Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Love's Labours (Part 3)

Part 1 Part 2
Warning: Post may contain icky stuff about bodily functions. If you have a weak stomach, just read the first two installments and stop there. =).

Despite their supposed sterility, any hospital is unnerving and scary and being wheeled alone inside the delivery room brought me to new levels of anxiety. As if I wasn't anxious enough already.

Routine questions were done and for the nth time, I submitted my self to another pap smear which induced another gush of fluid that I never thought had inside me. They told me that I'm already 4 cm dilated.

Holy crap, how can you go from 1 cm to 4 cm in a span of a few hours? Oh yeah, I spent the entire afternoon walking around Robinson's Galleria against my doctor's advice.

By this time, labor was imminent. They asked routine questions, took my vitals, and I had to repeat at least 3x times that I'm allergic to mefenamic acid, aspirin, and ibuprofen. I had a quick chat with my OB over the phone and she instructed me to discreetly take the four pills that she handed me earlier that day.

I slapped on some scrubs, was shaved in about 5 seconds and it would be the last time that I would ever see someone familiar---for the next 15 hours anyway. I handed over my stuff to my mom and brother and swallowed the pills. I would have loved to kiss my husband but he was over at the admitting section so I reluctantly went back in.

Back at the delivery room, there were three of us preggo awaiting labor and despite the nasty cramps that I was feeling every few minutes, I managed to get chatty with one of the nurses whose ex had the same last name was mine. I got hooked up on an IV and was actually stating to enjoy watching the ongoings at the DR when the cramps have started to really, really rear its frigging ugly head. Women are really familiar with this pre-menstrual syndrome- it's like there's a really big pendulum swinging at the pit of your stomach and you're not sure if you want to poop or not. That was what I was feeling, multiplied by 10!

The next few minutes was really crucial because those were the last thing I remember before I would wake up about 12 hours later. The pain had become excruciating, never felt any pain like it (but I was completely wrong because real pain would come 12 hours later!).

I remember asking an attendant, a nurse, or a doctor or whomever if I can go to the restroom to take a dump because I needed to go really bad but she just shushed me and asked to lie down. So I tried getting up and repeated my request, and the people in the room completely ignored me. So my voice got louder and I was on the verge on becoming hysterical. I kept on saying that they need to let me go to the comfort room and then I felt my eyes getting heavy and then that's it.

I woke up 12 hours later, the big bulge that I've been carrying on my stomach for 9 months was gone but that pain in the middle part of my body was still there.

What happened during that 12 hours would forever remain a mystery. I was actually unconscious when I went on labor and gave birth!!! Those four pills were sedatives. My frigging doctor drugged me and I missed the whole birthing experience.

I had mixed feelings about this. My theory is that she wanted to help me have a hassle and pain free labor which I totally appreciate but at least she could've asked me first if I wanted that. And the post natal pain was so unbearable anyway that it wouldn't have made a difference if I did that pant-pant-blow-push schtick. Even my baby's APGAR score was affected because we were both knocked out. He only got a 6/10 on his first test because he was sleeping and unresponsive.

I wish it could have been done differently. I wouldn't have minded the pain. Heck I've spent the last 9 months prepping myself up for that and what I got instead was a 12-hour gap i my memory. It was just so anti-climactic. I was deprived of my Johnson and Johnson's First-Few-Minutes-After-Birth moment.

Okay, lesson learned, next time don't just swallow those small, or any pills for that matter without asking the doctor. That's it. Deep breath, let go. I know better now.

- - -

Pain. Pain. Pain. Women will always have the monopoly on pain. Physical pain, emotional doesn't matter. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood contains all facets of pain imaginable. Some women can take it. Some claim that all pain was worth it once they see their child for the first time. They sure can take it and I applaud them for that. I didn't expect my experience to be like that. I struggled with ambivalence a few times during my pregnancy. I admit that it was hard for me to fully abdicate any control over my body even when I knew that nature would run its course and that choice wasn't mine to make. As I've said in my previous post, I fell in love with my kid gradually. Maybe all the Earth-Goddess type woman who reads this may hiss at me in anger and disappointment but from the get go I never kidded myself that I'll experience all the mushiness that I see on baby commercials. Wolf kicking inside me was a wonderful experience but the real deal was when I held him, and fed him, and changed his dirty diapers and washing his soiled clothes and seeing the goofy expressions on his face that he can't quite control yet. I am getting to know my son each day as a little person with his own personality, and I fall in love with him more and more each day. And I'm glad that NOW I am experiencing the wonders of motherhood despite pesky annoyances like waking up in the middle of the night

Anyways, waking up half a day later is not a picnic. I was roused from a groggy sleep by a young resident, attendant, nurse or whatever named Philip. He woke me up by asking me if I knew someone named (totally forgot who but someone who had been my agent before) since I was working at Medicall.

