Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Family of Four - A Birth Story

April 11, 2016 was the day I gave birth to my wonderful baby boy! Funny how my blog post on April 11 was about how impatient we were getting to meet this baby. Little did I know it was gonna happen later that day!

I line jumped and I line jumped hard! My son was born at 38+2 but he was born healthy with an Apgar score of 8,9. I don't have a lot of dramatic details to share because this was another planned c-section but I would have to say overall that it's a positive experience and I'll share as much as I can.

Birth story time!


I was scheduled for a follow-up checkup with my OB in the morning of April 11th and we've decided to have the c-section the next day. Husband and I went home and I was pumped to get the last minute items packed for my early morning hospitalization. However like I said, we had to make the decision to have the c-section later that day at around 8-9PM. I had to be on fasting starting 1:30PM which was no fun because I couldn't even have water. I was texting my OB and he ordered that I should get admitted after lunch and not later because I needed to get hydrated so Jai and I hurriedly got ready and we decided to leave my MIL and Iaine home. I messaged family members to tell them that plans have changed then my dad picked us up...

At the ER I was all smiles. I knew it would be the start of the pains of birthing this child but I was just happy to be there. After choosing a room I was hooked up to an IV and waited to get wheeled away. After a long wait (ER told me they had a difficult time contacting my doctors) I was sent to my room.

While waiting for Jai and my dad to unload our stuff from the car I felt super drowsy and dozed off. I actually didn't want to because I knew I would just sleep and sleep after the CS, but I guess everything that transpired before my hospitalization caught up on me. In a couple of hours my in-laws arrived with my daughter but for certain reasons we had to relocate to a better suite not long after. I was fine with this because it would be inconvenient to have the rearrangements after the operation.
Suite 3
We finally got settled in this time and I was just waiting for 8PM. I was excited to finally get it over with but still scared of the pain. Soon my mom and other relatives arrived and this made me feel less nervous...

Baby Time

(L) Last photo as a family of 3 / (R) Before I was taken to my OR theater
I changed into my gown and was sent to the OR with my husband was in tow because we were hoping he could scrub in and watch the birth. I was greeted by my super nice anesthesiologist who asked me some questions then I was taken to the theater. Sadly, we had to leave Jai behind. I was kind of disappointed because I was really hoping he would be present for this birth unlike the first one, but hospital policy has never allowed a significant other to be present during a CS operation. He handed his GoPro camera to my sister who works in the same hospital so she could take the videos so I was still happy that I'll get to see the action after the whole thing is over.
My sister likes selfies.
After another set of questions from an OR nurse, in a couple of minutes I was lying in the OR table chatting with my anesth and my sister for what felt like more than an hour. I kept asking my sister to check up on the husband who was left in the waiting area. She told me he was anxious, the poor guy. The operation was delayed because we had to wait for my OB to arrive (I overheard comments from staff that he had a long day) but I didn't mind the wait honestly. That extra time allowed me to have small talk and some laughs with my anesth and my sister which calmed me down. I was way more relaxed this time unlike my first CS where my knees were shaking in fear; I was mortified out of my mind. Now there was less fear of the unknown because I already had an idea what would happen after, and everyone in the OR made me feel at ease.

I heard my anesth say that my OB was almost ready so she started prepping me by giving me something that made me groggy as f. My vein didn't hurt as bad as my first time and it's funny to think back at that moment because I knew I would get sleepy and could pass out any second. What happened after that is a blur but I have some recall of what happened. I got turned to my right side and I had to hang on to one of the OR assists (I remember feeling super relaxed, didn't even feel the spinal, and was super comfortable clinging onto a stranger's arms. LOL drugs)... Then, drapes in front of my face... Then my anesth asking me some questions to check on me... Then my OB's voice...

