This time, I am a mom.
The 9th of November will never be the same. As you would have guessed, that tiny force that inspired me to blog was born on that day of 2011.
THE BIG UH-OH, TIME-FREEZE MOMENT:
The day before my delivery I felt extremely exhausted. It was odd to me because from the start of my third trimester up until that weekend I was mostly energetic. In fact I was so tired that I decided to skip going to our usual Tuesday church activities (my husband and I are active in a catholic movement for adult initiation into faith). By 9 pm I had just finished bathing and was now sitting on the bed contemplating lazily whether I had enough energy to write another blog entry. I stared at the black screen of the laptop, slightly impatient. I was 40 weeks exactly. My pregnant friends and relatives had already given birth, but there I was, still "infanticipating". I wondered for the nth time how long it would be til I'd finally meet the little person in my tummy.
A much welcomed interruption came in the form of my husband. Home from church duties, he entered the room to kiss me hello, then walked out for a shower. Little did I know I needed a quick one again myself.
I looked at the screen again but this time I felt something else altogether. My night dress was damp. Puzzled, I stood up only to realize I was sopping my underwear further. "Hun, I think I'm leaking!" I called out. What was that? He said as he returned to the room, with a face which most probably mirrored my own baffled countenance. "I'm leaking," I repeated.
THE CAR RIDE
After dealing with the swarm of sudden to-do's (I thought my hospital bag that had been sitting idly for a week was all we needed), I found myself smiling during the car ride for several reasons. 1) I remembered that old commercial from the 90's with the famous line "Dad, my water bag broke..." I dint think i'd have a similar scenario. I even bought a 100 peso watch in greenhills just because was excited to count my contraction intervals (i've never grown to like wearing watches btw). 2) My husband looked so edgy that i had to remind him to calm down most of the time 3) i finally felt the much awaited, initial discomfort of labor -- the very familiar dismenorria. "Let's do this!" I thought to myself happily.
AT THE LABOR ROOM
It took us only 15 minutes to the hospital. My husband parked the car while I walked with a casual maternity waddle toward some nurses and doctors, and with a sheepish grin asked them to direct me to the labor room (yes, that's how not-in-pain i was). They'd been expecting me. My doctor wasn't there yet but had already called them to prepare for my labor. After changing into a hospital gown and answering a series of questions in bed there was nothing left to do but wait. I was strapped to a machine that monitored stuff. With my water bag gone, the baby had no protection over possible infections, but she was taking her time and I was only 2 cm dilated. A young doctor was with me throughout the vigil, recording my contractions, blood pressure, the baby's condition, and providing me with a bit of entertainment through chit-chat. I was supposed to get some sleep, but who could at such a night?
The contractions somewhat became stronger throughout the waiting period but by 4 am it had grown weaker. The baby had gone down but was just "semi-engaged." So my doctor made another call to
her staff to have my baby induced. An hour later i was given the treatment and i felt the contractions become fiercer and fiercer.
Now on our last consultation my doctor and I had discussed my birthing plan. I wanted the epidural as a last resort, I said. I'd like to try the natural method with just some mental pain management, breathing techniques, a drowsing drug and demerol at the end. Boy was I absolutely clueless about the pain! There was very little time for pain build up. My contractions increased quickly. My 2 cm cervix opened to a four.
"Doc epidural nalang!" right after the second gigantic contraction. (Haha!) Its a good thing
contractions had "breaks" or i would have died right then and there! It literally felt as if my insides were being shoveled mercilessly in all directions. I have proudly given up cursing, except on occasion but that night...well it's true what they say about women in labor...she just isn't herself.
A doctor told me to focus on my breathing but I couldn't. I was panicky, dreading each wave of pain. I kept on asking where my anesthesiologist was. They kept saying she was on her way and that she drives fast...but that she lives in Alabang! That info just made the pain worse. I was going into the last phase of labor really quickly now. The doctors hadn't expected it to be that fast. They moved me from the bed to the stretcher, and I opened from a 4 to an 8! I wanted to push but they kept telling me to wait for the right time as they wheeled me in to the delivery room. From that quick trip to the other room the resident declared that i was now 10 cm dilated and that the baby had finally engaged! (Ang galing ng timing!)
I finally heard my anesthesiologist's voice as i lay on the delivery bed. A male nurse aid helped me get into a side lying position for the epidural shot, but every second was too much of a torture that i couldn't care less anymore if a hundred men were in the room. I would have skipped the sterilization procedure done on my back altogether if i had my way, quick as it was. I must have been complaining rather loudly because one nurse told me "ma'am wag po masyadong malakas , baka po matakot yung ibang pasyente." (I ignored her remark but in my head I screamed, "wala akong pakialam sa ibang pasyente!" Hehehe)
Oh but the wonders of science! Epidurals are a gift of to women from heaven. In less than a minute after the shot on my spine, i felt my body untwist from the pain and drift to a more relaxed state.
I noticed the morning sun changing the window shade to a lighter hue. It was morning and i knew the vigil was over and that i was inevitably giving birth. With jellied legs but a calm composure i was able to listen to everyone's voices and my anesthesiologist's instructions with an unclouded mind. My oby-gyne came just at the last few moments to prepare me for the pushing. Much to my surprise she instructed one of her staff members to call my husband and let him in. Initially she told us that hospital regulations don't allow husbands or other loved ones in the delivery room, even if my husband works as a nurse there. I was so glad she changed her mind about not letting him in. No harm done anyway.
He held my hand and cheered me on as the doctor coaxed me to "push." (With the epidural it felt like i was just pretending to push since i couldn't feel a thing waist down.) After three or four pushes, our daughter came out and breathed her first.
My husband cut her umbilical cord and she was quickly cleaned and handed over to me. My doctor finished up while my husband and I shared a moment so precious and new. He took a few photos and then left to check on our room and update our families. For an hour she lay on my chest crying most of the time while a nurse cleaned her up further. Small, helpless, and beautiful. 7.12 lb, 50cm, at 7:15 in the morning, born on her exact due date, November 9, 2011.
I didn't cry that day. I cried two days after when we were alone in the hospital room and she was sleeping in my arms. But I do remember that exhausted as I was from the night's long wait, all the pain I experienced melted away into nothing but a minute fragment of inconvenience. In place of it was an overwhelmingly merry miracle called Juliana Micaela.
So please excuse me for abandoning my blog for the last 10 months. I've been taking it all in...the wonders, the blues, the hard sacrifices, the adjustments, the joy, the love...and having the time of my life.
Juliana at 2 days old
[This entry is dedicated to my daughter, to let her know of how she came into the world.]