Finally! I’m back at writing!
I was planning to share my birthing experience at Elize’s first month. However, I was not able to write due to a lot of things that had happened. Plus the adjustments I was facing each day as I take care of baby is a factor. But now that I am quite able to while nursing Elize, I want to share with all of you (incoming parents or singles planning to have a family in the future) my personal birthing experience (for your reference).
Those 9 months are nothing compared to delivering a baby and taking care of one. I am very grateful to have attended Ms Thammie Sy’s “Birthing beginnings” birthing class because from there I was able to recalibrate my mindset of pain and fear into pain and courage. The pain we women will all be experiencing at giving birth whether normal spontaneous delivery or Caesarian is a good kind of pain. All we have to do is accept it for it is the closest thing we can ever feel in embracing our babies.
My due date (40th week) is on Jan 22, 2019 but for some reason, at the last week of December I had the instinct that Elize will be arriving sooner than my due date. I kept telling my husband that baby might arrive at the first week. I could feel it. And all I wanted to do at that time was fix all her stuff and make sure everything was already prepared.
On the 2nd of January (37th week) I had a pelvic ultrasound to check baby, my water and the likes. She was already facing down engaged ready to swim her way out. My OB was surprised that my amniotic fluid was already quite low. We tried to do water therapy hoping it would increase. She had me check on the 4th of January to administer an IE (internal examination). This is to know if my cervix is already thin and open. At that day, we found out I was already 1cm dilated. If my fluid didn’t go up the following day I might be admitted to the hospital and be induced for labor. That night our OB was already reminding us to prepare our stuff just in case I might be admitted earlier than what we expected. Good thing we had our bags packed already.
The following day, Jan 5,2019, at 10am I had my 2nd ultrasound to check if my fluids increased. Unfortunately, it did not. It even got lower. That was my OB’s cue to have me admitted. When we got the doctor’s order for admission, I suddenly felt afraid and excited. “This is it!” “Eto na yun” We informed our families, friends and our prayer warriors so they could pray for us during my labor. My husband got all our bags from the car and went to the admission office to book a patient’s room. I was already lnside the OB Gyne Complex of Manila Doctors Hospital. I changed clothes and they had me lie down on a bed to administer non stress test to check baby’s fetal activity. That was around 11am to 12nn. Elize had little movements that’s why it took an hour before they transferred me to the birthing room. I guess it was her sleeping time back then that’s why the nurses couldn’t get a good fetal kick count from her.
At around 12nn-1pm, they finally transferred me to the birthing room. Good thing the birthing room was available at that time. It’s the only room where the husbands are allowed to witness labor and delivery. At 2pm they started inducing me for labor. At first I could not feel anything even though I was already contracting based on the monitors. I had with me printed out bible verses about “fear not” which helped me a lot. I claimed and declared those verses during my labor not to ease the pain but for me embrace fearlessly.
I just kept praying in my head asking God for grace and divine favor to smoothly deliver Elize without any complications. It was also our prayer to undergo normal spontaneous delivery without epidural. At first I doubted myself if I could, but I am thankful to my husband and OB Dr. Krystle Calimbas who kept on encouraging me that I can (kaya ko to) One of my take homes at ate Thammie’s birthing class was to breathe right, relax and not let anxiety get in the way because if I let fear get a hold of me instead of releasing oxytocin, I would be releasing stress hormones that would make contraction hard for me. Oxytocin is a love drug that is released when cuddling or snuggling up with your loved one. It is the same hormone released which helps in our uterine contraction and cervix dilation. My husband also helped me a lot because he was there with me all throughout my labor holding my hands. That helped too in releasing oxytocin.
