Today is Mother’s Day 2016! Cheers to all the mothers in the world, especially to my Mommy, thank you and I love you. For this special day, I am sharing my own birth stories. I do not have much details for my first two deliveries as it was twelve and ten years ago, but they are remembered well. My last birth was described more as it was just seven months ago. Motherhood is the best and most special part of me. I can never forget.
Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” – Linda Wooten
The Sweet Angel & The Rainbow Baby
The title should be Rinojo’s birth, but I also want to tell the story of the little angel that made his birth a lot more special. Rinojo is our first born child, our only son, my rainbow baby.
They say a “rainbow baby” is one that follows a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. While this blog entry should be all about birth stories and the special moments they bring, I also want to acknowledge the short term mothers who had carried precious ones in their wombs but lost them too soon. You are not alone, I was one of you. There is always hope after a storm. Without the rain, there would never be rainbows.
2002 – Antipolo, Philippines
The first time I found out I was pregnant, I told my mother that it is my greatest dream to be a mom myself. I was young, finished my university degree, passed my board exam, just got a job in a good hospital. I could have done more. But all those meant nothing more when the pregnancy kits confirmed I am really pregnant. My whole world shifted its focus to the tiny one growing in my womb, I was very happy.
On my first prenatal check, the doctor requested an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. There was the yolk sac, approximately 7-8 weeks in gestation, but there was no heartbeat. I was told to repeat the ultrasound after a week.
I came back to the ultrasound clinic with so much anticipation the following week. There was a doctor’s assistant who helped me get ready. She was friendly and we were chatting. I told her it’s my first baby and the first ultrasound I had showed no heartbeat yet that’s why I am very anxious that moment. She applied the gel on my abdomen and checked with the ultrasound scanner. She said she can see a heartbeat. I was so happy. But she’s not the doctor.
Imagine how mad and upset I was when the doctor said that there’s still no heartbeat and discussed about D&C (Dilation & Curettage). I insisted her assistant saw a heartbeat. With the confusion, the doctor told me to repeat the ultrasound after another week to confirm.
That was followed by more ultrasounds the following weeks, all with no trace of a heartbeat. I was spotting dark blood. But I won’t consent to a D&C. I told the doctor that if I am meant to lose the baby, then I will wait for it to go out naturally. I was devastated. I wanted the baby so bad already. I was ready to forget all other dreams and be a great mommy.
The baby stayed inside for another month. I stopped seeing the doctor. I continued drinking my prenatal vitamins, took a leave from work, and bed rested as I can. I was in denial.
The night came when I just got tired. I prayed hard. I cried hard. I talked to the baby saying that if he/she is not really meant for me, it’s fine. And maybe, someday we will meet again. I slept very well that night. The next morning, I woke up with bright red discharge. I prayed, got myself ready, and told my in-laws it’s time to see the doctor again.
The hospital where my OB/GYN was on duty that day was 2hrs away. We walked in for checkup and to schedule a D&C. Though deep inside, stubborn me was still thinking that since there’s not much discharge, maybe there’s still hope. We were waiting for my turn when I felt the urge to pee. After I came out of the toilet, the horror started.
As I was walking back to the clinic, I felt a sudden rush of warm liquid. I knew right away that it’s blood. I told my in-laws we have to rush to the emergency room as I am already bleeding. It was an elevator ride downstairs, which was just enough time because a few minutes after, I was lying on the ER bed and my denim skirt was already soaking in blood, front and back. There was too much pain and too much blood. A doctor came for an internal exam, then she was dishing out pieces of blood from me to a basin. That was a terrible memory, I was crying in pain and fear.
I was transferred to the operating room. I was probably in pain relievers already because the pain was milder. There were nurses preparing me for D&C. They were also asking me questions for patient data. Throughout they were not calling me by my name, instead they were calling me mommy. It was so sweet and fulfilling to be called by other people as ‘mommy’. But after some thought, I realized that I am so much a short term mommy. That there I am in the hospital actually preparing to lose all evidence of me being a mommy. I felt pity for myself. Tears started. I just wanted to have a baby. I never wanted anything so bad, then almost had it, but lost it. I felt the world falling on me. Then I felt so lonely. My husband was back working abroad, I am in the battle alone. I asked someone to hold my hand because I was falling apart, I was crying so hard. That someone, probably a nurse, was not able to do any more work because I didn’t let go. I pleaded to just hold my hand and never leave because I was so afraid to be alone. I was in hysterics crying myself out. That was the darkest, saddest hour of my life.
When my OB came, I was sober already. She introduced me to another doctor, saying he is the anesthesiologist and he will put me to sleep. Somebody gently stroked my forehead, it felt good. Then everything went black. The procedure went smoothly and I went home the next day.
I lost my first baby. He/she is the sweetest angel up there in heaven that I will never forget. (photo of the scan kept in Philippines, posting soon)
When my husband came back to Philippines a few months after, I wanted another baby already. I was desperate, checking on my fertility calendar and drinking prenatal vitamins and pregnancy milk for nutrition support. But having a baby was not yet meant to be. Later on, I got tired waiting and submit everything to God. I reminded myself that things happen for a reason and blessings come in His right time. I kept myself busy working and forget trying to be pregnant.
2003 – Jeddah, KSA
Hospital bag and baby things are ready. Everything is polished clean and ready for the arrival of our first born child. I am the most excited human being in the planet. I prayed and waited for this baby, and we will have him very soon.