He was asking me questions about Medicall while I was trying to get my bearing when I suddenly got a jolt and remembered where I was. I immediately touched my tummy and to my shock it was noticeably flatter. Not totally flat but the 9 month old bump was definitely gone. I weakly asked him if I'd already given birth and he said yes. I saw the clock and the time was 3:30 pm. I was stumped...where did the last 12 hours went? Tried as I might to recapture any bit of memory when I've given birth but it was all blank. I don't know anything. That's how powerful those little pills were.

And then it kicked in. My episiotomy had let its presence known and it was painful. And it's not all, the frigging catheter attached to me was also painful. It was so painful that crying doesn't matter anymore. I asked for some painkillers but Philip is not having any of it. So I spent an hour and a half moaning and trashing in pain alternately cursing my husband and wishing to see him at the same time and longing, longing to know anything about that 5.12 pounds of human flesh that I delivered.

My OB-Gyne arrived at around 5:30 pm to check on my stitches (it hurt). I was pronounced okay and ready to be roomed in. I was anticipating to see my little boy but my OB told me that I'm not supposed to sit up and walk until 8 pm.

Delgado Hospital was jam packed that day (it was the day before the Chinese New Year and a lot of preggos want to give birth on the 7th) so we were given a semi-private room while waiting for the next available private room.

I was wheeled in the tiny room and my mom, my 4th brother, my mother in law and sister in law and of course, the main perpetrator of this dramarama, my husband were there and giving me various looks of pity and concern. See, this is what I looked like:

There. That should give you nightmares (or the heebie-jeebies) for the next couple of days.

I'm still groggy at this point so I can't remember much but my husband told me that I sorta cursed him while I was transferred into the bed. It was half his fault that I'm in pain so I think he deserved what I said. But really, could you stay mad at this sweetness?

So all was forgiven. And it was a different experience for him, being on the other side of the room. But that's his story to tell. =).

I was excited to see my son but the nursery won't be open for a few hours and I'm not supposed to walk, much less, sit so my husband showed me our son's first ever photograph:

Did I cry? My husband said I got teary eyed for a moment but then again that must have been because of the pain. But the universe had already shifted for me at that moment.

There's my SON, in the flesh. And he definitely didn't get his nose from me.

And then the nurse came in and handed me the other one thing that I've been wanting to see--painkillers.

The nursery was open by then and all my visitors came rushing out to see Wolf. i wasn't supposed to stand up yet but by 8pm I should be a free (wo)man. So the moment that the clock struck 8, pain be damned, I asked for a wheelchair and demanded to be brought to my son.

The hospital had a policy wherein the mommy can visit the nursery to breastfeed her baby anytime 24/7 so I took advantage of that. I sneaked in our digicam, and here's the first time that I held my son:

Aah...such bliss. This is actually a bit of my DNA that I'm holding in my arms. Still in a state of awe until now as I write this.

But we weren't home free yet. We weren't able to have Wolf roomed in as planned. he had to undergo phototherapy because of ABO Incompatibility. More moments of anxiety-we had to leave him at the nursery for a day more to ensure that his jaundice won't worsen.

I felt so bad for my husband. He was aching to hold our son. Fortunately, a nice nurse named Josie at the nursery had allowed my husband to spend a minute to see and touch our son at the doorway of the nursery.

So when Wolf was discharged a day later, my husband had declared that he'll carry our son on the way home from the hospital.

On the way home, my breasts had started leaking so as soon as we got home, I was on full breastfeeding mode and amazingly, after a few tries my baby was expertly feeding off me.

This venture called motherhood is on full steam ahead.

The first week had been exhausting as expected. There were a lot of cranky moments and my perineum stitches weren't helping at all. I was raring to be a full hands on mommy that I forgot that my body wasn't up to it yet and needed time to heal. So I had to rely on my mom if my husband wasn't around and I'm grateful that I'm getting all the help that I can get.

Motherhood is a shared responsibility too that's why I don't take shit from husband when it's his turn to feed the baby or change his dirty diapers or rock him to sleep. Lucky for me, my husband is a pretty responsible human being who is fully aware of his responsibilities. I try to cut him some slack because I know he has to go to work at the same time. We are in serious need of bonding time too, all our energies are focused on the baby right now. We would work on it.

Did I experience post-partum depression? I think I might've have, I just didn't notice. Of course I was exhausted, and there was a period of bitchiness (mostly directed at my husband) but I think we're both adjusting well. We just have to turn the selfishness off for a little while since there is that little someone wholly dependent on us. The feeling of isolation after my husband had gone back to work and my mom had to stay over at Antipolo was so intense that for my post-partum check up I was literally panting at the new, huge billboards over at EDSA on the way to the doctor's.

Wolf is a month and a half old now. He is starting to coo, and smile and giggle and we're loving every day that we witness his developments.

And for the thank you portion of this tale, everybody from our officemates, our friends, my in-laws (all two of them..hehe), and my family had been wonderful in sharing this experience with us. We are grateful for making our child feel so welcomed in this world.

And thanks too for reading this very long post from me.


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