It was a Thursday unlike any other. On that Thursday, February 4th, I heard the biggest news in the past nine months: I was going to have to deliver my baby via c-section as soon as I wanted to. Was I thrilled? Of course! Scared? Definitely.
At some point I wanted to have a natural birth with an epidural but I was never one of those narrow minded self-righteous mothers who think going natural makes them superwondermoms and that they're better than mothers who need a cesarean section. The connotation of a cesarean section delivery has been discriminated forever, and it saddens me that most people don't consider this major surgery just as heroic as going natural. It's absurd. Going natural and getting sectioned both have their pros and cons. I've always known this, and to me whichever's safe for me and my daughter would be fine.
My OB insisted that a normal delivery was a sure no-no. As a nurse, of course I understood clearly why I need a CS. The reasons were obvious: The ultrasound scan and internal exam proved that my baby was too big and muscles were to tight. I was "adequate" but too tense. Even my cervix closed back up when all the while I thought that teensy 1 cm would progress. So, with all these circumstances I was assured that surgery would be the best way to go.
So what's it gonna be? I didn't know what to say at first. I knew I needed a CS, but I was too stunned to speak. I asked for my husband's opinion but he said it was all up to me. My OB was sure that attempting a normal delivery would put me and the baby in risks that are actually avoidable if I choose to be sectioned. Needless to say, a normal spontaneous delivery was definitely not an option.
"Just give me a call anytime."
We left the clinic with mixed emotions. At least I know I did. I could choose my baby's birthday. I could have the baby that night and finally hold my baby as soon as I wanted! But I was a bit shocked at the news. I didn't realize that I was gonna end up like my mom after all, needing a c-section to give birth. Only at that point did I realize that I wasn't gonna be one of those moms who live to tell the tale about their waters breaking, or the intensifying contractions, the bloody show, etc. But as devastating as it may sound, I wasn't disappointed nor depressed at all. In fact I was so excited to share the news with everyone especially my mom and mother-in-law. On our way home I called my mom to tell her the details and promised to call her back once I discussed the matter with my mother-in-law when we get home.
To make the long story short, I decided to give birth the next day, Friday.
So it was a Friday unlike any other. I admitted myself into the hospital on February 5th and I was scheduled for a cesarean section at 7am the following day. My husband stayed the night with me. We had a hard time trying to sleep early--no surprise there. We were so excited about what was going to happen in a matter of hours. We were gonna be parents the next morning.
On February 6th I woke up as early as 4:30 to get ready for the first surgery of my life. I took a warm bath and changed into a hospital gown before a nurse came in and hooked me up on intravenous fluids. It hurt, but poor little old me was utterly unaware of how incomparable that was to the worst pain I would ever feel in my life in exchange of the best blessing God has yet to give me.
After about an hour, Mommy and Mama came. This eased up my tension a bit, but I was still more nervous than excited. I was happy and afraid at the same time. But there was no turning back, that was it. I was going to be a mom very soon.
It didn't take too long before I was wheeled to the operating room with my husband and our moms walking behind me but when we got there they had to turn back because they were only allowed just outside of the OR. At that point I had a serious case of separation anxiety. I was in a cold room full of strangers and these people were gonna operate on me. A nurse then took me to an operating theater and instructed me to lie down on the operating table. Take note, instructed not assisted. You can imagine how uneasy I was lying down on that table.
A couple of nurses kept rushing past to set up the room. They didn't feel like company and I still felt alone. Once I got into a supine position I instantly felt my knees shaking. My fears were at their peak. Even when my friend Leah (a nurse in the hospital) and my sister-in-law Jam came in, it didn't relieve my tension (Jam isn't employed there but she's a doctor so she's allowed to observe and take pictures). Minutes went by like hours. I tried to breathe deeply and slowly to control my nervousness and tremors and just focused on the destination and not the journey. I kept touching my not-yet-sliced-up belly, anticipating what was to come. And then about 10 to 15 minutes later I heard infant cries from another operating theater. I started to imagine what it would feel like to hear my baby's voice for the first time. I realized I'm only minutes away from being sectioned but then I refocused. All of this was for my baby so I could give birth to her.. my own child, me and my husband's living proof of love.
But the anxiety worsened when the anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself. I was already hooked up with oxygen and a pulse oximeter so I assume she chose not to waste time and injected some drugs a few times via my IV tube immediately, and let me tell you IT HURT LIKE HELL! My entire left arm was burning. I could only whimper in pain, helpless of the situation I was in. But to tell you honestly, everything that happened after that was a blur.
I do remember the drape in front of my face. I didn't see it being put there, but I was thinking I don't want to fall asleep, I won't fall asleep. I also remember being turned on my right side by a few people. At that time I was being administered with spinal anesthesia but I didn't really know what was going on. I didn't even feel the needle.
I don't recall being prepped for the surgery but I remember being awake for a couple of seconds while I was being operated on. I saw people in green huddled up and looking down on my open belly at the other side of the drape, and there was a lot of conversation going on.
My darling daughter whom I've been waiting to meet for nine months was born at 7:33 am, February 6th, while I was asleep. Estimated 38 weeks and 3 days AOG, weighing 7.4 pounds and 47 centimeters tall.
