Saturday, July 1, 2017

My Pregnancy & Birth Story

*Long ass, wordy, picture-less post up ahead. Proceed with caution.*

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to write this post because I feel like my pregnancy journey and delivery process were uneventful, as in it was very smooth, nothing out of the ordinary (thank god). But I still decided to write it anyway, because who knows? Maybe it'll serve as a peace of mind for those of you out there who think having a baby is an absolute nightmare.

I've already talked about the first half of my pregnancy in this post so I'll continue on from there. The beginning of the second half was probably the best part throughout, husband brought me to a few places for our babymoon which includes London, Bangkok, Sydney and a cruise trip to Phuket (which we didn't even get off the boat for, but that's a story for another time).

My appetite was blooming but this is when all the husbands should be extra vigilant if you want to get back in shape quickly after delivery. I remember my husband being super annoying, he was nagging me about everything I choose to eat (I was mainly craving carbs and sweets) and I think at many times I yelled at him for doing so but he didn't budge, and I thank him for that, for if he did, I might've gained some unnecessary pregnancy weight and I wouldn't have gotten back my pre-pregnancy weight in just 4 weeks postpartum. Also, loading up unnecessarily might contribute to a more difficult labour as the baby might grow too big too fast, and you really don't need to eat for two because your body at this point is made to absorb every bit of nutrition from the food you eat for both you and baby.

I've gained 14kg in total during this pregnancy. I did not workout, but I did a lot of walking, and I mean A LOT. All the travelling gave me reasons to get out of my bum and walk about, but you know how the sun at an exotic travel destination is so wonderful but the sun back at home is devil? So yea, walking under the Malaysian hot sun was not an option for me so I chose to go to the mall almost every other day (comfy shoes recommended, preferably trainers!). I window-shopped and sometimes real shopped, but hey, I think I deserved it, no? I'd like to think that it is the walking that made my delivery so quick and easy, but I'll get into this later.

Of all the symptoms, the one I remembered the most was my crackling pelvic bone. Whenever I'm lying down or changing positions, my pelvic bone pops in the most uncomfortable way I thought it was going to dislocate from my body, and that is simply because the pelvic area is loosening up to make way for the baby. I did treat myself to a spa day at Urban Retreat, their pregnancy massage was so good I'm even contemplating to go back for it even when I'm not pregnant. Also, sleeping on my back is no longer possible or comfortable, but sleep on your sides while you can because you can only sleep on your back when you're lactating, my boobs leaked milk even when they are under the slightest pressure.

Peeing becomes a chore because I was peeing all the freaking damn time, and I remember at one point my belly got so big that I had to use the handicapped cubicle, funny but it was a real problem. The frequency of my Braxton Hicks contractions increased as it got closer to my due date, and my heart rate quickens during the process too, as if I'm running out of breath, but no one could explain to me why it happens so if you're experiencing the same thing, it's absolutely normal.

And I think that's about it for my pregnancy, I didn't get any noticeable swelling on my limbs, no intense urge of "nesting", and to be honest, the pregnancy is the easy part. I'm not saying this to scare any of you first time moms-to-be, but I wish somebody had told me this so I can mentally prepare myself a little more. You get to eat good while pregnant, people are nicer to you, they make way for you, I even got to cut the queue when I went to the US embassy to get my visa done, just because I had a baby bump. Oh how I wish I can go back to those!

When my due date finally came, I had no signs of labour. My husband was worried that if we wait it out, our baby might get too big and it will be tougher for me to push him out so we decided to induce. Inducing was on the list of things I never thought I'd had to do, and believe it when your doctor tells  you to keep an open mind for the delivery, because situations might change and most of the time things don't go as planned. I packed my bag and my mom drove me to the hospital first at around 9pm, my husband went for a badminton game (wtf right?) and he joined us later. My doctor put a pill at my cervix at 9.30pm and it took effect almost immediately, it felt like mild period cramps. While waiting for the contractions to kick in, I happily devoured my burger from myBurgerlab because I have yet to take my dinner, worst decision ever! The mild period cramps became worse gradually and at 2am I threw up all the burger I ate in a projectile motion towards the direction where my husband was peacefully sleeping (I might've subconsciously hated him) because I was in so much pain. Oh, fyi, I was not on epidural or any sort of pain medication and was not planning to. I didn't get any vomit on him (darn it!) and the hospital janitor had to come and clean up the stinky mess I made. So lesson learned, no heavy meals before labour!

