The night before the day we were admitted to the hospital, we were karaoke-ing. Celebrating Michael's birthday. I didn't tell the rest, but I was glad we went ktv-ing - it was one of the things I wanted to do before I delivered. So I was very enthu that night, singing my usual Guang Liang songs and the miscellaneous other songs that I knew how to sing. We also started singing Bon Jovi songs like Always, You Give Love a Bad Name, and, It's My Life!!!! It was hilarious coz these were extremely shoutable songs and we were all screaming our lungs out. We were all laughing, saying that Bon Jovi is bound to induce the birth of Isaac. Especially "It's my life... it's now or never!!!" hahahhaa... We eventually reached home only at 3am, Sunday 5th August 2007.
We kinda slept in, since we got back so late. At about 10am to 11am or so, I started to wake, as I felt the "stomach cramp feeling" - which by now I know it to be contractions. But after the "false alarm" we had on Week 37, I was decidedly more cautious in raising any alarm. So I kinda ignored it. It came regularly, not sure at what intervals, but regular enough. Anywayz, eventually hubbs woke up, and we went to Jurong Point to have brunch.
When we got to the foodcourt, I suddenly had this panicky feeling, I told hubbs:" Oh no!!! Very soon, I'm gonna be eating confinement food for one whole month!!! oh no!!! I want.... I want... I wanna eat char kuay teow now!!! and beef stew! and later I want to eat cheese waffle and and... and ice cream!!! aarrggghhhh!!!" hahahhaa.... and so I really ate all those things, on Sunday morning itself.
I had remembered we had some balance Ben & Jerry's at home. So, I was happily eating my B&J Phish Food whilst hubbs was reading the newspaper. Then we were supposed to go bathe, coz we had to fetch my MIL from the ferry terminal.
Then... I had THE SHOW!!! For the uninitiated, the show is a bloody mucous discharge thingy, it is one of the sure signs that you're about to enter into labour soon. Something like that. Anyway, it means you'd have to call the gynae and ask:"Like that, how?" Plus I was still having the regular contractions at like 7 to 10 minute intervals. So at about 2.30pm, I called Dr Ang, and told her what happened, and is happening... and she was like:"Okay, you come in now." I was like:"Huh? Now?! So fast? We thought still can tahan till 12 midnight *snigger*snigger*" She went like:"No, no, no, you having regular contractions already. You go take a bath, eat something, then come in now!!!"
We still took it easy. kekeke... took a bath, packed our own suitcases (we just realised we hadn't packed our own clothes for staying at my mum's place coz that's where we're doing confinement), took pictures of myself (wanted the before and after look mah, besides, Joel requested pix of me in my ultra bloated state), drove to hubbs' tuition kids' place to pass them some homework to do since tuition that night would now have to be cancelled, then drove to my mum's place to offload the suitcases and some other stuff - THEN we drove to Mt Alvernia...
And all through this time, I was still having contractions... pain lah... but bearable lor... at least, I was okay with it... it's like menses stomach cramps... but worse... just keeps getting a little more painful each time it comes...
So by the time we reach Mt A, it was like 4.30pm. We were in the lift going up to the maternity ward when Dr Ang called me:"You're still not in hospital yet?!?!" We were like:"Er, yah yah! here already!!!" Apparently she called the nurses station and realised I wasn't in yet... hahahhahaa...
Dr Ang came by shortly after, at about 4.45pm to check on me. I was only 2cm dilated. Long way from the 10cm that I had to reach. So she went home first (she'd be keeping tabs on me via the nurses).
The contractions were getting stronger, and correspondingly more painful. When I got pregnant, I had initially not wanted to take epidural. I wanted to experience what labour pains were like. But through the months of pregnancy, more and more people were asking if I was going to take epidural. Most said that it was preferable to take it. A lot of people were going:"If you want to take, better take earlier, don't wait till it's too late and you can't take it anymore" Cos apparently, one had to curl up in a foetal position, and remain stationary in order for the anaethetist to insert the needle for the epidural drip. If one moved during the procedure, it could cause the needle to be inserted nonoptimally (yes, there is such a word as nonoptimal - I checked on http://www.m-w.com/) and this wouldn't be good. And coz if you wait too long to have the epidural, your contractions would presumably be very close together (in timing) and very painful, such that you would not be able to control your body from twitching and writhing with pain.
Thus, I endured the pain up till approximately 7.30pm, when my contractions were about 1.5 minutes to 2 minutes apart, before I decided to go for the epidural. Of course, at the back of my mind were several catching soundbites from well-intentioned friends... One colleague was telling me:"Why choose to have pain during labour when it can be avoided? There are after-birth pains as well, you know. You don't have epidurals for those! So you're bound to experience THAT!" The the nurse at the hospital said :"Don't be a hero... no one will give you a medal for it!" But most of all, was when I had asked Dr Ang several weeks earlier, if I should take epidural. She smiled and said that I would be more relaxed if I did take it, and that would enable my cervix to dilate more quickly. Furthermore, it would lessen the chances of the baby being in distress.
Thus, hero I am not, just wanna be a mother to a healthy baby boy. I decided that, the contractions, being about 2 minutes apart was as close as it could get for the anaesthetist to get his work done. Besides, the thought of enduring 30 contractions per hour (for dunno how many hours to go) was quite mindboggling. So I asked for the epidural.
It took some time to take effect... for about 15 minutes to a half hour after the procedure was done, I could still feel the contractions... they started to get less painful until I could no longer feel them. I was numb from waist down.
After that, it was simply a waiting game. By 8.30pm, 4 hours after I was admitted into hospital, and 1 hour after I took the epidural, I was only 2.5cm dilated! Gosh! after enduring more than 3 hours of pain and less than an hour of no pain, I was only further 0.5cm dilated?! Gosh!!! Made me feel very glad I took the epidural, coz it seems like Dr Ang was right - more difficult to dilate when one wasn't on epidural...
And so, I continued to read my Half-Blood Prince (re-reading it actually, before I started on Deathly Hallows) and hubbs was enjoying the television, as it had cable tv which we don't have at home... whilst waiting for my cervix to dilate.
Every few hours, a nurse would come and stick their fingers down there to find out how much I had dilated. Boy am I glad I couldn't feel them. *shudder*
So it went like this.
Sunday 5th August 2007
10am/11am - started to feel contractions
2pm - The Show!!!
2.30pm - Called Dr Ang.
4.30pm - Admitted into Mt A
4.45pm - Dr Ang came to check - 2cm dilated
7.30pm - Took epidural
8.30pm - 2.5cm dilated
11.30pm - Dr Ang came to check - 5cm dilated
Monday 6th August 2007
2am - 8cm dilated
4am - Dr Ang came to check - 10cm dilated (But Isaac's head was still quite far up, so they drained my bladder, hoping that it would give him more space to make his way down)
6am - Isaac's head is further down, but not low enough. Dr Ang gave instructions to get me to start pushing at 6am.
6.50am - Dr Ang came back from her 6am ceasarean op at GlenE. Isaac's head is further down now, thanks to my pushing the last 50 minutes. Still had to push more to get him to crown.
7.15am - Isaac Tan is born!!!