I was having dark red spotting for the second day. That is usually after being active like walking or doing house chores. There was no pain. I was three days overdue but thought that I was not yet in labor.
By night time, my body felt sore. I don’t feel strong contractions. The feeling was new to me. It was like menstrual cramps. There was pelvic pain but it’s all scattered in my abdominal area. I was not sure if it was my abdomen, or my hips which is feeling more sore. I stayed up all night trying different positions to relieve the scattered pain. I was squatting because I thought my hips was in pain. I was curling on my side because I thought my belly was in pain. I was stretching because I thought my back was hurting. My husband tried to massage me. Still I didn’t found comfort, I can’t bring myself to sleep.
By 3am, I decided to take a bath so that by sunrise, I will be ready to see the doctor for check up. I was brushing my teeth when I gagged big time. I felt like vomiting and fainting, I am not sure if it’s from the gag or from being tired staying up the whole night. But I lost consciousness. Everything went black, I fainted and fell on the tiled floor. Luckily I was able to shout before I passed out and my husband, who was asleep, heard it. He found me on the floor unconscious.
I heard him calling my name. (Later he told me, he was in panic thinking how to rush the naked and swollen-heavy me to hospital,haha. We were living alone in the apartment). I woke up, and there was a very big lump on my head. We quickly got dressed and went to the hospital.
I was devastated and scared. I don’t know if the baby is fine. And the lump on my head was throbbing in pain. We don’t know whether to go to the Emergency Room for my head, or to the Delivery Room for the baby.
I chose the Delivery Room. There was a midwife or nurse who checked on me. I was already dilated. She told me that I should have gone to the hospital from the night before. I changed to hospital gown, was given cold pack for my head lump, had IV fluids, and strapped to NST to monitor baby’s hearbeat. Baby is doing fine, thank God.
My head was still throbbing. I was so disappointed my labor have to start that way. I am already stressed out and tired.
After a few hours, I had more abdominal pain. (As of this writing, I have delivered two other babies, and I should say that my labor pains that first time was the worst and most painful.) It is the kind of pain that just lingers all over my body. I have forgotten that my head was throbbing from the fall. That pain was very least compared to what I was feeling. There were no strong contractions, it was just pain all over, it was indescribable. I was writhing. I was complaining and maybe noisy. More women in the observation room came, our beds were just separated by curtains. I don’t understand why they are so quiet. I am getting insane from the pain.
A family friend, who is also a nurse in another hospital, came to check on me. I told her I am in so much pain, I was crying. She asked me if my waters broke already. I told her I don’t know. I didn’t feel any waters. But I am passing blood.
I chose to deliver in Khalid Idriss Hospital with a Filipino OB/GYN. It is nice to share the same language with the doctor as I am all new to getting pregnant and delivering a baby. I felt at ease and comfortable with her knowing she’s a kabayan. Other Filipino ladies in Jeddah also delivered with her. There was no thinking twice when I found out I’m pregnant. I chose and came to see her from my first prenatal check.
My OB arrived to check on me. She coached me about pushing. But there was no urge, contractions are less, only more pain.
I thought I overheard her scolding the midwife. She said something (in Filipino) like, “The patient is in pain, look after her, stay with her. You didn’t even transferred her to the delivery bed.” (Later on, I found out my OB got mad to the midwife because she was recruiting my friend for a marketing business. She was chatting her into it instead of focusing on me.)
It was almost noon, there was no progress. I am all worn out from the pain and tired from no sleep. They gave me more pain reliever I guess, I was so drowsy already but still in pain. Then the doctor told me the baby’s heartbeat is slowing down. We have to do a Caesarian operation.
It was not the kind of delivery I was dreaming to have. But the baby was in danger, I consented right away. Something I realized from that moment, which I read many times before but took for granted, is the fact that when you’re in labor, you should relax and watch your breathing. When I found out I will have a C-section, there was disappointment but there was also relief. They will put me to sleep and all the terrible pain will be over soon. Baby will be safe and he will be in my arms in a while. My muscles relaxed, I was able to breath freely.
A few minutes after I felt relaxed, strong contractions started. The whole body scattered kind of pain from before shifted only on my abdomen. I was contracting hard, and I was pushing because I can’t help it. I felt like I’m really giving birth. But it was too late, they were already wheeling me out to the Operating Room. The pain was too much. My doctor told me to stop straining to push, we were in the hallway and I was crying in pain and pushing.
When we reached the OR, I was pleading to my OB to do things faster and put me to sleep quick as I am so much in pain already. I was very disappointed thinking I could’ve scheduled a C-section right away and saved myself from all the terrible pain of labor. She instructed the staff to move quicker. From there, everything went black. The operation went smoothly. We were discharged two days after and went home happily as a complete family.
Greatest blessing, unico hijo, Kuya Love
Severino Jose was born at 12:50pm, 55 cm long, 3.7kg/8.1lbs, on a bright and clear Sunday. He was very healthy and chubby and very cute. When he was handed to me, all troubles and pains were forgotten. I have never felt happier. My dreams of being a mother came true. He is the perfect baby that I wished for. He is worth all the pain. He is worth all the wait. I look at him and realize that God has a reason for everything, that though at times it is difficult to believe, we just have to trust that there are better things waiting for us. He is a reminder that something wonderful can happen after a storm. He is my rainbow baby. He strengthened my faith. He gave me purpose and so much love.
