Still feeling surreal that I'm sharing my labour story with all of you right now. It's been such a whirlwind of a journey ever since I gave birth. Been 26 days since our baby was born, and finally I'm able to find some time to select photos, edit them and blog about this post that means a lot to me.
I found myself staring at this empty 'create post' page not knowing where and how to start! I blogged on-the-go on Dayre and recorded everything about my labour there. If you're interested to know all the details like what hospital food I had (lol), you may check out my Dayre posts below!
The Day- Checking into the Hospital
The Day 2- The Labour
The Day 3- Bean Bean is Born
Looking back, I'm super glad that I blogged on-the-go cos if you asked me to recall all the details of my labour right now, I probably would have forgotten 70% of it cos so much has happened since, and this sleep deprivation has clouded my memory! A few days ago I read back my labour posts and literally wow-ed at just how much I have forgotten! I also felt really sentimental all over again cos looking back, it was indeed such dramatic, yet an amazing journey.
So I'm very, very glad I jotted everything down. Blogging on Dayre then was also a distraction for me from all the waiting and waiting, and also the pain that I was going through. The support that I received from my readers there helped me go through the difficult moments a lot. So, thank you all who popped by just to read, those who commented, and friends who purposely downloaded the app just to read and then texted me to encourage me!
In this post, I'm going to give you an overall summary of my labour together with photos taken by myself (selfies haha), my sis Gladys (labour photos). and Boon (delivery and baby's first photos).
Warning: Long post ahead.
Towards the end of my third trimester, we found out that I had Gestational Diabetes (diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy) which contributed to my dramatic weight gain. Because of my GD and my sugar levels that didn't seem to decrease after monitoring at home for weeks, my gynae, Dr Paul from Pantai Hospital KL advised us to induce labour at Week 38, which was considered safe for baby to be delivered. Knowing Dr Paul, he is someone who is super calm and composed, and wouldn't simply "scare" us with infos. So for him to tell us, "At this point, it's better for baby to be out than in", we knew it meant that we really should give it a serious thought.
Even during our consultation session with Dr Paul, I was already leaning towards inducing as early as we could. Knowing that keeping our baby in any longer might increase the unwanted risk of stillbirth really concerned me. I felt we shouldn't take anything for granted and since we got the green light to go for it, we should. Anyhow, I still wanted to discuss more with Boon before we confirmed our decision to induce, so we went home to talk more about it. Within hours (even while in the car), we already knew inducing was the best decision. Boon was only worried that inducing would mean more intense contractions for me cos it spikes up suddenly as opposed to letting it happen naturally. I told him I really don't mind that as long as we get baby out safely. That's all that mattered to me then, so we agreed to induce the following week.
It was quite crazy, really! We never saw it coming. We really took our time and paced ourselves for baby preparation until his estimated due date (EDD) on Dec 19, but now, suddenly we are short of time cos we were 10-11 days early! After we called up the hospital to confirm our decision, we ran around like headless chicken buying our last minute stuff, getting the house cleaned and ready, washing all bed sheets, couch covers and curtains, and packing the hospital bag. For me, I still managed to slot in time to get my hair washed and treated at Number 76, and my facial at DRx before labour hehe. Best decision ever!
Since we could in a way, "choose" our baby's birth date, we thought 9-12-15 would make a cute birthday. And for baby to be born on that day, Dr Paul said we would need to check into the hospital on the 8th, get induced and hopefully by the 9th baby will be out. And that's what we did.
8th December 2015
4pm- we checked in and were comfortably settled in my ward, waiting for my induction to be administered. To my surprise, I was feeling really calm and happy then. I felt peaceful and wasn't anxious or scared at all. I guess my mind was set at welcoming our baby and that kept me excited and on the positive side. I also told Boon, "I know this may sound crazy, but I really can't wait to feel my first contractions. I'm really curious as to how it'll feel like!". I know, so naive of me. Hahaha but at that point I was just an excited mother-to-be who couldn't wait to see her baby.
