Birthday: 1 Aug 2010, Sunday night 8.51pm
Birthweight: 1.07 kg
Length: 37 cm
Head Circumference: 26 cm
Gestation Period: 27 weeks 5 days
Our lil’ one has decided not to wait till 25 October to see the world and even though she is way too young, D and I are blessed and honoured to be her parents.
When my contractions stopped on the 31 Jul, I was really optimistic that we have gotten through another trial and felt that perhaps our lil’ one would reconsider remaining inside me. If not another 2 weeks, perhaps all the way till October. Even my gynae thought I looked good and I asked if I could be discharged the next day. He laughed and said I should stay one more night in the hospital.
So I did, slept well and woke up to a brand new day on the 1 Aug 2010. I was still feeling great, even though I was still having the discharge that I had been having since the 16 Jul and was still on the Ventolin drip.
I was looking forward to having TJ and D visit me at the hospital later in the afternoon, just like the day before, so that we could spend some time together as a family. I missed my son and was really thrilled to have him around on Saturday. Throughout the day, I just mill around and waited for my gynae to come by again for another assessment. I was also very sure I would be going home the next day.
No sooner, I felt some cramps and tried to brush it aside by thinking it was just due to the constant bed rest the last few days. I was watching Channel News Asia at 4 pm and timed my contractions using the onscreen digital clock and my heart kinda sank when the contractions came and went every 6 minutes. It wasn’t as painful as the ones I had on Friday night, but I just knew . When the pain started to be more pronounced, my rational self took over as I text D to tell him not to bring TJ to the hospital, thereaafter I pressed the bell to inform the nurse that I was having contractions again.
I was wheeled into the Labour Ward and D met me there shortly. I asked about TJ and he mentioned something that got my tears flowing. I guess all that strong persona and rationality just got washed away knowing that I missed my son and that I will not be able to keep our daughter any longer inside me. Not that I felt like I was a failure, just that I was afraid for my lil’ one. All the things that the PD said regarding preemies at 27,28 weeks of gestation just came right back to me and it scared me.
D teared a lil’ as he held my hand and told me everything will be fine, God has been watching over us for so long and we will do just fine, come what may. I hate to be a wreck, but that was close enough. My eyes were still red when my gynae rushed in to see me and said that we would try to delay the labour but he reckoned this will be B-Day for my lil’ one. I was also 3 cm dilated, up from the 2 cm on Friday night when I was first warded.
The Ventolin drip was increased gradually from 30 ml per hour to 80 ml per hour, but still the contractions persisted though made bearable ‘cos of the drip. I told D that I would be giving birth tonight and that he should go and have his dinner first.
By 8pm, the senior midwife decided to wheel me into the Delivery Suite, she reckoned I could watch some TV to take my mind off the contractions. However she also said if I still hadn’t given birth and another mum needed to, I would be wheeled back into the Labour Ward.
The senior midwife checked and found that I was already 4 cm dilated and I took the opportunity to ask if I could get an epidural, cos I knew there would be no turning back now. She tried to convince me that I didn’t need epidural, more like throwing out a challenge to me, but she still checked with my gynae. Another nurse passed me the gas mask, which gave me such a high that momentarily, I was relaxed. I remembered asking D why he did not change the TV channel to something else other than the Tamil movie that was on, but he said no one actually bothered to watch. But he didn’t realise the darn Tamil music together with the gas made me think I was in a Trance disco.
Each time the contractions came, I sucked in the gas and fell limp. My gynae gave them the go-ahead to take me off the Ventolin drip and prepare me for the epidural and to let the labour progressed naturally. I remembered lying on my left side, waiting for the anaesthetist, holding on to the gas mask for dear life.
Suddenly I felt the urge to push, and my last words before all hell broke lose were, “I think I want to poop.” The senior midwife began to bark orders at the other midwives, made me lie on my back. As D held my hand and kept the gas mask over my nose and mouth, I heard the senior midwife said that they would deliver if the doctor didn’t get to the delivery suite in time.
I absolutely blacked out, my mind’s eye just saw things in black and white as I felt my waterbag finally burst and the immense pressure to push our lil’ one out into the world. I also heard my aunty came by, just before her shift at the NICU.
Maybe it’s cos of TJ’s crazy love for trains, but in my blackout state, I saw both my lil’ one and I as two black circles (the larger being me) against a black background zipping down the track as I delivered my daughter. I heard lots of voices around me, and my heart was pounding way too fast that for a while, the senior nurse shouted for me to breathe. When I tried to breathe again, the circles continued moving, much slower this time as if my daugther was stuck somewhere and I hadn’t the strength to push.
Soon, I heard my gynae and he took over from the nurses as he coaxed me to just let my body push my baby out. I knew I aahed into my mask as my lil’ one kinda got stuck halfway outside and I felt another urge to push her out. Someone then told me not to push so that I wouldn’t tear and I stopped almost immediately. I heard D’s voice in the din, but I was just glad to hold his hand.
Before I knew it, the two circles picked up speed, rushed down the track and disappeared. I felt the pressure disappear as soon it started and knew she was born. I didn’t hear her cries but that was also about the same time I heard the PD came in and took over. I was still panting and feeling weak all over, but I saw something pink that was being wiped down and towelled, before being kept in the ventilator and pushed out by the PD and my aunty.
Later on, D told me that the gynae came just in time as our daughter’s head could already be seen. As our lil’ one made her way out, she waved her arms and was very active when the PD and the nurses cleaned and checked her. The PD later on told us that our daugther was “scolding” everyone and my aunty said they had to restrain her as they inserted the various tubes to help her in the initial hours.
Every birth story is different and I didn’t expect my 2nd one to be this dramatic. The actual labour took only about 4 h and 51 minutes and everything progressed so quickly that I wasn’t the least bit prepared.
I would have wanted a normal delivery, that I could hold my baby right after I gave birth, and take her home with me 2 nights later. It feels odd that she is not with me and I visit her at the hospital every evening. But this is something we will have to do for at least 2 months, which makes it somewhat harder at times knowing she needs the time and the expertise of the medical staff to grow.
And what does it mean for us as parents of a preemie? This is something totally new and I have been reading up various literature. We thought we are experienced enough having done a generally decent job with TJ and we sure hope that we will be able to do so with someone who is 13 weeks early.
For now, we are just taking things one day at a time. At least her lungs are working fine and she is breathing on her own. But she needs to gain weight and get healthy. In the meantime, we are praying each day that our lil’ one will continue to be the feisty fighter.