My First Birthing Story

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In less than 8 weeks from now, I'm due to give birth to my 2nd son. I thought after having experienced delivering a human being once, I'd have more confidence this time and I wouldn't have any reason to be anxious at all. WRONG.

While there's a lot of excitement going on at being a 2nd-time mom, there are surprisingly some anxieties I didn't expect to have. Will we be able to manage having 2 of them now? Will I survive double the demands on a daily basis? How will our family dynamics change - how will this affect our eldest? Even after hearing all the stories from personal friends and reading first-hand accounts, I know I will never know the answer to these for sure up until our time comes.

In any case, all I hope for now is to have a safe delivery and for baby boy #2 to come out healthy. My experience with Joaquin nearly 3 years ago, while not really traumatizing, wasn't exactly smooth-sailing either. As with most 1st-time moms, I couldn't tell when my real contractions were happening that we were at the hospital 2x the week before it was really happening for sure. I had an agreement with my OB that we weren't going to wait for full term because of the possibility that the baby would get too big for a normal delivery. She had suggested natural methods of induction such as taking castor oil (gross, I know) at night. Eventually, we ended up with regular contractions and pretty stable dilation, but they had to manually break my water bag at 9am.

Everything after that was pretty hazy because my OB had given me twilight anaesthesia, which induces anterograde amnesia or the inability to form new memories so you generally forget the surgery/procedure and the time that immediately follows. Anyway, I remember I tried to sneak in my cellphone around lunchtime because I was so bored waiting for things to progress, but a nurse told me they were strict with not allowing any gadgets inside the labor room. I recall bits and pieces of the actual delivery, where one of the resident doctors was repeatedly (and painfully) pushing down on my abdomen, which I later learned was to help the baby through the canal because he stopped moving along at some point.

the night before I delivered Don Joaquin - checked in
and receiving IEs every 3 hours from I-don't-know-how-many
resident doctors

What I clearly remember was waking up in the recovery room and being unable to move, and I kept asking the attending nurse there if I could see my baby. It was very disconcerting that I wasn't allowed to, and was told that I can only be wheeled out once the anaesthesia left my body - I should be able to wiggle my toes or move my legs on command as proof. I was crying and I wanted to see my first-born badly, I knew that finally being able to hold him would be more than enough comfort. The nurse comforted me by assuring me that my baby was okay, and that I should use the waiting time to take a nap and recover better. That was at 1am.

a few minutes after being suctioned out of me
I'm not sure what time I was finally wheeled to my room, but it was there that DH explained that the baby had to stay in the NICU right after because he was so weak when he finally came out of me. Apparently, at some point while he was passing through my birth canal, my contractions stopped and they had to vacuum him out. He spent quite a bit longer in there as it was already too late to prep for a CS delivery, and that exposed him to some bacteria. While he didn't have any serious infections, his pedia wanted to rule out sepsis and other possible complications, so we had to stay in the hospital for a couple more days after.

While Joaquin was roomed in after 24 hours, what was heartbreaking for us as 1st-time parents were the instances when they had to do blood extractions for tests. He had such tiny veins that their initial attempts would fail every time, so they had to do several repeats and even made cuts as much as the available space in his small hands and feet would allow. That was the first time we learned first-hand that as parents, your instinct is to do everything and anything you can so you never see your child hurt in any way. We understood the tests had to be done, but it didn't make it any easier. Thankfully, a week after his birthday, on a stormy day when the electricity in the hospital was out, Joaquin was cleared for discharge.

Now we have an active, free-spirited, affectionate little boy who I honestly think will be a great big brother in just a few more weeks. Wishing all the soon-to-be moms a safe delivery as well and congratulations to the new addition to your families!

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