Sophie Rose Teo
Sophie for wisdom, Rose for delicate beauty and elegance
My Little Bow Baby’s Birth Story
18 March 2014 was the day which changed our lives forever ! So before I forget, I’d like to blog about Sophie’s birthday for posterity – and also so she can read this and cringe when she’s old enough ^^
It all started with cramps – for two full days ! I’d thought that it was something I’d eaten – they weren’t strong enough to be menstrual-like pains, but more like a tummy ache. The cramps begin on the night of 16 March and carried on all day – I only started getting really worried when they continued into 17 March and were showing no signs of letting up.
So on the morning of 17 March, I told K that we’d need to see a gynae, and stat. My womb / belly was literally bunching up in the middle and loosening and my groin was sore, but the pain was very manageable. The pushing point was when Sophie stopped moving – at 37 weeks, our OBGYN Dr Kowa had warned that loss of fetal movement could be potentially fatal and to come in immediately.
So with our hearts in our mouths and having forgotten to pack many things, K and I rushed down to Mount E around 4 pm on Tuesday and I was quickly strapped to a machine to monitor my contractions. A cervical swipe showed that I was already 2 cm dilated with contractions coming every 2 minutes, and that it was important for me to get admitted immediately.
Based on the strength and time between my contractions, Dr Kowa had initially expected Sophie to arrive some time during the night of 17 March ! However, things changed once I went to the delivery suite.
First, I was administered an edema. This was just gross – within 30 seconds I was suffering in the toilet and everything – yes everything – was expelled. This was the first sign of the series of indignities my body was subjected to lol.
Next, Dr Kowa broke my water bag. This was not very painful, but extremely uncomfortable. Every bone in my body resisted when Dr Kowa produced a hook like instrument which he proceeded to expertly dig around with in my hoo-ha. I pushed myself all the way up to the top of my hospital bed and had to be forcefully held down by the Sister. The gush of water that followed brought relief.
I was then asked if I wanted the epidural, and told that if I did, I would have to do it quickly, before I dilated to 5 cm. I was also told that the anaesthetist happened to be in the delivery ward at the moment and it would be a really good time to get my epidural.
Throughout these procedures, K was not in the ward. He’d gone back to pick up my glasses, a change of clothes for himself and to drop Benjy off at my in-laws.
So I was completely torn – on one hand, K and I had discussed and agreed only to take the epidural if I could not take the pain after trying laughing gas and the thigh jab. On the other hand, the breaking of my water bag had brought my contractions to another level of pain and I was worried that he would take too long to come back, by which time I would be too dilated to take the epidural or unable to hold myself still to have it administered.
I took the epidural – and I have absolutely no regrets – despite silly spiteful remarks from some people about how I did not “experience real birth” or “really go into labour” – all I have to say is, this was my pregnancy and my labour decision, so please don’t judge.
The administering of the epidural itself was admittedly quite painful and very uncomfortable – strong pressure, and I would say the feeling of a pretty bad bee sting but followed by the most amazing relief and numbness in the lower half of your body.
Best of all, the next 16 hours of labour were basically painless Yes, painless !!! I did feel nauseous, and was absolutely famished but I was able to get lots of rest, chat with K (who sneaked me bites of Marks and Spencer’s Dark Chocolate Digestives against strict orders), even watch some television while waiting for my cervix to dilate further. The only downside was the epidural really slowed down my contractions – after 7 hours I was only 4 cm dilated, after 10 hours, 6 cm.
At that point, Dr Kowa told me that if I did not quickly dilate to 10 cm, he would have to consider an emergency c-section. That really freaked us out – and we were holding hands and praying hard that it wouldn’t come to that – I’ve heard the recovery process for c-sections is particularly difficult and painful ! I was administered a new drip which worked magic, luckily, and hit 10 cm very quickly after.
This is when all the action started ! The epidural was turned down and I started getting feeling back in my legs. I finally felt my contractions – and oh my god were they painful. I felt like my middle was being smashed by something large and flat on both sides and each wave left me completely breathless and wheezing. I have no idea how other mums did without painkillers, least of all my mother who delivered six children without epidural – but HUGE KUDOS to you because I was dying.
I was lying there in spasms and agony wondering how I would make it through the next two hours – which is usually how long women have to push after reaching full dilation – when the Sister assisting Dr Kowa informed me that baby was about to crown.
I was so shocked that Sophie was coming so fast – I hadn’t even pushed yet ! Dr Kowa rushed in and I was quickly saddled up and instructed to bear down and push with every wave of contractions. After the first push, Dr Kowa told me I was doing very very well. I think I said something very sarcastic about him telling all women in labour that, but it turns out he really meant it.
Two pushes and 10 minutes later, my baby girl was out, her arms and legs waving madly in the air before she even made a sound. I was so dazed and shocked when she was put, covered in slime and blood, on my chest, I didn’t even cry like I thought I would. I just smiled and smiled and beamed and told K to take a look at his little girl. K on the other hand was a new shade of white I never knew existed and trembling as he took photos of Baby Sophie squalling on my chest and then in her nursery box.
We did skin-to-skin for about an hour, as we hungrily drank in the first sight of our daughter – so much hair ! so tiny ! such long fingers and toes ( WAIT, WE FORGOT TO COUNT HER FINGERS AND TOES).
Then came the puking. I puked – and puked – and puked uncontrollably – all over the kidney shaped vomit bowl, myself and K – Dark Chocolate Digestives puke mixed with yellow stomach acid. It was vile. Now I know why food wasn’t allowed.
Then the real pain started – when the epidural wore off and I started feeling the stitches – it was so bad I couldn’t sit for two days and now, 6 days post partum, they still burn. I have heard of other mothers who couldn’t sit properly for two to three weeks so I’m just going to be grateful that I didn’t tear and Dr Kowa instead did an epistiomy.
The first night was, honestly, terrible. I could barely walk because of the stitches, and I couldn’t latch Sophie properly – my milk-producers were sore and producing only tiny drops of colostrum and I was so tired I just passed out despite being overwhelmed with guilt at having to send Sophie to the nursery. I was starving, but too tired to even eat.
Things got better really quickly – and here we are, just 6 days later, back home with our little miracle and learning to be parents ! What a difference a week makes !!
Just penning (e-penning) this down makes me feel super emotional all over again – I think every single mother’s birth story is unique and incredibly special and I just feel so absolutely blessed to be given a chance to experience this. K and I still look at Sophie and think – WE created this?! – before smiling like crazies.
Where do we go ? Who knows
But each day gets better
Each kiss gets sweeter
I’ll never leave her alone