What I thought was just a check up...when my baby girl decided to arrive early!
It was in October that an ultrasound revealed that I was not ovulating and thus might not be able to conceive naturally. I decided to hold off the ovulation induction for a few months, but life had other plans in store. In December on a hunch, I took a urine pregnancy test and it was positive. My doctor was surprised as were we that I was pregnant and that too naturally. Needless to say, we spent that day jumping in joy.
Nine months went by fast with many firsts - the first ultrasound, the first time I saw my baby’s face, the first kick... just a beginning of so much more to come. I was continuously involved in pre-natal yoga in the hope of a natural delivery. I was 37 weeks along when I noticed that wherever I sat I left a wet patch. I couldn't figure out was happening. The liquid was sweet smelling and after a bit I realized that it was in fact amniotic fluid. I called my doctor and she asked me to come to the hospital. My brother and mom drove me to the hospital which is also where my father works. My husband was at work and we called him to let him know.
I had expected to be let off after a routine checkup, however, to my surprise, I was admitted to the labour room. I was given medication to speed up labour and attached to machines to monitor the baby's heartbeat and my uterine contractions. Despite several hours of contractions, however, the cervix was still not dilated enough for progress of labour. We waited an agonizing twelve hours before my doctor said they couldn't wait any longer and I was wheeled into the operation theatre for a Caesarean Section.
I was administered epidural anaesthesia to numb me to the pain. My husband was called in and accompanied me through the procedure thereafter. Soon after, my baby girl was out and squealing; it was the most beautiful sound in the world! My husband, who is a doctor himself, reassured the baby was in good health. I told him to accompany her to the Neonatal Care Unit, where the baby was to undergo more extensive tests. I was hoping to be shifted to the postnatal unit, however, to my dismay, I was wheeled to the Intensive Care Unit. The next few hours felt like years, as I was shivering uncontrollably, from the withdrawal effects of anaesthesia, and a mixture of emotions - the anticipation of seeing my baby for the first time and the anxiety of her not having received her first feed. My family visited me and congratulated on having had the prettiest angel. However, there was no sign of the doctor discharging me to my room. Just when I was becoming remorseful, the nurse propped me and wheeled me to my care suite. I was pleasantly surprised to see the balloons and lighting in the alley leading to my room were coloured pink, and my family lined up to receive me. My postnatal care suite had been sterilized, a welcome card greeted me at the door, and I finally had my precious bundle of joy!!
Popping a baby 101
I had heard all the horror labour stories and even chanced upon a birthing video on YouTube that had left me scarred. My mom telling me that the pain of delivering a child is like being caught under ten trucks rolling over your body did not help alleviate my stress, obviously! To put it lightly, I was frightened!
When I was full term, I started experiencing light contractions post lunch and was told by my doctor to head to the hospital. My contractions were irregular and so by night, the doctor told me to just go to sleep as nothing was going to happen until the next day. I fell into an uneasy sleep and due to persistent irregularity in the frequency of contractions, the doctor announced at noon the next day that I would be administered an injection to regularize the contractions and if it didn't work, then I'd be wheeled in for a C Section at 3 pm.
It still feels unreal but the moment the doctor-on-duty started injecting the medicine, my pain went from zero to hundred! She hadn't even taken the syringe out, and I was already writhing in pain. Then the duty doctor left, and to top that my assigned gynaecologist had also left as her clinic was not too far from the hospital.
I spent the next 40 minutes dilating from about 4 cms to being ready to pop! I was in so much pain that even my family, present in the room, was having a hard time dealing with it. They ran back and forth, trying to call the doctor-on-duty so she could check the status of my dilation but she was unhurried in her response and didn't visit me for the next half hour. But when she did, she was shocked that her fist made it all the way through and she finally started to panic! To think that all my shouting that had rocked the hospital halls had not clued her into my readiness!
Her tardiness earned her a yelling from my gynaecologist and the paediatrician, but I could do nothing except keep this baby in till someone arrived! My screaming had gotten so unbearable that my husband tried to deal with HIS discomfort by escaping from my room a few times. However, suddenly his Lamaze training kicked in (1 class attended by him as a first bencher type student), and he started coaching me through the breathing. As I did the exercises, I was no longer able to scream continuously and thus, my husband felt like the hero of that moment. My family thought I was feeling less pain but in reality, the breathing only made my pain easier to handle for them. I was still in agony!
Finally, the senior gynaecologist arrived, and this lady who was a sea of calmness was very rattled. She knew I was literally keeping this baby in while the baby was pushing to come out. As the anaesthesiologist came and put a caring hand on my arm while informing me that there was no time to administer the epidural, I growled, "Take your hands off me doctor, and get me the damn epidural!" I remember my husband's face flush in embarrassment at my behaviour, and he guided the doctor out of the room.
Then they finally wheeled me into the labour room and the baby was delivered literally moments after they placed me on the stirrups. The anaesthesiologist managed to give me some oxygen which made me delirious and separated me from my pain in a way that I could feel it but it seemed like it was someone else's. Through my fuzzy mind I heard someone say, "It's a girl!" and I knew all my dreams had come true: all the unsuccessful IVF attempts, all the difficulty of accepting life without a child and then a sudden, natural pregnancy... and finally, getting exactly what I wanted: a little baby girl! As they laid this adorable newborn on my chest I knew life was finally complete!