As mentioned in my previous blog, the last stretch of my pregnancy got me all antsy. Baby was taking her sweet time, and I was getting anxious about the whole birthing thing for two reasons: potential complications when going beyond the 40th week and the looming possibility of a cesarean birth (if baby grows even larger by the day).
At the start of my 39th week, I watched YouTube videos on how to speed up labor naturally – you know, the usual suspects like squats, stretches, and some workouts that supposedly will induce labor. I also watched labor video experiences of other birthing moms to prep myself mentally. I felt like I’ve rehearsed the procedure countless of times in my head! 🙂
December 11 rolls around, and I went all-in with a labor-inducing workout in the morning. Louie, my husband, even saw me and laughed at me. I followed the routine from a YouTube video from start to finish and was even more encouraged after reading several comments stating that the workout was very effective for them and helped them induce labor if not on the same day, in a few days after. I also had a prenatal massage in the afternoon and requested the therapist to specifically target the acupressure points for inducing labor.
As evening approached, signs of labor manifested – the urge to poop, frequent urination, lower back pain, super active baby movements, heavier pelvic pressure, nausea, and heavy breathing. I also vomited two times at midnight. So I decided to check in with my obstetrician the next day, and to my surprise, my cervix was already 6cm dilated! Cue the panic and joy – we should get admitted, like, right now! Especially since this is my second baby, labor is expected to progress faster.
On December 12 at 5pm, Louie and I drove back home just to have a quick dinner and a shower. We also grabbed the already packed bags that I prepared a long time ago for the hospital for me and the baby.
Hospital Admission to Labor
At 7pm, we arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City and went straight to the Admissions Department. I presented the admissions form which was already filled out and signed by my doctor. I was asked to wait for 30 minutes because all assessment rooms for labor were fully occupied. When I got a slot, the nurse asked me to just remove my undies and lie on the bed for internal examination by their resident doctor.
The nurse also asked a few questions regarding my pregnancy history, labor symptoms, and my general health profile. The resident doctor checked on me at 8:30pm, and she said my cervix was dilated to 8cm.
The nurse asked me to change into the hospital gown and they wheeled me into the labor room. Originally our plan was for me to be with my husband in the high-risk pregnancy unit. Unfortunately, however, all HRPUs were occupied and a room would be available on a first-come-first-served basis only when a birthing mom would go on to the delivery room for delivery. The nurse said there’s no assurance on when that would happen because labor may take a while (more than 24 hours) for some moms.
I ended up in a slightly rowdy ward with eight other moms in labor. It was like a symphony of pain and sounds behind those curtains. It’s because we’re not really too far apart from one another. I could also hear them rate their pains about 7-10 when asked by the nurses. When it was my turn to answer, at 8cm, I said I don’t feel pain so maybe at most 1-2 since I could feel the contractions anyway.
Fast forward to 9:30pm. The nurse told me to walk through the corridor to speed up labor. I asked to be with my husband for moral support and he was allowed to go in. We called my family to report my status.
My doctor reached the hospital at 10pm. She performed an IE and my cervix was still dilated at 8cm so she advised to give me oxytocin and called the anesthesiologist for my epidural. Though I could not feel pain yet, she said once labor progresses I might already feel the pain so it would be better to have the epidural now than later. I already signed the consent form and was prepped for the epidural.
At around 11pm, the anesthesiologist came in and they wheeled me into the operation room. I was positioned into a “C” with my back arching outwards for the needle. After about 15 minutes, I started feeling cold and could not control my shaking. The anesthesiologist said it is just a normal effect.
She did the skin test and checked if I could feel her hand touching my arm. I said yes. On my feet and legs, I started feeling a little numb. Then they moved me back to the labor room. It was already at 11:45pm when the resident doctor performed another IE on me and said that the baby is already positioned in station zero.
