1 month and 8 days has passed since that Monday morning when I woke My Man up at 3:20 telling him I thought that my water bag just broke. A bit groggy from our late night, it took him a while to process what he’d just heard and I had to repeat what I said one more time. I called my mom who told me to let my OB know and then I sent my OB a text message. Afterwards, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, take a quick shower and change into my ‘going to the hospital’ clothes. I was trying to remain calm, and besides I couldn’t not be hygienic even at times like that LOL. I knew it was more than likely that I would give birth that day so I might not have the chance to shower in a while (and of course I was completely spot-on). When I got back to our room, I checked my cell phone and found that my Doctor replied and told me to get to the hospital right away. Robert had changed and notified my sister-in-law, who then quickly got dressed as well, and then we left for the hospital – again.
3 days prior (Oct. 9, Friday), I had a false labor and My Man and SIL brought me to the hospital ER where I was examined and told that I had not dilated enough yet (was barely at 1cm) and was sent home. Later that day, My Man took me to see my OB and was asked to have an X-ray Pelvimetry done so we could be sure if my birth canal was wide enough for the baby to fit through. Unfortunately, the X-ray results wouldn’t be available for pick-up until around lunchtime the following Monday, as all the doctors who did the X-ray reading (or whatever they are called) were in a convention.
SO, we got to the hospital at a little after 4am, where I was examined and told – once more – that I had not dilated enough, but since I was leaking amniotic fluid I had to be admitted. Then I was brought to the labor room at 5am and there found out that since it was in a sterile environment, neither My Man nor my SIL could accompany me. By the way, in my opinion, it’s just a horrid, horrid way to go through labor, without anyone you love to support you, hold your hand, give you ice chips, apply ChapStick to your lips and occasionally throw dagger looks at while you suffer. Tsk, tsk. But I digress. Fortunately, the nurse was kind enough to accommodate my request to have my cell phone and the digital camera brought to me so I could at least keep in touch with My Man and so that I could ask any one of the nurses to take a picture of the baby when she comes out. The first few hours weren’t so bad – only at around 7am did I start to feel real labor pains – and man, they weren’t exaggerating about how painful they can get (I just have to say, I cannot wrap my head around the fact that my mom actually went through that experience 5 times! Wowza. My hats off to you, Mom!)! The relatively young resident surgeon assigned to my OB (who was just a visiting physician at the hospital), checked on me from time to time and at about 8:30am she told me that the X-ray Pelvimetry results came back and that it showed that my birth canal was wide enough for a normal delivery. I was told that my Doc, who would be coming shortly, advised that we wait out the labor, and hopefully by the time she arrived I would be dilated enough and thereafter transferred to the delivery room.
2 hours and buckets of held-back tears later, the Doc arrived. She was examining yours truly to check on my dilation progress, found out that I wasn’t even dilated 1cm, and that the fluid I was leaking was turning green signaling that the baby was starting to go into distress, when someone from the radiology department asked to speak to the resident surgeon. She excused herself and came back minutes later, apologetically explaining that my X-ray was re-read by another doctor and this one concluded that the baby’s head was 0.4cm bigger than my birth canal – which meant I had to undergo C-section. I watched as my normally sweet, motherly and good-natured OB’s face register displeasure. She then turned to me and discussed the need for me to be prepped for surgery ASAP so the baby won’t go into further distress. I agreed and sent My Man a message to let him know of this development – at that point all I could think of was to let them do whatever was necessary to make sure that the baby was safe and healthy. Orders were issued for the nurses to prep me for surgery and as they were wheeling me into the OR, she took the resident aside and asked for her to admonish whoever did the first X-ray reading as they could have spared me from the past 2 hours of labor, as my OB had relied on the results when she decided to let nature take its course – she and I both were counting on my being able to give normal birth right from the very beginning of my pregnancy.
I remember being transferred onto the operating table and someone turning me onto my left side, instructing me to curl up into a fetal position and to not move (I now know that was the anesthesiologist hehe). A man in scrubs informed me that he needed to hold me in position to make sure that I do not make the slightest movement and then I realized that they were going to give me the epidural right then. I froze for a sec, felt something cold being applied to my lower back and then to my surprise, the needle inserted an instant later. It all happened so fast I hadn’t even had time to finish the prayer I was whispering all the while all this was transpiring. I have no idea how long it was after that I drifted back into consciousness hearing my Doc instructing the anesthesiologist to start pushing again – and felt a pressure on my abdomen as he did so.
I blacked out again after that and the next thing I knew I woke up to the sweetest, most amazing sound I have ever heard – my baby’s cry. It was 11:52am on October 12. The doctors and nurses cheered and I must have passed out yet again for a few minutes, because I was nudged awake as someone held my daughter near my face so I could kiss her. I was lucid enough to know that a nurse snapped a photo as I kissed my crying baby, Sophia Leigh, for the first time. At that moment, I felt like crying myself, but as woozy as I was from the drugs, all I was able to do was fall back into unconsciousness.
The first thing I noticed when I came to in the recovery room was that I felt like my whole body was weighted down by something heavy. A nurse who happened to be there to check up on me and the other 2 women in the recovery room told me that if I were able to move and lift both of my legs then that would mean the anesthesia had worn off and they could have me taken up to my room. I so wanted to see my family who I knew was waiting for me there and was relieved when I managed to move both of them. I was wheeled into my room and found My Man, my SIL, my Mom and Dad and a family friend already waiting there for me.
I spent the next 2 days there under my Doc’s care to make sure I was recuperating well after the surgery. On the second day we asked for Sophie to be brought to my room so she could stay with us already instead of her being in the nursery. Since I couldn’t move around and wasn’t physically able to take care of her just yet, we asked my mom to stay with us at the hospital overnight, in the hopes that by Wednesday, Oct. 14, my OB would deem me recovered enough to discharge me. And by God’s grace, 2 days after giving birth via C-section, I was wheeled out of the hospital with Sophia.
Though it wasn’t the most difficult thing I have had to endure (I think I had it easy considering I didn’t have to bear labor pain beyond those 2 hours), recovering from the operation was still a veritable challenge. The dull pain radiating from the incision and difficulty with which I have had moving around the first few days were tolerable, especially since I was able to rely on my extremely amazing Mom who took time out from work to look after me and Sophie (I was blessed to have a wonderful family who welcomed us into their home so we could be taken care of). But having to settle for sponge baths for the first few days and then just a half-bath for 2 weeks afterward was, in my opinion, pure torture. Eww. My OB made it clear that I would have to undergo C-sections for all subsequent pregnancies because my birth canal isn’t wide enough for a baby to fit through. And though I know I wouldn’t be going through all that yet again (it seems one has to wait 2 years for it to be safe to get pregnant and give birth again after C-sections), I wouldn’t rule out having another baby. But for now, I am content. During the long, uncomfortable and sometimes seemingly unbearable months of the pregnancy, I would think of the day when I’d have my baby in my arms and that would be enough to help me overcome any difficulty. Those days are here and now, and looking back on all that I’ve had to experience to get here, I know I wouldn’t change one thing even if I could. Sophia Leigh is the best gift that God has given to us. The adventure of parenting has just begun, and with it comes numerous challenges. At times, things start to look a bit daunting and overwhelming, but I know with God’s guidance and wisdom My Man and I will be the best parents we can be and in time will become pros at taking care of this tiny, fragile human being, for which we are tremendously thankful.