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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Labour and Delivery

Summary of Week 1
Actually amazingly, by the grace of God, it’s been a pretty smooth week so far! I think I’ve got the three hour rhythm pretty much established. Of course my mother in law was here last week to cook, clean and take care of Brian and me so that my only job was to take care of my own body and my baby. She and Mrs. Fong made me a lot of those Chinese soups and dishes that I have to eat like Chicken liquor soup, Fish and papaya soup, ginger fried rice, and lotus seed- red date- longan dessert. Then in a few weeks, maybe when you come visit me, I will be eating the “pork hock ginger and vinegar” thing so you can have a taste too!

I’ve had quite a few visitors already. Nothing too overwhelming but people are very kind and generous to bring us dinner and lunch, and even eat with us too. I even let them fold laundry _with me.

In a nutshell, I went in for induced labour Friday April 20. The doc said my baby was small for gestational age and plus the expected growth wasn’t there for the final weeks. I listened to your advice and recommendations from others before us, and I went with the epidural. Margaret was born on Sunday April 22 at 2:37pm 5 pounds 48 ounces.

The doctor actually asked me to come in on Friday April 20 for Induction. He said my baby was small for gestational age, which was not a big deal cuz I’m asian, but he was more concerned that the growth in the final weeks was not there. He explained that typically it shows the placenta is not supplying enough nutrition and that the baby should come out and be breast or bottle fed. It was not a real emergency cuz that was Wednesday.

So Thursday was exciting for me cuz I knew that was my last day as an expectant mother with all the time in the world I could ever want for myself alone. We had a BBQ lunch with Dave, Jen and the girls; I bought a few nursing tops at Thyme and spent the afternoon at St Laurent to pick up a few things at Sears and Baby’s R Us. Looking back, there was so much more I should’ve done, like scrapbooking or fixing up the garden. Time is so precious!

Friday the hospital called me in around noon. They gave me a dose of Cervadil (it’s inserted inside with a string attached) to dilate the cervix. I watched Star Wars and TV all day at the hospital. There was a woman in the next delivery room just down the hall who was screaming in terror, like the sound of absolute anquish and murder, like someone was cutting her leg off. It was pretty scary to me, so I just turned up the volume and just hoped that I would not end up screaming like that. Even walking down the hall, there were women in various stages of labour, walking the halls and pausing through contractions and having their backs rubbed. It was like, woah!

Without much change, they gave me another dose at three in the morning Saturday. All day Saturday, I just chilled with Brian or chatted with the nurses assigned to me, Sue and Tasha.. I wanted to leave and go shopping or play piano, but of course I couldn’t. By Saturday night 8pm, they were discussing if maybe I should just be sent home. So before they inspected me I went to the bathroom. The string came out and a whole bunch of liquid that was not pee came out too!

Then of course my doctor (who happened to be on shift) and the resident inspected me and decided that I should start with the Oxytoxin drip. Actually I already had small menstrual like cramps since dinner time so they just got more intense. My midnight I was in the kneeling position and rocking out every contraction. My best description is that back labour felt like I was getting run over by a monster truck every 5 minutes. I think they were quite regular already. It got really intense as you and anyone who has gone through it before would know. There was a really kind nurse, Anna who helped me through all the contractions and she held the wireless monitor to my belly the whole time. I guess it was bearable cuz I wasn’t crying but when I found out I was 4 cm dilated, that was around 5am I asked for an epidural which really shocked Brian cuz he wanted me to tough it out. Well maybe cuz I was relaxed so my contractions kinda stopped while I waited for the anesthesist to come. At 6am I had one epidural shot, that the resident congratulated herself and said it was a perfect shot. It was so “cool” literally!

BUT after she left then things started to get kinda hectic. Well everyone remained calm and professional but they all moved around really fast all of a sudden. They asked me turn on my right side, and when I couldn’t move fast enough they moved me but somehow the beat on the fetal monitor just dropped real low, so they reached inside and put on a scalp clip on the baby. The beat slowed down even more and at one point it stopped!!!!!! When silence becomes the scariest sound in the world. I was so scared, yet calm cuz I thought maybe it was just a bad sensor. But I started praying real hard. Then they put an oxygen mask on my face and told me to breathe! But I was already breathing! And the nurse told me that she was going to tickle the baby’s head to see if the heart beat would start up again. Well luckily it did, but it was sooooo slow and finally became as steady as a metronome. Apparently fetal heartrates are supposed to be variable as the baby goes through it’s own variable activities, and being completely steady is actually a sign of distress. I became worried that I messed up my body cuz of all the IV’s they put into me. She said I had rolled over onto the cord, and that if they have to do an emergency C-section they would have to move and do a lot of things really fast and they would not have time to explain everything to me. And that I would have some forms to sign. At that point, as you may recall, your body is getting the shakes, from the shear force of the contractions that of course my body was working on, but because of the epidural I could not feel the pain. It was the weirdest feeling to be in the greatest pain known to womankind, but not have to feel it.

