Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adrian is Here! (And already a month old!!)

Oh wow, I sense a pattern here. When Aiden was born, my first post reporting his arrival was exactly a month after his delivery. With Adrian, it seems like I will be replicating the same!

Even the first paragraph from that post, fits this post! Let me reproduce it here: It has been more than ONE MONTH since I last penned (typed) my thoughts. Such is life. Who would have thought that having a baby (and juggling a toddler) would take up so much time and effort!

Honestly, it is not easier the second time around. On the contrary, having so called "experience" with a firstborn sort of lulls you into believing that you will be able to survive the first month of your second child unscathed. The sleepless nights are every bit as tiring and as frustrating as the first. But fret not, the joy and happiness of cradling a sweet smelling new baby is as enjoyable as the first as well. Yes, such is life.

Anyway, in my last post I mentioned that I was going to be checking into the hospital the next day. The plan was to have an induced labour primarily since I wanted to have the baby on my birthday. You see, my father and I share the same birth date, and since my due date was so close to our birthday, I thought having three generations share the same birth date would be super uber cool! Secondly, after having an induced labour with Aiden, I really quite enjoyed the whole calm manner of which we handled the check in. We managed to have a good dinner, check into the hospital, settle into the ward and I ultimately had peace of mind because the anal part of me knew that everything I needed for the duration of the stay is packed in my bag.

And so the fateful day arrived and I kept myself busy checking (and rechecking) my hospital bag, cleaned my bedroom (which I can only step foot in after 44 days of confinement), cuddled with Aiden, had instant noodles Maggi Asam Laksa (which I sorely miss right now), and battled with Braxton Hicks since lunch. Or so I thought it was Braxton Hicks! (I first had Braxton Hicks the night after my SIL's wedding, and the next was during dinner with the in laws the week after.) Since I have had it a couple of times, I didn't let it bother me although I did make a mental note that it was much stronger than before. At about 430pm that fateful afternoon, I sat down to have a late lunch to supplement my tummy while waiting for a neighbour to come over to set my hair (yes, you read that right) and for Hubby to leave the office at 6pm to pick me up.

430pm: Before I had my first bite, Whatsapped my neighbours to ask whether it was normal to have contractions before the water bag burst. Since I had absolutely no experience with natural labour, I wasn't quite sure of the sequence. They replied saying that either could come first and I replied telling them that I was going through a stronger version of Braxton Hicks but I didn't think that it was the real thing. In my own words; "Contraction nie takde lah rasa sakit macam nak mati, and irregular timing pun, so it must be Braxton Hicks!" Instantly, everyone in the Whatsapp group panicked and started asking me to time my contractions and telling me horror stories about accelerated second births.

445pm: The neighbour (let's call her A) who was going to set my hair arrived, with some really scrumptious cekodok pisang. She started timing my contractions.

5pm: After assuring her that everything was alright, she started blowing my hair. Another neighbour (let's call her L) arrived shortly after and took over her job of timing my contractions, and called Hubby. Both had really worried faces, it was quite hilarious! Hubby called and started coaxing me to head to the hospital with them, and he will just meet us there. I refused, mainly because I didn't want to burden my neighbours, and it was close to 530pm - massive traffic jam everywhere! Our Whatsapp group was buzzing non-stop with queries from the other neighbours who were not there. Meanwhile, they loaded A's car with my hospital bag and towels in case my water bag burst - eh, who said anything about going with them??? Hmm...

549pm: Finally, after lots and lots of coaxing, I boarded A's car, all the while protesting that it was merely a false alarm. L was on the phone with Hubby to confirm that we were meeting him there. A's car needed fuel for the ride so we detoured to the nearest petrol station. I was still protesting and kept telling A to turn the car back home. Oh the drama!

6pm: After refueling the car, I was still protesting strongly. Honestly, contractions were getting stronger but I didn't dare tell them. A stopped her car by the roadside and after a heated (but funny) discussion, L told A to drive me to the nearest clinic. Arrived at the clinic, L registered me while I called Hubby to tell him to come home immediately. In the clinic, the doctor did a VE and said that I was about 1.5cm - 2cm open, but it will probably take the whole night for labour to progress. Armed with this new information, I coaxed them into driving me home.

646pm: A drove us all home. I called Hubby to confirm the change of plans.

705pm: After performing Maghrib prayers, A continued blowing my half set hair. Contractions were getting stronger and stronger (now I no longer believed it was Braxton Hicks... it was the real thing!!) and I was quite desperate for Hubby to get home. L kept taking pictures of me setting my hair while going through contractions. Hubby arrived home. After he performed his Maghrib prayers, he transferred the luggage and herded Aiden and the maid into the car, while I scrambled to pack some kurma, air zam zam, bread and crackers as food to last me through the labour (and through the night... or so I thought!)...

