Now that we’re finally home, I thought I should try to write about the long (29 hours!) labour we went through before we were able to hear his first cry.
Noah had to be induced and we arrived at the hospital on Saturday night to begin the process. The nurse/midwife inserted the pellet for me at midnight and we settled into our nice suite to wait.
When Dr Loh examined me at 9am on Sunday, I was experiencing some cramps but was told that I needed another pellet to try and speed things along. The cramps got a little worse and I also started bleeding, which I thought meant that actual labour had begun, but nooooo, ‘not enough blood’ according to the nurse who checked on me. At 5pm, Dr Loh came and decided that I had to get my water bag burst at 730pm as I was only 2cm dilated after 17 hours.
Digression: All pregnant women should be warned that cervical examinations are EXTREMELY painful. EXTREMELY. I kid you not. When I told my friend Z about it, she exclaimed, ‘Yah! I don’t know why no one ever talks about how painful it is!’ My sentiments exactly. So now you know, cervical exams HURT. A LOT. So does the bursting of water bag by the doctor. You have been warned!
Before I got my water bag burst, I was given an enema and told to try and ‘hold it in’ for ten minutes. Utter madness! I think I barely managed to control my bowels for a minute before I had to rush to the loo. I made the most embarrassing sounds in there and was most relieved to see that all the nurses had left the room by the time I emerged from the toilet.
After Dr Loh burst my water bag (I was surprised by how warm the liquid was), I was sent to the actual birthing room to wait for my epidural. Why I couldn’t have had the epidural before he burst my water bag still baffles me. ‘It’s better like this,’ said my doctor. Seriously? It sure wasn’t better for me!
The anaesthetist who did my epidural was really good (and very pretty, as my husband noted). She inserted the needle really quickly and gave me the perfect dosage: enough so that I didn’t feel any pain while still being able to move my legs and be aware that I was having contractions. What really helped was that I could actually feel the pressure of the baby’s head when I was pushing.
My only grouse during the whole labour process was that one of my two midwives could win the ‘Most Discouraging Person in the Room’ award. Each time I tried to push, she would keep saying that I was pushing with my face, instead of directing my energy to pushing the baby out. The best part? She would say, ‘Stop stop stop stop stop. Wrong already. Wrong already. Pang sai, you know? Pang sai?’ and give me this really annoyed look. Hello? I’m trying my best! She even complained that I was taking so long that she might not even have time to drink water before she had to begin fasting for the day. Excuse me for being an ineffective ‘pusher’ but I wasn’t trying to be difficult on purpose. I would also like the baby to come out quickly! Thank God that C was very encouraging and Dr Loh was really calm and positive too. C kept telling me that I was doing a good job and was the loudest cheerleader in the room.
After what seemed like an endless number of futile pushes, something seemed to happen. Dr Loh got C to go over and take a look at the crowning, (something which C regrets doing because of the huge amounts of blood all over) and I could feel the baby’s head coming out. Sounds gross I know, but you can’t imagine the relief I felt! His umbilical cord was wound around his neck but that was quickly taken care of by Dr Loh. The rest of his body then slithered out within the next few seconds and baby Noah was placed on my tummy before C carefully cut the cord.
Almost immediately, I suffered the after-effects of the epidural and started shaking uncontrollably. I could tell that Dr Loh was stitching me up (I tore a bit even though I was given an episiotomy) while they were cleaning Noah up, taking his weight and measuring his head and body length, but I couldn’t quite focus on anything. C was very busy taking a video of his first cries (although he did ask why the baby wasn’t ‘wailing’ and was admonished by the doctor and midwives immediately for wanting a noisy baby) and was also given the all-important task of checking that baby has the right number of fingers and toes.
Due to my incessant shaking, I wasn’t allowed to hold the baby immediately, which meant that I couldn’t latch him on immediately either. I have to admit that I was disappointed but I know it was the best thing for Noah at that time. I also retched a couple of times but I really thank God that I didn’t actually puke, because I have this irrational phobia of puking.
Noah was tucked under my right arm as we were wheeled back to the ward together. He was whining and whimpering a little initially, but settled down once I started talking to him. I repeated what I used to say to him while I was pregnant and I think he must have heard me back then! 🙂 The nurse took him to the nursery as he was a little cold and needed to be placed in the warmer, while I went back to my room to get some rest. I think I was over-exhausted because no matter how I tried to rest, I just couldn’t fall asleep. My legs were moving around restlessly and I lay there limply, even throughout my parents’ visit. I couldn’t even bring myself to turn!
Anyway, the gist of it all is that baby Noah was born on 23 July (which also happens to be my mum’s birthday), at 0451 hours and weighed 2.48kg at birth. We thank God for blessing us with our little boy and pray that God will continue to watch over all three of us. 🙂