J's Birth Story

In 72 days (give or take 14 days), Little C will make his appearance into the world and I'll have another birth story to live through. Before that happens, I wanted to write about J's birth story. In the years to come, I'm sure my three birth experiences will get all intertwined and confused, and I thought it would be nice if one day in the future, J gets to read about the special day when he was born.

I'll start out the story by saying that I've been anxious to give birth for a few days. The official due date, according to all my ultrasounds, was November 7, 2010, one day after my 27th birthday. But due dates are estimated, and according to the doctor, J could arrive within two weeks before and two weeks after that estimated date. So you can just imagine, once October 23 clocked in, I really, really wanted to give birth because I wanted to meet J already. After losing G, Big C and I both felt like we've waited forever for our child.

By the end of October, I'd already visited the delivery room twice to get assessed, because I was having irregular contractions already. According to the doctor, I was already 1cm dilated, which means that given regular contractions, I could give birth any day. So you can just imagine our excitement. Add a little anxiety to the mix, because my regular doctor, Dra. Luna, was out on a conference and a reliever, Dra. Villaraza would be handling the delivery if Dra. Luna didn't make it back on time.

Given that I'm a bit of a control freak and I don't like it when things don't go my way, excitement soon turned into frustration. Big C and I were walking every night to help things progress, and I was walking by myself in the afternoons as well. I was begging my doctor to induce, but she wisely discouraged me from doing so. In hindsight, which is always 20-20, I'm glad things turned out the way they did.

The day before I turned 27, November 5, I woke up at around 430 am to go to the bathroom. I noticed that my tummy was contracting, but that wasn't unusual; that happens every time I get up from bed and it usually eases when I lie back down. But as I was trying to fall back asleep, I noticed something strange: the contractions weren't stopping.

I timed the contractions, which were coming at every 7 to 10 minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to get some rest, but my mind was racing. I was deliberating on whether to wake Big C and tell him. In the end, I decided to just observe and wait until it was time for him to wake up, which was in about an hour and a half. By the time he woke up to get ready for work, I had determined that the contractions were pretty much regular. I didn't want to raise a false alarm (again), but I remembered that he usually leaves his phone inside the office during the day, so I had to tell him to keep his phone close by just in case. Of course, he asked me what was up, and I told him that we might need to go to the hospital today.

I took a shower, and I was feeling a bit quiet, mostly because of the contractions and partly because I was tired from having woken up so early. Big C was checking in periodically to make sure J and I were okay and to see how things were going. At about 8:30 am, I decided to call my mom and my mother-in-law and let them know what's happening. My mom insisted on going to the hospital right away but I told her that Big C and I already decided to go to the hospital after he finishes the morning bank run. But by 9 am, Big C called to tell me to get ready, and that we were going to the hospital, so I took another shower and I had our stuff brought downstairs to be loaded into the car. (Later on, he told me he tossed the bankbooks at his mom and told her to take care of it since he was going home to get me. Haha..)

Before going to the hospital, Big C and I stopped at McDonald's for some breakfast. We figured I'd need the food, although I wasn't that hungry. I ate about half of the sandwich and gave the rest to Big C. My stomach was already unsettled. I remember telling him in the car that there was no way I was going home this time. We were staying in the hospital until I gave birth to J. (By that day, we had already been to the DR - delivery room - three times and I got sent home each time to wait it out.)

We got to the delivery room at around 10 am, where I changed into a hospital gown and waited for the doctor to examine me. After the first IE, the doctor said I was 3cm dilated and about 70% effaced so they went to call Dra. Villaraza. I was taken to a bed, where a machine was hooked up to my tummy to keep track of J's heartbeat and to monitor the contractions.

There I stayed while we waited for my labor to progress. About an hour or so after we arrived, I got to talk to Big C and my sisters at the DR door. Big C asked me how I was feeling, and he encouraged me to walk if I still could bear the pain. At that point, the contractions were manageable so I asked the doctors if I could stay on my feet. They said yes, so I wandered up and down the DR hallways.

Although the people in the delivery room said that my labor was progressing nicely even without medical intervention, I was bored out of my mind. I was by myself, with no one to talk to, no book to read. Add that to my impatience to finally see my son, and I was going crazy in there. To the consternation of the doctors, I wandered out of the delivery room to look for Big C. Apparently, you're not supposed to leave the delivery room, since it's a sterile area. A doctor saw me wandering in the hallways with my big tummy and she kindly, but firmly told me to go back to the DR. I agreed, mostly because Big C and my sisters had disappeared from the waiting area. A room was finally available and that was where they were hanging out while waiting for me.

