My hubby and I had been in a long distance relationship (LDR) since 2013. LDR back then to us meant an hour’s flight away from seeing each other. Him being in Malaysia, me being in Singapore.
Pre-Covid-19, we used to meet up minimally once a month, duration ranging from as short as two days to a maximum of two weeks.
We started dating in 2011, signed the papers in 2018, wedding banquet and honeymoon in 2019. We wanted to start a family but at the same time didn’t want any undue pressure.
So we decided to let nature takes its course.
However, being in a LDR, it was not easy for us to conceive as our monthly meet ups would not fall within the window period for ovulation.
Trying To Conceive While In A Long-Distance Relationship
Image source: Wong Siew Wuan
This was maintained for a year till March 2020 with us not knowing if we had fertility issue or whether our timing was off. What we least expected was the meet up in March 2020 to be the start of a real LDR, separated by border control measures between Singapore and Malaysia.
I took the pregnancy test on April Fools and was overjoyed to learnt that I was pregnant!
I immediately video called my hubby to informed him that a baby is on the way but kept the good news to ourselves till my first antenatal visit.
We then informed our parents and they were over the moon but at the same time worried as they could not be there to care for me during my pregnancy.
I had to go for antenatal check-ups on my own and have my food ordered in as I could not stomach any food I cooked (due to morning sickness). I kept our parents updated on my wellbeing and my hubby dialed-in daily to check on me.
Being Pregnant Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic
Image source: Wong Siew Wuan
We followed the news on border control measures closely and was expecting lockdowns to last a few months. Boy, were we so wrong!
Month after month went by with us feeling helpless. At 22 weeks, I started searching for a confinement nanny, going shopping to buy baby clothes after knowing her gender.
I’ve visited show rooms for strollers, carriers, cribs, pumps, etc. And also assembled her crib, cabinet and trolley on my own. I know I could have easily gotten help from friends for assembling but I felt that I could do this on my own. *Huge sense of achievement!*
At labour early, how am I going to cross the border safely on my own (as flying would not be an option after 36 weeks), among other things.
By 33 weeks, we finally decided that I would be delivering in Singapore and immediately put in the necessary applications for him to enter Singapore.
Even though my hubby was scheduled to enter Singapore at 37 weeks, he had to serve a 7-days quarantine. And with border control measures revising so frequently, we were worried that he might not be able to enter Singapore.
A day before he was due to fly, it was announced in the news that travellers entering a day after his scheduled flight would be imposed with a 14-days quarantine. It was such a close call. He was really lucky to have escaped the additional 7-days quarantine!
Finally Reunited And Just In Time For Baby’s Arrival
Image source: Wong Siew Wuan
During his quarantine, I had restricted my movements so as to not trigger labour. We kept counting down the days for his quarantine to end. We had gone through so much and these few days were really crucial for us. At last, the 7 days were up and we were finally able to embrace each other for what felt like forever.
Four days later (39 weeks), we went for my antenatal check-up. My hubby’s first follow up with me ended up being his last as we were informed by the gynaecologist that my amniotic fluid was borderline and upon further checks, my cervix was soft and I was already 3-4cm dilated.
“Our baby is going to see the world soon”
A CTG was ordered at 4pm to monitor contractions. As it turned out I had been having contractions every 10 minutes. I had to be admitted immediately!
Whilst we came mentally prepared that I might go into labour, but it felt so surreal that this was it. The moment we had been waiting for! Our baby is going to see the world soon.
We discussed with the gynaecologist if we could go home and come back to be admitted. We informed that we wanted to pick up the hospital bag, bath and also have dinner. To which she gave her nod of approval but to return to the hospital soonest for admission. We came back five hours later (9pm) to be admitted. *laughs*
By midnight, I started losing mucus plug.
At 7am, I could start to feel the contractions. It was becoming more regular at 2-3 minutes apart, lasting for about 40 seconds. Before I was wheeled into the delivery suite at 9am, the nurse checked my cervix for dilation – still at 4cm.
Giving Birth In The Time Of The Pandemic
Image source: Wong Siew Wuan
In the delivery suite, the midwife asked if I would like to have an epidural. I replied saying I wasn’t sure because I don’t feel contraction pains as what I felt was similar to menstrual cramps but at increasing frequency.
What I could not tolerate was the dilation checks as the pain is excruciating. Twice I had my cervix checked, I would be screaming in agony with my hubby by my side feeling helpless.
Midwife recommended that I should take the epidural as it would mask away the pain. Guess what? Best decision ever!
After the epidural was administered, my water bag burst at 10.15am and was 5cm dilated. The midwife came and checked on me again at 11.45am but I was only 6cm dilated.
“I was warned that I may have palpitations”
At 12pm, hormonal drips were administered to speed up the dilation. An hour later, the midwife came to check again but there was hardly any progress so they up the dosage.
Shortly after, we were alarmed by the medical team rushing in as baby’s heart rate had dropped from 140 to 80. The dosage for the hormonal drips were then reduced and at the same time another drug was injected to help bring up baby’s heart rate but I was warned that I may have palpitations.
The gynaecologist came around 3.30pm and was concerned as I was still 6cm dilated. Which means, there was no progress for 4 hours. We were told that by 7pm, I may need to undergo Caesarean Section (C-section) if I’m not 10cm dilated by then.
There was nothing much that can be done as the dosage for hormonal drips cannot be increased as it will cause distress to the baby.
At this point, I was beginning to feel very weak from the epidural side effects on top of the palpitations. I had been shivering, feeling itchy all over, having mild fever, dehydrated but yet could not drink any water as anything that goes in will trigger me to vomit.
Furthermore, I wasn’t allowed to have any food in case C-section is required. I could only sleep it off while my hubby watched over helplessly.
By 4.45pm, the midwife informed I’m 8cm dilated. Finally, a glimmer of hope that natural delivery is possible. At 7pm the midwife told us that I’m already 10cm. The gynaecologist came, and asked to give three attempts at pushing. After which she said, epidural dosage needs to be reduced because I could not feel the pain to push.
At 8pm, I felt the contractions. The contractions at 10cm was still bearable and felt like menstrual cramps. My hubby and the midwife guided me to push looking at the chart from the CTG scan.
I tried pushing multiple times but to no avail. Each time I was told, I’m doing it wrong. “Don’t scream because it will waste your energy. No need for any facial expression while pushing, just focus on pushing, etc.”
By 9pm, the gynaecologist said to try a few more times and if baby is not out by then, we had to undergo C-section because if the past 1 hour there had been no progress, it would be unlikely that I would still be able to continue pushing as energy levels would have been depleted. The midwife called my hubby over and showed him that our baby head is just 1 inch away from being delivered, hoping to motivate me to push harder.
Suddenly the contractions grew stronger, and the midwife alarmed the gynaecologist that baby is coming out! Everyone was shocked at how things turned out as nurses were already in the midst of preparing the equipment for C-section. What happens next was a blur. I only remember hearing the gynaecologist saying, “let her scream because each time she screams, the baby will try to come out.”
After all the pushing, I suddenly felt my baby sliding out and saw the gynaecologist holding her up.
I joked with my hubby that since he had missed nine months of the pregnancy, his only contribution would be to cut the umbilical cord.
I went through 10 hours of labour and finally delivered our precious princess. We were really thankful that our daughter waited for daddy to be released from quarantine although many plans that were lined up till EDD had to be cancelled.
We were evermore grateful to be gifted with this bundle of joy especially in times of Covid-19 and being in a LDR.
This article was written by VIP Parent Wong Siew Wuan for theAsianparent.
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