Sunday, 9 March 2008
Carrying Two Boys
Max, I always say, was a surprise from God.
I was still breastfeeding Micah when Max was conceived. (Warning to all breastfeeding moms : Breastfeeding is not an effective form of birth-control in our modern and well nourished urban lifestyle. In some remote village where food is not easily purchased from supermarkets and restaurants, maybe.) So in a way, we were caught by surprise when I started having strange late night cravings again. The arrival for Max was a little early than we planned, then, because I had imagined the next child to arrive in 2006 (Max is a December 2005 baby). Max was discovered at 8 weeks, and arrived 4 days after the expected due date.
It was when I discovered I was pregnant again that I handed in my resignation to my boss. I gave up a job I really enjoyed but had found it increasingly hard to focus on the job with Micah demanding for more attention and intellectual stimulation at one year old. So I had to choose one. I obviously could not choose to give up my baby, so I gave up my job. It was more than a job. It was my occupation, my vocation; my contribution to the society and the human race.
So I was a stay home mum with one boy and expecting another. We were happy and actually busy. I spent a lot of time with my family, visiting my mom frequently, and travelled quite a bit to Singapore as Mike's work took him there often at that time. That also gave me the opportunity to visit my older sister who was about to have her first baby then.
So here's where you'd fit in the details of my vomiting, not due to morning sickness but Micah's dirty diapers. But apart from that, most of the time I functioned like a regular mum with a young kid. We went everywhere. The only thing was that if there are other adults around me, Micah would have more freedom on the ground, and the other adults do all the running after him. If no one is with us, I carry two boys. I found that more manageable than running and risking falling or slipping. I carried two boys a lot and got commented by neighbours and relatives.
Max was also the baby I prayed for to have more joy. This was because I remember some old-wives tales that what you are like during pregnancy the baby will catch on the trait/ characteristic. I was scolding Micah a lot. So I prayed Max would be a happy baby and not grouch. He certainly was and still is the sweetest, with his dimpled smile on top of that.
Max was suppose to be due on the 24th December. Christmas eve! But on Christmas day everyone in church was surprised to see me present for the Christmas service. On the 27th was our scheduled appointment with the doc should the baby not arrive before that. Doc checked me and said, "You're 2 cm dilated. Come in tomorrow."
So when I saw the doc the next day, before they prepared me for labor (I was still in a daze), he said, "Well, today is the day." And I was like, "Today?" I thought I was just checking in and we were waiting for more signs. "Yes, today." He laughed at my look on my face. He left me for a while.
So I was prepped for labor. The nurses asked about my previous labor, found out it was just a year ago and was a C-section and decided to prep me for that, just in case we need to do so. I prayed it would not be so, as it would cost us a big bomb to pay for using the labor room and the operation theater.
Max's Birth Story
When we went into the labor room, I noted that it was a little past 9am. The nurses, very good and experienced, started to put me on the drip for dilation. They checked the baby's heartbeat, as well as measured the contraction and got Mike to help hold the contraption strapped on to my big belly, and disappeared. They turned up occasionally to make sure all was ok. By 10 am, the contractions were stronger.
I had asked how long the labor usually takes, like what time would the baby expected to arrive. She said 4pm. I was starting to get really nervous. The contractions were getting stronger and stronger and my moans were starting to get louder.
By the next hour the nurse asked about painkillers, "If you want epidural, you have to get the anesthetist to come now." The pain was still manageable and I was still quite calm, but I was not sure how much worse it was going to be. My sis had mentioned her terrible labor contractions which made her feel like her spine was going to snap and I couldn't imagine how far it'd be before I get there!
The nurse told me I was actually doing quite well, and only need the jab on the thigh (I remembered when pregnant with Micah and we had attended antenatal classes, the doc said the jab would reduce the pain about 30%, but who knows what the percentage counted for anyway?! How do you measurer pain in percentages? *frown*). Anyway, so I agreed not to take the epidural.
Clock: 12.++pm. The contractions were very strong now and I kept wanting to lie on my side, but the nurses said not to so that they can continue to monitor the baby's heartbeat, etc. My moans were starting to sound more like growls. The pain was like very bad diarrhea stomachache and that I had not gone to the toilet for 3 days. The pain was starting to be unbearable and the nurse suggested we take the gas (reduce pain another 10%?), can't remember what that is in scientific term, but it's like the laughing gas.
The gas actually made me so drowsy that between contractions I fell asleep and wake up screaming and almost sitting up. It was somewhere in between that I kept asking for the time because I was wondering when it'll be 4 pm so that it'll be over.
The doctor was called in. I had heard the nurses discussing that I had dilated fully very fast but the baby's head was still a bit high. The Doctor came in told me calmly what he was doing along the process, which was quite good because you know something is happening and you're starting to see the end of this painful tunnel for me - and the light for the baby.
Then I felt another jab there, the incision made, episiotomy, was asked to push and I pushed like all my insides were going to come out. Doc said he was going to use vacuum suction to assist. I said ok. Didn't feel anything of the vacuum. Then I felt the head was out. Told to push again and I felt the rest of the baby slide out. The word relief was never more meaningful. He showed my baby to me and then handed him to the nurse for a cleaning.
I asked or the time and Mike said 2.30pm. The nurse replied, no, it was 2.0+pm (can't remember exactly) when the baby came out. I was so so glad I didn't have to wait till 4pm. Then I felt the placenta, like a jelly, coming out with a "bloop-bloop" sound. The doctor stitched me and I could feel the needle going in and out. Slight discomfort, but not really painful as he had jabbed me earlier.
I slept a lot after that, for hours. It must have been the gas as well as the whole process of labor. Yeah, labor - hard work.
Maxell Foong Zi Yi arrived: 28th December 2005, 2.0+ pm, 4.05kg.
Our very wonderful surprise.