On 12 Mar 2020, one of the Mar mummies-to-be were talking about how it would be Fri, Mar 13 the next day and she would not want her baby to be born on that day. I had the exact same sentiments too! Earlier in the day, I was still hoping for some signs of Baby C arriving so that she would be born on 观音诞 (according to the lunar calendar). However, as time passed and it was becoming obvious that Baby C would not be arriving on 12 Mar 2020, I then told Baby C to stand inside and tahan another one more day at least so that she would not be born on the 13th. She was thankfully, quite obedient and nothing eventful happened on 13 Mar 2020.
Start of Contractions
On the night of 13 Mar 2020, I was resting on the sofa and feeling queasy in my tummy but I could not pinpoint the reason. I assumed it was because I had a heavy dinner and my body was struggling to digest it. It was slightly past midnight when Sunshine and I went to bed and the getting up and walking seemed to trigger something in me that made me realised that something was wrong. However, I still brushed it off and went to bed given that I have a poor digestive system/gastric issue.
At 1+am though, I thought I was experiencing contractions. As they were mild and infrequent, I still tried to sleep, knowing that this could potentially take hours before I deliver. However, the contractions gradually increased in frequency and intensity that I tried monitoring it on an app for contractions. My contractions were quite frequent (less than 5 min apart) but the intensity was quite low. Not wanting to spend the whole day in the hospital and wanting to let Sunshine catch some sleep before our world changed forever, I endured and monitored the contractions. At 3+am, I phoned KKH 24-hr hotline and the advice given was to go directly to the delivery suite when the pain increased till a 6 or 7 (I think). Hence, I continued monitoring…
At 5+am, the pain was getting to me and thinking that Sunshine had at least a few hours of sleep already, I decided to wake him up to tell him “Eh. I think your baby is coming today. Really π pi baby sia. Let’s go to the hospital”. A groggy Sunshine was immediately jolted awake by the news and exclaimed, “Huh?! 这样准啊?” Lol. We then prepared to go to the hospital. Haha. During the cab ride though, the pain was getting intense by the moment and I was quite glad that I did not wait any further before waking Sunshine up.
In the Delivery Suite
Upon reaching the delivery suite, I was strapped on the Cardiotocography (CTG) machine to monitor Baby C’s heartbeat and my contractions. We were told that this monitoring would take roughly an hour and that a doctor would do a cervical check to see how dilated my cervix was. I had my first cervix check on 10 Mar 2020 during my doctor’s appointment and I was quite surprised that it did not hurt like what others mentioned. However, in the delivery suite, the cervix check hurt like hell and I wondered if the “skills” to check was the key factor for the difference in my experience. At 6+am, the on-call doctor told me that I was about 3-4cm dilated then and they considered pregnant ladies with a cervix dilation of 3cm and above to be in “active labour”. I was given the option of going home to “wait it out”, for my dilation to progress or to be admitted for delivery. She mentioned that if I had chosen the former, I would likely have to go back to the hospital within the same day as well. As the pain was getting intense by the hour, it was a no brainer for me to choose to be admitted. We were shown to a room in the delivery suite, Room 12, before Sunshine left to settle the admission paperwork.
At around 8.30am, a doctor on the morning shift came to check on my dilation: 3-4cm. Omg! I was quite demoralised when I heard 3-4cm still! It had been about 2hours since the last check and my dilation did not progress at all! I hoped I would not have a long labour. Sigh. The team doctors in-charge that morning informed me that the likely course of action would be for me to be induced (injected with oxytocin) to shorten my labour, but they would update my gynae-in-charge, Dr Jessie Phoon about my condition and seek her opinion first. While waiting to be updated about my plan, I was given permission to have some milo and biscuits. I requested for the epidural when it was confirmed. This was because the nurse in-charge of me, L, said that if I cannot tolerate my contractions now, the oxytocin drip would make it worse. However, perhaps because it was a Saturday and not all the doctors were on duty, there was a list of patients waiting for an epidural and hence, it took some time before I was able to get it as well. By then, I had to stop whatever I was doing and grit my teeth whenever I experienced a wave of contractions. I did not think that I would be able to concentrate on pushing with that much of pain and was anxiously waiting for the anaesthetist to administer the epidural for me. I was hoping that he/she would arrive quickly so that I would also be given my oxytocin drip earlier and everything could hopefully progress faster.
I had always thought that an epidural was administered when the patient is lying down, in a fetal position with the knees drawn up close to one’s chest, similar to when a lumbar puncture is being performed. Hence, I was quite surprised when I was directed to be seated, with my legs dangling over the edge of the bed. As expected, the injection of the local anaesthesia (LA) was painful but soon after, the whole procedure was done. Unlike what I had expected to feel totally nothing below my waist down, I was surprised to still have sensation of my legs, which the nurse said was correct. I could still move my legs though they were a bit heavier than usual. Sunshine said I slept soon after and it was a much needed sleep as I had been awake since 7+am on 13 Mar 2020. When I woke though, I started experiencing side effects of the epidural: nausea and vomiting, as well as (not sure if this is counted as a side effect or complication) extreme numbness over my left lower limb and contraction pain over my right side of the body. I highlighted the latter issue to L but she only focused on “pain over right side”, told me that this was normal and that she would help me administer a once-dose of additional anaesthesia through the epidural for my pain.
“Contractions of course pain la. You will need to feel the pain in order to push later…”
I felt that this was weird since I was only feeling the contractions on my right while it was total numbness over my left but I did not pursue further, but to trust her words. When it became apparent that I was still feeling contractions over my right side only while my left side became increasingly more numb (ie. all or most of the additional anaesthesia still only went to one side of my body), I informed L again. However, she did the same intervention and gave me another additional dose of the anaesthesia!!! Omg! She really could not understand and I had no energy to argue with her because of the nausea and vomiting brought about by the epidural as well as the additional doses she gave me! *faint* I vomited no less than five times during my labour and then at least another five times post-delivery (more about that later). Even after I had vomited my milo and biscuits, I still had a lot of gastric juices to vomit out. Omg. Poor Sunshine was also kept busy with running for plastic bags, tissue paper, patting my back, helping to clean me etc, on top of helping me shift and massage my left leg for me as it was really numb and extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully, when I pressed the call bell to highlight this imbalanced flow of epidural for the third time, a different nurse, K, came in. Unlike L, she immediately understood my problem and said she would get the anaesthetist to review me. Finally! Soon after though, L came back and K updated her that she would inform the anaesthetist about my problem. Omg! K still had not told the anaesthetist??? *cries*
Click to read Part 24 here.
To be continued with Part 25 – The Long-Awaited Arrival of Baby C! (2/2)