Sunday, February 01, 2009
My Birthing Story - Sebastian David Sangalang
It has been quite a journey until we were able to see our bundle of joy. We finally saw him on January 26, 2009 11:03AM to be exact at Makati Medical Center. He came out through cesarian section weighing 3515 grams (7 lbs and 12 ounces) and measuring 52cm (20 1/2 inches). Sebastian is definitely one big baby. Looking back, all the pain is definitely worth it.
THE LABOR PAINS - When Will It End???
In my previous posts, I noted that I was 2cm dilated already as of January 9! The pain that I felt became progressive as well. On the first week of waiting, my back was hurting like hell. Since Basti's head has not yet engaged, my OB told me to walk a lot and so I did that with a lot of difficulty. I also took to walking to mass every weekday evening.
On the second week of waiting, the pain in my lower abdomen became more intense and there was this nagging pain on the inside of my right thigh (singit). I stopped going to the daily masses as walking has become MORE painful due to the inner right thigh pain (mahapdi).
I began guessing on when the baby wanted to arrive. At first I thought he wanted to come out during the feast of the Sto Nino (Jan 18) but no contractions occurred. I then though maybe he wanted to come on St. Sebastian's feast day (Jan 20) but still no show. My next guess was my mom's arrival (Jan 22) but he's still happy where he was at that time. To keep myself busy, I went back to cross-stitching and even bought new patterns which I can stitch.
When my mom arrived, I visited her on Jan 23 at her place in Eastwood where we did a lot of walking. The next day, Saturday, was another walkathon with her. In the evening, we had dinner at Dampa and I was the one who went around to do the marketing. When Leo and I got home that night, we couldn't sleep as there was some sort of pain that was keeping me up.
On Sunday, we had a scheduled lunch with my dad and siblings at Gilligan's Glorietta. While getting ready, I felt contractions coming after the other starting 9AM. We started timing and we found out that it was already 5-6 minutes apart. I texted my OB and she said to wait until the contractions are 2-3 minutes apart before I come in and make sure I eat lunch first as it will be a long wait. But if I can't bear the pain anymore, to just have myself admitted at Makati Med.
I resolved to wait it out. I had lunch with my family and Leo and I proceeded to Makati Med afterwards. I was immediately hooked up to a machine which checks the fetal heartbeat as well as my contractions. They saw that my contractions are 6-7 minutes apart and my baby's heartbeat is still strong throughout the contractions. I was given the option to stay or return that night when the contractions are nearer. I decided to return later that evening as waiting it out can be boring indeed. So Leo and I proceeded at his grandparents' place at Magallanes to wait it out. At least Leo's aunt, who is an OB-Gyne, can help me through the labor.
Early that evening, I had my "bloody show". We still resolved to wait until my contractions are nearer and we finally proceeded to the hospital with Leo's parents at 930PM. I was FINALLY admitted at 10PM and the IE showed that I was 5cm dilated. I was never so happy hear that number. I was immediately offered an epidural but I declined. I can never get over my fear of that so I resolved to try to ride the pain out as much as I can. By our computation, I should give birth by 3AM.
Around 1AM, Leo reminded the delivery room attendant of our birth plan where he was supposed to be with me and we'll be using their birthing room. I was immediately taken out of the common labor room and transferred to one of the birthing rooms (it used to be their lamaze rooms) where Leo stayed with me (that's the picture above with him in the scrubs) during labor. The room looks like a regular hospital room and it even has a TV. I was still hooked up to the fetal monitor and an IV line (which the nurses initially botched up. My left hand swelled when they inserted the first IV and they had to transfer it to my right hand--much to my annoyance) but at least Leo was with me. The residents told me to try to get some sleep as it would still be a long wait.
I woke up at 4AM when the resident did an IE as I was already moaning with pain. One of the residents remarked that it must be painful already as I couldn't smile anymore. When they said that I was only 6cm, I agreed to have an epidural.
The anesthesiologist, Dr. Gerard de Jesus, arrived soon afterwards. My glasses were not on so I could barely see him but he seems nice-looking (looks like he works out as well). Leo was asked to leave the room while I was asked to sit up on the bed. I became apprehensive when the residents asked for an orderly to stand in front of me and they asked me to hold onto him and vice versa. I jokingly asked if the epidural was that painful that it would have to take a guy to hold onto me to prevent me from writhing in pain. I felt Dr. de Jesus wiping my back with three different type of solutions. In my fear, when I was ordered not to move, I literally did not move a muscle even during a contraction. I felt a tiny prick and something cold went down my spine. I felt him taping something on my back and the pain just went away. He definitely is worth his professional fee.