6pm- After waiting and watching TV to pass time (but not really watching), a nurse came in to strap the CTG on me by placing two monitors on my belly to track my blood pressure and oxygen levels, as well as my contractions. While I was strapped there for 30 mins, the husby went to register me and get our bags from the car. I was just there, updating my Dayre and social media, scrolling, passing time and feeling very hungry haha.
Everything was good and baby was actively moving inside the belly! Every nurse that came by told me, "Wow, your baby is very excited!". That sounded good to me.
7.35pm- Got my first dose of induction (finally!) via insertion which was pretty painful haha. Gotta lie down for one hour to let it set.
9pm- Around that time my in-laws dropped by to visit, followed by my family who brought my Elvis burger from My Burger Lab hehe. The ward was full of 15 people talking and laughing, and that really warmed my heart, seeing both sides of my family together to support us in this moment. Didn't manage to take any photos with my in-laws cos they left earlier, and you know, the Instagram/Snapchat generation (my younger sisters) wouldn't leave without taking photos to seal the moment, so here are photos taken with my family before they left for home!
This was my last #careenxbump shot. After so many bump shots taken throughout the year, this was going to be my last. Was kinda emotional at the thought of it. Was telling Boon that as much as I couldn't wait to see and hold our baby, I would also miss being pregnant with him. The connection with him in my womb was just something special that I find hard to describe. Before my family left, Evangeline told me that she'll miss my preggie hug. Awwwww :')
9th December 2015
Went to bed at 1am after being too excited to sleep since 11.30pm. Woke up an hour later to pee and found myself feeling what seemed like mild contractions. They felt like intense period pain on and off every other minute, but still bearable. Since it was, I tried sleeping through it. I closed my eyes and thought I slept, but I didn't. All the while I was just "trying" to sleep, and everytime I opened my eyes to check the time, one hour would have passed. The same happened for 3am, 4am, and contractions just got more painful by the hour. Boon was sound asleep and I knew just how tired he'd been so I didn't wake him up to teman me. After all, even if I woke him up I'd still have to go through the same pain, so why would I need to sacrifice his sleep? Therefore I didn't wake him up at all until the nurse came in to check on me and asked if I wanted to know the progress of my labour and dilation, to which I said YES, PLEASE!
After 4 hours of pain, I would think my dilation would have been at least...3cm? When the nurse told me that it was just at the tip of the finger, not even 1cm, I was like, ARE YOU SERIOUS.
While enduring the contractions that spiked every other minute, I kept motivating myself in my mind that if my friends could pull through a 36-hour labour with zero pain relief, I CAN TOO! I told myself that if they can, I can. Pain is only a state of mind. I breathed in and out as I was taught, with hopes that with every breath I took, my pain would be lesser felt. I wanted to finish strong and be proud of the fact that I endured and made it without pain relief. I wanted to be strong.
But after hearing from the nurse that my dilation was not even 1cm, my heart sank. When I asked if she thought mine would be a long labour, she hesitantly revealed that yes, it looks like it would. My mind wanted to still carry on without pain relief and beat this giant called Contractions, but in my heart I knew that if I were to endure for another day with this intensity and frequency (every 2 mins apart), I would be completely drained out by the time I needed to push, which might be dangerous.
So instead of taking the risk, I asked to be administered with epidural to relief my contraction pain, so that I could at least get some rest before it's time to push. With pain relief I would be more relaxed and my cervix would open quicker too. Once I told the nurse, she immediately gave me the Enema to help induce bowel movements (the process was nasty to say the least. details on Dayre), contacted the anaesthesiologist and transferred us to the labour ward. We packed our bags, walked over slowly (with contractions it was difficult to walk), and waited and waited before the anaesthesiologist was available.
