Sunday, 1 July 2007

My 27 hours of labour

Every mother goes through labour and some (those lucky ones!) have it easy while some not-so-easy. Of course, every birth/labour experience is unique. This is mine. The condensed version is summarised at the end of the entry (for those who has no patience nor interest to read the gory details of the "Full Version").

23 June

"The Show" and followed by contractions
I woke up at 2.30am with a "show" (sign of start of labour). This was quickly followed by what seems to me at that time, tummy cramp similar to period cramps. I soon found out this was what they call "CONTRACTIONS". I continued to sleep. The contractions were coming every 10-12mins.

At 3.30am, I still were having this constant contractions - I used my mobile phone to time them. They are coming at every 10mins. Then, at about 4am, it was coming every 6-8mins. I decided to call the labour ward to ask for instructions. The lady at the end of the phone told me to call again when the contractions become more frequent, ie "Every 3-4mins".

By now, I have woken up my MIL to inform her. We continued waiting. I paced up & down a few times due to the pain! Tried sleeping. Also went in for a shower and washed my hair (because I'm gonna be observing "confinement"). MIL made breakfast (yummy porridge) and we were eating it around 7-8am. Still waiting.

At about 9.30am, my contractions were coming every 3-5mins. At 10am, I called up labour ward again. The lady told me I could come in soon. We packed up and went off.

Labour Ward
Arrived at the hospital at around 11am with little traffic as it was a Saturday. They prepped me up in labour ward - the midwife checked my dilatation - I was only 2cm dilated. They let me wait there and hooked me up on the fetal heart-beat monitoring system and also a contraction monitoring system. Hubs and I waited in the labour room while my MIL waited with all our bags in the waiting room. By noon, they decided I was NOT "in active labour" stage yet and they planned to move me to the ante-natal ward.

Ante-Natal Ward
At around 1pm, I was transferred to the ante-natal ward. My contractions, by now, were coming infrequently - sometimes every 3-5mins, at times, every 10-12mins. My MIL & hubs waited with me in the ante-natal ward. It was utterly boring lying on bed and bearing with the pain of the contractions. I was advised to walk around to help contractions get stronger and more frequent. By 2pm, I told hubs & MIL to go get lunch for themselves. They came back after awhile with McD lunch for me! They left to go home at 3.30pm.

I told them to get some rest and come bk by dinner time. Just before dinner, I told the midwife that my contractions are getting more painful and frequent - at every 4mins. She checked and found that I was now 3-4cm dilated. By now, I have been in labour for 16hours! MIL & hubs returned to the hospital by dinnertime bringing me MIL's home-cooked "Hokkien Fried Noodles". I happily ate dinner while in the labour room after they hooked me up on the machines again.

My midwife taught me how to use gas (Entonox) to relief pain. "Breathe in deeply and then out every time when you can feel the contraction. Repeat this throughout one contraction" she says. I did that and this method helped for awhile, but I also felt light-headed and "high" while on it. I told her I wanted something stronger - petadine! She chided me (which annoyed me) saying "You are not doing the breathing right, I noticed you gave up the gas after a few breaths. YOU ARE supposed to breathe in and out until the pain goes away". I told her I feel high after a few breaths and wouldn't be able to concentrate.. she was adament I don't get my Pethidine yet.

24 June
Artificial breaking of water
From 7pm till 2am the next day (24 June), I was on Entonox and by 2.30am, I was in labour for 24 hours. All this while while I was in labour ward, there would be at least a midwife to monitor both me & my baby's situation. She would record down all the readings churned out by the machine and monitor my heart rate and BP. Since my water bag has not yet broken and I was in prolong labour, the midwife did the breakig of water bag around now (I can't remember the timeline as I was too high in pain and entonox). She used a hook to do this and I remember it was quite uncomfortable and painful and I just kept inhaling Entonox to get some relief!

After this is done, (again, I don't remember when) but it should be at around this time that I request for Pethidine. The midiwfe checked my dilatation and I was still only 4cm dilated eventhough I was in labour for more than 20 hours.. she decided that she would give me my Pethidine (this was not the same midwife as before). At around the same time, there was a group of doctors on duty who came to check on my situation : They introduced themselves and noted all of the midwife's observations and records.

AUGMENTATION of labour and Epidural
Since I was in labour for so long, the midife deemed it vital that my labour to be augmented. Augmentation is crucial to help the placenta get stronger and more frequent contractions to "expel" the baby later on and will be done if a woman is in labour for too long. The contractions come & go and was getting more intense. I told her I need something stronger - Epidural. She then summoned the Anasthetician on-duty to do this. The Dr came in and explained the pros & cons of epidural before administering a dosage through my back. It kicked in after 20mins. By now, my contractions were getting more frequent (about every 4-5mins) and stronger.

