my birthing story

So many people I know are either giving birth or becoming pregnant. When we go out, I see lots of pregnant women walking proudly with their protruding tummies. Considering that it’s the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (and rabbits are known for their err...reproduction skills), I’m not surprised. In fact, I’m really happy, especially for those I know who have been trying and praying so long to have a(nother) child.

Unfortunately though, many of those who deliver end up going through caesarian section, mainly due to complications or difficulties during labour. Having been through a CS procedure myself, I know how difficult it is after the actual delivery. This made me remember my birthing story and even though it’s been more than two years, I’d like to share what happened (the parts that I remember, anyway)...

Despite doing everything I could (making tuwad, talking and pleading to her, praying, music), our daughter would not turn to the normal position. By the middle of my 36th week, since she was still sitting prettily in my womb, I had no choice but allow my OB to schedule me for a CS on the 28th of February in 2009, a Saturday.

I was working until the last day (Thursday) and after handing over everything to my replacement, I felt sick like I was getting down with the flu. So at 3pm, my boss sent one of our drivers to take me home. As soon as I arrived at the apartment, I crawled into bed and slept. Even when hubby arrived, I felt too weak get out of bed. By evening, pinakiramdaman ko ang sarili ko. I still felt feverish, but I could handle it. What I was beginning to worry about was the fact that I couldn’t feel our daughter moving at all! Usually, my tummy would have ripples of her movements, but that night there was nothing. I told hubby about it and he called my OB, who calmly told him that everything was ok. Despite my worrying, I was able to have a good night’s sleep.

The next day (Friday, a weekend) we were supposed to have a household meeting so that I could be prayed over. It didn’t push through. The first thing I did when I woke up was go to the bathroom. Imagine my shock when I saw drops of blood when I pulled down my underwear! As soon as I had done my thing I quickly told hubby (who was still half-asleep in bed) “Mahal, bihis na tayo. Punta na tayo sa hospital. May dugo.” I was already panicking as I changed my clothes. But hubby, being the veeeeerry calm person he is, answered “Teka. Relax. Mag-milo muna tayo.” Syet! I wanted to scream at how relaxed he was (didn’t he realize that bleeding during pregnancy is a sign of danger?!), but I felt too weak to argue. I rejected the cup he offered, explaining to him that if I was going to be cut open today, I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink anything. So, I let him enjoy his hot chocolate drink, but made sure that he called my OB to tell her what happened. She told him to bring me to the hospital immediately (I wanted to say “I told you!”) and assured him that she would give the OB on duty a heads up so that I would be taken cared of as soon as we arrive; they’ll monitor and observe me, and if I need to be cut open, she’ll go to the hospital.

As soon as the call ended, hubby downed his drink, put our bags in the car he had rented, and we left for the hospital. I should have known we wouldn’t be going there right away. Hubby HAD TO stop by McDonalds for some take-out (nakakaloka di ba?) while I stayed in the car and called my sister to tell her what was happening. When hubby returned, he gave me the bag and said that I needed to eat; eh di ba I told him earlier na hindi pwede...AUGH! ANO BA?!?!?

Finally, we arrived at Belhoul Speciality Hospital where the nurse made me sit in a wheelchair and I was brought up to the Observation Room (I think) where I changed into a hospital gown; then they attached all these monitors onto my body and I was told to just lie down and relax. During this time, my sister had already arrived and hubby had informed our household leaders that I might be delivering that day. Pointing to a monitor screen and the paper report that was coming out, the OB on duty showed me that I was already having contractions; I just couldn’t feel it. She went out and probably called my OB to update her about my situation.

After what felt like ages (but most probably was just a few minutes), I was informed that they had to perform the c-section that same day (it was a good thing I was stubborn and didn’t eat earlier); so I was prepped, given spinal anesthesia, and was wheeled in to the Delivery Room where they put up this sheet-like curtain so that I couldn’t see what they were doing. No one except the doctor and her team was allowed in the room so hubby and my sister had to wait outside. Before they started, I asked what kind of cut they would make on me, and my OB answered “Bikini cut, of course.” I breathed a small sigh of relief. (Hehehe. Nagbabalak pa ata ako mag-bikini...ambisyosa!)

All the while they were performing the surgery, I couldn’t feel any pain; I just felt my tummy being gently pushed and pulled. Finally at 1:37pm, I heard a loud wail and my little girl was quickly shown to me above the curtain before she was taken to be wiped off and whatever else they had to do, but not before a drop of blood fell from her and onto my cheek. I didn’t mind. While I was being stitched up, I was told that it was a good thing they opened me up in time because apparently the umbilical cord had been wrapped around my baby’s neck two times! Yikes! Buti na lang talaga!

After that, I was wheeled in to the Recovery Room for a couple of hours. All this time, I could hear a baby crying so loudly, the entire floor could hear. I was thinking “Sino ba yung batang yan na ayaw tumahimik?!” Turned out that it was my daughter; her wails were so loud that they had to take out all the other babies from the room for 2 hours while she was being “spotlighted.” She sure had strong lungs!
Finally, I was taken to my room and my baby was brought in shortly. And what a beautiful baby she was! Caitlin Laura weighed 3.04kg at 50cm, and yes, she still kept crying. I felt some pain (due to the surgery) when she was laid in my arms, but I didn’t mind. I cherished that moment...the first time that I was able to hold the little one I had been nurturing inside me for so many months. She came out just in time too to greet me and her daddy on our 9th wedding monthsary.
The days and weeks that followed were pure agony (ok, I’m exaggerating a little). The day after I gave birth, my OB told me that I had to sit up and start walking. Syet! After just a few small, timid steps, I wanted to give up and just lie in bed, but my doctor’s strict instructions were that I should walk from my bed to the door of the room and back several times. It was torture! Fortunately, the nurses were really helpful and gave me the support and encouragement I needed until finally I could walk around by myself easily. The cut took several weeks to heal; while it did, the pain from making any movement (even from laughing) slowly went away.

As for breastfeeding the little one, it was also painful. From the beginning, since no milk was coming out of my breasts, we had to feed our daughter with the formula milk supplied by the hospital. On our second morning, Caila was wailing again so I buzzed for the nurse. However, instead of giving her another bottle, the duty nurse told me to squeeze my nipples until the milk would come out. I did. Nothing happened, except it hurt. I tried again but still nothing. Finally, the nurse squeezed my nipples so hard I wanted to cry...and lo and behold, colostrum came out! Good thing that at least some good came out of the pain. Right away, the nurse brought Caila to my chest so that she could be fed. It hurt at first, but at least her hunger was satisfied. That’s when I realized how exquisitely beautiful that simple act is; almost automatically, I felt a special bond between me and my daughter that no one could take away. And although I wasn't able to purely breastfeed her as long as I wanted, I'm glad that I was able to do it as long as I could.

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