The birth story

Ok, I’ve finally had time to write down baby Theo’s birth story. It’s not terribly exciting but one day he’ll grow up and I’d want him to have a chance to read about how he came into this world and be completely grossed out.

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2pm: Contractions start coming in intermittently. 10-15 minutes apart. Contrary to my usual philosophy of avoiding pain, I find myself hoping for more pain. Pregnancy does strange and wonderful things to your brain.

6pm: More pain, indeed! Celebratory dance in between contractions.

6.15pm: Phone call to the husband – “Babe, I think you should come home now, it’s time!” After all the false alarms, I think he doesn’t take me seriously anymore but points for still making it home in record time.

6.25pm: Wash my hair. One needs to have priorities when one is giving birth and one of them is to wash one’s hair.

7.25pm: Finally leave for the hospital. You know what, I think we’ve got time for a detour to get some tang yuan, the peanut kind in piping hot ginger soup. Again, priorities! Clearly mine are spot on.

8.20pm: Arrive at Thomson Medical.

Me: Hi nurse, I think I’m in labor.

Nurse: Ok, come with me. Your husband can proceed downstairs to settle the registration and paperwork.

Me: Yeah, about that…I think you should check my cervix first. If it’s another false alarm, I’m getting out of here.

Nurse: Um, why don’t we wait for the doctor to decide?

Me: Just check the cervix. I’d do it myself but I don’t possess the necessary skills to check my own cervix, Seriously, if I’m not dilated, I’m going back home.

9pm: OBGYN arrives. I’m 2cm dilated and contractions still erratic. It could be hours away or days away(??!!) I had half a mind to just go back home and ride this out with some deep breathing techniques but then a really bad contraction comes on and all my willpower disappears. I’m staying close to the epidural.

11pm: I make the husband go home. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll call you if the baby decides to come out. Or I’ll just post the photo on Facebook.” And I wasn’t even really kidding. After 4 kids, this is how we roll.

4am: OHMYGODITHURTS!!! If the pain level was about a 5-6, this was an 8. Definitely epidural territory. Also, thank God I didn’t go home.

4.07am: WHERE IS MY EPIDURAL??? PLEASE, I NEED SOME EPIDURAL NOW!!

4.13am: HELPP, SOMEBODY MAKE THIS BABY STOP. I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE.

5am: Is this what it feels like to be dying? I’M PRETTY SURE I’M DYING. The nurse says I’m not dying and the epidural will be here soon. But she’s been saying that for the past hour and I’m starting to question everything she says.

5.20am: Epidural in progress. The needle hurts like hell but oh, sweet relief. No, wait. Sort of. All the epidural seems to be going to my right side. I can still feel everything on my left. It’s a totally weird feeling, not like 50% of the pain, but 100% of the pain concentrated in my left half.

5.40am: I’m told to lie on my left to make the epidural flow to the left. 20 minutes in and still not working.

6.15am: Nurses are coming in to witness this phenomenon. “See, the right leg is warm but the left leg is very cold,” says one.

“I can feel everything on my left side. I can even wriggle my left pinky toe,” I added helpfully.

6.30am: 2 more nurses come in to observe the MAGNIFICENT LEFT TOE WRIGGLING. Followed by some prodding. “So strange, the left leg is like ice. Can you feel the pain?” another nurse asks.

“WHY YES, YES I CAN. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.”

9am: After 3 hours of fiddling with the epidural tube, the great one-sided epidural mystery is still not solved. The pain is worse than ever.

9.25am: OBGYN says I’m 3cm dilated. “NO WAY,” I said. “After all of that and I only progressed by 1cm? At this rate, I’ll be here for days.” He decides to burst my water bag to help move things along.

10.15am: The husband is back and I feel better. Hahahha, no I don’t. The pain in my left half has reached a solid 10 but at least I have someone around to tell me geek jokes. He repeats my favourite one and I still crack a smile.

“Yo momma so fat her patronus is a cake.” Hahahahhaha.

12pm: They decided to pump me with A LOT MORE epidural and that seems to solve the half-sided problem. My left side has gone numb too and I can finally breathe again. Life is beautiful with epidural.

12.30pm: OBGYN returns and decides it’s time to induce. “This has gone on long enough,” were his exact words. “We need to speed up the process. Induction raises the risk of wound rupture but we’ll take it slow and we’ll monitor it closely.” I get a bag of oxytocin attached to my IV.

1.15pm: Good call. I’m suddenly 7cm dilated. With any luck, the baby should be out by 3pm.

2.30pm: I feel like something is falling out. Which is weird because I can’t even feel my legs but something is definitely falling out. I have this overwhelming urge to push. The nurse does a quick check and 10cm, it’s game on!

3pm: OBGYN puts on his scrubs and the nurses form like a cheering squad. It’s surreal having 4 people peering at my lady bits and cheering for me to push. There’s no modesty in childbirth. Naturally, I oblige.

3.21pm: Theo’s out and he’s the most beautiful slime-covered tiny human I’ve ever seen.

The end. Or rather, the beginning.

Solidarity

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Overheard:

Truett: Kirsten, do you know actually I’m a bit worried about starting Primary 1? I’ll have to learn so many new things and they’ll be very difficult.

Kirsten: Well…I’d be happy to assist you! If you’re nice to me…

Smartass reply by the daughter aside, it’s really sweet to know that the kids are starting to share their feelings with each other.

We asked Truett how he felt about starting Primary 1 but he was a little reluctant to talk to us about it so we didn’t press the issue. We figured we’d wait till he was ready. For now, we’re just glad that they have each other for support.

Several days later, Truett was grabbing his head looking visibly stressed while learning his 听写…

Truett: Wah, this is super hard man. Do I need to learn all this for Primary 1?

Me: Um, actually, you need to learn this for next week. You can do it, Tru, we’ll learn them one at a time.

Kirsten: Okayyy, kor kor, I will learn all the words with you. If we do it together, it won’t be so bad.

And she did. And they both nailed it.

Missing my baby

Baby Theo is back in the hospital for phototherapy treatment and I’m missing him more than I ever thought I could miss anyone. I’ve realised that the only way to keep my postnatal blues in check was holding my baby and feeling his little baby weight in my arms and breathing in his delicious baby smell and munching on his droopy baby cheeks. But now I can’t and it’s heartbreaking.

Out of the first 8 days of his life, he’s already spent 6 in the hospital…and counting.

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Yesterday, when he was warded again, I was like one of those crazy mothers who refused to let go of my baby. I tried to hold him for as long as I could in a death grip while the nurse was trying to pry him from my arms looking completely bemused. After a while, she was like “I think you can put him down here and we’ll take care of him.”

Finally I did and I figured I’d lurk around to watch him from outside the nursery, to just be there, you know, even though my presence was pretty much unnecessary. But the curtains were drawn shut and I think the nurse felt very sorry for me so she tried to usher me towards the lift, like “it’s ok, you can go now, don’t worry, we’ll call you if there are any updates.”

I put on a brave face, like, “I think I’ll just stay here for a little bit” but then as she wheeled my baby in for treatment and the door closed behind her, I immediately burst into tears, like a full on emo meltdown.

Not one of my finer moments, bawling my eyes out like he was being sold into slavery.

My regular brain says that I’m being melodramatic – it’s not a big deal and he’s going to be ok but my hormonal mommy brain says that I need my baby and every minute of not having him makes my everywhere hurt.

Sigh, I miss this face so much.

theo

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