I’m at the hospital about to have my baby in less than 24 hours.
And I can’t believe I’m here. This pregnancy that I used to be so freaked out about beforehand is now coming to an end and I couldn’t be more nervous.
I’m 36 years old and therefore in the high-risk category for pregnancy. I initially thought this meant that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant or that there would be a higher risk for the child to have Downs Syndrome or some type of birth defect. But for me, based on how my pregnancy went, it meant that there was a higher risk for stillbirth if the baby wasn’t born by my due date.
While this sounds scary, it was actually music to my ears; it gave me a reason to induce a few days beforehand. I was so nervous about anticipating when “go time” would be that induction would at least be some sort of plan.
As per my OB’s description, an induction starts with an appointment the day before the induction to check how far along you may have dilated and the length of your cervix. Then that evening, a pessary with Propess/Prostaglandin is inserted into your cervix to further soften it (it’s smaller than a tampon). Based on how that goes, your OB will decide when to begin the induction medication, and when you’re fully dilated, the delivery process will begin. Now, this is at least how it works in Hong Kong; induction processes might vary from country to country. And, of course, the timing of the process and pain levels vary for everyone, and anything could occur to trigger an emergency c-section, e.g., fetal distress, finding out that the cord is wrapped around her/his neck, etc.
I arrived at the hospital around 9:45 pm to check in, get settled and start the Propess. Walking into the delivery room gave me a minor anxiety attack. All I could imagine is what kind of pain I was about to endure.
A hospital robe change, weight check, and a urine sample later, I lay in bed as the nurse strapped a baby monitor, and asked questions about my check-up that morning, “Did anything related to pre-labor occur? Had I started dilating at all?” She then slipped the Propess into my cervix and told me to call her if I started getting contractions that I couldn’t handle without a painkiller.
I started feeling contractions at around 3:30am. They were OK at first, but got much stronger an hour later. I could no longer sleep. My nurse contacted my anesthesiologist to start my epidural at 7am and all I could think about was the fact that my delivery was around the corner.
Props to folks that go without an epidural, because I don’t know what I would have done without it. I must have laughed for about 10 min straight once I started feeling it mask my contractions. It was truly amazing.
My induction drip started at 8am so now I needed to wait until I was 10 cm dilated to officially start pushing. They say that the first 5 cm takes the longest amount of time and that the next 5 happen quickly. But I somehow jumped from 4 to 8 cm much quicker than anticipated and all of a sudden it was go time.
My OB casually came in, propped me up and told me to start pushing. I’m not sure if I thought there would be a more ceremonious start but I remember thinking “Omg is it time??”
My mom took a seat in a corner of the room, K held onto my hand and shoulder, and my dad tensely stood behind a curtain. And then it started.
As per the nurse and OB’s instruction, as soon as I felt the contraction coming, I’d breath out, take a deep breath in, push from my diaphragm down as hard as I could, and then breath out again. Each time I pushed I’d eagerly watch the nurse or my OB to see if there’s any sign of the girl’s arrival.
It went on like this for two and a half hours. It may not seem like long but it was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. The delivery thankfully progressed with each push, but each time felt exceedingly more tiring than the last. My eyes wanted to shut so badly and my body wanted to crash. I was SO tired. I kept telling K that I needed a break and that I wasn’t sure I could do this anymore. But I knew there was no way I could stop. The baby needed to come out for both of our sakes.
After a little longer, it seemed like baby girl needed some help to get out. So the OB made a decision. The baby was too close to coming out to require an emergency C (thankfully), so the only other course of action was a slight episiotomy. Not the most pleasant of things of course but I personally preferred the latter if I needed to have an incision.
My OB was great. She kept topping off my epidural so that I was focused on pushing vs. the pain, and it also made the episiotomy go smoothly. I pushed again afterward for another half hour until my OB declared that she could wait no longer. Within the next few minutes, she pried me open further while I continued to push, pulled out the baby and immediately plopped her on me. By the time I realized what was happening, my little girl was on top of me still covered in my internal fluids. Her little arms were stretched out trying to reach my face while her little legs kicked, all before she took her first breath. I started crying uncontrollably…
I couldn’t believe that my little girl was out and even though she hadn’t yet took her first breath, I knew she was OK.
And just like that, my much anticipated delivery was over. My little girl was out and well and I could officially relax.
Blog edited by: Betty Ho