Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Birth

Ryan's birth was a surreal experience.

I remember that both Richard and I went to work as usual the day before. When we got home, we had so many 'loose ends' to tie up that we ended up checking into the labour ward at midnight instead of at 8.30pm as Dr Chan told us to. I remember going to dinner and thinking that the next time we ate, there would be one more person at the table. I remember going through our house, checking everything was tidy and in place, and thinking that the next time I came home, there would be an additional reason to stay home. I remember looking at my husband and thinking that he was going to be a father. That I was going to be a mother. That we were growing up and had to learn to live not just for ourselves, but for our child as well.

When we checked in, the hospital lobby was quiet and deserted. The labour ward was serene and calm. In the delivery room I was strapped onto the CTG machine and it showed that I was already experiencing contractions 10 minutes apart. I couldn't feel them though. After chatting with the nurse for a bit, I settled down to sleep. Richard slept in the same room, in an armchair. I did some hypnobirthing exercises but that seemed quite pointless to keep up because I didn't feel any of the contractions. Lying there in the dark, I remembered the last time I slept in a hospital bed. That was when I miscarried and had to have a D&C. This time round, I was giving birth to my son.

I remember trying very hard to soak in the moment. It was difficult because everything was so normal, so quiet, so peaceful. It was hard to focus on the fact that something momentous was going to happen. It was all so surreal.

The next morning, I fully dilated from 3 cm to 10 cm in less than 2 and a half hours, but baby was still not engaged so we waited for him to get lower down the birth canal. At 2.30pm, the nurses helped me practice pushing through two contractions. Then I slept and rested till 3.30pm and we tried again. Not much progress. Apparently, the baby was quite long. The nurses told me that it was likely that the baby would need forceps to come out, so they told me to stop and rest till Dr Chan came. They started getting all the medical equipment ready for him - I remembered vividly that they set out a pair of yellow plastic boots for him. I was thinking, wow, does that mean that there's going to be a lot of blood?

At about 4.00pm, I started bearing down and pushing without much success. The nurses called for Dr Chan and once he got to the room, everything was very quick. He washed up, put on his gown and those yellow boots and chatted a bit with me and got to work. He showed me the forceps - man, they were huge! Then, once he was in position, two nurses pushed my tummy to push the baby out, I pushed and Dr Chan pulled and whoosh! Ryan plopped out.

4.34pm. A son, a mother and a father were born.

It turned out that I was having difficulty getting Ryan out because the boy had turned to face the sky (occipital position) when he should have been facing my spine. This also means that his head needed a larger opening to be delivered. My cervix had become swollen because his head had been butting against it and that also made it a little more difficult to deliver him. There were no problems with the umbilical cord so perhaps the smart boy had turned around to shake the cord off.

Dr Chan placed Ryan on my tummy while he clamped and cut the cord and extracted the cordblood for storage. I remember hearing loud screams from the next delivery room, it was another mother delivering. But Richard and I were of course more interested in our baby. I was amazed that this perfect little person had suddenly appeared. Ryan was covered in blood and stuff and I was trying to see what he looked like, but the nurses took him away to clean, measure and check him. Then they swaddled him and placed him next to me. He weighed in at 3.240kg, much more than the estimated 2.8kg so Dr Chan concluded he had heavy bones.

As Dr Chan finished up his stitching, I kept looking over at Ryan, getting to know his face and trying to imprint it in my memory. He had some swelling on his head due to the forceps but Dr Chan assured me this was temporary and would subside in a day. Ryan was already alert, eyes open, quietly observing his surroundings and what was happening. I wondered what he was thinking and I hope he understood that he was safe and loved from the very moment he came into our life.

What a difference a day makes.


Unknown said...

cool great job... somehow u made ur birth sound damn easy...

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