My consciousness was on and off like if you watch a movie with some parts on fast forward or skipped and you have no idea what's happening. Although I do remember quite vividly how the doctors yanked at my abdomen-- I was certain they were having a hard time pulling my son out. I remember the assistant doctor's voice was quite in a panic and I was feeling a lot of pulling and yanking behind the drape below my chin. I didn't feel any pain but I felt a lot of pressure even up to my ribs. I also learned just recently from my sister that my doctor had to make the cut a little longer because they were really struggling to get him out. Ouch..

A New Life
At 9:31PM, my son whom I have been praying and waiting for for years and years, Iajin Alfredous Jye, was born. They told me they would just clean him up before they show him to me. I remember his loud, strong, very boyish cries at the far end of the room as the pediatrician prepped him on the warmer while I waited, and when I finally saw him the feeling was just incredible. I was filled with so much joy! I now have a bouncing baby boy and with so much black hair too! I didn't have my glasses on (not allowed) but I knew he was beautiful. I thought, he is finally born, and he's okay.
But because I was drugged, I had no idea that initially it wasn't okay, and that they had to stimulate my baby different ways such as ambu-bagging his foot so that he could cry/breathe. My sister who witnessed it thinks the baby might have went into distress as they struggled to pull him out because he was so stuck in utero. Normally during a c-section, with one forceful push a baby's head would pop out of the cut, but not my son because of his position. This doesn't really surprise me though because in the last weeks of my pregnancy I kept feeling him squeeze into the corners of my pelvis. Also I realize now that had I chosen to go through with the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) I could have ended up having a c-section anyway.

After my initial encounter with Iajin I might have been put into a deeper state of unconsiousness because I wasn't sure what happened before I was sent to the recovery room or how long it took for my OB to stitch me back up. I just remember being lifted to another stretcher that will take me to the RR. I remember looking to my left and seeing 2 other patients. Anyway, the RR staff were checking on me every once in a while and they were really nice and reassuring. At one time though I think I was woken up by one of the doctors who was loudly talking from afar about how my sister shouldn't come into the NICU (Nursery) because she worked in the ICU hehe. I also overheard my sister standing at the RR door saying she wanted to see me up close but they didn't allow her. Honestly, I don't know how long they kept me there.

Before they discharged me from the RR I think they changed my diaper and this was when the pain started. Two nurses assisted me and one of them warned that I would feel pain and holy shizballs. He pressed on my uterus repeatedly to discharge clots and I could only helplessly moan my way through the ordeal.
Before I exited the OR complex we made a stop in the hallway outside the Nursery (I had no idea so it was a nice surprise) and once again they showed me my baby boy. He was already swaddled and all cleaned up. The nurse put him next to my face and even though I knew I shouldn't kiss his face because of how sensitive it is I couldn't help myself-- my son was just so adorable (moment frozen in time in the picture above). He has very kind and curious eyes and I adored how he gently blinked as I spoke to him. After about 10 seconds they took him back to the nursery and I was taken to the elevator.

When I arrived at my suite everyone was quiet. Might have been because everyone was sleepy; it was already so late at night when I got back. My mom greeted me at the door and asked if I was okay with a thumbs up and I answered with a nod. Last time we were both an emotional mess hehe. She and my mother-in-law told me not to speak to prevent gas. I was lifted back to my hospital bed and the long road to recovery officially started...

The Pain

Pain deserves its own section because this is the part I was dreading for 9 months and the pain that comes with childbirth demands to be felt.

First night after the operation I awoke in the middle of the night moaning in excruciating pain because my uterus was contracting. To be honest I forgot that this was even a thing. Yes ladies, you may be done giving birth but the contractions will linger. It was unforgiving at 8-10 on the pain scale. I wanted to scream but I can't or else my stomach will get distended so helpless me just cried with gritted teeth. My uterus and my whole pelvis went stiff and I was shaking in so much pain. I had no control over it as it happened again and again. My loud cries woke up my husband and he sleepily held my hand tight and wiped my tears.

Early in the morning my anesthesiologist dropped by to make her rounds to check on me and was pleased to hear that I didn't have much pain when at rest and that I was able to move my legs and feet.

