My son (I have a son!) turned one month old two days ago, and I couldn’t help feeling that I deserved a badge of some sort. “Survivor,” it would read. At this point in my life, I am just happy for having survived labor, childbirth, and the first month of parenthood, and now be able to tell you about it. My biggest reward, of course—one that is better than any badge—is the little bundle of fat now sleeping soundly beside me. The round-faced boy who nurses nonstop most days and nights; the tiny poop machine who often “surprises” his daddy with more pee (or poop!) midway through a diaper change; the toothless angel I now canNOT live without.
My due date was supposedly May 21, but baby Luke decided to make his grand entrance 10 days earlier. This decision of his also ruined his mommy’s best-laid pre-baby primping plans: I was hoping I still had time to get a Brazilian, a manipedi, and a body scrub—just so I’d be hubad-ready for delivery. Haha! But baby wanted out, and there was no stopping him.
When I woke up with tummy pains at 2 a.m. on May 11, I thought I was just having a serious case of gas. (FYI, pregnancy can turn you into one flatulent being.) It took me an hour of tossing and turning before I started suspecting that I was probably already having contractions. After all, the previously gassy pains started feeling more like menstrual cramps which came and went—exactly how most websites described “labor pains.”
So in the dead of the night, I found myself downloading a “Contraction Timer.” I happily logged my first one, which lasted 86 seconds, at 2:57 a.m. By 5:30 a.m., though, I wasn’t happy anymore. By then, my contractions were around four to five minutes apart. I knew it was getting close, so I woke my husband up and begged to be taken to the hospital.
I’m not going to get into the gory details, but I must say my birthing story is as unglamorous as it gets. Since I decided not to watch any childbirth videos or read about the actual steps and procedures during childbirth (I was already scared enough as it is), I was in for a lot of surprises. Like the fact that you’re subjected to a gazillion IEs or internal exams during labor. (Ugh.) Or that you’re forced to poop so your baby won’t have a surprise “twin” when you deliver. (Don’t ask me how.)
The labor pains, however, turned out to be a little more manageable than expected. True, they grew more painful by the hour—like menstrual cramps from hell—but I found myself thanking God for the rest period in between contractions. By the 10th hour, however—and at just 6 cm—they decided to give me oxytocin to speed things up. That’s when the pain went to crazy levels, making me beg for an epidural.
Another surprise: I didn’t know that getting the epidural would be such a major process, one that would require me to be taken to the OR. But scary and uncomfortable as it was, once the drugs kicked in, I was in heaven. I remember telling my husband “ANG SARAP!” as soon as I was wheeled back into the labor room. From that point on, I was blissfully numb from the belly down. It was AWESOME.
Unfortunately, I was still at 6 cm by 3pm, 13 hours into labor. The baby still hasn’t descended enough, and his heartbeat was fluctuating—a sign of fetal distress. My OB (Hi, Doc Shelma!) then decided that we couldn’t risk waiting any longer and that I needed to undergo an emergency C-section.
This was when I first cried. The combined surprise over the unexpected CS, worry for my baby, and fear of surgery overwhelmed me, and I just couldn’t help but burst into tears. Thank God my mom and husband were there to calm me down.
The operation took around 30 minutes—probably the most agonizing 30 minutes of my life—as it was the first time that I felt like I didn’t own my body. I was strapped in, couldn’t move, and had no choice but to submit myself to the hands of my doctors and nurses. At 3:29 p.m., I heard Lucas’s first cry. I cried, too—this time from relief and a joy I couldn’t explain. My husband was there to cut the cord and lovingly tell me “Good job!” (even though I didn’t really do anything), and we had our first family photo then and there.
That was when I understood what my mommy friends meant when they said that as soon as you see your baby, you’ll forget about everything else—the pain, the discomfort, everything. It’s so, so true. As soon as they gave me my baby, nothing else mattered. Super cheesy but super true!
And so that’s how the first day of our life together panned out. I’m not going to lie—the past month’s been very challenging. Writing this entry alone proved to be a tricky, tricky task. I would start typing and then five minutes later, I’d be forced to stop because baby wants to be A) fed, B) burped, C) cleaned, D) put to sleep. (As of writing, I’ve already stopped six times.) What can I do? Baby’s the boss.
But I must say I’m very lucky to have the most patient, most supportive husband ever by my side. (Hi, hun!) He’s taken care of me and Lucas from day one—our very own personal nurse!—and has seen me through my worst, adult diapers and all. I seriously do not know what I’d do without him. <3
Okay, baby wants to be carried now. More stories soon, when I get the chance!