We had to wait for another hour before my doctor did another IE and said we’re all set and ready for delivery. The baby was at station 2 and I was already fully dilated. At last! The only pain I could feel was the cramping on my upper right leg. It was tolerable and it was also good since I could take it as a sign when contractions would come in.
My eyes were also fixated on the digital clock and I observed that my contractions went from 5 minutes apart to 4 to 3 and 2 before I was transferred to the delivery room.
Since I found it hard to move the lower part of my body, we had to wait for two men helpers to carry me from the labor room bed to the delivery bed. Everyone was in the room, including my doctor, the anesthesiologist, the assisting nurse, the resident doctor. We were just waiting for my husband to get dressed up in scrubs.
Time check: 3am. The resident doctor told me to start pushing. “Curl your body forward and hold your breath while you push, and slowly exhale. End with a long, calming breath.” I did about five pushes and almost lost breath in the last two tries. My eyes were closed every time. That’s why when baby was out at 3:36am and was lifted up high right in front of me crying loud, I couldn’t help but also cry like a baby with tears just flowing from my eyes nonstop. It was tears of joy. I made it again!
My husband cut the umbilical cord. After four minutes, the placenta was out. The medical staff cleaned the baby and did some checks while my doctor repaired muscles and performed the stitches on me. When baby was cleaned, a nurse placed her on my chest and we did our first skin-to-skin moment.
Recovery After Delivery
We were out of the delivery room at 4:46am and my baby and I were transferred to the recovery room where time blurs into a mix of check-ups, naps, and hospital noises.
The nurse said the estimated recovery time is 4-6 hours. I arrived at the recovery room first and had intermittent sleep. It was a whirlwind of pediatric checks, breastfeeding advice, and a ton of screenings for the little one. All the other laboring moms both in the high-risk pregnancy units and the ward haven’t delivered yet.
After three hours, I tried lifting up my legs and was happy that I already could. My heart rate and blood pressure were normal. Baby was also okay. She already peed and had good vital signs as well. Body temperature also was stable.
I was asked to try to stand and pee in the rest room. At first I felt super heavy and I saw some blinking lights when I closed and opened my eyes. I was happy I was able to pee and walked back to the hospital bed.
At that time, there were four moms who were wheeled in one by one to the recovery room. It was already 9am and I wanted to have breakfast. They served breakfast at 10am and I also had my first oral pain medication.
We should have already transferred to the private room but all private rooms were full. The nurse said that usual checkout time is 12pm but the room would only be available at around 1pm because it would be cleaned.
We waited some more and finally we got tagged for an available room at 2-2:30pm. I called my husband for admission since we couldn’t transfer without a relative who would have to sign the papers. There was no available helper to wheel us from the recovery room to the private room, so it was already 5pm when we finally came into our private haven.
Sacred Moments in our Private Haven
Our family arrived to visit us from around 7pm to 10pm. Everyone was so thrilled to see the baby.
On the next day, my baby’s pediatrician did some checks. The lactation nurse also arrived to guide me into latching and breastfeeding. Some nurses also came in to perform an ultrasound to the baby, newborn screening with blood extraction, screening for hearing and vision, and vaccination for the baby. Another nurse bathed the baby. We were all in good hands!
My obstetrician cleared me as well at 10am and said we could already be discharged and go home on the same day.
We signed the birth certificate and checked the statement of account and settled the hospital bill quickly. I even had a celebratory lunch prepared by the hospital’s in-house chef.
The return home, just a day after giving birth, marked the culmination of an intense yet gratifying experience. Before we left, St. Luke’s gave us a free baby stroller with a car seat. I felt delighted and surprised that it’s part of the freebie for the maternity package (available until December 31).
My husband pushed my wheelchair and the hospital staff carried our bags and items to the ground floor. We waited for our driver and were sent home shortly.
Finally, I was back to our room only one day after giving birth in the hospital. This time, I was already with our cute little baby, Rivia. This second pregnancy journey, from anxieties to elation, painted another vivid tapestry of resilience and the enduring power of bringing life into the world.