But! The contractions kept coming back all day. The nurses gave me pain meds but even administering those were painful and swelled up my vein. And as much as I would like to lie still, I needed to take baby steps to recover as soon as possible by ambulating (walking around) within 24 hours after the operation. Getting up from bed was torture in itself but I needed to do it. At 1PM they took out my urinary catheter so later that day I had to walk to the bathroom and take my first leak post-op. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I expected (previous CS experience: first pee after CS felt like my insides were being sliced by a knife) and I should have known better that this should be the least of my worries. I regained control over my bladder which was good because I could stop for a bit when it got too painful. I also farted which meant my GI tract has regained function. So glamorous.

But forget about food. I couldn't have anything other than a soft diet and sips of water after passing gas but I didn't eat until later that day because of lack of appetite. Or maybe subconsciously my body was scared to put effort into pooping. Overall, the first day post-op was hell but I got the best consolation: I mustered up all the strength that I got so I could see my son at the Nursery that night to hold and breastfeed him for the first time. Visiting hours were over but I took my time bonding with him. I was in awe of the new life I created and I was cherishing every second of it.

2 days post-op I was still woken up in the wee hours of the morning by contractions. Pain seemed to be getting worse when I should be getting better and I thought that I would just be in pain forever. Ambulating only became slightly easier but I had to suck it up or else they won't send me home. That afternoon, My OB did his rounds, changed my dressing, and told me I was good to go.

I am typically a little vain about my looks, but while I was in the hospital I couldn't care less. I was just a disheveled, puffy faced, cranky, tearful, whiny lady who was transported into the bottomless pit of pain.

Home and the Road to Recovery

Unlike my previous birth where we had lots of visitors who came to see us once we got home, this time we arrived to a quiet house and me and the baby were able to rest for the rest of the day which was exactly what I was hoping for. I was so exhausted and didn't have the energy to entertain guests.

It's been over a week now and my husband has been my primary caregiver while he is on paternity leave. I needed to have almost everything done for me. I literally didn't go downstairs until 6 days post-partum as I was on bed rest with bathroom privileges. My son is 9 days old as of this writing and the pain has drastically improved, but without my abdominal binder the sharp pains are still magnified (not to mention my insides feel like spilling out). Recently though I haven't been wearing it all day to let my skin breathe . I've already developed nasty heat rashes on my belly that are now wounds because I scratched too much. Not pretty.

Recently I've been able to do much more on my own, like sorting out our stuff that just kept piling up in the bedroom since we got home from the hospital and giving my son phototherapy in the morning, but I still need help getting up from bed or picking things up from the floor sometimes, basically activities that require ab strength.

I've been on a ton of meds and vitamins to maintain my milk supply, prevent infection and counter the pain, and I need laxatives to make sure I go number 2 because for some reason my bowels don't seem to be cooperating very much. Also my sleep pattern is whack but I guess it has its advantages because while my husbands sleeps, I'm on night baby duty.

I'm anxious about my husband going back to work because that would mean I need to be 100% hands on on the baby even though I haven't fully recovered but I'm lucky to have some help with my first born. It also helps that she's already six and is already quite independent.

How is Baby?

First night at home. Eyes were puffy from the body wash they used in the Nursery.
Iajin is a wonderful boy and I'm not just saying that because he's my son. He's not a fussy baby at all, although he's a very loud crier and a light sleeper! Swaddling does nothing for him but I notice that he sleeps better squeezed in between bolster pillows or co-sleeping with me and his Poppa. He likes to hear us sing and hum while he stares with his big expressive eyes. When he's fed and clean, he stays calm even without being played with.

I'm trying to exclusively breastfeed him but it's difficult right now as I'm just starting to build up my supply. From 2 ounces each breast last week it's now going up to 5 ounces which is awesome. And by the way, I salute all moms who can exclusively breastfeed-- it's a piece of work! Waking up and walking around with leaking rock hard tatas and growing 1-2 cups larger is painful and you have to feed and pump regularly or else you'll be in so much pain and become at risk for mastitis.

