So in the last few posts, I’ve talked about how I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and the tools I have used to cope with it. Today, I want to share my birth story, mainly because it was so different from how I imagined it, thanks to my diagnosis.
If I hadn’t mentioned it before, one of the things that we had to do after I was put on insulin was to have weekly ultrasounds. The extra insulin in my body, even though it won’t be absorbed by the placenta, can speed up the growth of my baby. These ultrasounds measure how big my baby is, and if s/he does get too big, I would have to be induced.
Each ultrasound is breathtaking, even though after the second week it was more like routine. The question just hangs over my head: is our baby okay? And then on the fifth ultrasound, something came up. I’m almost out of fluid.
After confirming with my wonderful OB, we went straight to the hospital from the lab, where I was welcomed by the sweetest staff. Because I am to be induced, every single nurse was basically saying LOAD UP ON FOOD, EAT, but I was hesitant because I knew that pushing a kid out activates the same muscles as you would when you poop. Then one of them said it: inductions can last up to 48 hours. That’s 48 hours of no solid food.
I ate so much. I had a couple of sandwiches, a salad bowl, fruits plate, etc. By the time they started me on pitocin, I was ready. At least my mind was.
The resident popped my bag of waters, in hopes of triggering contractions, but the baby was comfy and was staying put. The nurses got to work and started my lines. One arm has two: pitocin and hydration. The other arm, two lines too: insulin and antibiotic. Soon, I had my epidural put in; they had to redo it coz I was still left with some feeling on my right leg. Then my catheter went in, and because baby was comfy, another catheter to my uterus was put in to supplement the lost fluid. I sincerely felt like I was in one of those pods from The Matrix.
Contractions didn’t start till 10pm, and it was pain. Pain was just everywhere, even with the epidural. After a couple of hours, we called in the anesthesiologist for an extra boost, so it wasn’t until midnight did I feel true relief. Hours passed, and soon enough, I started shaking all over. Think full body twerk kind of shake. Apparently it’s a side effect of the epidural. By 2:30 AM, I felt it: I was ready to push.
And push I did. My entire team was encouraging and supportive. I could not have asked for a better team to be with me at this time: my husband, my sister, my doctors, my nurses, all of them were stellar.
Then all of a sudden, after the crowning, the contractions completely stopped. We waited five minutes… then it became ten. I noticed that more people came in, and my doctor explained that because it’s been a while, she called in the NICU team along with the neonatologist. Surprisingly, I wasn’t scared. Seeing the entire team of say 12 people comforted me (even though each one of them is in full view of my vagina).
My sister and my nurses started massaging my ankles, because my OB suggested that accupressure has shown effects of inducing contractions. When she said nipple stimulation works best, I must have whipped out my tits so fast and my husband went to work. I remember my OB just being impressed with the lengths I am willing to expose myself just to get my baby out.
Soon enough, I felt another contraction, and I felt the baby come out. “It’s a boy!” my sister screamed. My husband’s resounding “YES!” followed soon after, and then two seconds of nothing from my doctors and nurses. They didn’t hold him up, they took him straight to be weighed and cleaned. Five seconds later, I heard him cry. Then the relief came. And then the joy.
I am still in disbelief that an entire year has passed since that day. There is more to my motherhood journey that I would like to share, all in due time. With a pandemic at the backdrop of civil unrest, a tumultuous election year, environmental challenges, and a sudden surge for internal dialogue, this year flew way too fast for my liking. I wish I can go back to last year and relive this day, no matter how difficult, so I can relive his entire year all over again.
Hold your babies tight and often because they’re never small for that long. Don’t believe what they say, that doing so will spoil them early on. There’s no such thing. Carry them as much as they want, as long as you can, as long as they’ll let you. They’re only this small just this once. I’m glad my body is as tired as it is; I take it as a sign that I have carried him — and will continue to — as much as I can while he still lets me.
Happy first birthday, Aiden. I wrote this blog for your birthday. When you’re old enough, I’ll wake you at the time you were born so we can read this together. And we’ll do this every year, as long as you let me.