Mommy and new born Rinojo out for morning sunshine at Jeddah Corniche
It was Thursday, Eid Al-Fitr 2005. My second baby is due to come out any time. Rinojo, my first born, knows mommy will have a new baby soon. But he is not much into it yet, he is still a baby himself. Seve and I are excited. Though we didn’t plan to have a second baby that soon, we are having a baby girl, how cute can that be.
My father who was working in Buraidah, travelled to Jeddah to help us during the holiday. We arranged a visa for my grandmother in the Philippines to help me out for this delivery and childcare, but there was a delay, she’s due to arrive still after some weeks.
That morning, we were chatting thru yahoo messenger with my mother in the Philippines. She was advising me to just have another Caesarian section. She’s not confident about the trial labor I was planning. But I was not confident in having another C-section. My son Rinojo had just turned 2years old less than a month before. There’s no way for me to get cut and stitched up knowing there will be a toddler jumping around during recovery. I need to be brave and just give normal delivery a try.
I kept myself busy doing house chores, just to forget the anxiety. I was folding laundry around 2pm when I felt the first contraction. It was strong but short. It came again many times after but in different intervals, and just very short. I finished folding clothes and observed. I told my husband and father that maybe I just have to go to hospital for a check up, after all I am one day past due. I took a bath and prepared my things, hospital bag and all else just in case. Baby Rinojo stayed home with grandpa.
We were living in Heraa district. Back then it was just an 8-15minutes drive to Al Hamra where the hospital is. We were in the car driving when contractions suddenly came very strong. And there while we were crossing the bridge called Kubri Murabba, was when I broke my waters. I was so surprised because though it was my second pregnancy, it was the first time I experienced breaking waters. The contractions never stopped from there. There was water gushing out for every contraction.
When we arrived in the hospital’s emergency room, I felt embarrassed thinking it’s gross to sit on the wheel chair with my waters dripping. There was pain but not yet that much to overcome my shame. I was still more conscious to the people around me. I kept on apologizing that I am all wet because my water broke already. I was interviewed and checked and transferred to the Delivery area.
In the labor room, I changed to hospital gown which was a relief from being all wet. The nurse asked if I want to use the toilet. I went but the contractions kept coming and I feared that I might give birth inside there alone. I went back at once to the labor room. I was 6cm dilated.
I was hooked in IV and NST. The nurse was interviewing me, but I have to stop talking at times because the pain was getting stronger. They told me they already called for my doctor. I was praying real hard she will come. I was afraid that since it’s a holiday, she might not make it. I will be a lot more confident if I can get through the battle with her. I kept praying and tried my best to relax.
I chose to deliver in Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital with an OB/GYN well recommended by friends. She was bit old already as such I was wondering at first how conservative she will be towards my plan to have a VBAC(Vaginal Birth After Caesarian). But when I asked her, she agreed and said of course we can do a trial of labor. I was very thankful. My prenatal appointments were good with her. She was a combination of a mother with tender care, a grandmother with much affection, and a doctor with knowledge and expertise.
While waiting, I was given pain killers and I was drowsing to sleep. After some time, a nurse or midwife checked on me, and announced that I am already fully dilated. I am not sure how she was checking me down inside but she said to another nurse, “Lalabas eto (This will go out).” That gave me so much hope. A doctor came and I heard her discussing with the nurses that if my OB won’t make it on time, she’s just around to do the delivery.
I was transferred to the delivery unit. I reminded the nurse to wait for my doctor as I want her to deliver me. She told me not to worry as doctor is on her way. And also an operating room is on stand by just in case we have to do another Caesarian section. I prayed, I don’t want to be transferred there.
I was lying on the delivery bed drowsy and trying to relax through the contractions. We were waiting and I am thankful for the calming effect of whatever pain reliever they gave me.
The weird part: this paragraph must be the effect of pain killers. “I felt falling in a dark space, but not really falling, it’s more like drifting. I have to keep on breathing to remind myself that I’m alive. But whenever I slow down breathing, the more I float farther into the dark space and surprisingly it feels so good. If I don’t breath, I feel more relaxed and drifted farther from all the pain. When I breath, I am drawn back to the light of the room and the pain. Then I realized I might be dying. So I need to breath, keep breathing, keep breathing. I remembered my son, what will happen to him if I die. I breath harder to be back, away from floating in bliss. It doesn’t matter if the pain comes back every time I breath. I just have to breath and bear the pain.” Then I overheard a nurse saying that she only gave me a certain amount of medicine. I wonder if I was not expected to sleep through it as what I am doing. Or I wonder if I was saying things, oh no, haha.
Then I heard the commotion, and saw my doctor came in. What a relief I felt. She was asking me why I didn’t call her. I was too drowsy to explain that I don’t even know that I am already in active labor and that progress will be that fast. I thought I heard her shouting and instructing something to the nurse. I was not so aware with what’s happening around me. (Later the next morning when she visited me in the ward, she asked why I was trying to jump out of the delivery bed when I saw her. I don’t remember any of it. Though I know that I was just so happy she came for me, maybe I was trying to greet and touch her).
