Mummy Chronicles: Giving Birth To Ethan In Mount Elizabeth Orchard

Reader's discretion advise: Not for the faint hearted, packed with too much details and every bit of gory childbirth truth

This piece has been lying around in my draft box for over a year. I was done with writing it a few months back but never got around to editing the pictures because there were way too many, scattered across various memory cards, hard drives and laptops. So finally, after a shit load of procrastination, I am getting this overdue piece of article out.

I will start from the very beginning. The very first childbirth scare that we went through. How heavy I was and desperate to get my baby out. I tried to naturally induce Ethan. I tried various methods that I managed to find online... some were pretty ridiculous. I've written every detail down. As specific as I could, with as much humor as I could possibly muster.

Every mother has her own story, but this is mine. Read on for more juicy details.


Part 1 | DAMN YOU, BRAXTON HICKS


Weeks before the big day, Ethan had been giving me several false alarms. The first one started at Week 36.

His dad and I were going for one last Baby Fair – to get his collapsible bath tub. We decided to head over earlier to Expo, to have a nice breakfast at Fart TArtz, before going to the fair. On our drive there, I kept feeling a sort of cramping sensation, kinda like a menstrual cramp.

I didn’t think much of it and passed it off as Braxton Hicks.

Just as I was finishing up my last bite of flatbread, the cramping sensation intensified. Alarm bells were going off in my head, I told the husband (he started panicking) and made a move for the washroom. As I stood up and made my way there, with the husband following closely at the back.

He stopped me all of a sudden and whispered to me, “Eh you have a wet patch at the back of your dress leh! Are you giving birth today? I’m not ready yet, I haven't pack my hospital bag!!”

I thought the husband was joking about the wet patch. He snapped a photo of it with his phone’s camera. Damn, the wet patch was real. Now it was my turn to panic. I rushed to the toilet, checking through my undergarments and all. Other than the wet patch, there was no leakage nor other signs that my water bag had broke.

I threw on a sanitary pad, we rushed to the baby fair, bought the bath tub and rushed back home. For the next 6 hours, I had irregular contractions. I sweated profusely and felt ill all over.

At around 7pm, the discomfort tailed off and ended. I walked into my gynae the next day for an emergency consultation, just to make sure that the baby was well and my pregnancy is still fine, and thankfully everything was still good.

Since then, I had Braxton Hicks contractions at around 2-3am. It didn’t happen every day. It started off with being once every fortnightly, and gradually increased to 2-3 times a week. The duration of the fake contractions increased as well.

At Week 38, my fake contractions were happening every night and lasted for 2-3 hours.

I was getting tired of being pregnant. The fake contractions were preventing me from having a good rest – I was worried that it might just be the real thing! I tried all sorts of natural methods to induce labour.


Part 2 | NATURAL METHODS TO INDUCE LABOUR (sex included)

Hospital 1

The popular suggestion online... To have tons of sex. Tried it and it didn’t do shit. Baby still stayed inside me. If anything, he protested violently by kicking me hard for the next hour after the deed was done.

Oh and, by the way, copulation near full term is a freaking challenging thing to do! My BIG pregnant belly got in the way all the time.

Next thing I tried was to diarrhoea. The logic behind it is to get the body to release hormones that causes the tummy to cramp up when having a stomachache, and the same hormones would in turn stimulate the uterus to start labour.

I’m lactose intolerant. Thus I did the most logical thing, I drank a small carton of milk.

I had a smelly / watery time in the loo and that was just about it. No baby in sight still. I guess, that small pack wasn’t strong enough but the husband refused to let me try anything funkier. He claimed that he didn’t want to receive his baby covered in poo. *rolls eyes*

I was introduced to clary sage oil by a mummy during an event. She swore that it helped to speed up her labour process. I thought to myself, why the hell not? I have absolutely no intention of staying in labour for any longer than I should.

I did some research online and found out that clary sage oil could also help to induce labour — hence pregnant women who have yet to reach full term are strongly advised to stay away from this essential oil.

By my 37th week, I was eager to get the little fatty out. His kicks were getting more powerful by the day, and they kept me up at night. Hence every night, I began rubbing the oil on certain acupuncture spots that were rumoured to assist in inducing labour.

I highly doubt that it did a thing to induce labour, but I must admit that it MIGHT have helped to speed up my labour process. My gynae had expected me to deliver at around 4pm, however by 12pm, I was dilated at 9.5cm and ready to birth. However I had to wait for another 2 hours till my doc was free to deliver my baby, and damn my labia swelled.