At around 7pm they administered an IE again to check my dilation progress. I was already 6cm dilated. For my labor to progress even more, my OB intentionally ruptured my water bag. From there contractions grew stronger but it’s still quite tolerable. Contractions at that time began to have patterns. I think I was having a 45-60 seconds contraction with a 5 minute interval. I can still converse with my OB and husband at that time and could still smile a bit. Every time I would have contractions, I would concentrate in my deep breathing. It did help me get through the pain. However as hours passed, my contractions grew stronger and stronger. This is where pain management kicked in. Just for me to get through a contraction I would change my lying position, move my legs or make low range sounds while breathing.
By the way, just a disclaimer, contractions are really really painful especially when you reached 8cm dilation. For me, what I felt was like a very very bad dysmenorrhea. It’s like having the worst menstrual cramps ever! So having your mind set beforehand will be very helplul. You have to embrace the pain because that will help you push baby out.
BUT as for me, I almost gave up. At 10pm it was no longer tolerable for me and I wanted to take a break or rest from it. I was having very painful and strong contractions lasting to 60-90 seconds with 1-2 minute rest only. My OB administered an IE again at 11pm and I was already at 8cm. Huhu I was already asking for epidural that time but my OB and my husband kept encouraging me na kaya ko pa. They told me the consequences that it might slow down my labor or worst I might end up in an emergency cs. My OB suggested to sedate me instead. At that time I was already pleading for an epidural but they kept on discouraging me to get one. Their exact words were “sayang naman malapit na eh onting tiis na lang manganganak ka na” And so after convincing me not to resolve to epidural I agreed to have me sedated instead. At the back of my mind “Lord bahala ka na” “Let your will be done God”
When I was in sedation, I was very groggy and could no longer understand what was happening around me. I could still feel my contractions painful but I was also very sleepy I could not react to it. All I could remember was that many nurses and other resident doctors came inside our room turned on the surgical light above me. They were fixing my bed and placing my feet on two sides. Then someone in the room instructed me “okay po Mam ready to push na tayo ah.” At the back of my mind “okay po bahala na si Lord” The catch here is that at every painful contraction, I need to push. (the kind of push we tend to do when we’re pooping) My husband was just beside me holding my hands. Some were holding my feet and I could feel someone pressing down my stomach. Whenever I would feel contraction coming in, I would be half awake and push sooooo hard. It was really tiring. I was very weak and tired already but I also just kept praying. I think I had 4-5 pushes. Then down to the last, my husband shouted “okay last push!” That’s when I pushed really hard and then baby was out at 11:37pm. Huhu They placed Elize on top of me. But since I was sedated I could not even react well or embrace baby. I was still so groggy yet I could see her face on top of my chest. It was a big relief that finally I was able to get through that pain and it was all worth it. Hearing our baby cry for the first time was really priceless.
It didn’t end there though. Since my OB conducted an episiotomy (surgical cut in the opening of vagina) and I occured some lacerations, they took time to stitch me up before bringing me to the recovery room. I can feel the stitches down there and it was painful. At around 3am they now brought me to our room where my husband was waiting followed by our baby.
This birthing story is just part of the bigger picture of motherhood. 4th trimester is another story. Breastfeeding, sleepless nights, postpartum body and recovery are some of the new challenges a mother could face. I realized, the moment I got pregnant is the starting point of my sacrificial love to a new human being. All the pain was totally worth it. And even if there are days I struggled, it’s okay. I admit. I have cried a lot in the first few days with our little one but that doesn’t mean I wanted to give up. I’m just learning to become strong for her.
Everything I had gone through especially the day baby Elize was born was a miracle. God designed women’s bodies to do this. Our bodies are capable of carrying a 5-8pounder babies. We are capable of bringing them out into this world in whichever mode of delivery. And know that as you go through the trial, embrace it. Our pain has a beautiful purpose and that is to nurture and raise up a future world changer. Fear will be there BUT never allow it to dictate you. God has enabled us to be strong and we can do this by His grace and strength alone.
Angio and I are very grateful to those who stood with us in prayers. Thank you very much! We’re blessed to have you all in our life.
Sharing with you below a video clip during the delivery of Elize.