The birth of the Little Miss was unexpected. Unexpected because I didn’t expect to have her so “early” and I guess I wasn’t really ready mentally. Anyway, the overall experience was a great one and I’m here to share her birth story.
February 6, 2016 – Saturday (39 weeks)
We had a Chinese New Year reunion dinner with my dads family that night. The food was delicious and I ate a lot! On that day though, I realize her movements were a little off. She did not move as much and despite me shaking my belly, drinking cold water, lying down sideways, she did not respond. It was a little worrisome for me because I’ve learnt the importance of counting baby movements during this pregnancy and also aware of the issues with stillbirth; or just paranoid because I’ve been doing a lot of reading and recently read that someone lost her baby at 37 weeks! EEEEEK! I did not want to take any chances. When we got home that night, just before bedtime, she moved and responded pretty well. Still, it was almost midnight and I wasn’t sure of that could be counted because it should be 10 movements in 12 hours; at the very least.
February 7, 2016 – Sunday (39 weeks + 1 day)
Tonight was the main event. The reunion dinner with my family; at my uncles place every year, seeing all my cousins and extended family was a yearly event. We also had a reunion lunch planned and I was ready for a full day! I woke up still very conscious of her movements and still felt that she was not moving as much as I’d like. I told Daddy that I think its best we visited the hospital and get checked. After all, if there wasn’t any issues, I can go home, right? WRONG. I didn’t know that the procedure at HKL was that you will be admitted for 1 day for observation.
After breakfast, we went into the Maternity Hospital at HKL and the nurses checked on baby’s heartbeat and movements. Her heart was beating strong – I was super relieved. But fetal activity was slightly on the low side. Though she did kick a few times, they asked why didn’t I come in earlier. They explained the risks of decreased movements at late pregnancy and told me that it could be serious if I didn’t come in earlier. After being monitored with the CTG machine, the doc came in and checked me; I asked for it since I wanted to know if I was in any way dilated or effaced. She said I was a good 2cm dilated and they will have me admitted. After much discussion, she said her instincts tell her that I should be admitted because labor is very near. She gave me a membrane sweep and assured me that staying over is best.
At this moment, I was unprepared. I did not expect to be admitted right away and definitely wanted to at least spend one more day with Leo before the new baby arrives. I had mixed feelings and was slightly sad. But again, I knew that baby is in good hands and that all will be fine. I got up to the ward and laid in bed for awhile. Daddy had gone home to make sure Leo has his nap because the poor guy was so tired and cranky the whole time.
I used the loo and saw that I was already spotting. Then, I knew for sure that labor is near. Maybe in a few days or so. I started to have mild contractions later in the day, but nothing too painful. I tried to take naps here and there, but I was more concerned about going into labor naturally, not being induced.
The doctor on rounds asked me if I wanted to be checked and see my progress, I declined. I said that I wanted to wait till later on and if I did progress then I will stay and if not, I wanted to go home. He said ok and will come again later tonight. True enough I was having more and more contractions, on and off. But again, nothing too painful. I prayed and prayed that my cervix will dilate naturally and that my body will complete this pregnancy and progress further. I was monitored again with the CTG machine for 2o minutes and baby’s heart was beating strong. By this time, I’ve already had more than 1o fetal movements and not concerned anymore. Suddenly the issue was switched from just a fetal check up to early labor!
February 8, 2016 (39 weeks + 2 days)
I couldn’t sleep that night. It was past midnight that I finally felt like laying down and preparing to actually go to sleep before the marathon begins. I was too tired all day and having infrequent contractions. The same doc came and see me and said that it’s time to get checked. I said ok; praying in my heart that there is a good progress and that admitting so early to the hospital was not in vain. 4cm he said! He told he nurses to book the labor room for me immediately. I was shocked and I said that I didn’t want to be in the labor room so early. I know that labor could be long and I didn’t wanna be strapped on the bed, unable to eat AND sleepless. He told me that in the labor room, they will most probably break my water to get labor going and give me Pitocin to help me dilate. Again, I declined and said that I didn’t want them to break my water so early and allow me to labor on my own first. He agreed and said he will come back at 2am to check on me. I texted Daddy and asked him to come around 3am.
I fell asleep for about an hour and realize that it was already 2am. By now, the contractions were getting more painful; but still not frequent enough to be in active labor. I walked around and they would go away. I laid on the bed most of the time and breathed through every contraction. The doctor did not come back – which I was very happy about so I continued sleeping and focus on more rest to regain my energy. I texted Daddy and told him that I’m not in the labor room yet so there’s no need to come at 3am anymore. So I told him to get more sleep and come later on maybe around 4 or 5am.
I woke up and made myself a cup of Horlicks. I was pretty hungry and I knew I had to eat something before labor or I wont have the energy to push. Contractions were still coming on and off, mildly painful and I used these contractions to practice breathing. In through nose and out through mouth very very slowly. I didn’t know what time the doctor will come again so I just packed my bag (what they told me to do; as needed in the labor room), and walked even more. I couldn’t walk through most contractions by now – I had to stop and stand over the bed and breathe through them. The nurse on duty asked of I was ok and if I wanted to get checked. She also told me not to wait till its unbearable or it’ll be too late to prep the labor room! (In my mind, I doubt I was that far along to be in active labor).
I finally agreed to get checked. I remember praying so hard that there will be progress and that I don’t have to be induced. The doc said that I was a good 5cm! Time to prep the labor room! So at this point, I texted Daddy and asked him to come when he’s ready, after settling Leo. They wheeled me into the room and got the CTG working to check on baby’s heartbeat and contractions.
