Contractions started at 12.30 a.m. while sitting on a fit ball.
Went to bed, it got stronger and stronger. Decided to call the hospital at 3 a.m cause the pain was starting to get unbearable. Midwife on the phone told us to stay home as it's still the early stages - but I was pretty sure I was dilating! She told us to take a couple of Panadol and just wait.
Went to the toilet, there were clots of blood in the toilet bowl, and every time I'm using the toilet, I have contractions- strong ones and that's when the blood clots passed. We called the hospital again, talked to the midwife, she said its normal, still seems like the early stages (WT#!) so she told us to stay home and wait.
It was 5 a.m., contractions were getting more and more frequent. All I could do was 'oohhh and ahhhh' the whole time I was lying on my bed.
At 6 a.m I couldn't take it anymore and called the midwife one last time, and if she keeps saying it's still the early stages, I WILL INSIST on coming in anyway! This time, after the 5th time calling in, she finally let us come in. So we gathered our things and did a last minute repack of our hospital bag. I hopped in the shower for a quick rinse and relief from the contraction pain.
At 7 a.m, off we went to the hospital.
The whole time I was contracting at home, I was also down with the cold flu and eye infection. I also somehow managed to sprain my right hand (and my left too as I'm currently breastfeeding - it's a condition called Carpal Tunnel). It's like everything decided to happen during my last week of pregnancy. Le sigh.
So we reached the hospital at around 7.30a.m., and checked in to the birth suite at Frances Perry House straight away. The room felt a little hostile and it was huge. I think my contraction stopped for a while due to the nervousness and changed of environment. I sometimes wonder would I have a higher chance of a vaginal birth if I continued to go through contractions at home. But all i could think of during that moment was I NEED EPIDURAL NOW!
I asked the nurse immediately, when can I get my epidural and she told me to hold on until my obstetrician is here first then we can discuss drugs. I was so ready to stop the pain. My obs didn't arrive until late morning, so yes I was contracting in the room while waiting for my obs.
My obs came in, assessed me and told me I was dilated 4cm which is a good sign. We then proceeded to break my waters to speed up the process as I've been in pain for almost 9 hours since I first felt my contractions.
Breaking my waters was such a weird feeling, it wasn't painful at all and once she's done I felt a gush of warm liquid underneath me. Apparently my baby pooped in the amniotic sac but baby's heart rate was normal so she wasn't stressed or anything like that. It just meant that at one point she was probably startled and pooped but we don't know when and why.
After that, I asked my obs again when can I have my epidural, she said any time but wait and see how you go first. We want to dilate as much as we can before the epidural comes in as it will slow things down. She told me to walk around the room and stand as much as I can. So I did but only for 2 hours as the pain was really bad and my eye infection has gotten worse, so did my flu. Let's just say it wasn't pretty, at all.
At around 3pm, I decided I want an epidural and I was all hooked up by 4pm. I'm not sure about others, but for me, the epidural didn't really work. I could still feel the contractions - although not that strong but I could still feel the pain , it was just less intense. The anaesthetician had to pump in more dose as I wasn't completely pain free.
Anyway, after the epidural kicked in, I was just lying in bed waiting. There were lots and LOTS of waiting that day. It felt like such a long day. And the entire time, my vision was blurry cause I had to put ointment on my infected eyes (yup both were infected, hooray! )
My obs came in again after dinner to check on my progress- we were really hoping for some good news but to our disappointment, I was only dilated to 5cm. It was then around 7pm. I've been contracting for almost 18 hours. My obs said to give us another 2 hours to see how we progress as I do not want to go for a caesarean if possible. She also gave me another dose of hormones to induce my labour further. If nothing happens, we should call it a day. And that doesn't mean we pack up and go home.
At this point, I didn't know why - but I decided not to press my epidural button to release more drugs in to my body.
Because from that point onwards, I could feel every single contraction and it was SO STRONG I had to squeeze my husband's hand every time and it was happening every 5 - 8 mins or so for 2 hours. That 2 hours, we prayed real hard that every contraction will get us closer to seeing our baby girl.
My obs came back at around 9 pm to check on my progress, because I could feel the strong contraction I was positive I made progress and would have dilated 1 or 2 cm. She checked me again and exchanged looks with the midwife and then back at me. When she said this, my heart dropped - I was still at 5cm. I was so upset and disappointed, I was also really tired from contracting and from the flu and eye infection. She gave us an oral report on what has happened, why it happened and what our options were. Of course, there was only one option left. I wasn't dilating because my pelvic bone and my baby's head just wasn't a good match. Everything was perfect - the baby was in position, her head was facing the right direction but I just couldn't dilate further even with the strong contractions I felt.
After debriefing us on what happened, she said those words I've dreaded to hear.
She said "We will have to go for an emergency caesarean". When she uttered those words, I burst out crying as it wasn't what I had in mind this whole 9 months of pregnancy, I was imagining myself pushing my baby out but I couldn't. Imagine my disappointment, going through all those contractions just to be told I have to go for a caesarean. My obs reassured me that there was nothing further I could have done and we have tried all of our options. She promised that at the end of this, I will have a healthy baby in hand.