The pain got more and more intense and unbearable. My whole body was shaking and my back felt like it was snapping into two. One of my midwives massaged me for the longest time and I was so thankful for that. My husband tried to massage my back too but he was so freaking sleepy and tired from his badminton game (seriously wtf) I felt nothing, so ladies, get your husband to have ample rest right before the delivery for your sake. The best way I can describe the contraction is a very very very horrible food poisoning tummy ache. You know how stomachache comes and goes? It's exactly like it but 10 times worse than what you've ever experienced. After the vomiting episode, I requested for some painkillers (not epidural) but I might as well skipped it because it only lessened the pain by 20% and as the pain got gradually more intense, the painkillers did nothing to help.

At 6am, I've reached my pain tolerating limit but was only 2cm dilated so I asked for some epidural. Waiting for my doctor to arrive felt like decades, I NEEDED THE PAIN TO STOP NOW. But while waiting, I was given medication to clean my bowels, it was both painful and relieving at the same time, pain from the contractions, relief from all the poo exiting your body, very weird. There was also A LOT OF BLOOD and it gets pretty messy, so be aware of that. When the doctor came, he quickly explained to me the risks of getting an epidural as part of the standard operating procedure, I was half conscious (sleepy and in immense pain) and just wished he could shut up and give me the jab. Labour pain is so bad that you'd rather stick a needle into your spine, it sounds painful and scary but trust me, the pain you're feeling in your belly is so much worse that you would barely feel anything when the needle goes in. Honestly, I felt absolutely NOTHING.

My epidural injection was a success,  just remember to stay very very still. My doctor didn't give me a very high dosage because he wants me to still feel something when I'm having a contraction, which I thank him for. The epidural took about 15 minutes to take effect, and I can't remember much after that because I fell asleep right when the pain subsided, and I'm so glad I did because when I woke up at 8 something the next morning, I was fully dilated and ready to push. My doctor's initial assumption was for me to start pushing in the afternoon, but the epidural allowed me to relax so my cervix opened up earlier than planned. I guess getting an epidural is really not that bad of a thing after all. But I do suggest to not get it too early on in the labour because knowing the sensation of a contraction plays a huge role in the pushing part, for my case at least.

So my doctor and midwives started getting me ready to push, mats are laid out, curtains are drawn, and seriously at this point, you're all stripped of your dignity because everyone is getting all up in your private areas like they're just things. You can forget about all those breathing techniques you've practiced and just listen to your doctor and midwives. I breathed when they tell me to breathe, I push when they tell me to push. Remember when I said knowing the contracting sensation is crucial? It helps because you have to push when you're having a contraction. Sure, the midwives will feel your tummy and tell you when you're having a contraction, but actually feeling the contraction made me want to push harder. All the articles and books I've read told me to push as if I'm going number 2, but it didn't feel anything like pooping for me because pushing something out of my anus and vagina require different muscles. There's no better way to describe it than "pushing something out of your vagina", it doesn't help much I know but it's better than giving you the wrong impression.

My whole pushing process took less than 20 minutes (I have all the walking and epidural to thank), and I didn't shed a single drop of sweat. Imagine if I stubbornly refused the epidural, I wouldn't be able to get my much needed rest before the big push and I might've had to get a C-section instead. Everything after the epidural was a piece of cake honestly, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you really need it. Plus, after feeling that indescribable pain, I feel like there's nothing in this world I can't take on, it honestly levels you up as a person. Sure, I complained about how my husband don't have to go through all those, but trust me, the closeness and bond you'll have with your baby after he/she is in your arms is something men will never get to experience in their lifetime.

Back to the story. My husband is afraid to look at all the gory scene so he stayed behind the curtain and live updated our family members who couldn't be there. He was sitting back and relaxing because he thought it was going to take me a while, but when he heard the baby cry in like 15 minutes, he literally jumped up of his seat and came to me. He also didn't cut the cord because he's disgusted by it, my husband is weird like that. You've probably heard of people having their vajayjay cut open but here's good news, I didn't have to get mine cut even when my baby was 3.71kg. There were 2 small tears which was sewed, but don't cringe, I was still on my epidural and felt nothing. Here comes the gorier part, my doctor had to put her whole fist inside me to clean out the residue of my placenta, this doesn't happen to everyone, but for my case, my placenta didn't come out in one whole piece so it had to be done.

So there it is, my baby is born and the three of us lived happily ever after. The end. NOT!

Postpartum is another tough and painful journey on its own, and I feel like nobody talks about it as much. I'll be writing another post discussing my postpartum experience soon, including my confinement centre. In the meantime, all the best to mommies-to-be and I feel ya to all the incredible moms out there!

To be continued...

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