They doctor broke my water to get labor going. I remember that it felt very warm and almost like I am peeing on myself! There was so much water, it’s amazing how it was all in my womb and I was carrying it with me all along.
After all the preparation, the only thing I could do is just wait. Wait until the contractions come more frequently and into actual active labor. Contractions are getting more painful and each time it comes, I picture the cervix dilating and that baby’s head is descending. By now Daddy was beside me and we were talking about how cute Leo is and thinking about his face and reaction when I get to see him again! Not having to be with him for the past 2 days was hard! I never knew that I missed him so much. We kept talking about what happened at the reunion dinner and the things he did and said. These conversations got me through most of the contractions.
Another doctor came and checked me and I cant forget her words – She said I was only 4cm and not 5. I remember the same disappointment I felt even during Leo’s birth when I did not progress as much as I expected. I was sad but I told myself not to be discouraged. Dilation can happen at anytime and I know of some who went from a 3cm to a full 10cm in just 1 hour! So she checked my contractions on the monitor and said they were not frequent enough. I was only having 2 in 10 minutes and only lasting for about 30-40 seconds each time.
Close to 9.00am
The doctor ordered Pitocin for me and another IV was hooked on my right arm. Great… now I have one of my left AND one on my right. This wasn’t what I wanted, but I just followed the doctor’s advice and allow my body to work. Once the Pitocin came in; in a matter of seconds, my contractions were getting very very strong each time and VERY painful. I kept breathing as how I did but it was hard. Exhaling was hard not to let out some groaning or screaming. Nope, I didn’t scream… yet. By now, I was having 3 contractions in 1o minutes and they last for almost a minute each. I told Daddy to keep talking to me and keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about the pain. I remember clearly at each contraction, I visualized that I was at green pastures, drinking from the calm waters. Every contraction is bringing my baby closer and closer to me. I’ve learned how to control the contraction and not to push, try not to push or force it, and let it “breathe” through me. (I’ve learnt this the hard way from Leo’s birth experience and told myself that I don’t wanna bruise my cervix and I don’t want to force her head through when she’s not ready!)
Contractions were over the top! There are no words to describe how it felt. I was shivering at every contraction and grabbing onto the bed very VERY tightly. If it was a wooden one, it would’ve probably be broken! Luckily, I told Daddy not to let me hold his hand, or he’ll suffer major bruises or maybe a broken arm, LOL. The doc said I was 8cm and in no time, the baby would be here! I was cold sweating, feeling very uncomfortable and that my spine was gonna break into half. Daddy used cold tissues to wipe my forehead and kept talking. I told him to PLEASE keep talking to me so that my mind is occupied. I thought to myself that I will have her in an hour or so. Hang on! Hang on!
Finally, I told the midwife that I can’t hold it anymore! I need to push, I need to push. And yes – just FYI, when you finally can’t hold it any longer, the urge to push is natural. With Leo, I kinda forced myself to push when contractions come but now I’ve learnt that it was the wrong way. When you’re at the final stage, the urge to push is so strong that your body takes over!
THE RING OF FIRE! Oh, ring of fire. It is REAL and it is scary. I remember telling Daddy that OMG I can feel the ring of fire at the first “push”. It feels like I’m about to rip apart or something. By this time, I was a hot mess. I believe that I did scream for a bit. She was crowning and I can feel the doctor holding/touching something down there.
The second push, I could feel her head come out. I could hear the midwife saying “wait wait”, hanging onto her head and asking me to hold my legs. Wait, WHAT? How on earth am I going to hold my legs? I can’t even. There was a short pause for a second. Obviously in my head, there was no breaks, it was painful. So painful that the IV hooked on my right arm was bent all the way from the pressure of me grabbing on so tightly (which the nurse told me after when removing it) causing a bruise on my arm.
Finally the midwife said “Ok, push Eva”. One more contraction and one more push, her body came out. I could feel the warmth of the amniotic fluid/or blood? flow out and I can feel her warm body touching my thighs. Then, I remember feeling her legs/or arms moving and kicking me. Oh the feel or relief. Relief that it’s finally over and she’s out.
They did all the necessary steps and then placed her on my chest. SKIN ON SKIN. I never had this with Leo because he was taken away almost immediately because I was bleeding pretty bad. I loved every moment of it. The moment I saw her face and realized how tiny she was. My little baby girl. Daddy and I were talking about how she looks very similar to Leo.
I wasn’t really sure of the time here, but probably around so, I delivered the placenta and they cleaned me up. Honestly, the cleaning was more painful than birth. Kind of. I don’t wanna elaborate here because this is her birth story and I want to remember how she came into this world. But the midwife did do a good job and I was up and running the next day; did I just really had a baby?
After all the cleaning, I was able to hold her again and start breastfeeding. I was wheeled back into the recovery ward around 2pm, and had my lunch then.
There are no words to describe this birth experience. Even though it was unexpected, it was beautiful and I am so grateful that everything went well. The only thing that I felt pretty immediately was how much I missed my bump. I didn’t have time to digest that it was the last day being pregnant and I didn’t really embrace that feeling. Things happened so fast, I didn’t have a picture of me being pregnant just before entering the labor room. However, I am so blessed to have my baby girl in my arms and can’t believe she’s finally here. I can’t believe I am a mother of 2. God is so good and I have nothing to complain about. The hospital and staff was awesome and Daddy and I are so, so blessed and grateful.
Evangeline Mikayla Lim came into this world on Feb 8, 2016 at 9.50am weighing at 3.01kgs.
Read Leo’s birth story here.