Hello Everyone! Today marks Megan’s 5th day into this beautiful world. Thank you for all your prayers, well wishes, good thoughts and all things wonderful. Baby M, who shall therefore be known as Baby Megan was delivered in University College of London Hospital(UCLH) on Monday, just a wee bit after 1 in the afternoon.
Just like for Ryan and Gillian, I am going to blog about Baby Megan’s birth story. As most of you have known, I was very worried about delivering in London, because the process of antenatal care, delivery and postnatal is very different from what I have experienced in Singapore. In the case of the elder two children, both of the deliveries have been induced, natural, with epidural. However, with Baby Megan, there was no option of inducing the baby unless there was some life-threatening condition or she is way past the 41st week. Also, I understood from the midwives, it appears that pregnant ladies who are in labour will only be admitted when they are 4cm dilated. On top of that, I heard from friends who have given birth in the UK that epidural is rarely given because natural birth is much preferred in this country.
With this mindset, I must admit that when October came, I was worried. I often had contractions, but it was irregular. In order to be properly prepared for a spontaneous birth, I constantly read up on signs of labour on the NHS website. On the weekend before 12 October, we went to Lotus for dimsum. The service staff commented that I did not look like I was going to give birth anytime as my bump was still pretty high. In my mind, I thought that should Baby Megan pops, I would like her to come on maybe 10/10, 12/10(her EDD), 14/10(my parents’ wedding anniversary or 18/10(my birthday!). Yes, I am a fan of even numbers. Heehee.
Wee hours of 12 October 2015
On the 11 of October, I slept really early at 7ish in the evening. After dinner, I felt a wave of exhaustion just swept past me. Somehow, I knew I needed the rest. Being really huge(72 kg), my nightly sleep was often interrupted and uncomfortable. At around half past 12 midnight on 12 October, I woke up with semi-painful contractions, that were relatively regular ranging from 7-15 minutes. By then, I knew I needed to download some contraction timer app to track the intervals between the contractions. I timed the contractions till it was past 3ish am and noticed that the intervals between the contractions were getting shorter and shorter. Feeling knackered, I woke E up and told him that I might be giving birth later in the day. Apparently, I managed to will myself to sleep despite the contractions. I went to bed, trying to get rested for the possibility of a battle later in the day.
I woke up in the morning and E was really excited. He was going around the house, telling everyone that Baby Megan was going to pop today. Obviously, it got everyone really excited, especially Ryan and Gillian. E sent Ryan off for his school day while I quickly took a bath. While bathing, I also thought it was a good idea to take a tube to UCLH because I wanted to avoid the crazy morning traffic. After the bath, the mucus plug came out and my water bag broke. So, that makes 3 very obvious signs of being in labour- the regular contractions, the mucus plug coming off and the bursting of water bag. So yes, despite my insistence, the idea of taking public transport was immediately veto-ed by E, my mom and my mother-in-law. E called for a hired car from Carrot Cabs which came around 9.05am.
When we got into the cab, I was still feeling relatively okay. Manageable pain. But trust me, the contractions came harder and stronger on our way to the hospital. I called the hospital to inform them of my arrival and my contraction intervals as timed by the app that I downloaded. Towards the last leg of the cab journey, I was actually in tears. I think the cab driver was relatively traumatised while navigating the mad London traffic.
It took us an hour-ish before we reached the hospital and I was seen by a mid-wife almost immediately. After being checked. I was informed that I was already 4cm dilated and was in active labour. So, thank God that they did not turn me away. I always had this fear that they would reject my admission to the hospital as it seems to be the case for a few of my friends. Walking to the labour room seemed to be the longest distance at that moment. Totally insane.
(E and me. I look so exhausted even before trying to push the baby out. The smile was just for photo taking purposes. I was in a terrible state of pain then.)
(Here’s one with my mother. I would have never expected my mother to be there as one of my birthing partners. But I suppose there is a reason for everything. Having my mother(who is one of the most important person in my life) with me just made the whole birthing process more meaningful to me.)
