Saitaoha was born on 28 February 2016 at 4.13 pm. She weighed 3.384 kgs and was 52 cm in length.
The whole labour ordeal was well, an ordeal. Saitaoha’s estimated due date was 19 February which came and went with no signs of labour. I saw my doctor on 23 February and she gave me a stretch and sweep to bring on labour, it wasn’t pleasant but wasn’t painful. She said that baby was 2/5 engaged and I was 2 cm dilated but booked in an induction for me for 28 February anyway. Her prediction was that I would go into labour before the induction date and I was hoping she was right because I know it can take a long time after induction for baby to arrive and I was hoping to miss the 29 February leap year birthday!
On the day that my doctor did the s+s, I started spotting and losing my mucus plug or bloody show as they call it. I was hopeful because that’s usually a sign that things are starting to happen.
My in laws flew in that very day and I was wondering whether I would go into labour while they were here. But I didn’t, I was starting to get more intense cramps and more frequent contractions but generally felt well enough to go sightseeing with them! We even went to visit Elizabeth Quay and Fremantle during the three days they were here, some of my colleagues told me that I was mad, but walking helps bring on labour and if I sat at home stressing I think I would have felt worse.
It’s ironic that the very next day after my inlaws left (26 February), I started to feel regular contractions around 10.30 at night and started timing them. They were about 4- 5 minutes apart and lasted for abot 40 seconds in duration. The pain was bearable but it was difficult to sleep. Because the hospital had said to give them a call if contractions were 5 minutes apart, I gave them a call, the midwife suggested that I take some panadol or have a bath to ease the pain as it was likely that this would go on for quite some time. I walked around the house all morning and gave the hospital another call around 5-6am. They told me to come in to the hospital where they would conduct cardiotocography (CTG) monitoring to monitor my contractions and baby’s heartbeat. My poor parents had been hovering around all morning, the moment they heard that I was going to the hospital, my father said that he was coming too! I was going to talk them out of it because I knew actual labour would be some time away and it was likely the hospital might send me home to wait some more, but honestly, I was tired after a sleepless night so I let them be.
At the hospital, my parents were told to wait outside while R accompanied me to the monitoring ward. I was strapped up to the CTG machine and ironically, my contractions started becoming further apart, like 10 minutes per contraction. I was feeling embarrassed but the mid wife reassured me that it was normal that contractions became less frequent when the ladies reached the hospital due to the adrenalin rush. As predicted, they confirmed that I was in early labour but sent me home to wait for either the contractions to get more intense or for my waters to break.
I spent the rest of the day (Sat 27 February) walking up and down the house, pausing only when a contraction came. I’m trying to recall what the contractions felt like, it wasn’t a stabbing kind of pain, but rather a slow squeeze kind of dull ache that kept crescending. I remember grabbing on to the wall and breaking into a sweat when it reached a peak. My parents seriously aged 10 years overnight and worry was eched all over their faces. R was also very tired and I urged him to sleep while he could. Close to midnight I was getting tired and the contractions were getting a lot more painful and intense so the hospital told me to come in again. The CTG confirmed that the contractions were now 5 minutes apart and more intense, the doctor wanted us to stay in the hospital (I was surprised, I thought they would send me home again) and gave me some painkillers so I could sleep. R came with me and slept in the rollout chair. By 4am (28 February) I was 5cm dilated, the contractions were getting pretty bad so I requested for the epidural. The doctor who administered the epidural was very nice and told me to let me know when a contraction came so he would stop what he was doing as I need to be very still for the procedure. He commented that I was one of the most quiet patent he’s ever met during contractions because I didn’t groan or moan but rather just breathed in and out heavily (I didn’t tell him that I was yelling on the inside). The epidural was fantastic, I didn’t feel much pain except for pressure, however, I kept worrying stupidly (a friend once told me that the doctor refused to top up her epidural when she was in labour) that the epidural drug was going to run out and kept asking R ‘how many mls left in the pack?’ and didn’t dare to press the button to top up the drug. Luckily a midwife reassured me that they would not run out of the drug and had lots in storage haha.
It felt like ages but the midwife broke my waters and put me on the drip to speed up the labour process. I had no idea there was going to be so much water, it was such a bizarre sensation. They also asked me to change positions ( lay on my side and sit up) to induce labour but noting seemed to work, in fact, I was very uncomfortable and my back was aching badly when told to lay on my side. The doctor came to check in on me again around 3.00pm, but I was still 5cm dilated! She said that it was possible that baby’s head was not in an exact position and thus was obstructing delivery, because it had been so long and didn’t seem to be progressing, she advised that I should have a caesarean. I agreed and from then on, everything was a blur. I was quite sad that after labouring for so long, it still came down to a C-section but at that point, I was also so tired that I could possibly have agreed to anything. They injected me with some drug to prepare me for the C-section and I started to feel really hot and sweaty. This was the lowest point of the whole process and the only time when I felt like I was going to break down in tears. I just felt so uncomfortable, so tired, breathless, hot and sweaty. And after such a long time, I was still going to have to be cut open. Luckily I told R that I felt really hot and he started fanning me with a piece of paper, believe it or not, that little bit of breeze from his fanning calmed me down and I didn’t feel like tearing my hair out.
I couldn’t remember much of being wheeled to the delivery ward because I was half asleep, I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. When the doctor was asking me questions, I could hardly answer because I was nodding off, in desperation he turned to R who tried to answer some questions for me. There wasn’t any pain because the epidural was still in but lots of pressure and tugging. I asked R why he didn’t go to the other side of the ‘curtain’ to see what’s going on because I knew he would be interested so he asked the midwife whether he could. She said ‘you are supposed to be on the other side supporting your wife’ and I couldn’t help smiling because I actually didn’t mind at all! I was still half asleep throughout everything until they lifted Saitaoha out who burst out crying, I saw R’s face and he gasped ‘Oh!’ in amazement. R was hustled away to cut the cord and wipe down Saitaoha and suddenly they put her on my chest. She wasn’t crying, her eyes were wide open and she looked at me and blinked curiously. I fell in love instntly.
She was so cute and beautiful and her eyelashes were so long, I said ‘Hello Saitaoha, it’s mummy here’. It was amazing.
[ It’s been more than a month since I first started this post, Saitaoha is now one month and 5 days old! Afterwards I was told I lost a lot of blood (1.8 litres) during the procedure and might require a blood tranfusion. But luckily, it all turned out ok and a blood tranfusion wasn’t required. I was discharged after 3 days in the hospital and began my new phase in life as a mother. The journey thus far has been challenging (sleepless days are no joke!) and wonderful at the same time, sometimes both emotions can be felt in a space of 5 minutes. I hope I will be able to find time to chronicle life as Saitaoha’s mummy in the future :)]