So the plan was to spend a nice Christmas with the family and kids. As you know, I LOVE Christmas and was looking forward to sipping on my coffee with the husband while the kids went crazy unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, the wonderful cinnamon scent wafting across the living room from the Panettoni in the oven. There would also be a huge, rowdy family gathering at my aunt’s in the afternoon that would normally run late into the night.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it feeling uncomfortable as I was at 36 weeks, but we were going to do it. Then we would allow L one day to do a thorough work handover to his colleague on Boxing Day before inducing on Thursday, 27 December 2018, at 37 weeks.
Why induction? Well, because when it is your third child, it is just easier to be able to plan logistics and caregiving for the older kids. And because I was so done with pregnancy, what with the aches, limited mobility and incontinence (sigh). And most importantly, because the risk to baby was extremely low and my body was ready.
Saturday, 21 December 2018
During our scheduled check-up that morning, I was told that I was already between 3 and 4cm dilated, and my cervix is “completely flat” (which meant labour would be Godspeed). We had two options – one, stick to the plan but risk not having an epidural and/or — worst case but very possible scenario — not making it to the hospital in time OR two, move up our scheduled induction to Christmas Eve.
L and I weren’t so much concerned about not making it to the hospital as I was about not being able to get an epidural in time because… what are the odds? We deliberated between missing Christmas with the kids (emotional), L not having done his handover (logical), weighing baby’s health risk if we didn’t make it to hospital vs. being induced earlier (logical), me not getting an epidural (critical), and still left the clinic with Plan A because… emotional.
I still wanted to spend Christmas with Ashleigh and Javier, and I also wanted the husband to do a proper work handover so that he could have the peace of mind to rest and focus on family during his paternity leave. BUT it freaked me out so much that I may potentially go through labour without pain-relief that I cried in the carpark after our appointment.
After leaving the carpark though, L being the planner that he was, didn’t want to entertain even the remote possibility of not making it to the hospital in time to deliver, and we agreed to move up the induction date. He would send a detailed e-mail handover to his colleague, I would get my epidural and it was just one Christmas we would be missing with the kids. It was the best possible decision given the circumstances. To make up for it, we would bring all their gifts and stockings to the hospital suite. I know. Crazy parents.
So Christmas Eve, it was!
Monday, 24 December 2018
5 a.m. Got up like clockwork to wash up, waddled around getting ready, put on some light make-up and off we went. Was I at all emotional about being pregnant for the (hopefully) last time? Absolutely NOT. I was so ready to evict this baby!
5.45 a.m. We arrived at the hospital and signed some admissions paperwork. It was all very quick because we had already done the pre-admissions two weeks prior.
6.11 a.m. We we ushered into the delivery ward and I changed into my floral labour gown. First time around, we got a seasoned midwife who was all, “Sure, wear your own gown and look pretty as long as it makes you feel better.” This time, it was a young trainee nurse who hesitated and asked if the gown had proper openings for the necessary drips/epidural/etc. I had to assure her, “Don’t worry, I’ve done this before. This gown works.”
6.45 a.m. I was administered the Fleet enema and promptly hooked up onto a glucose and epidural IV. Third time around, still, I couldn’t look. I HATE NEEDLES. The anaesthetist arrived and administered the epidural. We had a small chat and it turns out that he was also an ob-gyn. I requested for the lowest dosage and he obliged. Once the numbness flooded down my legs, I was so relieved. To think I was even risking going through labour without The Best Thing Money Can Buy… I can’t. Don’t kill yourself at childbirth, my friends. Parenting will be painful enough. It’s a marathon.
7.30 a.m. The oxytocin drip had only just started but we were told my contractions were already consistently 3 to 4 minutes apart. Even without being induced, baby would have also decided to arrive today. Wow.
At this point, the oxytocin dosage was still low because apparently my ob-gyn had just woken up and needed some time to get to the hospital. She didn’t want the labour to progress too quickly and not be able to make it. Okayyy. LOL.
8.20 a.m. Contractions were now 2 minutes apart and I was feeling discomfort but was not in pain. That worked for me because I didn’t want to be too numb to feel when I was fully dilated.
8.30 a.m. The ob-gyn had arrived at the hospital so the nurses increased oxytocin dosage to speed things up.
8.45 a.m. The ob-gyn arrived at the delivery suite and burst my water bag then left us to allow the labour to progress.
9.40 a.m. The midwife checked my cervix and I was now 5cm dilated. She also mentioned something about seeing baby’s head pushing down and told me to press the Call button if I felt like “pooping”. I was a tad disappointed as I thought I would be at least 6 to 7cm dilated by now. Didn’t they say the third labour would be very quick?
9.58 a.m. Ok, yes, that was quick. Less than 18 minutes from the last check and I could feel the urge to push. I called for the midwife and she confirmed that I was fully dilated!
10.10 a.m. Things started shifting into gear and the labour package was unwrapped to prep the necessary tools for the delivery. I got into position and started some practice pushes with the midwife. After about two pushes, she called for the doctor.
10.21 a.m. Our ob-gyn arrived and instructed me to push. She asked if I wanted to tear naturally or get a small episiotomy. I opted for the later.
10.25 a.m. After two or three pushes, the screaming baby was out, weighing a decent 2.85kg and measuring 50cm tall. She was then brought to me for skin-on-skin and latched on like a pro. We were so relived and happy :)
If you’ve gone through childbirth, you’d know that no matter how many times you go through it, the moment you meet your baby would still be the most magical experience you’ve ever had. No doors were opened and there is another life in the room. God is good.
Welcome to the world, Alessia.
We took in all that newborn sweetness again. Her eyes, her nose, her mouth, those jerky movements, that thick black head of hair… how the human heart has the capacity to expand beyond its physical size <3
We love you so much already, Alessia.