The next thing I remembered was I in delivery position, legs apart and doctor down there. She told me to push, I felt a big contraction coming and it felt so good to push. I heard voices of Filipina nurses coaching me to push strong. They were just voices, I don’t see them, I just know my doctor and seems she was the only one there. Another weird part, I thought I can see three men hooded in brown cloak behind her. I thought they are monks waiting for my death, I shun the thought away, I was just drowsy of course.
I heard the doctor said push the second time. The feeling is something you can’t stop, you just have to push. The nurse was encouraging that she can now see the head. Doctor asked me to push again. I felt the need to sit up so I can push better. But that was the last thing I remembered. Everything went black after.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on bed. There were no more voices around me. I must be alone. I am breathing, so I am not dead, (I was always afraid I will die giving birth haha). I prayed hard, I felt afraid for whatever had happened. I can’t move my body, everything is numb. I prayed to God to not let me die. Then for some reason I felt some tugging in my body. I thought of moving my cheek, and it was tugged to the left then to the right. Then my left eyebrow twitching up, then my right eyebrow followed. I never thought I can even move each of my ears. I would have thought it as God’s hands waking each part of my body. It must be the anesthesia wearing off. It was an amazing thing to be aware of the sensation going back to every inch of my body.
Then finally I was able to open my eyes and move my hands. I am indeed alone in the room. The doctor and nurses are gone. I felt afraid, I can’t remember what happened.
A nurse came in, I asked her if I made it and if the baby is ok. She said yes, that I already gave birth to a healthy baby girl and she is in the nursery. I asked if I had a C-section. She said no, that I had a normal birth. I won’t believe her. I asked if she’s sure because I don’t remember giving birth. She was irritated I guess as she came to me saying, “Totoo na nanganak ka na, wala nang laman o (It’s true, you already gave birth, there’s no more in there)”, while pressing on my tummy to let me know that I didn’t have a C-section. I felt stupid insisting I haven’t given birth. But oh so thankful to God I had a VBAC for real.
I was transferred to my room shortly where my husband was waiting. He congratulated me with a full grin, saying I did great. We were both so happy it’s all over.
Sophia Bernadette was born healthy at 7:45pm weighing 3.36kg/7.4lbs, 53cm long. When the nurse handed her to me, I can somersault, my heart in so much joy. I held her in my arms and thanked her for not giving me a hard time, praying that childbirth will also be easy for her someday. She gave us so much happiness and positivity. She gave me confidence and pride over giving birth. She is very blessed bringing us just smiles and cheers from day one. She is a great and beautiful gift from God.
Precious Baby Girl, my sweet kitten Muning
We were discharged from the hospital the next day. Doctor told me I was very strong. We were all very happy.
Short labor, minimal pain, not much action, that was a smooth delivery. And it’s a VBAC! Thank you Lord.
I was scheduled for induction of labor at 10am. I could have been induced days earlier, on or around my original due date. But I insisted to wait for natural labor. I do not want to be induced. I was worried that success of VBAC(Vaginal Birth After Caesarian) goes down when labor is induced. I was also imagining that using chemicals to induce contractions might result to my Caesarian scar splitting. These were just my silly thoughts. My OB/GYN assures me that inducing slowly is harmless. But I would do everything just to have another VBAC, and that includes not having negative thoughts towards the procedure.
I chose to deliver in Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, the same hospital where I had my first VBAC. Like before, I had an awesome OB/GYN. He explains and gives information very well during prenatal appointments. When I told him I am planning another VBAC, he supported the idea without any hint of hesitation. After my first checkup with him, I gladly told my husband that I like the new doctor, as such we decided to continue seeing him for my pregnancy and delivery. I felt safe and assured that I will be in good hands with him. (Later on post partum, he would still be supportive, guiding me through recovery, patiently answering my concerns online.) I felt well taken care of. I met other doctors, but it’s either they were in a hurry to finish, or not paying much attention, which is not nice for someone like me commuting 3hrs for a short appointment. And when I mentioned VBAC to them, they acted like I have said a dangerous taboo word, then will reply, “You can try”, in a not so convincing tone. To note, I also had some prenatal checks in another known hospital in Jeddah because my friends were telling me that it has nicer facilities, suite rooms and everything. Throughout my pregnancy, I was undecided whether to deliver in Fakeeh with the doctor I prefer, or in that other hospital with known better facilities. Until towards my due date, the doctor I was seeing in that other hospital scheduled me for a C-section claiming their hospital changed policy that once you had a Caesarian, you can never have a normal delivery. I don’t know the reason behind the change. Probably sure money and less risk, fair enough for them. But I felt betrayed. When he said at first a trial labor is surely possible, changing the plan towards my due date is just a cheat. That would have left me with no choice but to deliver via CS in that other hospital. Good thing I continued seeing my doctor in Fakeeh.
So there I was with a good doctor supporting VBAC. Waiting for delivery in a nice hospital. Everything is ready.It took me six long days after my due date. I started having strong contractions from a week before. Strong enough to stop me from walking, or stop moving to hold my belly in pain. But they were never close together. 5mins-30mins apart, then will disappear. I also had a second episode of extreme stomach acidity/gas(the first was 2mos ago, when I had to visit the doctor for the terrible pain). This time I almost went to hospital, but I am no fan of rushing to ER, I waited, drank my antacids and got relief a few hours after.
