Ironic. The night I gave birth was the blurriest night I could remember.
December 23, 2014, 2:00 AM. I woke up to the familiar wave-like pain in my body. Wave-like because it felt like as though a wave was making its way from my back and crashing onto my abdomen. Familiar, because I’ve been feeling it for at least 12 hours. It was only after doing a lazy research that I realized it could be a sign of labor.
We got to the hospital only to have me humiliated because apparently, my cervix had been dilated to an astonishing 1 centimeter! You need to be at least 10 cm. to get on with the delivery. “Are you effing kidding me?” was all I could mumble in my head. The pain was already so damn excruciating and with a taunting grin, the student doctor told me that it was yet to worsen with every dilation. How comforting.
I was ready to be sent home under false alarm. But instead, I was informed that I had to take a couple of tests and be monitored because the baby’s heartbeat was not stable. For some reason I was not alarmed at all. I remember comparing that moment to a dreaded corporate presentation in the past, where I knew I could screw up but I also knew I wouldn’t.
So I spent the next hours doing whatever was instructed, noticing how even more harrowing the contractions were getting by each minute. Nonetheless, I took comfort in the thought that my dilation might be progressing well. When the resident doctor measured it again, I’m certain I blurted out an unsubtle curse when she told me I’m still at 1 cm. This was about 9 hours after they first gave me the same information.
More silent curses, a few tears, some ineffective pain relievers later, I woke up to see my personal doctor trying to talk to me. She was explaining some things, telling me the need for her to deliberately break my bag of water for a reason I was too groggy to understand but nodded anyway. At that point I have already decided to take the easy way out and get an epidural anesthesia, despite my partner’s sentiment against it.
I was transferred to the operating room, got the miraculous anesthesia (that thing should really be an SOP in this country and not just a costly option!) and slowly feeling the pain subside with each contraction. With no agony to deal with anymore, I was now determined to push the baby out breezily. Or so I thought.
I couldn’t remember exactly how it happened but I remember suddenly finding myself agreeing to giving birth through Caesarian section. The baby’s heartbeat was now in a critical condition and it didn’t help that he already pooped inside. Something told me I should be worried, but at that moment I still had my I’m-gonna-nail-this-presentation-in-front-of-that-irrational-arrogant-CEO spirit. I was even surprised at my own confidence and tenacity.
Inside the delivery room, I could only remember a number of things: 1. Pop music was casually playing in the background 2. The doctors were talking about a big midnight sale at the mall 3. The anaesthesiologist was sporting a bedroom voice each time he was explaining to me the shots; and 4. I was awakened at 8:04 PM by the sound of a baby crying, the only sound I was so longing to hear after a long, taxing day.
I woke up again, it was now Christmas Eve. I knew I gave birth the night before, I knew that my man was teary-eyed when he was finally allowed to see me, I knew I had visitors, and I knew they each gave me a kiss before they left, whispering how proud they were of me. I just wasn’t sure if the whole experience was real. A part of me felt incomplete. I was upset with myself. Despite how much I physically and mentally prepared for childbirth, I felt like I didn’t go through it at all because it was all scissors and needles, it was not natural.
I was later informed by my doctor that when they took the baby out, he was having a fever and had the cord wrapped around his arm, which could have quickly escalated. She said that had I been more tolerant of the labor pains and less paranoid to not go to the hospital, God knows what could have happened to the baby. Everything, though rather tortuous, was in great timing.
Baby DV, no longer nameless, has turned four weeks today. That’s also how long it has been since my last real sleep. He doesn’t feel like a little stranger to me anymore, not like during the first time he was placed in my arms, with those big bright eyes he got from me, no perfect vision yet looking like he’s pleading to be fed. Today, it’s clear that he’s his father’s tiny replica, our cute little devil determined to wake us all up at night with his cries, my little angel who makes all of the dark circles around my eyes worth it. ♥