Her name is Iaine Sivela Feona.
The next thing I knew, I was in the RR. There was absolutely no pain but I couldn't feel my legs. There was another woman in a stretcher at the other side of the room and I figured she was the one who gave birth to twins before me in the operating theater next to mine. I kept falling asleep and waking up so I'm not sure how long it was before a couple of nurses came in with her twin babies and showed them to her before she was sent back to her private room. I was oozing with jealousy. I wanted to see my baby too and I wanted to get out of there.
I kept dozing off and waking up until Leah came up and told me I was going to be sent off to my own room too, but she was going to show me my baby first. WOW. I felt so excited hearing that. Finally, I'm a mom! But just like any other mother, I was very concerned about the well being of my baby so I asked her "Kumusta ang baby? Kumpleto ba?" Silly question, but necessary. Or maybe being drugged had a lot to do with that LOL. If only I was able to walk I would have run to the nursery to see my baby for myself.
For years I've been having dreams that I was pregnant or giving birth, and sometimes I can even feel pain in my sleep. But this time I wasn't dreaming anymore. My dreams literally came true. This is it, I thought.
Then Leah came in carrying a beautiful baby girl bundled up in white cloth.
"Iaineeeyyy," I said.
She looked so beautiful. I remember thinking, Finally, she's out, she's here. She will be everything I'm not--she will much better than me in everything. She will always be a part of me and she will always be my daughter. Her little whimpers made her innocence all the cuter. Leah put her down next to my face and as I kissed her eye, I tear fell from mine.. and then suddenly she stopped crying. It was a moment I will never forget.
As Leah took her back to the nursery, Iaine started to cry again. I wanted to cry myself. The joy of seeing my daughter for the first time was immediately replaced with sadness. If only they would let me take her to my room. I wanted to get to know her soon. I wanted her next to me from then on. I wanted to experience waking up in the middle of the night hearing her cry. I wanted to feed her myself. I wanted to touch her and feel her soft smooth skin. I wanted to hold my baby in my arms.
It was a rough way back to my room. The orderly handled me with little care and what's worse is I started to feel the pain from the surgery. The hospital didn't have elevators so they had to use the ramps, and that was the worst part. It was spiral and bumpy and I felt every hump lying in that rickety stretcher. By the time I got to my room I was crying. I couldn't open my eyes because I was having a very hard time dealing with what was happening to my body. My head was spinning, I was in pain, and I couldn't feel my legs. It was too overwhelming.
When I got to my room all I could mumble was "Nasusuka ako," between sobs. My mom teared up a bit seeing me like that but kept calm and told me not to talk or else kakabagan ako.
I was advised to lie flat in bed until 4:00 pm. I was lethargic and asleep for most of the day. People kept coming and going but I couldn't really remember them and what was going on. I was glad that my legs and feet regained feeling though.
The next day I felt worse. The pain intensified especially when they took out the urinary catheter. After I used the bathroom for the first time without it I dreaded going back there. Actually, every move I made was excruciatingly painful. But nevertheless I was determined to ambulate so I would get discharged from the hospital as soon as possible. I just wanted to go home with my daughter and finally be a mother.
I was sent home 2 days after I gave birth, February 8th, Monday. Before we left the hospital, Mama and Jai fetched Iaine from the nursery so it was the first time that we saw our daughter up close. We couldn't help but become emotional upon seeing our baby together. It was a wonderful moment.
And now it's been more than 2 weeks and today Iaine is 18 days old. My incision doesn't hurt anymore and the scar the surgery has left has completely healed. Now I can move around like my pre-pregnant self and I'm able to take care of my baby more efficiently. Also, I'm completely capable of taking care of myself again.
Jai and I don't get enough hours of sleep at night but at daytime Iaine is an angel. She has developed a consistent sleeping pattern and we're starting to get used to it.
Everyday presents new challenges and opportunities for us to get to know our daughter more. We love it when she chuckles and smiles when we least expect it, and how she makes her lips into an O and then rolls her eyes. It's so cute when she makes funny noises when she drinks from her bottle and how she can finish 2 ounces of milk formula in a blink of an eye. Touching her baby soft skin feels so comforting.. but looking into each others' eyes gives the best feeling. Whenever she stares at me I could fly.
I used to consider myself as a black sheep of the family. I was a lost soul, I had no purpose. But now I am a changed woman. Motherhood has no room for immaturity, laziness and selfishness. Now I am learning the ways of becoming the best mother and wife I can be. A baby changes everything. Becoming a parent rebirths you into someone new. But I guess the biggest contribution motherhood has brought me is that now I've become much closer with my own mother. Now I truly understand what people have been saying all along "You won't have any idea how it feels to be a parent until you become one."
Everyone just loves Iaine. She's everybody's favorite and she's everyone's dress up doll. My husband and I are crazy about her. She always does something that makes us laugh, or better yet, makes us absolutely happy. Iaine is the center of our universe--she's our star.
There was Jaiskizzy..
There was Jeeanfoxy..
And then there was Iaine.