The waiting game was not totally fun. We were staying in an apartelle in Jeddah to be near the hospital. Our house in KAEC is more than 100km away, approximately 1.5hr drive to Jeddah. Nobody knows how my labor will go. The last time I delivered, I only had 2hrs between breaking waters and baby out. I don’t want to stress myself traveling far in an ambulance when labor starts. It was nice to be in the city, plenty of things to keep us busy and me walking in malls. But not in the comfort of familiar bed and surroundings is quite tiring. Plus the summer heat was terrible, it’s impossible to walk outdoors even at night.
We transferred to Jeddah two days before my due date. It was the first nonworking day of Eid 2015. The timing was perfect, husband and kids were on holiday for the whole week, no school and work. Friends in Jeddah invited us to stay in with them, we were so grateful. The first days, we stayed in an apartment of a friend who was out of town, because our dog Patty can be with us. The kids getting busy with their gadgets finally agreed to part with the dog a few days. We moved to Rotana Residence Apartments which is located near the hospital. It was my due date and we are all positive the waiting game won’t take long. Another day passed, and we got bored. We moved to Al Salem Regency Hotel for a different place, but we didn’t like it there. We transferred to Hmsat Palace, where we love our stay. Their apartment was not as big as Rotana’s but we didn’t pay as much. The building looks new, apartment clean, staff are nice, kitchen practically equipped with pans and utensils plus mini stove, water heater, sandwich maker, also got a washing machine (not automatic but clothes drying rack provided). It’s a short walk to a supermarket and restaurants which was very helpful. Located in a quiet street where we can walk safely for exercise, but near the highway in case we need to rush to hospital. We were also scheduled to stay in another friends house as they have an extra room for us, and they live in a nice villa. But kids insisted we just stay in Hmsat Palace until baby comes.
Water breaking or close contractions never came. My doctor decided the longest we can wait is at gestational age 40 weeks and 6days.
The big day
So that hot and humid Wednesday morning, I woke up with butterflies on my tummy, excited and anxious for the big day. The Delivery department was busy when I arrived, the observation rooms were all occupied. I waited near the nurse station. That was ok, the delay gave me time to compose myself and release the tension. I have never been induced, I don’t know how it will be like, or how long labor will take, or how it will feel. I walked around and tried to relax. Then I heard a woman in labor shouting in so much pain, her baby coming out. The agonizing cry creeps on me. I thought I don’t have to go through that if I decide to have another C-Section. Then there was silence, followed by the sound of a new baby crying. That was, Wow. I also saw a woman coming out of her room to the toilet, probably in early labor. She looks weird. I overheard a nurse whispering to another, “Parang naloloka na(She looks like going crazy).” That was funny, but oh boy, will I look like that.
After an hour waiting, I was finally escorted to room DR5. I was given hospital gown for changing. Nurse hooked my belly in belts for NST(meant to monitor baby heartbeat and contractions). Wifi connection in that part of hospital was good, so I sent updates to my mom. I asked husband to buy me water. I asked the nurse if I can drink, she said she will make sure with doctor first as it depends, like some patients scheduled for OR are not allowed anything by mouth. It’s bothering to think that she might be expecting me to end up in the Operating Room for another C-section. Later I sent a message to my doc to ask, and he said it’s ok. I drank just a bit, turned out I’m actually not so thirsty, nervous probably.
I was also on IV fluids. Waiting and hearing the NST monitor beep makes me anxious. I followed a friend’s advice. She said pray the rosary, and before you finish it, the baby will be out. I concentrated praying, shunning all other thoughts. That relaxed me.
A lady doctor came for internal exam, said I was 1cm dilated. I sent my mom the update. Another lady doctor came for another internal exam. I overheard her telling the nurse, “What, we are inducing for VBAC?” Nurse said, the order is from my doctor. Second lady doc said, “I will talk to him.” I was like, oh no, please don’t tell me I can’t have a VBAC. It’s not my first time, just give me a chance. I continued praying.
My OB finally came. Message update to my mom records 2:05pm, that I was so happy because doc said I don’t need the drugs for induction. He did an exam and confirmed to 2nd lady doc that I’m more than 4cm dilated. I don’t feel close strong contractions, no different from the past days. I was relieved, I don’t need the drugs, he said its the power of the mind instructing my body to dilate. I’m glad. He ruptured my waters, saying it will speed up labor. That scared me, I asked first if it will hurt. I remembered from my first VBAC, my waters naturally broke in between strong contractions, it felt nice. The procedure didn’t hurt, and water breaking without contractions was actually a relief. It feels like I was sore down there for the past days, and the warm liquid gushing out was relaxing. I was transferred to the delivery room after some more minutes.
There was a nurse that stayed with me in the delivery room. Contractions came 5mins apart, bearable pain, I can still smile and chat. She said she’ll give something thru my IV that will help soften my cervix. She did an exam, I was 6cm dilated, I’m thrilled with progress. After a few minutes, she asked if I want some pain relief. I said I’m not sure, its up to her. She cheered, “Uy matapang ha (Ah you’re brave)”. I honestly don’t feel unbearable pains when she asked me, plus I thought that numbing the pain might not help me in pushing later. It was past 4pm.
