Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Welcoming Baby #4

Surprise, surprise!

I have a new baby girl!

Hello, cute baby!

Last weekend I was officially upgraded to a mother of three. I had sort of unintentionally kept my pregnancy with baby #4 discreet and the birth announcement on my personal social media account surprised many of my friends and relatives last week. To say that I kept my last pregnancy a total secret is not apt because some close circles such as colleagues, close friends and BFFs as well as immediate family members knew about it since the very beginning.

Pregnant again!

I found out that I was pregnant again around early December 2019. Then, after coming back from a work trip overseas, I suddenly fell sick and could not shake the weird flu-like symptoms for about two weeks. Also, when I was not well, my piles gave me a lot of problems and I bled a lot so I thought my period was late because my body had lost quite a bit of blood. How naive.

Two lines!

One afternoon, the RM 1 pregnancy test kits I purchased in bulk from Shopee arrived and I casually peed on one. To my horror astonishment, I witnessed two very pink lines immediately. I did not believe my eyes so I took another test kit and hastily poured few drops of urine on it. Same thing appeared, two very obvious pink lines again. I quickly snapped a photo of these two peed-on pregnancy kits and sent it to my husband with a caption: "SH*T!". He texted back, "Hahahahaha!"

Soon, I informed my parents about the possibility of them becoming grandparents once more. Their reaction was, as usual, as flat as cardboard but never mind. My friend who saw me battling with these weird symptoms for weeks was suspicious about my possible pregnancy but kept mum about it. She only exclaimed, "I KNEW IT!" when I broke the news to her that I was pregnant again. "How come?" "Some women have cold like symptoms early in pregnancy." "Really? I DID NOT know that."

To cut the story short, once I knew I was pregnant again, I quickly made an appointment to see an OB gynae to confirm the pregnancy and he confirmed it via ultrasound scan. On that very first antenatal visit, I shared my concerns with my gynae that this pregnancy was unplanned, I was getting older and didn't prepare my body for another pregnancy bla bla bla but he advised me that it's okay. To him, planned or unplanned pregnancies are both the same.

I spent the first trisemester feeling very lethargic and nauseous. However, I managed to join a super long road trip from Seremban all the way to Kelantan and back with my husband's family members and children around Christmas time (How we all miss the pre-CoVid times). Second trisemester was when sciatica and piles started to hit me so badly. This time around, my pregnancy gave me a very annoying symptom that I never experienced before: Itchiness - which gynae thought was normal for expecting ladies. The itchiness was actually so horrible that it often kept me awake at night. It attacked me once a week for a few days and only seriously subsided when I took gynae's prescribed antihistamine. I had to befriend Calamine lotion too to soothe the itchiness so I can function normally without scratching here and there on daily basis. Also, MCO happened during my second trisemester so I spent so much time cooking and baking during this time. The third semester was when severe insomnia began to haunt me until the delivery time. I only slept few hours a night for few months thanks to a combination of insomnia, shortness of breath, Braxton Hicks, frequent urination and itchiness. I often felt like a very pregnant zombie instead of a glowing preggo during the day, way before I had to deal with my newborn and it sucked.

Finally the day that I waited arrived: The labor day! I initiated the idea of inducing the baby out before her EDD and my gynae approved (part of the reasons was because of my stillborn history and my husband could plan and apply for his paternity leave ahead of time). As such, on the 37th week of antenatal check up, my gynae did a cervix examination on me. I was told that I had dilated a bit thus he could induce the labor next week. He then fixed a date and issued a letter for my husband and me to go to the hospital's labor room the following Saturday to begin the induction process and evict the baby out of my Hotel Uterus.

Week 37+6: The D-Day

7am: Woke up and had an early morning shower because we needed to send Naomi and B to my in law's and have breakfast before checking in to the hospital.

D-Day: The last pregnant photo before delivery.

8.30am: Arrived to the hospital 30 mins late. My husband and I went to the admission counter to settle the paperwork and pay the deposit before being escorted to the labor room upstairs.

9.15am: Walked into a very familiar place, the labor room area. We were directed to Labor Room 1 (I secretly wished to be given this room because this labor room was where I safely gave birth to Naomi and B). As soon as I entered the labor room, I was asked to change. I told the nurse that I had been having constipation since the day before and was immediately given enema to clear out my bowel before the labor began. BTW, this enema is godsend for someone who is severely constipated. It provided much-needed relief in minutes (or maybe seconds) - simply wonderful and worked like magic!

Mask on, ready for delivery.

9.30am: CTG belt was attached on my belly to monitor my baby's heart rate and contractions. I had to lie down with the CTG belt on for 30 minutes so the nurse could get the reading she needed.

10.10am: Nurse came back to check on me and the CTG reading. She concluded that my contractions were still irregular.

10.24am: Nurse briefed me about the pitocin drip that she was about to administer. She prepped me that I would start to feel pains not long after the pitocin went into my systems and once I felt the contractions, I could opt to have entonox gas or pethidine to relieve the pains. At this stage, I did not consider having epidural at all so I did not make any particular request for epidural.

This was my first time being given pitocin drip to induce my labor. For my previous two pregnancies, prostin, which was inserted to the cervix, was used to induce my labor. I asked the nurse why this time around, I was not given prostin like before. She answered that different gynae has different preferred method of inducing labor. My gynae for this pregnancy happens to favor using pitocin drip because it takes effect faster (and hopefully mothers wouldn't have to suffer with painful contractions for a long time).