Right about 4.30-5am, I noticed that my right leg was in excruciating pain (Isn't epidural supposed to be HELPING MY PAIN, not adding extra pain?). I told the midwife and the anaesthetician was again assigned to me and he asked me some questions to determine my pain. He then adjusted the catheter placed at the epidural space and administer another dosage. After 20mins, I noticed that the pain on my right leg has gone. And it really helped with my contraction pain as well. By 6am, the midwife thought it was time to push as my contractions were already 3 times every 10mins and I was 10cm dilated. I remember her teaching me how to push but due to the long labour, tiredness, painkillers, I could not push as much as she would have liked. AT some point, she had to summon in the doctors as she noticed there was a drop in the baby's heart rate.

Dr Wong came in while I was in semi-high and he assisted in the delivery using suction cup (a ventuose delivery). Dr Wong encouraged me to push while he attaches the suction cup onto baby's head. After 50mins, Baby Wong was born. Hubs was there to cut the umbilical cord. :)
They placed baby on me for awhile before cleaning, weighing and observing her.
Hubs and MIL told me it was raining when she was delivered. :)

Post-delivery drama
Due to the assisted delivery, I also had an episiotomy. The Dr had to do a suture on me. While he was suturing me, I noticed that I was extremely weak and suspect that I had low blood pressure (yes, I was still alert to know this). I spoke in soft breath to the midwife/Dr that "I think I hv low blood pressure now, help me". And then, i added " I also think I might hv low blood sugar". Someone took my BP and true enough, my BP dropped to 60/20. The Dr quickly stopped suturing and instead tried to get my BP up again. They also administered saline solution for me. By now, I was also shivering and felt cold. I kept telling them "I feel cold, pls cover me." and "My back is in pain, pls help me". I was complaining in between consciousness and i noticed a flurry of activities as midwives, doctors, anaesthetics go about tending over me.

Sometime around now, the midwife came in to inform the Dr that she noticed that my placenta (after it was taken out) was bleeding internally. Apparently, I lost alot of blood (caused by long labour and prolong contractions). Dr Wong informed me (in my semi-conscious state) that I needed to do a blood transfusion. I told him "NO blood transfusion". He said I needed to. I told him to summon my hushand into the room. Dr Wong then informed him of my situation and hubs agreed to the blood transfusion. I intercepted and said I do not want to have blood transfusion. But it was necessary. In the end, I agreed after asking him "Were the blood screened?". "Yes, of course".

Recovery in Labour Ward and a male midwife?
Olu, the midwife finshed her shift and I was passed to Felipe (pronounced as "Philippa", he's spanish) the attending midwife (who is a male!). Anyway, at around 8 or 9am, they transferred me from Labour Room 2 to Labour Room 7 where it was more spacious and have more monitors to monitor me closely. In total, they took about 2 hours to stabilise my BP and brought me back from pale to ok. By 10am, I was stable enough for hubs to call in MIL to see both me & baby. Felipe was in the room all the while to monitor and record my situation. He is seriously an excellent midwife!

While hubs and MIL cooed over baby Wong, I was just glad to have survived all that. It is an experience I will never forget. I even have bruises to show for it!
Bruises from drips/blood transfusion/drugs administration on my arms

26+ hours of labour,
Entonox, Pethidine and Epidural,
Ventuose delivery,
Loss of blood causing low BP
In the end : Baby Wong = PRICELESS.

Now, our lives has taken a new chapter. Sleep deprivation, diaper change, 2hourly feeds, screaming baby. They say it's all worth it! (Ask me again in 3 months)


Carrot said...

haha! i like your last sentence! well i'm hope you'll find it worth all the pain! btw your mung bean was delivered 4 days before my bro's bday! cancerians are moody people. =P

mom2ashley said...

what a looonnnnnngg labout you had.'s all worth it right? :)

Tsu Lin said...

Carrot : You are right, I can see now where she got her moodiness!

mom2ashley : Well, I surely hope so! Keke.. I do wish she grows up faster, though (i know u wish they stay small for longer but smaller = more sleeplessness). And i shudder to think of the day my MIL will go bk Aus and leave me with no help around the house **cry**

Anonymous said...

I think you are very brave. Your delivery story far exceeds mine in drama, and I complained about mine. But in the end, as you said, PRICELESS. Mine is also a ventuose delivery, though the whole delivery episode lasted not more than 5 minutes. Your daughter is adorable. Cannot wait to find out what lovely name you will bestow her soon.

Tsu Lin said...

Hi KuanSiew, I have no choice but to be brave as NHS doesn't allow me to go for optional c-section :P Haha!

Well, everyone's labour story is unique and labour itself is VERY PAINFUL, so kudos and salute to all mothers in the world for going through the pain.

Will blog abt her name soon :)

Boon said...

wah.. so detailed explanation... and so arduous an experience... my clock is ticking... argh...


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