Then it came. It was the kind of pain no exact word can describe. It was more than terrible. I told the nurse I need pain relief quickly. I asked if I can curl. She said yes but on my left side, so baby can breath. I hate IV needles, I was always careful not to touch my hand with IV, but that moment I don’t give a damn care, I was holding the side railings of the bed so hard not minding the needle at all. Have I said it was very painful? It was the kind that will make you forget about everything. It can make you feel insane. It just consumes your whole being. You can’t fight it, you just have to surrender to it. I was curled up like a ball, holding the side rails, I can feel my whole body perspiring. Then I remembered I should try to relax. I breathed deeply in and out. I continued praying the rosary. I think I slept through it.
The next thing was the nurse waking me to position my legs as she needs to check my progress. Then the pain came again. But this time I have to push or contract my belly to fight the pain. The urge to push was there but not strong enough. (I was fully dilated at 5:35pm)
My doctor came. I heard him say ‘Just like that? Without anything else?’ He should mean my good progress. I remembered him offering in my prenatal check an epidural, quoting it as ‘happy-dural’. Really tempting. But I told him I don’t need it and I haven’t tried it. I’ve read a story of an unsuccessful VBAC because epidural didn’t wear off. I didn’t tell him that because he was all positive about it. I needed a VBAC, anything that might hinder my chance is a no. He told me he’ll ask me again when I’m in labor. But well, I didn’t need it after all. He was coaching me about breathing and pushing I think. But my mind was all wrapped up in pain. I think he said about giving me time to labor it out.
The nurse stayed with me. She’s encouraging me to push better. I think she’s not satisfied. I am not satisfied either. I know what real pushing is. There was no deep urge yet.
The doctor was back. From there, the memory was blurry already. I think they were asking me to try pushing. I want to tell them I want to, but my abdomen was not contracting big unlike my last VBAC. But I don’t remember talking to them. I’m not sure if I was a quiet in labor. Or I was like the woman I heard before who was so loud. I was just pushing or moving my body, whatever I was doing to ease the pain.
During the final moment, the room looked dark, I was wondering if someone switched off the lights. Of course that was just probably the effect of the pain and medicines. I heard there were others in the room, but I can only see my doctor. I actually don’t remember any other face that time. All others were just bodies. (Here in KSA, your prenatal doctor may not be the one who will do your delivery. You have to make the request, otherwise hospitals have random doctors on duty to do the delivery. Still, there are hospitals that do not accept doctor requests even if you’re willing to pay extra). It helps to have your prenatal doctor on the actual delivery. Focus and hope was just on that one person you know. It could be uncomfortable not to know anybody.
My eyes were closed for most of the time I was in active labor. I could have also closed my ears if I can. It was my escape. The commotion of people hovering down there makes me nervous. If I watch everything, I might lose the little confidence left in me.
I heard the doctor say he was helping me as I push. I am not sure if he tried to use the vacuum. The nurse was motivating me in Filipino language to push well so my baby’s head will look nice. I want to shout to them that I want to push and I know how but the urge was not enough. The pain was more than the urge to push, it shatters me. But I kept quiet. I was just scared. This was different from my last delivery. I was only instructed to push thrice that time and the baby was out. Then I realized I might be too old already. Plus overweight, abdominal muscles might not be strong enough. Negative thoughts came, it didn’t help. I heard doctor say the baby is big, might not fit in my pelvic bone. I prayed, please I don’t want a C-section. I heard him looking for forceps. Good, please help me out.
The next memory was I pushing after each deep breath. It was the final stage when you have that great urge to push, something that you can’t fight, and just gratifying to do. I heard a lady say “Not like this, relax.”
The Weird Part,haha: this paragraph must be the effect of pain killers (just like in Sophia’s birth). “It feels like I’m floating free, but I’m inside something. I was enclosed but the feeling is without boundaries. There was a path, there’s no turning back. I just have to move forward. Then I was dreaming, or was it like flashbacks of my life, but all so clear, like I’m watching them from screens floating around me. It’s like I am inside a computer game, can’t describe it enough, it was different, something that never happened to me before. Then the scene came to the present. I remembered I should be giving birth. And I wondered why I was in a different place. There was chanting but I can’t exactly remember what it says. So whatever is happening, it’s time to give birth. I felt myself being pulled, or pushed through a tube. I have to move with some effort. It’s like reaching something to the middle of a hollow tube or matrix that goes round and round. I heard the nurse saying “Lalabas na(it’s coming out)”.. Chanting voices on the background, or music I’m not sure. It felt difficult, but there was no pain at all. Then I thought if this is what it’s like giving birth, why nobody have told me before that it’s as easy, though I know that it’s something I can’t quit on doing otherwise the structure might collapse and I will lose the game. Then I was exerting a big effort to surge forward, to reach the end, like I am being pulled to the bottom part or center of a circular narrow tube. Then I reached the end. There was a blinding bright light. Then I was floating outside. I can see buildings. I felt lost, I remembered to go back to the apartelle where we were staying in, then I was instantly on top of the apartelle’s building. I was floating in the sky. And I don’t know what else to do. I was alone with no purpose, I felt afraid. I thought, is this it, am I dead? Is that what life is. You go through each phase, then after all stages you’re done and just exist alone. Panic striked. I was so scared. Then it ended.” Totally weird, haha.
