My birthing story

Priceless moment: when Benji was placed on my bosom within minutes after birth

Here’s my story under the cut (warning: graphic descriptions and a super long post!!!):

Benji was 40weeks + 5 days when I started feeling regular contractions, with pain lasting a minute or so and were about 8 minutes apart. The feeling started at around 8pm in the night on Friday, and felt like period pains to me. It lasted the entire night, with intervals getting about a minute closer toward midnight that night. In some discomfort, and excited to have finally started feeling regular contractions, I rang up the hospital labor and delivery ward to make sure that what I was feeling was indeed contractions and to ask if I needed to start making my way there because I wasn’t sure how long this pain was going to last and if it was going to bring on labor immediately.

The good midwives at the ward told me to take it easy, have some pain relief medication, and try to get as much rest as possible at home because my contractions weren’t close together enough.

That night, I wasn’t really able to sleep because of the discomfort. The next morning, my contractions became more intense and frequent, yet not “severe” enough to warrant a hospital check-in. This went on until mid afternoon; I was beginning to feel quite a bit more pain, and Bry took me to the hospital where thankfully my obstetrician was already on call for another patient, and was able to check me to see how dilated I was. To my surprise, I was only 2.5cm dilated at that time. My obstetrician advised me to go home since I was still not in “active” labor, much to my disappointment.

As soon as I got home and finished dinner, the pain started escalating and contractions were coming on once every 2-3 minutes (as opposed to 4-5 minutes earlier that day). We knew it was time; I could barely walk a few steps during the contractions. The time we checked in to the hospital was around 9pm on the Saturday, and apparently, I was STILL not considered being in active labor since the contractions were apparently not THAT close together enough. I still got plugged in to the monitoring machine to track the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. Pain continued to build up and by around midnight, I was in so much pain and freaking out Bry so much that we started discussing alternative pain relief methods other than me just moaning and groaning the whole night.

I started first with the laughing gas and that worked for about an hour or so, and then I started feeling a bit sick from the gas and the pain was still intensifying, more than what the gas could relief. The nurse then suggested pathadene or an epidural. I always felt strongly against the former since it might transfer to the baby; with the epidural, I was quite sure that was not going to be necessary and so when I caved in and accepted the help from the epidural, I started crying. I felt like a failure for not keeping my promise to myself and for not being a stronger person…

Time for the epidural, and I started shaking uncontrollably. I knew how the epidural worked and what it was, and it really freaked me out to receive it. Thankfully Bry was there with me every step of the way, coaxing me and encouraging me. After the epidural set in at around 1 am, I felt so much relief I was also able to rest up a little for what was to come…

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Above, me after the epidural. Feeling so much calmer and happier.

At around 5am on the Sunday, the epidural appeared to be wearing off…but I think it was more that my contractions were becoming even more intense because, how can an epidural wear off when the medicine is continuously pumping into my body?!! Anyway, I started yelling and screaming again, and by about 7am, when my obstetrician arrived at the hospital, he told me I was still only 7cm dilated. He then broke my waters at that time, and told me that, still, he could not guarantee how quickly I will continue to dilate to 10cm. Devastated and still in a ton of pain, I asked if they could increase the epidural dosage.

They could not increase the epidural anymore with the one I was given earlier. So, my obstetrician, with my permission, ordered for another epidural to be inserted. Again, I started crying but this time more from fatigue and pain. I remember crying out in exhaustion, saying “I can’t do this anymore…” which is of course not helping because I HAD TO DO IT BY HOOK OR BY CROOK…thankfully Bry was still there with me, coaxing me and coaching me to keep fighting the pain.

Second epidural was in at around 8am and I felt so much more relief. However, after a short 2 hours, at 10am, the contractions started becoming even more intense. I got worried: HOW THE HECK IS THIS HAPPENING AGAIN?! Then, I realized the contractions felt a lot more different this time. I actually felt like pushing and could feel the baby nearly falling out of me. I immediately told Bry to get the midwife in because I felt like pushing…to which he kept asking “are you sure???” I guess we didn’t realize or believe that I could dilate so quickly after since the doctor said it could take up to another 5 hours (given my SLOW progress before).

Midwife came in, checked me, and said I was almost there and that she was happy for me to push.

I FELT THRILLED JUST HEARING THOSE WORDS; THE END IS NEARLY HERE!!!!

At around 1010am I started pushing. And my gosh did I push so hard I felt like my eyeballs were gonna eject from my eye sockets. At around 1025am my obstetrician returned (he went for a walk apparently since he didn’t know how soon I was gonna deliver…and it was a Sunday morning and he didn’t need to be at the hospital other than to see me). He was pleased with the progress.

At around 1040am the baby was still not fully out so the obstetrician recommended a vacuum to help pull the baby out (also known as ventouse delivery). The whole process was actually pretty cool even in my delirious and distressed state. Again, Bry did a fantastic job keeping me up to date with the progress of it all. Everytime I pushed, I asked him “do you see him?” (remember, I can’t really feel anything down there…I can only feel the contractions, the urge to push) and knowing that I made progress gave me more strength both physically and mentally to carry on.

During the vacuum procedure, the obstetrician instructed me to push only when he said so, and to STOP when he told me to…this was imperative and at some points I had to really use my pelvic floor exercises to contain myself from pushing. After about 10 more minutes of this, my little baby was born. I didn’t quite feel him come out of my vagina but I did feel my stomach kinda fall flat. It was literally a weight lifted out of me…

The midwife immediately placed him on my chest and I started crying…I was overwhelmed to finally get to meet the little guy and also so relieved that the ordeal and trauma was finally over. The next few minutes were spent delivering the placenta and cutting the umbilical cord, which Bry got to do. The obstetrician also had to repair a small tear and again because I was so numb, I didn’t feel a thing. All I could think of was examining our little boy and enjoying having him on me. Bry, too, started crying and we knew all the 30 hours or so of the journey shortly before was totally worth it.

And that was how Baby Benji, God’s creation and gift to us, our son, was delivered into this world.

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