Jacob was born in August 2019, healthy and beautiful. That is something I constantly look back at with a smile and a thankful heart.
I never thought I would share my birth story with the world, it seemed a bit too personal if I'm being honest. But what got me through my last pregnancy weeks and what helped me prepare my mind toward giving birth was reading others' birth stories online. I hope mine could do the same for you.
It's very hard for me to talk about Jake's birth story without feeling a slight frustration, and the feeling of wanting to kick myself for being impatient.
My birth experience is both a blessing and a test from God.
In continuation from Where I Delivered
At two pm I was admitted to the labour room at Andorra Women and Children Hospital. It was a lot of waiting - Tim even had the chance to go home for a shower and came back with food.
They only allow the spouse or mom to be in the labour room at any one time. While Tim was out, Mom waited with me, and they took turns. In the labour room, I was strapped up to a machine that monitors my contractions and baby's heartbeat. It was pretty cool to be able to see Jacob's heartbeat on a screen like that.
What I love about the hospital was that it is very Islamic. Three nurses came and sat with me in the labour room and offered to read sura Yasin together. It was really lovely, and I felt really cared for. I was not feeling any contraction pains so I was very calm, and did some dhikr while I waited patiently for my baby to be ready for the world. Little did I know, this was just the calm before the storm.
Not too long later, the doctor came in and told me she was going to break my water. She told me that this was the procedure and it got me really confused. I thought it was going to be a natural birth and not induced. I've seen videos where moms would wait for hours and hours until their water breaks, so why is this doctor breaking my water?
She said it was not an induction, but merely to help progress the contractions and delivery further. I felt misinformed, and felt a bit helpless - also felt like it was too late to go home now, so it happened. The doctor broke my water, and I had my cervix dilation very uncomfortably measured five to six times after that. The screen showed my contractions going up to maximum every few minutes but I still did not feel any pain, I was focused and zoned out to the hypnobirthing sounds on my phone.
I wish the doctor had told me to go home and not break my water before my baby was ready to come out.
I did not opt for an epidural because I was confident in the hypnobirthing I have been practising the past couple of months. The nurse who cared for me told me I could have some mild painkillers when I start feeling some pain.
Close to seven pm I started feeling that pain every mom was talking about on their birth stories. It was a weird feeling but I knew it was only going to get more painful. So I waited a bit before taking the nurse up on her offer. I had the pain relief shortly after, and I continued with my hypnobirthing breathing techniques and tried my best to focus.
The night shift nurse came in a few hours later, and my my was she one old grumpy lady. She was not a very nice person I must say. She kept babbling, talking loudly and scolding me for my every move - like when I wanted to use the bathroom. She told me that I should be using the urine catheter - which I have previously refused with the earlier nurse. I continued refusing. When she held on to my leg and had the urine catheter on her other hand (even after I have repeatedly said NO), I pushed her arm away in frustration. I found it to be incredibly forceful and it made me unnecessarily upset. This was a time I needed to be focusing on my mind body and soul, and not get thrown off my game.
She told me to "calm down" and told me that my being anxious was what's making me feel so much of the pain. She told me that the reason the baby wasn't out yet was because my bladder was full but I knew it wasn't - because lo and behold, it is my body and I know my body better than anyone. But she kept using this excuse to make me feel bad about the situation and continued to force the urine catheter into me.
The urine catheter gave me so much pain and discomfort, the same kind of pain you would feel if you had a UTI - it gave me the feeling of wanting to pee every five minutes. It was painful and I just lost my cool. I was filled with anger that I was not able to focus. She even had the nerve to tell me that she wanted to measure my cervix, which she did even after the many refusals on my part. Would it really make a difference having my cervix measured or not? The baby will come when he is ready!
My pain kept increasing. At midnight I was out of it. At one in the morning, I asked for the pain relief again. I was told by the afternoon nurse that the pain relief can only be taken once every six hours. If I counted correctly, it has been six hours. They said no, and my worst nightmare happened. They told me I needed a c-section because we had been 'waiting too long' and my baby's heartbeat was dropping.
Shortly later, five or six other nurses came into my labour room (all at once) persuading me to have the c-section. Are they getting a commission out of this? It was a fish market. My husband was yelling at the doctor and nurses, my dad was getting upset at the doctor and telling her not to do a c-section on me, my mum became anxious not knowing what to do, another doctor came in shoving the consent form in my face, my contraction pain was off the roof, nurses kept touching my arms and shoulders and rubbing my forehead telling me to calm down, everyone was yelling at each other. It was not a good scene. All I needed was a bit more pain relief to get me through. I know my body better than anyone else and I begged for another hour to try for a natural birth. I have not said so many Please's in my life than I did in that room.
Unfortunately, with all the commotion going on, and the hospital crew convincing me that baby's heartbeat was decreasing, I very reluctantly signed the consent form. I was immediately taken to the OT, given an epidural on my back, and I dozed off.
It was the funniest thing. Why did I doze off?
I woke at four am which was two hours after the procedure and asked the nurse to bring my baby to me. I lost two hours of my baby's first time on earth because I was sleeping.
When the doctor came to see me in the morning, I asked if it was normal for the epidural to make you sleep? She told me that I had asked to be put to sleep, in malay, "You yang mintak ubat tidur kan?" - I simply did not. Apparently, they had injected me twice on my back, but due to my strong contractions, I was too distracted to feel the one other than the epidural.
I was sad and shocked but I swept those ugly feelings under the rug and focused on the tiny little angel that was in my arms.
One of the nurses told my mum that my baby had a nuchal cord condition, which means that the umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck - in my case, four times. Which was the reason why there was no progression at labour, the reason why I was dilated at eight centimetres for more than five hours. But we will never know what really happened. I just don't understand why couldn't the doctor come to tell me that. I feel like I had the right to know.
In retrospect, if I had waited a bit more instead of rushing to the labour room that day, I could have had a natural delivery. I was excited, I was impatient, I was poorly informed by a doctor that did not have my best interest at heart.
This was very much a test for me, and a consequence of my impatience.
On the very much brighter side of things, it was definitely the most wonderful feeling to wake up to my baby. It was a feeling I have never felt before, it was all love and nothing else. We only have God to thank for our healthy baby boy.