I passed out I guess. I heard the nurse say, “Joyce eto na baby mo, ang laki niya (Joyce, your baby is here, she’s big)”. I opened my eyes and there she is curled up on my chest. The room still appeared very dim to me as if lights are out and only yellow spotlight was on. I can’t believe it’s over. She’s here, she’s out, just like that. That labor was not too bad, I was so happy I did it. I didn’t saw her face much, I felt so weak I was afraid to lift her, afraid I might drop her. She’s my third child, but it’s my first time to see a new baby fresh from my womb. I touched her, she was slimy and very warm, and felt heavy on my chest. It seems unreal that she came from me. Indeed a miracle. She is so amazing. I wished my husband or a family member was there to share the moment with me, because our first few minutes together was so magical. I would have said ‘Hello little one, I love you, Thank God, You’re so beautiful, Welcome baby’, or other touching words with matching tears just like in the movies, but I think my first words were “Ahhw, hello, ang laki mo nga (you’re big indeed), Can somebody take a photo?” Then I realized they were all in gloves and gowns, and that was not so touchy dramatic for a new mother to say, haha. I slowly lost consciousness thinking that it’s embarrassing and funny to say that but I want to capture that moment in a photo when baby was still slimy fresh from me. Then I overheard a nurse say “Hinde pa umiiyak? (Not yet crying?)” Oh no, I want to ask if baby is ok. But darkness crept in, I passed out.
Then I heard her crying somewhere. The nurse said something to the doctor, her weight. Doctor said, “Almost 4kgs, that is big for a small woman like her.” I felt proud I made it normal delivery. I still can’t open my eyes and talk. But baby is fine, thank God.
Then the pain started again. I woke up pushing out the pain. I opened my eyes and saw the doctor putting something on a dish that looks like pieces of blood. Then he took something big down there and I saw it. It must be the placenta, it was ‘liver-like’. He said “All out.” It was my first time to see a placenta, it grossed me out. I almost fainted, or maybe I really did.
I heard the doctor say something about someone to assist him. I assume he’s stitching me up as I felt some tugging. The thought creeps me. I closed my eyes and tried my best to pass out.
I heard my husband came in, talking with nurse about how healthy big baby is. I can’t open my eyes or move. I heard the camera clicking. Yay, he’s finally taking pictures.
I am no longer sure about the chronological order of the next scenes probably because of anesthesia. I just remember them for each time I wake from passing out. Not sure which happened first or last.
I woke up in pain. There was another doctor, and a nurse, their hands on my abdomen. I feel like everything was still raw inside, and they were pressing on it. I felt a gush of liquid coming out of me. It’s not urine, I am bleeding, it was all confusing because I am sure I gave birth already. I asked them to stop because it hurts so much. The doctor said he is sorry but they need to massage my abdomen. I was in pain the whole afternoon but I braved all that. But that time I just want to cry, I was so tired and sore, and they won’t stop. If only I have the strength, I could have stood up the bed and run home, never mind the bleeding because that massage hurts so bad. It’s not fair, it must be just a nightmare. I heard him say call my OB.
I heard my doctor came and checked on me. He’s saying something about hematoma. I asked him what’s wrong. He replied something I can’t understand from all the confusion and disappointment thinking it was all over already, plus the pain I’m having. I told him to just give me more pain reliever. My abdomen hurts from all the pumping they call massage.
I opened my eyes and saw another doctor. He was asking me something. I tried to answer but I’m not sure if I answered correct. I passed out. (He was probably the anesthesiologist putting me to sleep).
There was the time I woke up, and there was only the nurse. I asked her what happened. She said my uterus did not contract in time as expected. I was bleeding hard. Doctor did re suturing. And I was given meds to help contract my uterus. I will also have blood transfusion to replace the blood I lost.
I heard my husband came. The nurse was telling him what happened. I tried to wake up. It was just all blurry still. I think we talked about the baby and our other two kids.
I woke up to see a doctor beside me. He’s asking how I’m feeling, If I’m cold or hot. I’m not, but I can feel my head drenched with sweat. It’s all blurry. I heard him told the nurse to call my OB and that my blood pressure is 60/30. I was like, what? What’s happening? I felt scared.
My OB was there. They were talking about the pad inserted inside me, he said “There, just like the old times. I will be the one to remove it tomorrow.” Then another scene when he was sitted with others beside my bed. Then someone was holding a cellphone saying the blood bank is on line and the blood ordered for me is coming. And he said ok but he still wants to talk to them. Seems there was an unexpected delay.
My OB was back saying, “Mary I hate to see you like this, with all these needles etc. We could have done a Caesarian blah blah blah.” I wanted to say stop the speech it’s not needed, I am more than happy and so proud that I made it normal delivery, don’t spoil it, I have no regrets. But I just don’t have the strength to talk. He continued, “I will see you tomorrow. You’re blood is coming, it will make you feel better, just like a vampire.” Haha, I was so weak and dizzy, I think I just said thank you many times.
Everything was quiet. I started my blood transfusion. I had 3units of RBC and 2units of plasma. The nurse wakes me up from time to time to take deep breaths because she said my BP is going down. I am so much thankful to her. She was just there with me alone in the room. Monitoring me with all care and dedication.
A lady doctor came in. She asked for the ultrasound machine. She scanned my abdomen. I asked her if there’s something wrong. She said nothing’s wrong and didn’t say much.
My husband was coming in and out because our other two kids insisted to stay in the hospital and wait for me and baby in the room. He was talking with nurse. Nurse was giving him details. My mind is getting clearer. I was talking to them.