I felt very much afraid, and I called Lisa to pray for me. I probably made her extremely worried cuz I only left a cryptic voice message without any solid details. I was afraid to move cuz I didn’t want to mess up anything! At shift change there was a new nurse, Natasha and I finally got the guts to talk to her and she told me I probably felt like it was my fault cuz the epidural cuz everyting all happened at the same time, but in fact they were indepent events. Can you believe I asked her, if I could move?

A lot of thoughts raced through my head. I think God was testing me. I truly believe God wanted me know that I was completely in God’s hands. I sang the words of Psalm 56:3-4 over and over again in my mind. "When I am afraid I will trust in you, in God who's word I praise." I realized, with the heartbeat gone for a few seconds, if I injured my baby in any way, I realized that I loved my child so much that I would be willing to give my Engineering job to take care of him or her. I just let go and decided that everything belonged to God. Eventually I called Lisa back and I asked her to pray for me. I know she enlisted the prayer support of a few other women and it really gave me strength and comfort when I needed it most.

I guess due to that stressful episode, they had taken me off oxytoxin and started back from the beginning. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, nurses had come in whispering among each other and checking out whatever they were looking at between my legs and on the sheets. I heard them say that my contractions were all over the place, sometimes two minutes and seven minutes apart, bleeding too much and blah blah blah. So basically I was worse off than I was the night before! At that point, Brian called his mom and she asked how I was doing. She had no clue whatsoever what is an epidural. In her days, there was no such thing. She kinda asked me a funny question, but I suppose from her perspective it makes sense. “What do you mean, it hurt too much and you needed medication? It’s supposed to hurt…. Now what? How long will it be now?” Of course it frustrates me when people ask me questions I cannot answer, but I know she only meant well.

I didn’t know I had a catheter inside, so I remember asking the nurse, what do I do if I need to go pee? She was like, don’t worry about it, you have a catheter, it will drain from your bladder.

I guess prayers really help! At some point when I felt things were more stable, I pretty much felt so much peace I fell asleep and same with Brian. Then at noon, I was awakened by the sensation of a regular and strong back ache. I asked Brian to check the contraction monitor and we were surprised to learn that it was indeed regular at 2 or 3 minute intervals. I called the nurse back cuz I think they had given up on me.

She checked me and said, woah you are 10cm!!!! That’s a miracle. I can spare you the rest of the details cuz we all know where babies come from and what happens with pushing.

So I started pushing pushing more like around 2pm and I was pretty lucky cuz Maggie was born at 2:37pm 5 pounds 48 ounces! Brian was very supportive the whole time, holding my legs up and comforting me. Yes there was tearing, but the doctors were wise enough to make an episiostomy (an incision in the you know where to allow a controlled tear).

The first two days in the hospital, I learned how to change a diaper, how to bath a baby, and how to breastfeed (collustrum). The first night was awesome cuz babies just sleep for the first 24 right? The second night was rough cuz it was hard to “latch” and then she would just fall asleep! I walked the hallway almost alnight with her in my arms. I had sent Brian home cuz I figured, what the heck, we’re doing cluster feeding, it’s not like he has breasts to feed her. I prayed, I sang memory verse songs and praise songs in the TV room with her. The nurse probably sensed I really needed the rest, and plus I was worried she was getting enough food, which would defeat the purpose of bringing her out early. She suggested that she would supplement with a bottle so I could get some rest. It was a great idea and I cried, not cuz I was sad or defeated, but just glad to have some assistance.

They gave me an appointment with the lactation consultant the next morning, maybe cuz I had a troublesome night. And as if an answer to my prayers, at dawn Brian came back. He seems to have a calming effect on her. When I fed her again, of course I asked for the nurse to come and help me, but it was like my milk had arrived! From there it was all pretty smooth. Feeding her at home was pretty smooth! Praise God. The first day at home it was just the same getting her to stay awake! I did the waking up every three hours thing even overnight.

Friday was the first checkup with the doc, and her weight was already on the upswing! Friday afternoon we went back to the hospital for the LC appointment. The nurse, Sharon congratulated for doing well. I asked her a a lot of questions and she showed me how to keep the baby awake and swallowing without having to unlatch, change her clothes and change her diaper etc. She also showed me how to hand express into a little bottle and collect a bit after each feed to make enough for one feeding that Brian could do.

I’m really thankful I don’t have any bleeding or cracked nipples (yet) nor any fever or blocked milk ducts. Well… I suppose there aren’t any teeth yet in the first three months!

The Projectile Poo in Week 2.

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