815pm: Left the house. Short transit at the end of our lane as a neighbour wanted to give us some kurma (I have really thoughtful neighbours, you see!) and then off we went. Good thing I had top-up my TouchNGo earlier, and we had just enough fuel to get us to the hospital, so we didn't need to make any other stops. During the ride, I confessed to my neighbours, that if my contractions had been as painful as the one I was going through then, I would have definitely agreed for them to drive me to the hospital! Got to the end of MEX at 846pm.

855pm: After a slight drama at the junction entering the hospital (Hubby was nervous about breaking a road rule, I on the other hand couldn't care less about going through a double line if it means getting to the hospital quicker), we finally arrived. Checked into the emergency room and was wheeled to the labour room by wheelchair. Contractions were 6 minutes apart. Nurse at the labour room asked me "Boleh saya tahu, apa masalah puan?" And I answered quite crossly "Erm, something is coming out of me??!!" (L's reaction to this was "Nurse mana nak kena makan tuh?" *grin*)

910pm: They hooked me up to the CTG machine for a 20minute observation. Meanwhile, Hubby was outside the labour room area, busy calming Aiden down as he wanted to be with me. So I went through a few strong contractions all on my own, but having my neighbours on Whatsapp cheering me on.

940pm: After the 20minute observation, I requested to see Aiden. Walked out and cuddled and comforted Aiden as much as I could. Suddenly, a strong contraction came and I couldn't even stand up. Hubby had to help me up and I quickly walked back into the labour room.

953pm: Nurse did a VE and I was about 3cm by then with strong contractions at 4 minutes apart. Nurse asked me whether I wanted pain relief, and I asked for epidural.

1006pm: Waited patiently for the anesthesiologist to arrive. In the meantime, was given medication to clear my bowels. Hubby returned into the labour room after passing Aiden over to my in-laws. Hubby actually commented that my hair looked nice; all my neighbour's carefully crafted curls bunched up into a pony tail - well at least someone was appreciating the hair!

1049pm: Bowel cleared, and in between contractions, I had a bit of drama with Hubby in the toilet to halalkan all my makan minum and all that jazz, and after that was done I changed into the hospital gown. Still no sign of the anesthesiologist. Contractions were getting more painful.

1110pm: Anesthesiologist finally arrived. Let's call him Dr X. My contractions were going strong at 3 minutes apart. Dr X's first reaction upon seeing my spine was that there was a lot of water retention at my back and it may be a bit of a challenge to locate the epidural space. The last time I had epidural for Aiden, I had to curl like a ball on the bed. This time, I remained in a sitting position and curled, using Hubby as support. As my contractions were getting closer and closer, I kept yelling out "Contraction!!!" each time I felt one so that he would stop pricking me since I was so nervous about having a needle so close to my spine when I was in so much pain. It took him three (I repeat, three) tries to get the catheter into the epidural space, not to mention numerous uncountable numbing local injections. Unfortunately, even with the catheter in, I only felt a slight relief on the left side, but no major pain relief so he asked me to tilt my body to the right to help the medicine to flow to my right side. Easier said than done, especially with contractions banging you nearly every minute. I kept asking Dr X, "Is it working?" and he would answer "You tell us!" They continuously monitored my BP and he remarked that my BP was going down slightly which is a sign that the epidural is working. But still no complete relief! Actually, I think I probably felt zero relief! Contractions were going strong, clocking at 130 to 160. I was writhing in pain on the bed, and for some stupid reason, the word "nuance" kept playing in my head. I was using a bombastic word in my mind, nuance for "I felt every nuance of pain..." Okay, I digress. Back to the story. At that point, my contractions felt like it was going non-stop as it would rise up to 150, then go back down to merely 50 then climb back up to 135. I couldn't even get a breather in between to face the next contraction! Dr X finally conceded that the epidural probably didn't work (what??!!) and asked the nurse to conduct another VE before attempting a second try. It turned out that I was 8cm going to 9cm! Dr X then uttered the dreaded words "I don't think we have time to put in a second epidural", in which I replied "What??? I can't do this!!!" I think Dr X took pity on me and he said "We can try a second epidural, but we will have a very short time span to try between contractions." Upon hearing this, I immediately sat up, gave him a big smile and said "Let's do this!" in which he replied "You are one of the coolest patients I've ever had. Even in pain you can still joke around!" Yes Dr X, in retrospect, thanks for the compliment, but the only reason why I was nice to you was because you were in control of the juice! *grin* Curled my body against Hubby again, and as he was piercing my back, I felt like I wanted to push. Suppressed the push as I was worried that he wouldn't proceed with the epidural if I told him that I wanted to push. This time Dr X tried to find an epidural space further upwards than the previous try. Heard him reciting some doa, and even talking to my spine... "Come on spine, be nice to me please.." Yes... he talked to my spine!!! Felt a contraction coming, yelled out "Contraction!!!" and as I was riding the contraction wave, I felt him push the needle in, and finally he declared the epidural done! I immediately said out loud "I think I want to push" and the nurses in the room shouted "Don't push!!!" Oh the drama!