It was already half past 10 when we got to the labour room and a midwife, Laura was assigned to me. At first, I was unnerved that there was only one midwife because back in Singapore, there was at least 3 in the room. The thing is that, Laura is one of the best midwives. She was super experienced and calm throughout 2.5 hours when I was in the room, screaming murder. By 11ish, I was 7-8 cm dilated and the anesthetist who was supposed to come for my epidural was absent. I cannot describe to you the pain that I went through during that few hours. The pain was all-encompassing and literally begged everyone to ‘save me’ and told E to ‘pay for epidural now’. I knew my behavior was extremely dramatic and embarrassing(it must be due to the laughing gas!) but I had no choice as the contractions were like on massive steroids. It was like someone took a serrated knife and stabbed me in the top of my stomach slowly, slowly sawed downwards, and then stopped for a few minutes. This process was repeated over and over again with real short intervals.
The anesthetist did arrive when I was 8 cm dilated. Epidural was administered. Unfortunately, epidural did not get rid of everything, like I had hoped. I felt the pressure of each contraction and the pain from the crowning. It was only 12ish when Laura informed me that I was 10 cm dilated and to ‘push according to how my body felt’. (When she told me that, I was like, ‘What is she talking about? My body only felt pain! PAIN!’) The pain continued to be unbearable and I begged her to let me go for a C-section. To which she replied,’Ling…You are talking rubbish! You are fully dilated!’ I think it came to a point when I realised that no matter how much begging I did and how much tears I shed, no one was going to help me with the excruciating pain and I needed to push the baby out. Which was still unimaginable to me then. Somehow, God knows why but somehow, I managed to concentrate towards to the end and focus on pushing Baby M out.
(This is how the look of true exhaustion. When Baby Megan was put on me, I could hardly open my eyes, let alone smile for a picture, like what I did for my previous births! Looking back, the first two births were a breeze.)
(This is one of the last few photos we took at the labour ward as we did not want to seem like we were very photo crazy. The midwife who took over Laura did mention that we really liked taking photos. For the record, we took like only 10 photos! This number is nothing compared to what we took for Ryan and Gillian! On hindsight, I wished we took more!)
(Yes, she weighed 3070g at birth. My lightest baby. This photo is taken with E’s phone camera which explains the lousier quality as compared to a proper camera. He was quite self-conscious of not appearing too photo-crazy.)
Minutes past 1, Baby Megan came out, crying loudly and I heard my mother’s cries. As for E, he was next to me, squeezing my hand. Despite Baby Megan being our 3rd child, it was the first time that E had the chance to cut the umbilical cord. Previously, we were too preoccupied with possibly photo-taking. 😛 It was only through Baby Megan’s birth, I realised that the term ‘labour pains’ is not given for nothing. Mothers definitely acknowledged how much work was involved. For the previous two births, the successful administration of epidural(conceivably copious amount was given to me) led me to believe that giving birth was not much work. As for this time round, having to experience labour pains as it is, made me appreciate so much about the entire process of delivery. (But, I would still advocate the use of epidural. Yes, I would not wish such pain upon anyone.)
Beautiful Baby Megan
So, hello hello, Baby Megan. Thank you for joining our family and completing us. To start off, we love your punctuality, making your presence on your expected due date. You must be listening to what our Daddy was telling you the Friday before. We are very thankful to God for his blessings throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Pregnancy was difficult and we had a few scares and resulted in so much self-doubt, anxiety and tears. The 9 months of wait was undeniably worth it upon seeing you, Baby Megan. Praise the Lord for his love and his faithfulness to our family.
To everyone(you know who you are!) who have kept us in your prayers, our family is also filled with immense gratitude of you keeping all of us in your prayers and good thoughts. Dearest Megan, welcome to this beautiful world. We pray that God will keep and bless you in every way. May you grow and love Christ! Daddy, Mummy, Gege and Jie Jie love you so much!
To read about Ryan and Gillian’s birth stories, do click on the links below.