My scary labour story - Delivering Joshua
"Here's my first labour story, the most scary one out of the 4," Stephanie Goh
My eldest boy's EDD is 31 Dec 2001. Just having the thought that my baby might be the last baby of 2001 or first baby for 2002 got me pretty excited.
I was a single mum at that time hence I went through most of the pregnancy on my own but agreed that baby's dad should be around during his birth. It was a smooth pregnancy but I lost about 15Kg throughout that 10 months without any complications. Baby grew strong and steadily.
31st Dec came and past, everyone was counting down to a New Year, but I didn't have anything to celebrate as I was still with a huge tummy. 1st Jan came as well but still no signs of baby Joshua. It felt like it just happened yesterday as that scary experience is still fresh in my mind.
On that fateful day, 2nd Jan 2002 at 3 am, I was woken up by light stomach cramps. I started to time the contractions, like how I read in baby books, to make sure it was labour pains before making my way to the hospital.
At 6 am, I decided that I should leave for the hospital as the light cramps were coming right on time at intervals of about 1 min. I stuck a note on my parent's door to say that I have left for the hospital as everyone was still asleep.
I took a cab and called my partner to inform him about the good news. As his place is very near the hospital, I expected that he should reach by the time I did. When I arrived at the hospital at 6:30am, I did not see him around so I called him again. Just as I expected, he was still snoozing at home!
Anyway, I knew that I was still in early stages, I told him to go to work instead and will call him if Doctor confirms that it's labour.
Being a subsidised patient means that I will not have a designated gynae and will only have a midwives or Medical Officers (MO) to deliver the baby hence I went to the delivery ward directly. The nurses brought me to a delivery suite and was put on CTG to monitor contractions. After 3 hours of monitoring, the MO explained that he could not see signs of labour and advised that I should go home even though baby was 2 Days LATE. It was weird that the MO didn't even offer to admit me for monitoring but I was just asked to go home and wait.
Since it was my first pregnancy, I just agreed and thought since baby is not here yet, I should just go for a McDonald's breakfast before heading home at 10:30am.
My waterbag broke
The day went on as per normal. At about 3:30pm, I was lying on bed watching TV when suddenly, I heard a “Pop” sound even though my family members did not hear anything. I felt that something was not right hence I went to the bathroom to check. Immediately, I felt a gush of warm water flowed out.
At that time, the only thing I could think of is to put on 2 sanitary pads and called for a cab immediately. Upon reaching the hospital, the pads could no longer hold the water and water was flowing down my legs. I felt a little embarressed and I walked up to the delivery suite quickly and even apologised to the nurses for “dirtying” the place. The nurses were very kind and assured me that it was alright. I was sent to delivery suite immediately and was asked to change into the hospital gown and lie in bed.
After 10 mins, the Nurse pushed in a intravenous drip which freaked me out as I've never been put on a drip nor read about needing to be put on drip. After being put on drip, I was told to stay in bed and was not allowed to move around. I kept calling my partner with the phone in the suite but coincidently, he was away at the Runway (he was a Regular in the Forces then) and could not bring his phone. So I had to get my brother to keep calling his office while I was left alone in the suite.
Finally my partner arrived at 4:30pm smelling VERY good. He actually went home to shower and changed before coming, giving me the excuse that he must smell good to give baby a good first impression… It was so LAME.
Labour pains started to kick in and all I remember was that I held on to the gas mask as though for my dear life. Suddenly, I felt as though I was floating in air and I just kept on laughing. The Nurse commented that I had took in too much gas but it was not taking the pain away. She asked me if I wanted to be put on epidural but I declined hoping to have a less intrusive delivery.
My partner was worried that I could not take the pain anymore hence strongly encouraged me to be put on Epidural. I agreed in the end. When the Anaesthetist arrived, he asked me to lie on my side and curl myself up as much as possible. I felt this needle poked into my back and then this cool liquid flowing in.
Labour pains got more intense till the gas no longer working, I could feel very very intense contractions till I was biting my own thumb. I explained to the Nurse that the Epidural was not working as I still felt the contractions severely and I could still move my legs freely. The nurse got the anaesthetist to check and put a second dose of Epidural for me. It was still not working as the pain was still very intense and have not been reduced. My Partner got worried and went to check with the nurse but she responded that it must have worked, else I would be screaming in pain and not biting my thumb quietly. No one believed me.
I suspect that it may be my condition of Scoliosis, (crooked spine) which affected the application of Epidural. All I could do is to try my best to inhale the gas and do breathing exercises like I saw on TV. After many hours, the Midwife and MO came in to check on me and informed me that its time to welcome baby. I didn't feel the anxiety at all and all I felt was that the pain was too much for me. I remember hearing the nurse/midwife said “Only push when you feel contractions, don't push when there are no contractions!”. I already could not control and did not know how to as I had no prior experience. After 5 mins, the Midwife asked me to start pushing when I felt contractions. It was quite a messy situation as I pushed at the wrong time.
The joyful moment
After some pushing, at 22:12 Hrs, our little prince was born at 3.045kg! He was so adorable but had a cone shape head due to me pushing at the wrong time. I felt so guilty when I saw his head shape. After doctor cut the umbilical cord (did not ask daddy if he wanted to do the honour), the doctor put him on the baby warmer while nurses started to clean him up and did the initial checks on him.
Like I've explained, I didn't have a gynae hence did not discuss about the birth plan. It was only after the delivery that I knew that the doctor had cut the perineal area. Doctor gave me a jab before stitching me up while talking to the nurses. As I was over bleeding , they had to keep me the delivery suite to monitor my situation. The nurses told me if I’m still over bleeding by 11+, I need to be sent to ICU.
I'm filled with regrets that as I had complications, the midwife did not offer to let me carry my newborn. At about 11pm, I asked my partner to leave for home first as he still need to report for work the next day. I really prayed very hard hoping that I would not have to go to ICU. Nurses then informed me that my baby will be sent to the nursery first while I was being monitored there.
At about 11:45pm, the nurse told me that I will be sent to the ward soon but told me to call for the nurses if I had terrible pains. When I arrived at the ward, my perineal area was so painful that I could not even sit and I also missed my baby so much. I suspect that the doctor did not do a good job in the stitching as I was in terrible pain. No amount of painkiller worked. Unfortunately, no one really came to teach me on breastfeeding after delivery, they did not even ask if I want to breastfeed my baby and did not see my baby again that night.
It was only until the next day, the nurse brought my baby to me and gave me advise on how to breastfeed my baby but Joshua was a sleepy baby. Whenever I try to latch him on, he just closes his lips tight and slept. The nurses in the nursery also told me he doesn’t drink much cause whenever they try to bottle feed him, he falls asleep.
On the 3rd day, I was allowed to go home with my baby only after seeing the councilors cause I was a single mum. Felt helpless at that time cause I need the councilors approval to bring my baby home. Recovery was very slow and it was just too painful for me to walk. My whole painful recovery process took 1 month and it was a total nightmare for me.
But all these happened 9 years ago and that little baby had grown up to be a healthy and strong boy. He's also now the big brother of 2 little brothers and 1 sister. I'm so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.
Love Ya Joshua!