After what felt like forever (2 hours), my anaesthesiologist came in around 7.30am with a few nurses to prep for the epidural injection. While waiting I was injected for drips, and was given Laughing Gas to help distract me from the pain. Did it work? Nope, not for me. Pain was so bad that I started biting into the Laughing Gas thingy.
Boon was asked to leave the labour ward while epidural was administered. I was asked to sit towards the edge of the right side of my bed with my body bent forward, hugging a pillow when it was administered. For someone who feared needles, I asked the nurse who was holding me if it would be painful (What a stupid question, duh. But I still wanted to ask. I just wanted some distraction and someone to talk to. Just some assurance was better than nothing), to which she said, "No la, the injection for drips is even more painful". WOW, I thought. If I could endure the injection for drips means I could handle this! Suddenly I saw the light.
But when the epidural injection was poked into my back through my spine, I knew. I knew that the nurse was lying T-T It was painful. It felt like I was a brick wall, and someone drilling a nail into me. It was sharp and intense, BUT the good news is, the process didn't last for more than 5 minutes. Within a short period of time, I started feeling the effects. I started to feel really cold and shiver uncontrollably, felt numb from waist down and started to feel itches all around- on my chest, finger tip (ONE particular finger tip. How funny), thigh, top of my head -.- Those were very common immediate effects of epidural. But one thing was certain, I began to feel less and less of contraction pain. Within minutes, my body was able to fully relax cos I started feeling zero contraction pain. That made me so at ease that I started feeling sleepy right away.
Slept for about 3 hours (with Dr and nurses coming to check in between), even with disturbances that felt like the best sleep ever. Finally I was able to rest! Woke up for breakfast and the families started coming in to visit me.
I was feeling hot all the time so this was Boon fanning me with my extra pillow, while he himself was freezing cold. In fact, everyone else was freezing in there except me!
Mommy came in and when she saw me she cried, and that made me emo! I asked her why you cry, she said no la nothing just ignore me haha. But I think cos she saw I was going through so much pain that hurt her. Huhu T-T Having my mom around definitely helped to comfort and calm me down. The rest of my family were waiting at the visitors lounge the whole time cos only husband, mom and mom in-law were allowed in the labour room.
But my sisters and sisters in-law sneaked in once in a while to say hi hahaha! These were taken by Gladys. I appreciate these photos so much now :') My face and entire body was super swollen due to the water retention and drips. Super photo unworthy but I'm still glad these moments were captured, regardless of how unglam I was.
Dr Paul came in at 9.30am to check on my dilation...
...and it was still just 1cm. After 8 hours of contracting nonstop.
Still ONE CM T-T
He said he'll administer the second dose of induction to speed up the labour, hopefully by evening baby would be delivered! So that's what we told everyone who called and texted to ask about our progress. A few more hours, we thought.
After that it was a cycle of sleeping, waking up for urine drainage and dilation checks, and more sleeps in between. Even with epidural, it came to a point that it became difficult to sleep cos my belly would be hardened with every contraction, so that made it hard for me to fall asleep.
Then came evening, which was supposed to be when I would have given birth! Dr checked my dilation, and yeah you guessed it right...still at 1cm. He then proceeded to break my water bag so things would move a little faster, and he said seems like it would only happen at midnight or the morning after. So we told our families to come back the next day.
At that moment, I couldn't help but to feel bad. I felt bad for keeping everyone concerned and waiting for so long. I know it's silly for me to think that way because it was in no way my fault, but I just felt bad that our families had been coming in and out of the hospital only to find that no, it's not time yet. Felt like with every update, it "disappointed" them to find that it still wasn't time. Silly thoughts, but that was how I felt, which Boon told me I was being completely ridiculous.
10th December 2015
All through the night, the same things repeated again. Tried to sleep, nurses came in every other hour to drain my urine, check on my blood pressure, contractions and dilation, and me trying to sleep again.