Iajin has a bit of jaundice in his eyes (hence the daily phototherapy) so I'm looking forward to seeing his pedia and understand how we can better manage it.

His skin is just starting to exfoliate in some parts which is totally normal, and...

He's already fallen victim to his father's crazy antics.
Rock and roll!

Sometimes I catch myself in disbelief that the hardest part is over. My baby and I are here, we are both safe and we have started to live a brand new chapter of our lives as a family of four. My eldest Iaine is so happy to finally have his baby brother home and she's such a sweetheart to him. She's so proud to be a big sister! Even though she told me and her dad that she was a little jealous, I'm proud to say that she's not acting out and instead she's willing to take part in taking care of her brother. Aside from our usual bonding moments, I give her small tasks to make her feel that she's involved and that we don't love her any less.

A new baby changes everything. You feel it in the relationships around you, your home, your career, your wallet! Right now I don't know what's in store for me as a new mom of 2 and how our lives will turn out having Iajin in our lives, but I'm hoping for the best that I can raise my 2 children to be healthy and well-rounded individuals despite having weird crazy parents.

I'm so excited to share his milestones with you all. Thanks for reading, and please wish me luck on this new adventure with Iajin Alfredous Jye!
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Monday, April 11, 2016

The Waiting Game

Hello my love. How are you? I haven't been feeling you move as much, are you okay? Are you getting too big in there? Apartment getting too small to hang out in? If you are, you won't have to worry about that after you are born. The world will be your playground.

I hope today we'll get some good news. Momma is nervous, but Momma, Poppa, and Ate Iaine are all excited (not to mention growing impatient) to know when we will be able to finally meet you. Everything is all ready for you, Momma just needs to be more prepared for the physical pain waiting for me, but I am willing to go through all that again just to have you here healthy and happy.

So... Here we are still, waiting for your birth day. I don't know yet when you'll be truly ready for the world, but my love, I will try my best to give you the world.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

So Near Yet So Far

Well I just got back from the doctor today and sadly, the finish line might still be a long way away...

He's not convinced I could deliver this baby by Sunday for an important reason: baby and placenta are not mature enough as of this writing. Please don't get me wrong; I'm not in a hurry at all and I want him to bake for as long as possible in here to up his chances of survival but I would be lying if I say I wasn't at least a little disappointed. I need to go back on Monday for another sonogram so he could check if the baby and the placenta are ready for the outside world next week.

Another thing that bothers me is that the anesthesiologist that I want would be attending a convention from Wednesday to Sunday, and I'm afraid I might go into labor within that period if I don't have the c-section by Tuesday. Yes we have decided, I'll be having a repeat CS. I thought about it (even keeps me up at night) and realized that I don't want to risk going VBAC but end up with a c-section at the end of the day if I don't progress 1 cm per hour during active labor. Induction is also a big NO because of having a previous c-section.

Despite this news and the nuisance in the form of another pregnant lady next to me in the waiting area who was loudly and constantly whining about how long the doctor takes per patient and that she'll miss some appointment and how unaccommodating the doctor's secretaries were (she was complaining about everything while the secretaries were there, I was close to shoving my first in her mouth to shut her the hell up) there were a lot of things that I liked about today:
  • I got to see my son again! These past few weeks his face hardly changes though (almost the same snapshot printout week after week LOL). I'm so excited to see what that face actually looks like!
  • My doctor really took his time doing the sonogram because he wanted to make sure everything was measuring correctly.
  • He reassured me that the baby does not have Down Syndrome. I've never been high risk on this or anything, but I just had to ask how they were able to detect an anomaly like that on a sonogram. And because he is type of doctor who takes time with his patients to address any concerns, he even taught me the things the DS babies manifest on a sonogram: (a) eyes and ears are not at same level aka lopsided (b) flat or no nasal bone (c) increased nuchal/nape thickness (d) hand/arm doesn't move much and is always clenched near the chest
  • He also taught me (a) how he could tell if the placenta was mature: there should be a thick white lining visible around the placenta (b) and how he could tell if the placenta was attached correctly for a woman who already had a previous c-section: there should be a visible separation and should not be stuck together.
  • I got a good long glimpse of my son's beating heart. I saw the tiny chambers steadily pumping. Oh the heart that will be filled with so much love.
  • I also got to watch him practice "breathing." My doc showed me how the baby inhales and exhales, and it was so amazing to see.
  • Last week I weighed 143 lbs and today I weighed 140! This is good news because I lost weight but the baby grew in size. Last Tuesday his estimated fetal weight was 6++ but today he is already at 7.3lbs which is big for Filipino baby standards. When his big sister was born she weighed 7.4 lbs so I don't know how much more he'll weigh by Monday!
What I also liked about today: I got to see my mom and I went to the mall! I almost thought I was starting to turn into a hermit. Instead of waiting in vain for my turn at the clinic, I took the opportunity to hitch a ride with my mom to pay my mobile service bill and buy some last minute items for the baby. It felt like being introduced back to society and it felt like a win! A small triumph but still a win, because I had to walk lots but didn't go into spontaneous labor.