I kept walking in the hallways, with the contractions increasing in intensity. At 6cm dilated in the early afternoon, I was breathing through the contractions, but I was still okay. The pain was bearable and I was determined to last as long as possible without the epidural. But by 4pm, the nurses could see that the contractions were getting much more painful and they encouraged me to get the epidural, which I agreed to, because I wanted to save my strength for the actual delivery.

Let me tell you, I am not a fan of drugs, but that epidural was a welcome relief. It slowed down my labor a bit, but we were still progressing quite nicely. One of the residents stayed with me, monitoring my contractions, and keeping me company. She said I was a refreshing change from the other moms, I was so perky and happy (thanks to the epidural!). We were just talking and I remember telling her that I was hoping to deliver on November 3, as a 10th anniversary present for Big C, but that J seemed to have his own timetable. I also shared with the people in the DR that the day after that was my birthday, so I'm really hoping to give birth before the day ends. I didn't really mind sharing my birthday, but I wanted J to have his own special day that he didn't have to share with me.

By 7pm, I was fully dilated and effaced, but J still hadn't dropped into the right position, so the doctors started working with me to practice pushing. We didn't go to the actual OR/DR right away, because they said the position I'd have to take there would be more tiring and that it would be easier to practice in the labor room. Even then, they said that they could see the top of his head already. Dra. Villaraza even said, "Dianne, I can see his bangs!"

Close to 8pm, they wheeled me to the OR/DR, the cold, sterile room where I would be pushing J out into the world. I remember shivering so hard, which the doctors told me it was from the epidural. It was so cold and I tried my best to stay still. Doctors, nurses and orderlies were bustling around me, getting things ready for J's arrival. They positioned me on the delivery table and a nurse was holding a camera, which they got from Big C, who by now, was waiting outside the DR with our families. The doctors told me to push just like we practiced, but after some time they told me to stop pushing because they were afraid J would come out too fast, which would result in greater tearing for me. (Too graphic? Yeah, I know.) I stopped pushing, as instructed, and another doctor started gently pushing down on my tummy to ease him out. Then before I knew it, Dra. Villaraza was holding up a tiny, wriggling bundle with tons of hair.

It was my baby! He was so perfect. The first things I noticed about J was that he had a headful of dark hair and a dimple in his right cheek. I remember saying to everybody in the DR that my mom would be really pleased about his dimple, because chances are he got it from her.

Suddenly, that tiny wriggling bundle was placed on my tummy and J was in my arms. I held him close to me and just looked at him. I cried then, just a few tears that couldn't help but leak out because I was so happy. This little boy was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life and I couldn't believe that he came from me and Big C. Even just a few minutes old, his eyes were sharp and I knew he was taking the world in. They say that babies can't see right away, but I'm his mom and I knew. He were looking out at the world, and at that moment, his world was me.

J was placed on my chest, just like I learned in all my prenatal classes. They say that skin-to-skin contact between a mother and a child immediately after birth facilitates bonding and in that moment, I knew what they meant. We tried having J latch and nurse from me right away, but I guess he weren't ready and he was having a hard time, so we didn't force the issue. I did feel bereft though, when they took him away to be cleaned up and to be checked. I wanted to just hold him and keep him in my arms and never let him go.

They wheeled me out of the DR, where Big C was waiting for me. The proud grandparents were also there, with my aunt and my brother. I remember being lucid and conscious at that time, saying hi to everyone and asking Big C if he'd seen J already. When I was sent to the recovery area, I was awake the whole time, fidgeting impatiently, waiting to be sent back to my room, where I knew Big C and I could have some quiet time and I could tell him all about J's birth. I was also wondering when I could see J next.

The details of the next few hours were a bit hazy, mostly because I was already a bit tired. But what I remember most clearly was my desire to see J again, to hold him in my arms and to nurse him. After I woke up early the next morning, that was exactly what I did.

It's been more than a year since that day, and while some of the details are a bit blurry in my anesthesia-muddled mind, nothing can make me forget the way I felt when I first laid eyes on my baby. The feeling was an overwhelming rush of love so strong it brought me to tears. And you know what? To this day, I still get that same feeling every time I look at J.


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