Midnight passed, then it was the morning. Towards the day time, I was able to move my feet more cos the epidural started to wear off. I was happy with that freedom in movement...until I started to also feel my contractions on one side of my body. At that point contractions were very strong already so it really sucked. Kept asking for nurses to check on my epidural levels, and even after topping it up bit by bit, I could still feel the pain.
It was then 6am, which was when Dr said I would have given birth! A nurse came in to check on my dilation, and to my disappointment, I was only 2cm dilated. Two cm, after what felt like forever. My heart sank so bad. My water bag had already been broken and the longer we drag the time, the riskier it is to keep baby inside the womb after water bag's broken.
When I heard that it's only 2cm, I nodded and smiled at the nurse. But the moment she left the ward, I started weeping immediately. I felt so discouraged at the sound of 2cm. By then we would have been in labour for 36 hours and water bag broken for close to 12 hours already. I know it is still considered safe to wait for another 12 hours since our baby's heartbeat was still strong and doing well, but I just didn't want to take the risk, at all. Thoughts of baby potentially living in a hostile environment inside my womb, plus the possibility of it ending up in c-section just crushed me. After every checks by the nurses, I would weep the moment they left the room. Poor Boon had to keep consoling me and make sure I don't plunge into another emotional mess again.
7.20am- Could still feel every contraction, so the nurse gave me another top up of epidural. Shivers kicked in again and felt drowsy too, so that helped me go to sleep for a bit.
Dr Paul came in around 9.30am and said he'll be back around noon to check on my progress again. He also said if I'm not 6-7cm by noon, then we might need to opt for c-section.
At that point I had already cried enough, and I guess you could say I got over the sadness of the potential c-section. After crying it out, I felt better and brought my focus back on getting baby out safely, even if it means going for the last resort for me, which was c-section. At least an elective c-section would be better than last minute needing to go for an emergency c-section. I also gave this whole labour a thorough thought, and came to realise that I did my best- I've tried inducing, epidural to relax my muscles so that labour could be faster, another dose for induction, breaking of water bag, and still no sign of increased dilation. I tried all methods possible to bring baby out as fast as I could, and since I've exhausted all potential methods, the next best would be to bring baby out via c-section.
I wasn't even thinking about the recovery pain and scar that I'd have to wear forever anymore. Those didn't matter. I just wanted my baby out safely.
1.30pm- Dr Paul came in to check on my dilation, and it was still at 2cm. We then decided we would go ahead with the c-section instead of more waiting. After that, we were given consent forms to read through and sign, and I was being prepped for the operation by nurses. They gave me some oral thingy that tasted super weird (forgot what it's for already), put a cap on for me, removed my contact lens (not allowed in the operating theatre), wore my glasses, and before I knew it I was wheeled into the operating theatre.
My family was there when I was wheeled out, and my sis and sis in-law were there to take pics and videos of me being wheeled out. Haha it was a funny sight. Felt like I was in some kinda reality show. This was taken by Boon. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with excitement that I would soon be meeting our Bean Bean. After months and months of pregnancy, day after day of labour, finally we would be holding him in our arms in a matter of minutes! That felt surreal.
I must say this operation experience was an eye-opener for me. No one was telling me what was happening, I could only guess. As I was being wheeled and transferred from bed to bed to bed, my heart was at peace and mind was only focused on my baby.
Boon was ushered into a room to change into operating theatre scrubs while I was already in the operating theatre, getting my blood pressure checked and epidural topped up again. It was a scary feeling knowing that I'll be cut open. It's really all about trusting the professionals to do their thing.
Boon came out in his scrubs, sat beside me and all I looked at was him since, and occasionally at my anaesthesiologist who stood on my left. She was the most important person besides Dr Paul then! But it's comforting to see her giving assuring nods while I was being operated.
Boon and I held our hands together so tightly that it would have easily broken a few bones haha. While at it, we kept telling each other that this is it! We will see our Bean Bean soon! I was shivering from the cold but was too happy to realise it. I just wouldn't stop looking at Boon and smiling from ear-to-ear.
