Friday, March 9, 2012

A baby story

Today's my daughter's first birthday. In many ways her birth was like a "reset" button for me: drawing me closer to my family, which led to a reevaluation of my goals and what I really wanted from life, which led on to many things, including, but not limited to, this blog! (Read all about it in my about page and look back at this first post!)

Since then so many things have happened, but I still keep on going back to this same time last year and trying to recapture the wonder and the happiness and the contentment of that time, starting from my maternity leave. In honor of that day, I thought I'd post this, a relic from my old blog, written four days after she was born. A change of pace from my usual posts, but I hope you still enjoy it. :)
March 13, 2011
In the days before delivering, me and the hubby became sort of addicted to watching A Baby Story on the Discovery Home and Health Channel. The show follows different couples as they give birth and gives an update four to six weeks after delivery. It sort of helped us focus on what we were about to go through, or at least gave us something to relate to as we anxiously waited for the day we were to deliver as well.

So I took my maternity leave at 38 weeks, more or less on the 9th month, and waited for labor to start. And waited. And waited. It was like Groundhog Day. We'd have a routine - I'd clean the house in the morning, prepare something nice for lunch, me and the hubby would go to the mall so I could walk around, get home, see our son from school, make dinner, then walk around the village again. At night I'd sleep, confident that labor would start in the middle of the night. And then I'd wake up, still pregnant, and Groundhog Day began all over again.

It was relatively OK until March 6, my due date according to ultrasound, came and went. Each succeeding day that passed felt like forever, and I would wake up worried and anxious and secretly teary. On March 8, 2 days overdue, my doctor scheduled another ultrasound. We found that baby's amniotic fluid was running low, and more worrisome, her umbilical cord was coiled around her neck. The news came as a shock and I tried to keep a brave face though inwardly I felt like crying. I was so worried. What if something wrong happened? The doctor reassured me that it would be possible to deliver the baby vaginally, although if worst came to worst, I'd have to have a C-section. But the fact was that I needed to give birth, ASAP. I would have to be induced that night.

Waiting for labor to start
So at 7:30pm me and my husband arrived at the hospital to get things rolling (but not before we visited my mom and prayed and texted our friends to do the same). At about 9:30pm, I was hooked up to the Oxytocin IV to induce labor. That night was one of the longest in my life. My great comfort was my husband, who was by my side the whole time, keeping the mood light, talking to me, reassuring me that everything was OK. But in the morning, after 8 hours of 'labor' (contractions so mild I'd complain to the nurses that I wasn't getting enough Oxytocin), I only progressed to 1-2cm. The doctor ordered me to walk around, so for the next few hours, that's what I did - pace back and forth the triage room, talking to my husband, reading, and trying to stave off the crippling boredom.

Things are starting to get serious
At 3pm on March 9, the contractions started to feel like actual labor - meaning they hurt. I asked hubby to time them and the would come two minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute each, and progressively more intense. Around 4pm, I asked for another internal exam. I'd progressed to 4cm and baby was low in the birth canal, so I felt confident enough to request for an epidural. (My big mistake with my eldest was requesting for it too late, so that I felt like I was in a different circle of pain and panicking like hell in the delivery room. This time around I wanted to be sane). The anesthesiologist came in and did his thing, but not before a few panicky moments - my blood pressure dropped and my left eyelid started to droop, but after a few routine tests (smiling and squeezing the doctor's hands), everything was A-OK. A few minutes later I threw up some bile, and then something started to feel weird: "down there" felt like it was stretching, internally, and I began to feel a pressure mounting. I told the nurse it felt different this time, and after another internal exam, I heard the words I'd been waiting to hear all night: "Fully dilated. TRansfer to birthing room."

In the birthing room the pressure started to build up more intensely and the urge to push overrode all sensation. As doctors and nurses scrambled to suit up and get the gear out, I was asked to exhale and fight the urge to push. Finally, my OB positioned herself and said, "If you want to start pushing, go ahead."

Finally, I get to push!
Calmly, the doctor asked me to hold my breath like I was going underwater and push with my body along with the sensation of pressure. I pushed once and the pressure abated. Then I pushed a second time - feeling like it was the longest five or ten seconds in the world and that I was going to pass out from holding my breath too long - and then another curious feeling: like half my body weight leaving my stomach via cords and snakes and other long and slimy things. Then there she was, my baby girl, safely out of the womb after 22 hours of labor.

Pleased to meet you, ma'am!
It's been four days and I fall more and more in love with my baby girl with each passing day. My husband continues to be an incredible rock of love and support, helping me through all my weird little worries ("Do you think I'm making enough milk? Is she getting enough milk? She hasn't wet her nappy yet, do you think she's OK?" and all these mommy kapraningangs) and making sure the house remains lovely throughout our adjustment. The eldest is also in full-on kuya mode, falling in love with his sister on the first night we brought her home.

Hello kuya!
It's so crazy. Sometimes I look at her and feel overwhelmed, like can I really take good care of her? Am I really equipped to be entrusted with something so beautiful and perfect? Even as I type this I can't put into words the rush of emotion I feel when I hold her. She's such a blessing, our lovely Elise.


Anonymous said...

Aaaaw... Happy birthday to beautiful baby Elise! The snakes and cords description made me think of alien movies though. Kaloka!!! See you, D and your kids soon. -Chiqui

Katrina said...

CHIQUI!!! AMISHOOO!!! You got my email? hope to see you soon!!


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