Part 3 | ACUPUNCTURE TO INDUCE LABOUR

Hospital 2


In my research, these words kept surfacing up: “acupoints”, “acupressure”, “acupuncture”. I googled for reviews on this method of natural induction and it had just the wee bit better response than the rest did. Also, there were medical journals – cochrane reviews included – to back it up!

And so, I got gung-ho and decided to do it!

My dad is a TCM physician, so lucky me didn’t have to find a physician and pay money to convince him/her to do the risky “needle-poking” for me.

I had to persuade my dad. It took awhile. He had read about it in his books but had never tried it on anyone... till me. He was worried on the effectiveness of the acupuncture, he was half expecting my water bag to break the moment he poked the needles in (no, that doesn’t and didn’t happen).

I had two sessions, each a week apart.

Let me first tell you about the pain. It is, MOTHERFUCKING. PAINFUL. Worst than an epidural.

There are three acupoints that requires poking (pardon my lack of appropriate vocabulary to describe) and of the three, one of them is at the little toe just below your nail bed. That acupoint is a killer.

It is so painful that I, a person with extremely low pain tolerance, had zero reaction to the other two acupoints but I screamed when my dad poked the needle in the little toe acupoint. I hurried the husband to switch off the fan because the wind was causing the needle to sway gently and fuck it was painful.

It was an excruciating 30 minutes of pain and sweat – due to the lack of ventilation in the room. When my dad finally pulled the needles out, I felt exonerated.

How were the results? For the first session... nothing happened. Like really, nothing. That night I didn’t even get a single braxton hicks contraction. It was the smoothest night that I had in a month. Dafuq right?

As for the second session... I had been suffering from irregular contractions for the past three days with an increasing number of episodes. I could take it no more and begged my dad to poked the needles for me again, but this time without the little toe acupoint.

How did this session go? It worked just as how it should.


Part 4 | LABOUR BEGINS

At 1am, I woke up from my sleep. The contractions were real this time. They had begun. My abdominal muscles were constantly tightening. The intensity increasing. My belly was hard like a rock.

But there was a problem. My contractions were not regular as what everyone said it would be. I hesitated on whether I should go to the hospital. I was grouchy af from the discomfort and numerous sleep-deprived nights. The husband said that we should play it safe, and insisted that we get it checked out. My mom drove us to Mount E.

I checked into the labour ward. A nurse had me changed into a hospital gown. Placed some wirings on my belly. Rubbed some lube on her fingers and then stuck her fingers in my vagina. I was 2cm dilated.

The expression on my husband’s face, pure joy! He was finally gonna get to meet his son. The waiting game will soon be over.

It was about 5am when we got the confirmation. By 9.20am, I was only 3cm dilated, had my water bag broken for me and just got my epidural in.

Here is the thing mummies, DO NOT follow the recommended guideline online to wait until you are 4cm dilated before you get the epidural. Go according to your gut feel and please take into account that it takes time for the anaesthetist to arrive, and even more time for the anaesthesia to kick in!

By 11.30am, I was still only 3cm dilated but my cervix was very thin.

All of a sudden at 12pm, I felt this sharp pain, a strong pressure down there, something (well, obviously the baby) was trying to push itself out of me! I rushed the husband to call the nurse. She pushed her fingers in and was shocked to discover that I had gone from 3cm to 9.5cm in an instant!

She rushed to call my gynae and gather the necessary assistance required for the birth. I was instructed to wait for the doctor and not to push, which I did try to but damn those contractions made it hard. My labia swelled up so badly afterwards because I was fighting against the natural urge to push my baby out.

What happened after that was a blur.

A bunch of nurses came in, adjusted my epidural dose, and prepared me for the birth of my child. They asked the husband, "Would you like to video down the process or stand beside her?" He opted for the latter.

I'm thankful about his choice as I had no desire to watch my vajayjay on screen, and even more so see how my little one's head is gonna pop out of that extremely stretchable "hole".

They had my legs strapped up against the delivery bed. Gave me instructions on how to breathe and to push. And then... the pushing began.

To be absolutely honest, I had no idea what the fuck I was pushing. Some might say that I had too much drug in my system and it could be lesser. However to me, the amount of drug was just at its sweet spot.

One of my legs had gone numb from the anaesthetic, but I could still feel the contractions... I just couldn't feel what I was pushing.

