By Gina Lim

Dear Diary,

My journey to mummyhood.
2 Nov 2008 was my expected due date, a day that I so looked forward to.

30 October 2008
My last day at work – 2 days to get myself mentally and physically prepared to welcome my child Sarah-Ann.

1 Nov 2008
Did a final check on my stuff that I need to prepare. Toothbrush, CDs, marriage cert … etc. Yup, all ready. Excited and curious to know how contractions feel like. Read that it felt like menstruation cramps. Decided to go for natural birth without epidural as I am usually able to endure my cramps. 20 years of experience should be training enough.

2 & 3 Nov 2008
I’m getting a little nervous… receiving lots of sms asking whether I have popped. Damian is on high alert – a phone call from me and he will fly back home.

4 & 5 Nov 2008
Felt very tired and lethargic; slept the whole afternoon. Start feeling a slight pain in my tummy but not sure if it is contractions or stomach-ache as I was constipated for 2 days.

The pain came and went, it should be contractions. However, they are not very painful, I was still able to eat and watch TV. Early in the morning at about 3am, went to the toilet and felt a funny sensation. With my sleep-heavy eyes, I saw that my undies stained with something brown. That’s “show”, one of the signs of labour starting, I am going to give birth. Darling, Sarah-Ann is coming……

Took a bath, changed and decided that I need to eat something. I have to feed the baby in me and also to store energy for myself. I heard that a lot of strength is required for giving birth.

Pregnancy1st stop – a prata shop at Thomson, followed by a Dim Sum shop next to it then Church to ask for blessing and strength before heading to Mt. Alvenia Hospital. The pain was still bearable. I finally reached the hospital at 8am.

After checking into the delivery ward, the nurse checked me for dilation and strapped my tummy with a belt to measure the contractions and to monitor the baby’s heart beat.

The pain still came and went but was tolerable. The nurse told me to inhale the laughing gas if the pain was intolerable. I tried for fun but it made me dizzy instead.

My Gynae came and I was watching TV and sipping my hot cocoa. He did his checks and discharged me. I was told to return when the pain was severe. I checked out at 1:30pm.

6 Nov
Checked myself into hospital again at 2am. This time round, I had to stop everything when contraction came and the pain was quite intense. Damain thought that I would “pop” anytime.

Checked into the same delivery ward but the nurse was different this time. I worked on the breathing techniques that were taught in the pre-natal class every time the contractions hit. Thank goodness for them!

The Gynae came at about 9 am. Did his checks and told me that dilation did not improve. He helped me to stretch and said that he will come back in the afternoon again. Actually, I was very afraid of the checks. Every time the nurse came in and put on the gloves, I became very tense.

The Gynae came again at 1pm, but my dilation still did not increase. So he told me that he will need to put me on epidural, a drip and then burst my water bag. This will help speed up the dilation process. There went my natural birth plan.

The doctor came to put the epidural, I screamed twice. It was very painful. The lower part of my body became numb. I couldn’t feel any contraction pain at all.

After the epidural, my dilation still did not improve. We did not sleep for the whole night.

7 Nov
The Gynae came at 12pm. I was 3cm dilated. He told me that if the progress was still so slow by 8pm, he may need to perform a C-section me. I was tired, afraid and stressed out.

We kept praying that I will be able to dilate fast. Then a miracle happened, my dilation was 5cm at 10pm and at about 1 am it was 8cm. The nurse called my Gynae who came about 10 minutes later. The nurse started to guide me to push.

I did not have enough strength as I was already very tired. My Gynae told me that he may need to use a vacuum to get my baby out. He told me to push with all my might. With Damian’s help, I used all my strength and Sarah-Ann finally was delivered at 2:11am!

Right away, doctor placed her on my lap. I called her name softly and then Damain proceeded to cut her umbilical cord. Looking at her beautiful face, my 30 hours of anxiety, apprehension and pain were worth it!

This article was first published in The New Age Parents Magazine Jun 09 issue