall always cherish memories of my first labour experience.
Sharing time: What’s your birth story? Share your blog post link or write it out in the comments box.