My son is turning two months this Sunday. I know it took me a while to update this space. It’s been two whole months of sleepless nights and exhausting days! Apologies and thanks to everyone–from friends and strangers–who messaged me, telling me they’re praying for me, sharing their own experiences, or asking me about doctor referrals. What I’ve learned these past months is that the internet can be a wonderful community of women who inspire each other with their strength and stories. Mine continues below:
“All odds are against this pregnancy,” my OB once uttered in one of our routine ultrasounds. True, I’ve battled every imaginable complication–and when it was time to come up with a concrete birth plan, my doctors were conflicted. My endocrinologist kept warning me that I would be giving birth early, before my 36th week. My immunologist agreed and told me to prepare around the 32nd to 35th week.
I was ready as soon as I hit week 28.
My birth plan
While many blogs I’ve read encouraged women to prepare ahead and write a detailed birth plan, I chose not to. With all the complications I’ve been dealing with, I felt like it was an added stress on my part to think and draft one. I told my OB that I only had one plan: To trust her judgment and know that she wants what’s best for both me and my son.
I did, however, told her a few requests:
- That my husband be allowed to be with me all throughout–from labor to delivery–and that he be allowed to take photos/videos.
- In case of C-section delivery, I wanted a bikini cut (more for vanity than anything else ;) ).
- To perform delayed cord clamping.
Three tiny requests and that constitutes my birth plan. :) I knew my hospital, St. Luke’s Global, strictly implements the Unang Yakap protocol (skin-to-skin contact with baby right after delivery) and also encourages mom to exclusively breastfeed–so there was no need to discuss these with my doctor.
Natural birth or C-Section?
Because I was confined in the hospital for the most part of my third trimester, I was physically getting weaker and emotionally agitated. Not to mention, our hospital bills were piling up. I so badly wanted to “get this baby out,” I would tell my OB. But she firmly fought for this pregnancy. At first, she told me to reach 32 weeks so we could be sure that the baby’s lungs would be developed. And then it was 36 weeks, so we could avoid going into the Neonatal ICU.
I was confined for low amniotic fluids when I hit week 36. My OB was out of the country at the time. Before she left, she instructed the nurses and resident doctors to schedule a C-Section once she gets back (I was a strong candidate for a CS because aside from my age, APAS, and low amniotic fluids, I also had pre-eclampsia and there was a double cord-coil around the baby’s neck). I would be 37+ weeks by then.
But just before I hit week 37, my fluids improved and I was discharged from the hospital (on the condition that I would come back every other day for ultrasound and non-stress test to track contractions). All of a sudden, all signs showed that I could try to give birth naturally.
But whichever way I would give birth did not matter to me. For me, a birth is a birth and it will be glorious and blessed in any way it comes.
That last week was the most blissful part of my third trimester. My husband and I spent it on hotels–one night we used our free room in Sofitel, and then a friend gifted us another night in Marriott at Resorts World Manila. It was a short and sweet babymoon. Because I was due to give birth already, my pessary was removed and I was advised to walk around. This was something I immensely enjoyed and appreciated because I was always stuck on a wheelchair since the latter part of my second trimester.
Week 38, Day 1
On March 25, I went to the hospital for my regular check-up. I knew I could give birth any day now, but my OB still did not want to commit to a C-section delivery because all the signs suddenly showed that I could try to give birth naturally. But during the ultrasound, she saw that my amniotic fluid is already at level 4.
By 3 p.m., I was admitted to be induced. In the labor room, the resident doctor did an internal exam and confirmed that I was already 3cm dilated. I was given primrose oil to soften my cervix and hopefully speed up my dilation. Oxytocin was also administered through an IV. So my contractions, while they didn’t bother me at this point, was coming in quite regularly, even as close as two-minute intervals.
I’d been reading up on mindful birthing and truly believed that labor, or contractions, shouldn’t be any more painful than how your mind perceives them to be. I spent the next hours practicing breathing exercises, relying on my balancing essential oils, and listening to worship songs.
Week 38, Day 2
After more than 24 hours of labor, I was still at 4 c.m.. Discomfort started to creep in and I was offered the epidural. I agreed, going back to my birth plan to trust that my doctors know best. Many things have been said about the big E, but for me, it was a good decision. It gave me so much relief that I even jokingly told my anesthesiologist that I loved him more than my husband!
A few hours after I had the epidural–I lost count–my dilation still wasn’t progressing significantly. It had been at 5cm for hours now. An IE confirmed that my water broke already without me knowing. Then and there, the doctors decided to go through with an emergency C-section.
I was quickly wheeled into the operating room and I remember feeling so excited. This is it!
I have to thank all the nurses and doctors at St. Luke’s Global for making my delivery such a wonderful experience, despite the need for an emergency cesarean section. They explained to me in detail what they were doing as they went along so I was informed all throughout. My husband was allowed to come inside the OR, and so all my requests were so graciously granted. I had the blissful birth I’ve always wanted.
At exactly 11:58 p.m. on March 26, after a total of 33 hours in labor, I finally heard my OB exclaim, “Baby out!” I heard oohs and aaahs from the nurses, and I waited a few seconds before I heard my son’s soft cries. He was given to me right away, and he latched on to my breast almost immediately!
My son, Lucas Tristan, was born weighing 7.4 lbs with a near-perfect APGAR score of 9.9. This little fighter, my very own miracle, has given me a second chance at life and faith.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. -Job 5:9