operation #ak

Sorry for the superduper long hiatus from blogging (to both my real and imaginary readers), have been busy with data analysis for my thesis and withhhh the new addition to our family: AK!

I created this blog because I thought it would be interesting to share the experiences of pregnancy, birth, confinement and motherhood in general. In retrospect, I should have been taking down notes regarding confinement but suppose will wing it as we go along.

My estimated due date was the 8th of February 2015 and after the previous inducing, my doctor asked for me to try again on that date so Mr Grumpy and I packed our bag and checked ourselves in the night before. I suppose it was just as well that I had went through the experience before as it was easier to go through it again for the second time, knowing what to expect.

A big highlight was when they gave me a pill to ‘‘clear my system’‘ and whilst they say it takes minutes to take effect, be prepared as it may be seconds instead! There’s a high likelihood you may be beatboxing away in the toilet, so try making sure your loved ones are nowhere near (so you can skip the walk of shame back to the bed!). Second time round, they gave me a pill AND the drip to help induce contractions and to encourage the birth. Talk about Double the Power and while it seemed to be a bit more effective, I was having fun watching ”Blackout” on tv and cracking jokes with Mr Grumpy. After all, I would probably go home and wait again if things did not pan out again.

BOY, was I wrong!

After a few hours of the usual nurse checking and being checked for dilation, we heard beepings for AK’s heart rate on the monitor and then, there was my doctor.

Doctor: ”Okay, it seems like you have not dilated enough but we suggest for you to go for an emergency C-section as the baby’s heart rate is erratic. We shall give you the epidural”

Me: ”Oh, we are not waiting? I am not going home?”

Mind you, it sounded like I was calm but here was what was going on in my mind: ‘‘Wait, what the hell?! Oh my God, is it happening today? I am not ready! I thought he was all for natural birth and now they are going to cut me open??”

Since he recommended for us to proceed, we understood the seriousness of it and the epidural was administered. I was still pretty calm since I could not see the needles etc and there was not much pain. Mr Grumpy saw the needles and according to him, it is an urban myth that they use big big needles. The needle was normal sized for the epidural and the anesthetist was very careful throughout the procedure.

Then, I kid you not, a parade of like 5 nurses and my doctor come into the room, clamoring and telling me to keep calm. He holds up a hugeeee pair of scissors as he said ‘‘I am going to poke your water bag now and we will begin”.

This was also where I started FREAKING OUT. Mr Grumpy had to help me be calm because I mean it was a huge pair of scissors and the fact that if I moved abruptly, there could be a poke into the baby’s head. So comforting to know during a time like that but still, the best was yet to come.

I was wheeled to the operating theatre and while some hospitals allow for the husband or mother to be in there for the procedure, the hospital we were in did not allow it for emergency procedures. Therein lay my solo birth experience and the amount of fear I felt at that point was overwhelming since I have never had any operations before. The anesthetist tried making me feel better by talking me through the whole operation. I suppose it was to distract me from my doctor’s ‘‘Pass me the *****” and it definitely helped! There was also a sense of normalcy as the doctor was also telling the nurse about pre-operation checks (so okay doctor, I am comforted that you know your s**t and can have normal conversations, this should all be alright).

To be honest, I was mainly scared for AK and kept praying that all would be well when my anesthetist said ”Okay, now we will be pushing the baby’s head out” and I heard her cries echo in the room. All that fear ebbed into relief and gratitude as it also sunk in that this was it. All the things women go through in the 9 or 10 months lead up to such a moment and it was a beautiful feeling to know that she was alright and healthy.

Then they brought her to me and instead of tears of fear and worry, I cried tears of overwhelming happiness and relief.

They brought her out and I was monitored for about an hour before I was brought back to the room. I am pretty sure I must have snored away like a monster (from all the emotional roller coasters I had been through) but whatever! The whole operation took about 30 – 45 minutes and there were aftereffects of the epidural. Apparently these effects can differ, I had the shivers right after but the power nap wiped most of it out. They mentioned that once the epidural wore off, I would be in a great deal of pain. They were not kidding, but that is a story for another day.

Many women have concerns about the epidural and think it would be better to forgo it. In my personal opinion, it is a beautiful creation hahaha I felt no pain before and during the operation which definitely helped given that I was conscious throughout the whole procedure. For natural births, there is a window period of your being able to have the epidural and it revolves around your dilation. Once that window period is over though, you definitely cannot have the epidural sooo yes, something to consider.

It’s funny yet sweet how people ask you ‘‘How was it?’‘ right after. I think I was a lot in shock, so there was my macho mode on saying ”it was okay! I am fine” and I was, but I suppose ”How do you feel now?” would have had a very different response. Everything seemed to happen so fast that the emotions only kicked in later. They brought Arya from the nursery and I remember having some time alone with her while everyone left for a bit and I will also remember that time forever.

I was never really good with children and would be scared to hold toddlers, what more infants but not with AK. It felt so natural to pick her up and admire her as she looked at me and fell asleep again in my arms. The floodgates opened and I thought to myself, ”There you have been in my tummy for almost a year, there go all my pregnancy worries and here you are looking back at me. Here you are, I finally got to meet and kiss you. You are nothing like we have imagined yet everything we could have hoped for. Alhamdulillah”

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In birth experiences, doctors always aim to save the mother first when it comes down to it, yet it is ironic and beautiful that the mother would almost always want for the baby to be saved first. Knowing and going through it are two completely different things and it makes you appreciate a mother’s sacrifice even more. Whether it is a natural or c-section sort of birth, all you want is for your baby to be safe and healthy. Whether it is a natural or c-section, there still is a lot of pain gone through, a lot of emotions in disarray that to undermine either forms of birth would be some serious disrespect.

I remember looking at my mother in a whole different way after.