However all this activity is starting to take its toll and right now I'm really exhausted and this close to passing out on the keyboard. Gotta lie down and take it easy for a while.

I'm hoping to see the end of the tunnel on Monday, but I still pray that everything would go as planned in God's time.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Things to Do

I got more things to do than I thought!

We already rearranged our bedroom furniture and moved a lot of stuff out to make more room for the baby's things, but I just realized I still have plenty I need to finish before the big day.
  • buy lampin and pre-wash them (usually soft absorbent white cloth used as cloth diapers) but the purpose of those would be the baby's pillow in the first few weeks to prevent flat-head)
  • pack the baby's bag (sorry little guy!)
  • pack my husband's things (I kept asking him to do this but he insists this would be an easy last-minute thing)
  • finish packing my own bag (I realized I don't even have binders, slippers, and even toiletries in there yet!)
  • set up the crib
  • pick up my sister's breast pump (she stopped breastfeeding and it's great that I don't need to buy a brand new one for myself)
  • pick up my nephew's day-time bassinet and have it ready in the living room (used only for a few months and he stopped using it just a couple of months ago)
  • sterilize baby bottles and bring some to the hospital (just in case I won't be able to do direct latching and rooming in-- breastfeeding policies and rooming-in policies in Philippine hospitals vary )
  • pack blankets, pillows, and pillow cases
  • aaaaand literally have some on-hand cash!
Something tells me this list isn't even complete!

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Monday, April 4, 2016

My Surprise Baby Shower

My surprise baby shower happened last night!
Family and friends made it a huge success. I'm so happy and thankful and I wish I could repay them all with more than words of gratitude!

My sister was the mastermind of it all but a lot of people helped her make the event possible including my wonderful husband. There's just so many of them I just couldn't mention each one! People brought cakes, ice cream, sweets, and pitched in on the food. There were tonnnns of food! I am still overwhelmed by their love.

I've been telling my sister I wasn't planning on a baby shower because my budget is really tight right now as I get closer to having another child that I will need to provide for. But being the wonderful and generous person that she is, she couldn't take that for an answer and set one up a party for me. She made the streamers and other props herself, and even took those to her workplace to finish them. I truly, sincerely appreciate the effort!

To be honest I was awake all night last night (thank you pregnancy insomnia) and slept almost all day until afternoon except when I had to eat breakfast and take 1 bathroom break. As usual I was in pain so I made the most out of my day in resting, even though I feel guilty for not being able to visit my grandparents again this weekend. But because the exhaustion was unbearable I followed my doctor's and my husband's orders to rest. When I find a comfortable position to sleep which is a rarity nowadays, hell yes I will take the opportunity to doze off.

