It's been 3 months since I birthed Inio, and before the memory leaves me (I'm very forgetful!), I thought it best to write about our story for Inio to read later on, especially on days he misbehaves and I can say, "Hey, kid. I freaking did THIS for you. Ayus-ayusin mo!" hehehe. Just kidding, son!
To Inio, I would do this a million times more to have you in this world.
It's Monday, February 4th, and I'm waiting in line to be checked by my OB. I'd been seeing her regularly since my 37th week. She told me then that I could have the baby any time, so I'd been hyping my family up. My brother came up before my 38th week to be there, just in case. He's been waiting for a week now. Nakakahiya!
I'm 39 weeks today and still no signs of labor. Inio hasn't even dropped. I'm worried because Nicollo's here and already took some of his paternity leaves hoping baby would make his appearance soon. I don't want him to have to go back to Manila, then rush up to Baguio when the baby comes. So, I've been doing squats nonstop, doing stretches, and taking too many eveprimrose capsules (inserting them ... down there at this point...) just to get labor started. Still, nada.
39 weeks pregnant
My OB calls me in and performs an internal exam. Ugh. These are so uncomfortable.
She checks my cervix and tells me that it's still mid-line soft, and I've barely dilated. She sweeps my membranes again (she's been sweeping them since 5 appointments ago). I start to worry so I ask if I can check the baby through an ultrasound. She writes me an order, and Nicollo and I are off.
After an afternoon of walking, we're in another clinic for an ultrasound. Baby's measuring well, and doing fine. She checks my water. 6.3 cm. She tells me it's a cause for concern -- low normal. I start to worry. I text my OB, and she says I'll have to go to the hospital tomorrow to be hooked up onto the CPG monitor to check if the baby is in distress. If baby's in distress, I'll need to be induced. No, please, Lord.
I'm desperate. I call a spa and order a prenatal massage that evening. The masseuse arrives, and I tell her my predicament. She presses on all my pressure points to possibly get labor started. She feels that I'm very tense, and tells me to relax. The baby will come.
I wake up at 3:00 AM and feel a slight ache in my back. I'm having a hard time falling back asleep because I'm feeling very anxious. All I can think of is my baby in danger because of the low amniotic fluid. I pray and ask for Our Lady's intercession, and I have a serious conversation with my unborn son -- you are coming out today! Finally, I fall back asleep at 5:00 AM.
I wake up again at 8:00 AM and start feeling mild, menstrual cramp-like sensations. They're coming and going. I think they're contractions. I text my OB, and she says to have breakfast, then prepare to be admitted to the hospital. Thank God!
After breakfast, I go back upstairs and sit on the toilet. When I stand, I see blood. THIS IS IT!!! THIS IS IT!!! I tell
Nicollo and my brothers that we need to leave for the hospital NOW. We pack up our little car with my hospital bag, my labor bag, my maternity pillow, and even my exercise ball. There's barely enough space for 3, but we make do.
Nicollo, Tiago and I arrive at the hospital at 9:30 AM. I present my admitting orders. I'm then escorted to the OB area of the emergency room. The resident OB arrives and checks my cervix. I'm 3cm. Thank God!!! Progress! She inserts more eveprim capsules, and sends me up to the labor room to get a CPG scan of the baby.
I'm hooked up, and baby seems to be doing fine. It's 12NN, and the contractions are still very tolerable, so we ask to go home first (perks of staying in Baguio -- everything is just 10 mins away!) because I know labor is much easier to go through at home. She asks us to just come back in 3 hours.
We get home, and I immediately begin bouncing on my labor ball, and continue counting my contractions. They're coming more regularly now. My contractions are about 30-40 seconds long, 3-5 mins apart. I feel the urge to use the toilet. After doing my business, I stand up and hear a huge plop on the floor. Ewww! A huuuuuge blood clot greets me. It's my mucous plug. This baby is coming TODAY!
We have late lunch, and leave for the hospital. It's 3:00PM. Aki and Julia accompany us. Nicollo is starting to get nervous. Thankfully, we get a parking slot right outside the ER!
We're escorted back to the OB section of the ER, and Dr. Shiela comes to check on me. I'm 4cm. She inserts even more eveprim capsules, and finally sends me up to the labor room. I get settled in nicely, and inform the nurses I'm birthing this child Lamaze, so I need my labor ball. They comply. Nicollo sends my labor ball in, and I begin bouncing. Later, he joins me and pastes my focal point onto the wall of the room. It reminds me, "One contraction at a time!"
Brought my own labor ball!
My focal point
My contractions are still 3-5 mins apart, but are coming in longer, about 1 min each. I'm not in any pain. They just feel like the usual menstrual cramps, but even better because they come and go.