11.00am: Gynae came in to check on my dilation. He said I was 2 cm dilated (last week I was apparently 1.5cm dilated) and burst my water bag. Ouch. Next, he looked at the wall clock and told us, "Labor should be over around 1.30pm. I will come back again around this time." He left the labor room.

Contractions become more intense after gynae broke my water bag. Waves of contraction came about every minute and I decided to resort straight to pethidine jab instead of doing the gas first, although the gas was ready and just silently waited next to me.

After the pethidine jab was injected on my buttock, I felt so much better. Contractions were still very painful but somewhat manageable because this injection made me drowsy and distracted from feeling the pains. I was hoping that with the pethidine jab, my cervix would dilate faster and I could push the baby out in an hour or so. My calculation was a bit wrong this time around because if I requested pethidine early in my labor (while I was probably just 2-3cm dilated), my cervix would still take its sweet time to fully open. I did not have the urge to push the baby yet after 1 hour, unlike the previous two deliveries. At this juncture, I still rejected the gas when it was offered to me several times. I don't know why I just did not feel like doing the 'inhale-exhale' exercises when the contractions hit me.. Perhaps it's because I was already very sleepy and tired post the injection. In the past, I literally grabbed the gas from the get go.

1.20pm: Gynae came back to check on my progress. He wanted to do another cervical examination but I told him to wait until that one wave of strong contraction I was experiencing gone. He waited for my contraction to go away. He saw me in so much pain and sympathetically murmured, "Must be very painful now.." Once I gave him the "OK." to do the cervical examination, he quickly did it and updated us that I was 6cm dilated by now. My cervix had become very thin compared to two hours ago and he could easily feel the baby's head. After that, he told the nurse that he would not go home just yet and wait downstairs (he works half day on Saturdays).

1.30pm: God. It was not long ago when Gynae said I was only 6 cm dilated and now he already left the labor room. But how come I felt that the baby was coming out anytime soon? Amidst the stronger contractions that now got longer in duration, I set to be slightly panic and tried to confirm with myself that this was really the urge to push, not just my hallucination. I told my husband to get the nurse in while embracing entonox mouthpiece next to my bed.

In a flash, two nurses entered the room and got everything ready for the baby's arrival. My gynae was back to the labor room shortly after. So this was it. Time to push then.

With the instructions from the nurse and unimaginable pains on my lower body, I tried to push the baby out. I screamed like a banshee for about 15 minutes every time I was told to do the pushing or I felt like something big was coming down below. One nurse standing on my right told me not to scream to save my energy but it was impossible to hold the screams in. My husband held one of my hands but he was mostly silent, likely because he did not know how to console me either. I kept on yelling to my gynae, "Doctor K, please just take the baby out, ugh.. take out, take it out!" Then he said, "Yes, yes, wait.. I need to get the head out first."

In a moment, it was seemingly the time for me to do another super big push as the baby's head was finally visible, as per my husband's latest update. I guess my weird birthing position coupled with massive panicking during the last push made my gynae do the episiotomy. I could hear the scissors when the snips down there were made.. but at that point, I didn't really care with what the doctor did to my body as long as he could get the baby out ASAP because I could not take the pains anymore.

She's here!

1.45pm: The baby was finally out! She let out a little cry and was passed to me. I was already half past dead after all the pushing and when the baby landed on my chest, my gynae was in the midst of doing the suture. I vividly remembered seeing a long thread covered in blood being pulled up and down as he did the 'stitching up'. He told me that everything is over now and I did not have to do anything. A little bit more stitches and he'd be done, he assured. When I asked my gynae if my placenta was out already, he replied that he would take it out after the suture was done.

Moving on, I got myself back on earth and eventually looked at and felt the slippery baby on my chest while heaving for breath after the scary pushing ordeal. "She's so small...", I told everyone in the room. My gynae responded, my baby's size was okay .. Although later on, I found out that my newborn was under 3 kg, the smallest of all my babies at birth.

Few hours after birth.

So this is the story of how my youngest child came to this world. Hopefully this news doesn't startle you, reader of this blog, especially after 2 years of hiatus writing on this platform.

My husband and two other children could not be more excited with the new addition of the family! They all absolutely adore the new chick in the house.

I am grateful that my pregnancy, despite all the hiccups and various discomforts, went well; the labor, which I feared for the longest time, was considerably quick (about 3 hours long in total) and manageable - and most importantly, my baby came out healthy!

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3

Now I am still in the midst of recuperating, adjusting to the new rhythm of life and completing the 30-40 days' confinement period at home with the help of my husband and MIL. Sadly, my parents could not fly to Malaysia to help me out during confinement like the previous practices due to the current CoVid kerfuffle. It's a bummer but what to do.

Also, the episiotomy wound got me so 'ripped' down there for the first week of postpartum and it affected my mobility so much. I had to rely on my husband to take care of the newborn 90% of the time, including bathing her, as walking or sitting was so painful, let alone squatting or sitting on a small stool.

My biggest worry now is how to survive the rest of the confinement period when my husband gets back to the office next week. God help me.

New bundle of joy in the house!

Last but not least, you can read my pregnancy journal with Baby #4 here. It was put together quite last minute because I got very lazy during my pregnancy hence the not-so-detailed updates for the first and second trisemesters.