When I managed to lie down again I immediately dozed off to sleep. I woke up at 6AM when my OB-Gyne, Dr. Ma. Regina Manahan, arrived dressed in her green scrubs with matching shoes (I don't know why I noticed the shoes but she's always stylish everytime I see her so the shoes were not a surprise). She told Leo that he could go up to our room to sleep and she'll just have him called when I'm ready to give birth. She then stayed with me and I dozed off again.
In my semi-consciousness state, I could hear her discussing OB cases with the other interns/residents. I was given oxytoxin in my IV line to help speed up my contractions and to make them stronger. All the while I know she never left my side.
At 8AM, she woke me up and told me that she'll be emptying my bladder--which she did and she ruptured my water bag as well. I was so tired already that I could barely move that they had to help me get to the right position. She told me afterwards that she saw a bit of meconium stain in my water and that I was only 7cm dilated. Moreover, they're seeing dips already in the baby's heartbeat. If I don't fully dilate by 10AM, she will have to do a CS. At that point I didn't care anymore and just wanted to get it over with. I could feel the epidural wearing off already. I just stared at the clock and willed it to move faster.
By 10AM, I could hear her giving out orders to have the delivery room ready and for someone to call Leo. I was still stuck at 7cm and she needed to get the baby out already as his heart rate is starting to become erratic.
THE DELIVERY - Hello, World!
The delivery room was just beside the birthing room. I was still groggy when they wheeled me in. When I saw the table where I was going to be operated on, I was having second thoughts on how I'll fit. It's a thin piece of a thing and I don't know where they'll put my arms! I think it took four people to slide me into place. Turns out I look like I'm going to be crucified. My arms were spread and strapped out onto the sides and I was hooked onto different monitoring devices. I mean, just look at the tubs that were hooked onto me!
They put this curtain in front of me and I could feel my hair being tucked into some sort of cap. I requested that I wear my glasses so I could at least see what's happening around me and to have at least a clear glimpse of my son when he's shown to me. I closed my eyes and waited to feel any pain from the slicing that they were doing in the other side of the curtain. The anesthesiologist really did his job as I could not feel any pain except for some tugging and pulling. Next thing I knew somebody called out, "baby out!" and I recall Dr. de Jesus telling me that my baby's out and he's one big baby. I just groggily smiled and waited for the baby's cries.
A few minutes later, the baby started crying and they brought him over to be introduced to me. I just said, "Hi, baby" and closed my eyes. They then whisked him off to the nursery with Leo trailing the baby. I then waited for my OB to finish with her stitching and I remember dozing off.
I woke up in the recovery room an hour later. Odd though as it felt like it was not a recovery room at all. It was so noisy and it was like the ER with people moving around. I recall being told that I will only be there until 3PM. By 3PM, I was still there with no signs of being transferred to my room. I kept bugging the nurses and they told me that they had to wait for a resident to examine me first before sending me to my room. By the time a resident got to me, it was already 4PM and I so wanted to get out already. I remember them removing my epidural line and that was it.
THE RECOVERY - Pain? What Pain?
When I was brought up to my room, Leo was there together with my mom, Russell, Papa and Uncle Fred. The baby soon arrived and was brought to me for latching. Of course, Mommy HAD to carry him first before giving him to me. I made sure everyone wear masks though. Everyone left soon afterwards and Tita Rosa arrived with Daddy as well as Mama, Jack and Enzo. Ate Tricie arrived last.
I was still groggy the whole time that I was dozing on and off. When my food arrived (consisting of soup and jello), Leo had to feed me as I could barely use the spoon. Everyone left at around 9PM.
Throughout the night, the nurses came in and out checking on my vital signs (which were ok), my IV line (which kept on beeping) and my catather (which I totally abhor). There came a point wherein they had to reinsert my catather as my output was not enough considering the amount of IV fluid that was being pumped into me and the water that I drank that night (it turns out that there was something wrong with my IV line setting and not my catather. That so annoyed me and my OB as they did not tell my OB in the first place!). It was so annoying as it hurt! The OB resident certainly took her time to do the insert and I could not help but say that I might get an infection with whatever it was they were doing. She had to call for help. This was I think in the wee hours of the morning.
The nursery residents also came at 1AM and 4AM for feedings. As Makati Med is a breastfeeding hospital, they really ensure that the babies get their momma's milk. As I was tied to the bed, they had to bring my baby to me. Those were frustrating moments as breastfeeding was not as easy as I thought it would be. I still had no milk and my baby wouldn't latch on properly.
I had a stream of visitors come Tuesday. If my hazy memory serves me right my officemates visited me at lunch as well as Chris, my brother-in-law. Too bad I didn't know that they can view the baby even if it was not viewing hours as long as they bring the "show-my-baby" card. Leo was not there as he had to go home and get some stuff. Lolo Gening and Lola Remy arrived in the afternoon where Leo accompanied them to the nursery to see Basti. Mommy and Russell also visited.