Somehow I had managed to push Ethan through my pelvis and the midwives were able to see the crown of Ethan's head. The eager husband decided to take a peek and then exclaimed out loud, "Wah! He got so much hair!"

In case you're wondering, yes it is the baby's head of hair that he saw and not my hair down there. I watched an episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and decided to follow the Kardashians and get myself shaved pre-delivery so that my gynae and nurses wouldn't have to fight through a forest just to get to my baby. The husband thought I was nuts, which is... nothing new lol.


Ethan was facing upwards when he came out (typically a baby's face should be towards the ground). As a result, birthing him was difficult. My doctor had to perform an episiotomy* on me, and the cut was made all the way to my anus. *(definition: a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues)

Was it painful? Not at all during birth because I had the holy epidural. The pain only kicked in after birth and let me tell you this... WORST PAIN EVER in my whole entire life. Recovery sucks!

Next thing I knew, the doc was telling me that my baby would come out in this next push. He turned and told the nurses to prepare the vacuum. I felt a contraction coming, I closed my eyes and pushed hard...

Then I heard my doctor telling me repeatedly to open my eyes and look. In my mind, I was thinking "What the heck is he asking me to look at? I am busy enough trying to focus and push a living creature out of me. What does he want?" I opened my eyes and there was this wet and squirmy little thing lying atop of me.

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HOLY SHIT... the baby is here. The baby is finally here. The baby is out.

All the birthing videos that I've watched on YouTube didn't do much in preparing me. I didn't know what to expect.

The little one stared at me with wide eyes, then he proceeded to squint them and gave a ear-piercing "I'M NOT HAPPY, I WANT TO BE BACK IN MY MUMMY'S WOMB" cry.

I couldn't stop staring at him. I don't think my husband could either. Everything felt so surreal. Part of me was wondering if I had to breastfeed him right away or do I wait? The other half of me was wondering if the baby would wriggle his way up so that he could feed?

None of that happened. He just laid on me and stared back at me, as though he was trying to talk to me with his eyes.

Well.. while all of that was happening. I was getting stitched up my doctor. He dug out the placenta from inside me and forced a reluctant husband to take a photo of the bloody organ that was responsible for feeding our kid for the past 9 months.

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Weight at birth: 3.365kg

The nurse came and removed my epidural – sobs, I missed it so much when the recovery pain started kicking in. She offered me some food because I hadn't taken food in the past 15 hours.

Most people puke while having an epidural. I puked after. Right after I had a biscuit and a cup of milo. All of the food came out in a gush like a merlion spewing water from its mouth daily. Needless to say, it was disgusting. I'm glad that the husband did not faint.



Part 5 | AFTER BIRTH

Ethan 1

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I remember the first night in the hospital after giving birth. I woke up at around 12 midnight 'cos of the pain. It was so bad. I tried bearing with the pain, I didn't want to wake the husband. We barely got any sleep at all because of the little one – the contractions started the night before so we were already exhausted by the day's activities and then the hungry little fella kept coming into the room for more milk.

Finally I could no longer take the pain no more. Tears began flowing down my cheeks and soon, I was sobbing loudly as a way to relief the pain. The hubby woke up startled, he pulled open the curtains, asking me in a frantic manner what was wrong? Like a little girl whose ice cream just got stolen, I stuttered through my sobs, "The pain... It's so bad. I want to die. I just want to die... It hurts so bad down below... Help... I need help..."

I don't know why I didn't think of it. I guess I was too tired. The husband walked over to the other side of the bed, reached for the nurses' bell and in a minute, a nurse came in... and she was a life saver! Now I know why they draw a halo ring on a nurse's head because that is exactly how I saw her!

She returned to the room with some painkillers and a box of Epi-Kool Pak... IMO THE BEST THING EVER INVENTED! It is a cooling maternity pad, kinda like between an ice pack and a sanitary pad, and that took away the pain instantly! I slept like baby after – well, that was until MiniChew came in an hour later wanting MORE MILK again!

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Now I'm gonna stop writing here because my #momlife after birth was dramatic as hell as well... or at least the first 3 months were. I've got a lot to complain share about and this blog post has a lot more details than I initially thought I would share. Thank you for staying with me till the end and here is a small note for my not-so-little MiniChew... SEE WHAT MAMA WENT THRU TO PUSH YOU OUT!

Read my husband's version on Ethan's birth here on his rarely updated blog.

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