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Zoe Raymond|Fitness & Yoga|Beauty & Fashion

My Birth Story

We had a cousin who delivered 3 weeks early, even though our Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) was a day apart. That made the 3 weeks leading up to the delivery date rather agonizing. We were both in eager anticipation; at the same time, I felt more aches and pains with the increasingly heavy bump. In each of those last few weekly visits to the Gynecologist, I would tell Alvin, "I'm admitting myself  today", and 6th March was finally to be the day.

The morning visit to Dr. Cordelia Han (@ Raffles Hospital) saw us being recommended to deliver the baby on the 6th as amniotic fluid level was dropping. Another surprise finding was she's estimated to be 3.2 kg!

My cervix had yet to dilate at 9 am, so the Gynae did a membrane sweep and immediately I was at 1.5 cm. It sure didn't feel comfortable! We headed over to the labour ward and was plugged onto the Cardiotocography (CTG).

At 10 am, I was given a tablet through the vagina to induce labour, and it is said to take at least 6 hours for the cervix to fully dilate. Some fully dilate, some may need more than 1 tablet. I started to do my squats and walking about for an hour or so, hoping to speed up the dilation.

Walked around the labour Delivery floor and had a chance to take this photo before before bed-bounded by epidural.

I also did some butterfly pose hoping that it would help!

Enjoying my congee for lunch!

At 1.30 pm, a check showed that I was only about 3 cm dilated. Contractions were slow too. Dr. Han suggested for epidural and to break my water bag for quicker dilation. But before that, I did my last 10 minutes of squats and walking about, since after the epidural I will be confined to the bed.

Zonia took the afternoon off cause she couldn't concentrate at work!

Dr. Wong came to administrator the epidural which was thankfully fast. I have a huge fear of needles! I had to curl up as much as I can, with the help of a nurse. The legs first felt warm and then slowly numb.

Then it was back to waiting - a dreadfully long wait, made somewhat better by my husband's company and Comedy movies.

The nurse came in to check on my dilation at 7 pm and to our dismay, it was only 5 cm wide. It was then when I learnt that contractions may happen but dilation may not! I was starting to run a temperature of 38 degrees at this point. I was given antibiotics intravenously, but to no effect. Dr. Han came to check on me at about 9 pm and my temperature has climbed to 38.3 degrees. She also checked on my dilation which was still at around 5 cm. She could already feel Arielle's head but couldn't feel her Arielle's ears, meaning that there is still no chance her head can't pass through my pelvis. Though Arielle's heartbeat was still regular and normal, we took advice from Dr. Han to deliver Arielle through caesarean section, so as not to affect her and possibly aggravate my fever if we were to prolong the delivery process.

I was actually feeling very weak when I took this shot, but I wanted my parents, especially my mom, who were waiting outside to feel less worried.

At 9.15 pm, preparations were done to wheel me to the operating theatre. Both sets of parents, together with my sister Zonia and her fiance Jason were already outside waiting for us. They gave their words of encouragements and sent me to the door of the operating theatre.

Alvin was whisked off to change while I was wheeled to the operating theatre first. Soon after, Dr. Wong came by again to administer anesthesia for my lower body. We opted for local anesthesia so I was awake and Alvin could be by my side. There was also a sheet in front of us so we could not see the procedure, thankfully. I felt groggy and nauseous as fear started to kick in. I felt a little claustrophobic from the sheet around me. But Dr. Han reassured that I was fine and my blood pressure was alright, and I tried to focus on my breathing with techniques I learnt from prenatal yoga classes. Alvin came in soon after and with him holding my hand, I felt secure and my breathing was calmer, and I no longer felt nauseous. Whenever I feel nauseous, I tend to black out, and it's horrible when I get that feeling.

The procedure began. I still felt a little pain and Dr. Wong who was on my left offered me laughing gas which I rejected. I didn't want to feel anymore handicapped. The pain from what was going on behind the sheet was tolerable. There was a lot of pulling, stretching and pressing. I closed my eyes all the way, only opening once to look at Alvin for reassurance and support. Soon I heard cries!!! Two gagging cries, and then strong, LOUD cries!!! The time was 10.19 pm.

First picture of Arielle in my arms!

Dr. Han lifted the baby up to show us, and quickly handed her over to the nurse to wipe her down and wrap her in towels. Arielle was cleaned and placed on my chest. That was a magical moment. I looked at her up close for the very first time, and my eyes welled up in tears. 39 weeks 5 days of carrying her in my womb, 12 hours trying to fulfill a natural delivery before the caesarean and finally, here she was - big, and healthy on my chest. And indeed, she was big at birth!!! Arielle was 3.395 kg - definitely much bigger than what my body could have handled for natural delivery. Whoever said that a small baby bump means a small baby is small and lacking in nutrition! That's no wonder she got stuck in my pelvis for so long.

Alvin left the operating theater with Arielle while Dr. Han continued with removing the placenta and stitching me back. I was more awake at this point and was very chatty! I asked many questions! I must have been very relieved that Arielle's finally out safe! After the stitching up, I had to be monitored for another 30 minutes so I only got to the ward at about 12 midnight.

Finally I had my daughter in my arms for a good hug!

First selfie with my daughter' first latch, which was so well done that impressed everyone!

In the ward, I had my first bonding session with Arielle - latching! She latched on very well the first time so that gave me lots of confidence as it is my wish to breastfeed her for all the benefits of breast milk.

Arielle was brought to me every 3 hours to latch on and the nursery staff will take her back after about 1 hour. It was exhausting but I looked forward to seeing her so much! I would be thinking to myself, "When will they be sending her back to me?". My mind would be active, and my ears peeled for the sound of the cot being wheeled in! That was how 3 days passed so quickly at the hospital.

Some pictures taken during our 3 days in hospital.

So much love for this picture x

More latching on

Words can't describe how happy and excited I was on our car ride back home.

The little place in our room which I've spent days and weeks preparing little by little for her has been all ready to receive her.

First picture back home and in her cot!

When I look at her, I still cannot believe this little human came out of me. She is the one who gave me strong and frequent kicks every day, the one who gave me backaches and also the one who accompanied me through a full 23 weeks of yoga practices. It is going to be an exciting, fun-filled journey ahead of us, an experience which we will relish. Our little wish - please don't grow up too quickly!

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