Leo requested that Basti be circumcised already. My OB referred us to Dr. Rodolfo Tuazon, a pediatric surgeon. He actually visited us Monday afternoon to discuss the operation with us but I was still groggy. He said he wanted to talk to me as well to discuss the pros and cons but he can wait until I'm lucid enough. He came over early afternoon and he spoke to the both of us. I appreciate the fact that he went over the whole thing with us instead of just operating on Basti as what Leo requested.
Basti's pedia also visited me in the morning. Dr. Jose Enrique Clemente was actually a referral from my officemate who gave birth at Makati Med as well. Her comment was that he looks like David Celdran and I do so agree with her. Haha! Anyway, I like his approach to child care. He answered our questions convincingly and he said something which somehow sticks to my mind up to now. He said that our lives will drastically alter with the arrival of our newborn and there's no need to make our life more complicated as it is. I remember him saying this when I was asking him whether we should sleep with the aircon off or on and whether I should really stick to pure breastfeeding. Anyway, I'm thankful that he has a clinic here in Asian Hospital so there's no need for us to go all the way to Makati for Sebastian's check-ups.
My OB visited me late Tuesday afternoon--a day after my operation. I pleaded with her to take out the catather and my IV line as I really wanted to get up. I was already lying down for more than 48 hours and my back was hurting for being prone for that long. She readily agreed and took out both lines with orders that I should try to stand up afterwards. She also checked my wound which was healing nicely. We again discussed why I had a CS in case I was too groggy to remember. Simply put I stopped dilating at 7cm and my baby's too big already to engage.
Tuesday night, I requested assistance from the nurse and I had my first bath in 48 hours. It felt great to feel refreshed again and to wash away all that blood. Eww eww ewww. The wound was covered to ensure that it won't get wet.
Wednesday I was up and walking. I got up in the morning and I didn't want to lie down anymore. It was also my first regular meal and I relished the food though how tasteless it was. I looked forward to the trip to the nursery to see, feed and cuddle my baby. I still had to use the wheelchair though as the nursery is 3 floors down my room. I again had visitors throughout the day and they all saw Basti in the nursery.
By that afternoon, my OB signed my discharge notice and I was due to go home the next day. Yay! She said that if I survived a 6cm dilation with no epidural then the pains of post-CS should be nothing to me. Hah!
Leo and I were up early Thursday morning. We previously informed the nurse that we want to check-out by 930AM. However by 9AM, they still don't have a final bill to present to us. What made matters more complicated was that the professional fees are to be settled at the doctors' offices instead of the Makati Med cashier. So Leo and I split up. I settled the bill with the doctors (out of the 4 doctors, I had to go to 3 offices. And they only accept cash or cheque. Good thing one agreed to have his fee included in the Makati Med bill) while he took care of the hospital bill. Thank God for insurance and SSS. Out of the total hospital bill and professional fees, we only shelled out half of the amount. Actually if we opted to take the maternity package of Makati Med, we didn't have to shell out any peso but we opted not to take it as the package is somewhat limited.
By the time we were able to settle everything, it was already lunch time. I picked up Sebastian at the nursery and we were escorted to the lobby where we were bundled off at the backseat of our car and made our way home.
COMING HOME - Welcome 2AM Feedings!
When we arrived home, we were greeted by the sign on the door as well as balloons welcoming us home. Pardon for my unflattering outfit but I couldn't find a shirt which would enable me to breastfeed comfortably. Papa, Tita Rosa and Kiko was there at the house. Mommy, Russell and Tita Mercy arrived soon afterwards.
By the time our guests left, it was already 5PM and I was dying for another bath and to get our things settled. We were gone for 5 days and I was raring to organize the stuff that we brought home. That night though, I had another crying spree. Leo was a bit worried as I've been crying for two consecutive days. According to my OB this was normal as my estrogen levels dropped (or was that rose?) when the baby came out. She just told me to notify her if the crying becomes uncontrollable. Good thing my doctor (I SOOOOO LOVE HER!) gave me a list of stuff to do and to watch out for when I come home.
The first night home was what we expected. Sebastian kept on waking up every 2 to 3 hours for feeding and/or diaper change. Leo learned how to carry the baby and feed him. I appreciate that he's the one who gets up first to see to the baby while waiting for me to slowly get up to see what he needs (hey, I just had stitches!). Like any first-time parents, we're learning stuff as we go along. Leo reads Dr. Spock and definitely applies what he reads. I find that really endearing. He's really into this fatherhood thing.
It has definitely been quite a journey and now the real challenge of child-rearing begins. I've posted the videos here. However to view the videos, you have to be one of my multiply friends or relatives as some of the content can be quite icky. The pictures however can be viewed by anyone and are posted here. My dad also has some nice pictures and can be viewed here and here.
Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers and for all the well-wishes. Leo, Sebastian and I are definitely lucky to have people who cares about us so much. Will keep everyone posted in any new development.