Midnight ish: As soon as they taped the epidural tubes in place (in super record time, mind you!), they laid me back down on the bed. Dr X started talking (apologising?) to Hubby for the initial epidural failure, but their chat was cut short when I extended my hand to Hubby for support. I felt a very strong urge to push and suddenly... my water bag burst. I think I said something along the lines of "Pecah!" A nurse rushed up to me, selak my gown and pushed my legs open to do a VE (no time to think of aurat at that point, so Dr X respectfully left the room, or rather mencicit keluar as fast as he could) and then she turned to another nurse and said "Call!" I found out afterwards that I was fully dilated and she was instructing the nurse to call Dr Seri to come and deliver the baby. I also found out afterwards, that Dr Seri, not knowing the urgency of the situation (especially since the last phone call she received from the nurse at 9pm, I was reported at 3cm hence she automatically assumed that I would only give birth early morning), told the nurse that she will leave her house in 15 minutes, but the nurse told her to come immediately as "she is ready to deliver anytime!" Meanwhile, I was struggling to suppress my body from pushing, so the nurse offered laughing gas. Initially, I pressed the gas button sporadically and only in short bursts. But then the nurse guided my thumb and pressed the gas button long and hard, (as if telling me, it's okay to go crazy with it!), and after that of course I pressed the button continuously non-stop! And boy oh boy, why didn't anyone tell me about the beauty of laughing gas??? Contractions? Didn't even feel a thing! I closed my eyes and enjoyed a relaxing nap. It felt like a nap, but really, it's like floating through space, albeit being half conscious. My brain was probably half conscious as well as I had to force myself to open my eyes so that I could remember the situation (in order to blog about it!) and I remember Hubby talking to me, telling me about how strong I am and how I can go through this. Funny, I think I smiled underneath the gas mask because Hubby looked so worried but really I was having the time of my life with the laughing gas. After a while my thumb got sore, so Hubby offered to take over pressing the gas button. And innocently, instead of giving me continuous gas, he lifted his thumb a few times. And every time he lifted his thumb, I gave a loud growl from underneath the gas mask, until he finally got the drift.

1217am: Dr Seri finally arrived! They took away my gas mask while the nurses prepped the room for delivery. I remember saying drowsily, "Hi doctor, the laughing gas is superb, can I have it back?" and she laughed and said "You can't have anymore gas. You have to get ready to push!" I think by that time, the epidural must have kicked in because my legs were flopping around without control. But I could still feel the urge to push so I requested to push. It took four pushes, two pushes to get the head out, one push to feel the "ring of fire" that people kept talking about, and one last push for the shoulders.

1237am: Adrian was out! Dr Seri gave Hubby the honours of cutting the umbilical cord and then she delivered the placenta (after a few tries). Since Adrian was smaller than Aiden, weighing only 3.57kg, I didn't need any episiotomy and only had a half cm tear which didn't even need any stitches. (So what was the point of the epidural again?)

And that was how Adrian Iskandar arrived in our arms on that fateful Friday early morning. In a nutshell, instead of being induced, Adrian "chose" to share the same birthday as Mummy. The epidural failed and I felt every "nuance" of pain up until 10cm. Apparently, given no choice, I have a strong threshold for pain. And yes, I am a wonder woman!

Random notes:
1) Hubby was deeply moved by what I went through that as soon as he got to the ward and we were well rested enough to laugh about what just happened, he said "For baby #3, kita ceasar jer lah Yang. I tak sanggup tengok you go through nie lagi sekali..."
2) Hubby then said "I sebenarnya tak nak cakap, tapi I rasa I kena cakap jugak... kalau you follow neighbours kita pegi hospital, semua nie mungkin takkan jadi kut??!!" Erkkk...
3) Since we didn't have time to have dinner, we were both so hungry that Hubby went out to find food at 4 in the morning, hence my first meal to kick start my pantang was Maggi goreng! Nyum!

Meet Adrian Iskandar. Doesn't he look like a mini version of Aiden?

All bundled up, face scrunched up. First picture in the labour room!

First picture with Mummy after the first latch.

All clean! First picture upon arrival at the wards.

N.B: Adrian Iskandar was safely born at 1237am on Friday, 29th November 2013 at Prince Court Medical Centre. He weighed a healthy 3.57kg. Mummy and baby were detained at the hospital for only 2 days as the post delivery recovery was fabulous and baby only had a slight jaundice. The damage incurred during those 2 measly days amounted to a whopping RM9,600.... thank god for medical coverage from the Dutch Oil Company!
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