Our obs gave us half an hour to ourselves so I can calm down and for the medical team to prep for surgery. At this point, I didn't know what to feel but just accept that I will have to be cut open to deliver our baby girl. My whole 30 years of life, I've never had a surgery done so naturally I was nervous and SO scared of what is going to happen.
There was so many medical staff coming in and out, introducing themselves and explaining to us what they were doing but I was just so zoned out. Before I knew it, I was in the surgery room.
At the Operation Theatre
In the surgery room, it was really bright, like REALLY bright. Maybe because I was facing the ceiling the entire time but the whole room just felt so hostile.
Another reason why I don't like surgeries.
But the medical team on hand was amazing. I especially love my anaesthetician - his name was Nam. He was just the most calm and reassuring person in the room and probably the only person I've talked to the most during the whole surgery.
So again, I was pumped up with more epidural as I told you before I could feel the contractions. For the surgery, I needed to NOT feel anything or any pain from my breast downwards. It took 20 mins or so for me to be completely numb. The clever anaesthetician, Nam (I'm gonna call him Nam from now on cause anaesthetician is such a long word to type) was talking to me when my obs did her first incision and asked me if I felt any pain and I said no and then he said "In fact 5 minutes ago, Kylie has already made her incision and it's good you didn't feel that".
I was relieved.
My husband was by my side the whole time holding my hand and telling me I'm doing well.
I just kept concentrating on the ceiling the entire time as I was really nervous from the moment I heard "the first incision".
Everything happened so quickly.
I could feel every tug and pull my obs did and all of a sudden I heard my husband said "OMG bee, there's SO much hair!" and I was like "What?!" and then more tugging and pulling.
All of a sudden, I felt this sudden sharp pain and started screaming. At the same time, I was presented my baby fresh from the oven - so many things happening all at once. I didn't know whether to concentrate on the pain, the baby or my emotions (I was crying again at the sight of my baby) But I was just so relieved my baby is finally out and is healthy. So all I did was look at my baby, and that was a pretty good distraction. I can't believe this whole baby came out of me. She didn't look tiny at all and was covered in a white substance with faint traces of blood still. Urgh.
Then, my husband said to me happily "Bee, I'm gonna go cut the baby's cord and I will see you in half an hour". This is a normal procedure for a caesarean where the husband/partner leaves the mom to do some admin work and the baby has to be with the husband/partner the entire time.
So there I was, left ALONE in the company of the medical team, half butchered.
Then I remembered the pain. I told Nam, I could feel pain and he said where and I told him when the baby was pulled out there was a sharp pain. He then pumped me up with more drugs. At this point, I was STILL shivering - my hands were shaking uncontrollably due to the amount of drugs I was pumped up in my body. I felt really cold all of a sudden, they had to put a warm towel on me just to make me feel more comfortable.
After that, it was time to stitch me up. Again I felt movements around my abdominal area but have no idea what's happening.
And then I felt a sharp and long object was being shoved up my right rib and I let out another scream. This time the pain was SO bad, my obs had to stop what she was doing. I told Nam, I felt that, it was really painful and I felt like fainting. He told me we have two options here, he will pump me up with more drugs and see if I can still feel pain or put me to sleep as my drugs limit was at it's peak already. I then asked him how long more until it's done and he said 15 minutes. In my mind I thought to myself, I cannot take another 15 mins of this pain cause I will definitely pass out. So I told Nam, put me to sleep, I can't take the pain.
Again, Nam being the clever anaesthetician, talked me through the whole process (really he was just distracting me but I didn't know it at that point) and hooked me up on oxygen. He said to me any moment now you want us to put you to sleep, we turn this on and you will be in deep sleep and wake up in your room in the maternity ward.
'How do you feel?' Nam asked.
I told him I feel much better after the oxygen mask was put on. Then he said to me, in that 5 mins we were talking, Kylie had continued what she was doing and did you feel any pain? I said no and he asked do I still want to be put to sleep. I said no and it was all good from then on.
After 10 mins, we were done. The whole surgery only took 45 minutes. If only I had known I would end up in with a caesarean, I would have gone for this option. But I had no regrets waiting it out and gave every option a try before ending up with a surgery.
I vaguely remember the medical team came up to me and said "Good job! Well done!" after it's all over. Then they were having a conversation about their daily life like it was lunch time at a cafeteria. I must have dozed off from being so drugged up, the next thing I know I ended up in another room just waiting. After 20 mins, I was wheeled to my room where I was reunited with my husband and my baby.
Looking at her, I thought to myself this was all worth it. :)
That was my birth story with Emmaline. I'm so glad I wrote this as a draft when it was all still fresh in my head so I can revisit this story later on.
To all mamas out there, you are stronger than you think.
I remembered praying real hard that God wouldn't put me through what I feared most (the caesarean) but I ended up with in the surgery room despite all the praying. This was such a test for me, but I didn't blame God for not answering my prayers. In fact, I am thankful He made me see that I was MUCH stronger than I thought I was.
1 Corinthians 10:12-14New International Version (NIV)
12 ... And God is faithful; he will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
"God will never give his people trials in which he will not sustain them and bring them through to everlasting glory.” John Piper
The above statement has never resonated so much with me before this.