Before Dr Paul started the procedure, he reassured me that it would all be okay and we'll get to see our baby within 5 minutes. That kept us both super excited. He then asked me if I felt any pain, to which I said no. Then he revealed that okay it means the epidural was working because he was pinching me super hard hahaha! While cutting me open Dr Paul kept updating us about the progress, and told us he could see baby's head already and stuff like that. At that point, every single word that came out from his mouth mattered so, so much to us. Every assurance or positive feedback would give us immense relief.
Throughout the procedure, thoughts of "what if the epidural stopped working and I could feel EVERYTHING??" did cross my mind, but thank God no that didn't happen. While at it, I could feel the movements and pressure from everything, but zero pain. It was a weird feeling that still weirds me out until now though haha.
Indeed, after less than 5 minutes from when we started, our baby was out! Doctor said, "Okay, it's a boy!", and I heaved the BIGGEST sigh of relief ever. MY BABY IS OUT SAFELY!!!
Dr Paul showed baby to us over the curtain that was right in front of my face, and boy, was he a cute one! He was all covered in white-ish stuff looking all fair and pink, and he was so tiny! I would never forget the first sight of our son, his crinkly nose and curled up body. Very quickly the nurses brought baby aside to clean up, and I was just waiting for his first cry. Within seconds, he started crying. That was the sweetest cry I had ever heard, the sweet voice of our dear baby. The moment I heard him cry, I started crying while still smiling from ear-to-ear. Tears just wouldn't stop flowing from my eyes. I was overwhelmed with so much love, relief, and gratitude. Thank you, Jesus for bringing Bean Bean safely into this world.
Our baby was born at 3.01pm, a 2.9kg bundle of joy.
After about 1-2 minutes, the nurses brought him over to me and Boon to have a cheek-to-cheek moment for the mommy and baby. He was calm and had his eyes closed. As he came closer, I noticed how his skin was just so fair and smooth, his nose high and lips tiny. I was tempted to give him a kiss but I didn't want to pass him any germ.
I looked at our baby and gently whispered, "Hey baby, it's mommy here. Can you recognise my voice?" After that he immediately tried to open his eyes. I was so touched at the thought that my son recognises my voice T-T
Very shortly he was taken out of the operating theatre into the nursery. Boon contemplated whether to stay with me or follow baby into nursery. I told him I was doing fine, and I would prefer him to spend the first moments of our son's life with him since I wasn't able to do it. Honestly, I was kinda disappointed that I wasn't able to spend the first hours of my son's birth with him, do our skin-to-skin contact and take our first selfies. I had been thinking about that moment for the longest time, and after finding out that c-section doesn't allow that, I was kinda sad. So since I wasn't able to do it, I told Boon to go ahead and do skin-to-skin with baby. So off Boon went into the nursery with baby while I stayed back for my wound to be stitched and be monitored for another hour.
My operation was done around 3.30pm. Due to high traffic on that day, the hospital was lacking manpower so instead of an hour, it took me 3 hours before I got wheeled back to my ward. Those 3 hours sure did feel like forever. I missed Boon, missed our son, and I wondered if everyone would have taken a good look at our son before I did, taking his first photos before me, or even taken photos with him before I got to. The thought of it did sadden me a little, but very quickly I snapped back into thinking, "Well, at least he is out safely. That's the most important thing.", and I stopped thinking about it.
After 3 long hours, finally I was being wheeled out of the recovery room and I couldn't feel more excited to see my baby. As I was being wheeled into my ward, I saw my family members waiting at the registration counter and they said, "OMG finally! We waited for so long! Now we can see baby together!". I was like, "You mean you haven't seen baby yet?", and they said no they wanted to wait for me to see baby together, cos I'm the mommy and they didn't want to steal the first moments away from me. I was so touched when I heard it.
Later on I found out from Boon that he was adamant I saw and carried baby first before anyone else, so he stayed in the nursery with baby the whole time and didn't bring him out though he could have. My heart melted. I didn't expect that at all.