I'm working through my contractions as they get closer together and become more and more intense. I dilate every hour -- 5cm at 5:00, 6cm at 6:00, 7cm at 7:00. Nicollo's in the room with me, and as each contraction comes, I rely on his support. We sway together, and he encourages me through the surges.
I start to get worried because I still haven't seen my OB. She told me the day before that she was going to Manila for a friend's wake. I try not to panic, so I focus myself on the contractions instead.
Nicollo all decked out to accompany me during labor
At around 8:00 at 8cm, I'm asked to lie down so they can monitor the baby. The pain starts to REALLY kick in because I don't have the freedom to move. I take advantage of the time in between contractions to rest. I'm starting to tire. It's been nearly 4 hours of active labor! My humming to get through each contraction becomes louder, and at this point, I don't even care what other people think. A mom's gonna do what a mom's gotta do!
At 9cm, I'm still laying down and I'm starting to feel hysterical! Inio still hasn't dropped, so Dr. Shiela tries to help me by sweeping my cervix while I contract. This procedure was UNBELIEVABLY AND INDESCRIBABLY PAINFUL. At one point, I tell her, "Doc! Stop it! It's too painful!"
She tells me to push when I feel the urge because the baby needs help dropping. I comply. At one push, my water breaks, and the whole bed is soaking wet with liquid and blood. Nicollo's starting to look traumatized!
I'm feeling my animal instincts kicking in as I work through the contractions. I'm progressing to 10cm and I'm nearly shouting at this point. Another woman is wheeled in and begins her labor at 1.5cm, and I feel so bad for her! She's just starting to labor, and I'm sure that my screams are scaring her... in between contractions I yell, "I'm so sorry for the noise! I hope you're not scared. Don't be scared! This is easier than it looks! I'm just coping with the pain! Sorry, sorry!" The whole medical staff laughs at me. It seems I'm doing very well for someone who hasn't received any pain medication.
Hello, my hairy boy!
I'm begging Dr. Shiela now, "Can't I have the baby yet?!" It's 10pm, and I'm exhausted. I don't feel like myself anymore. My OB, Dr. Taguiling finally makes an appearance, and I feel instant relief. They wheel me into the delivery room, and I get settled in. The room feels scary and cold, but having Nicollo beside me eases my worries.
I'm placed into the stirrups, and both Dr. Taguiling and Dr. Shiela prepare everything for Inio's arrival. As each contraction comes, I'm asked to push. I push as hard and as long as I can, but it's so difficult! Inio still isn't in the best position, so I have to work doubly hard to push him out.
I've been pushing for about 30 mins now. It's 11:00PM. I'm getting very tired, but giving up has never once entered my mind. I'm determined to finish this and finish it well.
"You're almost there, Laika!" Dr. Taguiling screams with excitement. "I can see the head. Push!!!" I get excited. I push with all my might... "The head is out!"
Then ... EXCRUCIATING PAIN! I thought delivering the head was the hardest part!? I'm SCREAMING my lungs out. Dr. Taguiling hits my leg, "Laika! Stop! That's not the way to do it! Stop shouting!" Turns out, Inio's shoulders are stuck. I tense up, and it gets even more painful. To help me, Dr. Taguiling administers the cut. I can't even distinguish the pain of the cut from everything else. Everything just hurts! I continue to push. I just want to get this over with!
"BABY OUT! 11:16PM!" It's his first breath of millions. They cut the umbilical cord, and place Inio on my chest. He's got a full head of hair! He looks like Marco and Robbie! He measures 6 lbs 3 oz. I'm feeling mighty proud of the both of us.
Poor baby's probably just as tired as I am
Exhausted and walang ayos at all. Hahaha. This is REALITY!
When everything's over, I'm wheeled into the recovery room and told to rest. I'm wiped out, but I can't seem to rest. I still feel the adrenaline in my veins. I can't believe I did it! I did it! I feel euphoric. Inio's brought to me, and the nurse latches him onto my breast. What a tender and intimate moment. I'm instantly in love with him. It's his first day out in the world, and my first day as mama. What a gift.
My baby ❤️
To all of you reading this, especially to my girlfriends who want to become moms and are considering Lamaze, my message to you is this: childbirth is hard, but totally bearable. I'm sure it's different for everybody, but don't believe just the horror stories. The best thing about natural birth is that you are in control of your labor. My story may sound pretty intense, and it was, but I swear, I would do it again. I'm actually already studying water births! Hahaha
Childbirth without drugs / painkillers is possible, as long as you prepare yourself. It's more a mental game than it is anything else.
If you want to know more about preparation, send me a message! Or I might write about it! :) let me know. There's so much to share about becoming a mother.
Thanks for reading on! And congratulations for making it to the end. This is the longest one I've written to date. Hahaha. Cheers!