There was the other doctor on my bedside. He was the one pressing on my abdomen for the epic painful massage. “Mary you will be fine. Sorry, blah blah. We were just overprotective and careful that nothing wrong will happen to you blah blah.” I am not sure why everybody’s making a speech. I’m still too tired to chat and can only say thank you. I looked and remembered him all worried and stressed out earlier, but that moment, he was all relaxed and smiling sweet. From then I believed the worst is indeed over, I will be fine.
Two nurses came. It is past 3am already, (almost 9hours after baby was born),I am cleared and ready for transfer to ward. My husband and two kids are waiting for me. Baby is in nursery and will join us soon. They were angels bringing good news. Thank God.
Here comes Super Love!
Maria Jadea was born at 6:20pm weighing 3.9kg/8.6lbs, 52cm long, via forcep assisted delivery. She’s my biggest baby. Can’t believe I had a second VBAC. I did it, I’m proud of myself, and we are so happy. We have to stay an extra day than normal for my blood transfusions, waiting for my hemoglobin to go up (it stayed at 6 until my second day). I had additional 2units of RBC. Then the IV fluids, and intravenous iron supplement too. Plus laboratory staff coming in many times a day to get blood samples. My hands all sore, I never had that much needles my entire life. I just have to focus on our new beautiful baby just to see the bright side of it all.
Baby was discharged a day earlier than me. We have the option to pay the nursery to keep her as insurance does not cover baby’s nursery when the mother has a complication. But 1000sar per day in the nursery is just too much, she was even rooming in with us most of the time. It could have been easy if we were living in Jeddah and relatives are around. Taking the baby to a friend’s house is the last option, but that time I won’t. She stayed with us in my hospital room. The nursery gave us a few bottles of readymade infant formula. I have no breastmilk yet. They instructed us to drop by in another hospital or clinic before going home as BCG vaccine(due during birth) was not available that time in Fakeeh hospital.
The next day, my hemoglobin luckily went up to 8.5. It’s still not the normal level, but seems it is hard to target that as I haven’t got a decent sleep after delivery. Nurses check on my vital signs every few hours. The baby cries and needs cuddling and feeding every few hours too. My doctor agreed to discharge me. We were all relieved.
Last minute trouble, baby milk ran out. We asked for an extra supply from the nursery but they can only give us one bottle because baby is already discharged from their file. Baby Jade drank that one bottle in the morning. But then we need more in case she gets hungry while waiting for vaccine in another hospital, and then when we travel home. My husband tried to purchase it from the hospital pharmacy but they won’t sell it to him saying it’s not for sale. I was all set to breastfeed, there was already milk coming out during my third trimester. Though I have bought and sterilized some bottles, I left them at home. I was not expecting breastmilk can still halt and delay. We needed those readytodrink baby milk so bad we could have bought it even if it’s expensive just to save us the trouble. We would have thanked the nursery a million times if they have given us some consideration for a bottle or two, but no, we were not able to get some. Well after hunting for ready-to-drink baby milk in different pharmacies under extreme heat of summer, my husband ended up buying powdered formula and sterilizing bottles in the hotel. (A week after, I will be a fully breastfeeding mom.)
Never thought I would need that ready to drink milk so bad
We left the hospital in the afternoon and went straight to the public hospital called Jeddah Maternity & Children’s Hospital/Wilada for the vaccine. The weather was humid hot, just crossing the street from where we parked was a misery. When we got there, they told us to just come back the next morning (though it’s just 2pm), probably there were too many patients, I don’t know.
We went to another hospital, the IMC. This time I just went down myself to check first while the rest of them find a parking spot. The kids are napping so I just have to go ahead myself than wait to find parking or bring down the baby again out in the heat. I know Seve is already worn out too, taking care of baby the night before, then out and around from morning packing the hotel, arranging hospital papers, the milk hunt, plus our other kids. I should be the only patient for the next weeks, he can’t get sick, we need him healthy. I walked to the hospital by myself even if I feel so sore from episiotomy because I want it over soon. But upon reaching the pediatrics department, there was a poster saying the vaccine is not available. I asked the reception when we can avail it but they don’t have an idea. We don’t know anywhere else to look, so we just went home without the vaccine. (At two weeks, baby Jade will have the vaccine in another hospital. That’s after some more trips to Jeddah looking in different hospitals. There was a ministry shortage. It was a mess, but that’s another story).
Though I have yet to go back to clinic for the next days to continue my intravenous Ferosac(iron pack), and we still need to find the vaccine for my newborn, our prime mission in Jeddah is done! We are finally going home to start a new chapter. It was not a picture perfect delivery, but very special and memorable as I have seen almost each phase. I didn’t just passed out and slept through it all. I also appreciate the maternity staff for handling my complication well. Incidentally, also during that time, my mom was told of a lady from our hometown who died from post partum hemorrhage. I can’t imagine what could have happened if my hemorrhage was not managed and I had the same fate. All praise and glory to God for giving me the strength to carry on, and for blessing my doctor the knowledge to treat me. I am grateful for the dedicated care I received from everyone in the hospital, and the support from family and friends. There were troubles but I feel very blessed. Hooray to my second VBAC!
Excuse my hair, but it’s our first selfie together :)
Then of course the greatest blessing of this event in my life, my precious healthy baby Jade, sleeping peacefully beside me in the car, all chubby cute and warm. If I had known the difficulties I will face, would I have gone through it to have her? Definitely, super YES, in a heartbeat, she’s worth it all!