While in the nursery, Boon took the first photos of bean bean.
When I was wheeled into my ward, the nurse carried baby into my arms and that was the most surreal feeling ever. I couldn't believe that the very baby I was holding was the same baby who had been growing in my belly. We did some skin-to-skin bonding time together and finally I got to take a close look at all his features. He's beautiful.
Tried breastfeeding him too and he was so patient though there wasn't any milk supply yet. He just kept on trying to latch on. According to Boon he was super calm and didn't cry in the nursery while all the other babies were crying their lungs out. He was just there chilling hahaha.
Say hi to our bean bean,
Tyler Jay Ng :)
Our families were there to welcome baby and everyone was so super excited. Baby, you made everyone so happy :)
I never felt a love so strong before. It's a different kind of love from what I feel for Boon. This love makes me feel like crying when I think about it. It moves my heart so deeply that I'm willing to do anything for him. I guess this is motherly love, a love that I'm still discovering everyday.
C-section would have ideally been my last resort, but if that's what it takes to bring my baby safely into this world (you would have read this line a thousand times by now), I would do it, and I would do anything.
26 days on, and I'm still in disbelief that I'm now a mom and we have a cute baby crying for milk every other hour in our home. Parenthood has just begun for us, and we've been enjoying every single waking moment (more waking moments than ever right now if you know what I mean heh).
I want to give a shout out to our gynae, Dr Paul Ng from Pantai Hospital KL in Bangsar. From day one he never failed to assure Boon and I that we're all good. Even when things were not going too well (i.e.: gestational diabetes), he would explain and advice us calmly and professionally. It was especially during the operation that I felt we had picked the right gynae. His calmness greatly influenced my emotions and I felt that was a very important trait of a gynae, to remain calm and composed even during critical moments. Thank you, Dr Paul for your care all these months.
And to all the nurses in PHKL, thank you for being with me throughout the 43 hours of labour. I had probably encountered more than 20 nurses from different shifts in that span of time, and each of them were friendly and assuring in their own way. Thanks for being a friend and answering my stupid questions when I got all panicky. You girls made me feel so much better about everything. I still remember all your faces!
To our friends, thank you for constantly checking on our status, whether via calls, texts, or social media. It's in times like this that we know who truly loves and cares. Thank you for loving our family, sharing our anxiety and celebrating with us in those 3 days. You know who you are, and we will not forget your thoughtful gestures. Thank you all.
To our amazing families, thank you for dropping everything to be there with us on all 3 days, day in and day out travelling to the hospital as if it's your second home. Thank you, mom and dad in-law for bringing my lunch and dinner everyday from the day I gave birth until I checked out on the 7th day, sisters in-law for constantly being there to show love and support, especially Jasmine who was heavily pregnant then. Thank you mummy and daddy for the reassuring words and prayers, my sisters for being all excited and making me forget my pain and anxiety. They were here so often that Charity says she missed the hospital already haha!
Of course, my dear husband. I have so much to thank you for that I don't know where to start and how to end. Thank you for being my cheerleader, joker, punching bag, and lifting me up when I kept on plunging emotionally due to them hormones. Thank you for sacrificing your sleep and comfort by sleeping on a chair for the 7 days that we were in hospital. Thank you for caring for our newborn, wheeling him in and out of the nursery into our ward so I could feed him, for being with him in the nursery and the endless burping sessions and diaper changes. I can safely say that after pregnancy and delivery, you have seen me at my worst physically, mentally and emotionally. Yet, you still love me and take me as I am. All in all, thank you for being the man. You have proven yet again that I did not marry the wrong guy, not at all.
Last but certainly not the least, thank you, Lord for the smooth pregnancy, labour and delivery. Thank you for answering our prayers and granting the desire of our heart to have this child. Teach us how to be the best parents to Tyler, and help us to love him just like how You have loved us. Amen.