In hindsight, now I get it why my husband kept telling me to fall back asleep LOL. At 3pm I woke up feeling sweaty and uncomfortable so I told him I'm gonna take a bath. He literally almost threw the towel at me which was weird. Next weird things he did: he refused to let me throw away the used cotton bud myself because I would need to leave the bedroom, and he told me to dress in something for 'going out.' Okaaaaay. When I was almost ready to go I asked him if I should just eat in the bedroom (he said my mother-in-law had guests downstairs) so he said he'd check if there was space for us at the dining table. I turned off the TV, unplugged the wall fan. He came back and asked why I did, I told him wellll I want to eat. He then said for us to wait a while because people still occupied the dining table to I turned the TV and fan back on. At that point it was getting a little silly, and I was confused if something was happening or not. A few minutes later, his phone beeped, and we headed downstairs to eat. Finally.
He went downstairs before I did and when I arrived at the landing part of the stairs I was greeting with a joyous "SURPRISE!" by family. Some friends from Manila who I know from work also came over and I'm so touched that they traveled hours just to see me!

We had a laugh about how I had zero makeup on so I went back upstairs to get made up. I was also wearing a blue/green shirt so my daughter said, "Mama, you're only supposed to wear red, black or white." Alrighty then, so I put on a white shirt instead. But that still kind of frustrated her and asked why I wasn't wearing red. LOL kids.

There were no games but the kids got to take a dip in our inflatable pool and I still received presents from these wonderful people even though I wasn't expecting anything. Their presence was enough to be honest, so those gifts were a just a super bonus!

It was a simple gathering of friends and family at home but I truly enjoyed the party, and I'm excited for all of these people to meet our son who is the reason for all of this. One thing's for sure-- he will be showered with lots of love!
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Post-Pregnancy Whims

Who's gonna give birth this month?


It's April 3rd and I'm getting closer and closer to my due date. I keep imagining what our baby might look like, how big he'll be at the time of delivery, what quirks he'll have that we'll go crazy about, and other things... But what I'm also looking forward to the most is getting to consume all the food and drinks that my doctors have kept me away from these past 9 months! I terribly miss sushi, ice cold soda/softdrinks, hot or iced coffee, a generous amount of hot chocolate, and my most favorite: ICED TEA! I've been a little naughty though by taking small sips out of my husband's drinks at times but just enough so I would satisfy my craving. The craving is insaaaane. So, I made my husband promise that once my bowels are ready to take that all in again after delivery, GIVE ME THAT SHIT, by the bucket. Lol.

Cheers to other April bumpers like me! I wish us all a successful delivery.
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He'll Come Out When He's Ready...Really?

Don't. Just don't.

It's a common phrase that pregnant women hear from other people, "He'll come out when he's ready." But personally I find this unsupported and insensitive. Hear me out.

I think this is an insult to every mom who experienced delivering premature babies, especially those who lost their babies because of premature delivery. I highly doubt it's any baby's intention to escape from its mother's womb at a time when they can't even breathe outside it. The popularly used line is also an insult to moms who have to endure the time to wait until their baby is well enough to be discharged from the NICU, because the baby needs antibiotics to cure the infection from pooping in the womb because they were way mature but overdue.

He'll come out when he's ready. Pshh, no, it doesn't make any sense.

Every woman is unique, every pregnancy is different, and unless you're delivering via scheduled c-section, you don't know when you're baby is going to make its appearance in the world. My two cents: if you hear a pregnant woman complain about how long they're been waiting to give birth, or say I'm just so doooone, or say they want the baby out now, just be emphathetic. Not assuming, not stupid.
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The Calm Before the Most Awaited Storm

It's a quiet night.

Iaine is usually noisy and super makulit, so as I took some photos of her tonight I realized how much little time left there is that she'll be the only child causing a riot in the house. For the past 3 weeks I've been working from home and she's been my all around companion, and I realize how blessed I am to still be able to establish a strong bond with her even though I've been working away for the past 3 years. These past 3 weeks are also special to me because pretty soon I won't be bonding with only her.. her brother will finally be with us to share the cuddles, laughter, adventures, and love.

She is so excited to be an Ate that she asks us constantly how many days are left til he is born. As for me, I'm excited to fill both my children's hearts with all the love I can give as their mother.

I love you, my babies.
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