So, here’s a confession to make… I love reading people’s birth stories or simply hearing their experiences. One might be different from another, but all of them just feel magical and powerful no matter what the experience. It feels extra special as I’m trying to recall and write my very own. I shared Abigail’s birth story here. And now I’m going to share Benaya’s while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Friday 31 March, I woke up feeling a little bit uneasy and was surprised by a bloody show as I peed in the morning. I quickly texted my doctor and asked if I needed to go to the hospital to get examined but he said I could wait until there was a regular contraction (5-10 minutes apart), or if my water broke, or if the blood kept coming. Later in the evening I felt tightening, not really sure if they were contractions or just tightening. I just tried to sleep with it.
By morning, the contractions disappeared and I woke up as if nothing had happened last night which made me confused. I just wondered whether I was even close to labour. It’s really funny that every night Abigail always included the baby in her night prayer, hoping that he would arrive soon and the next morning as she woke up the first thing she asked was “will the baby be born today?” Well, “I hope so, let’s just see” was my answer because I had no idea, too. We were all excited for this baby arrival. I was too excited that sometimes I could not contain myself and ended in anxiety. So many times I had to tell myself to calm down a little bit. “Baby is okay, baby knows when he’s ready, God is working” that’s the most powerful mantra to me. The rest of the weekend was spent mostly at home as we were so much in nesting mode. On Sunday evening after church, I got myself a foot massage because I heard it was one way to induce labour naturally. I would simply do anything to get things going, ha!
Monday 3 April, I woke up and somehow felt baby’s moves and kicks were decreasing. Husband and I went to the hospital in the morning to make sure that baby was doing fine. The exam showed that baby was fine. The heart rate as well as the moves were all good. At that point I already had regular contractions (no cramping, though) and little did I know that I was already in early stages of labour. The nurse said that I was 2 cm dilated. That was really music to my ears! And because I was still feeling okay, I preferred to stay at home and waited as the contractions progressed.
Tuesday 4 April, I still did my normal routine. It was Abigail’s late birthday celebration at school and I was there with my husband. I remember getting my hair done and having a bit of head massage as I was waiting for Abigail’s school dismissal. The contractions were on and off, about 20 mins apart that afternoon. Deep down in my heart somehow I had the feeling that baby was about to show up soon but I only kept it to myself, I did not want to jinx it. All I needed was walk and walk in order to make way for the baby. So, I roamed around the mall with Abigail after school and back home at 4 pm. And then things got more intense…
5 pm: The contractions were 10 mins apart now with mild cramping. I was at home with Abigail waiting for my husband to come from work.
7 pm: Husband arrived at home. He and Abigail accompanied me to exercise with a birthing ball, at the fitness centre in our apartment. I have been exercising with that birthing ball almost every day since I was 36 weeks pregnant, 30 mins each day as per doctor’s recommendation. This exercise is believed to help baby engage to the pelvic. When I was on my 38-week check-up, I was told the baby was not engaged yet and I was really worried. After that day, never did a day go by without me bouncing on that birthing ball for 30 mins each day. So, at this point the interval of my contractions was getting closer. After 2 hours timing and monitoring through Contraction Timer App, I was told that I needed to pack and go to the hospital right now. It was even written that I needed to call ambulance. Haha! Yes the pain was getting uncomfortable but still manageable. I was still okay so I thought it was just a joke and ignored it.
8 pm: We were having dinner together at home and all of a sudden Abigail went to the bed room. She closed the door which really made me curious. I asked her “what did you just do?”. She answered me cheerfully “I prayed to God! Because baby will be born tomorrow!” This little girl of mine knew exactly how to melt her mama’s heart. Well, although I was thinking and feeling the same (that baby would be here soon), I tried to stay cool as I replied “thank you kakak for praying”.
9 pm: Husband was getting ready to leave home. He needed to inspect some construction work at our store. He was supposed to be there until the next morning. We had talked every possibilities, though. If something happened I needed to call him immediately, he would drive back home right after. He even loaded the hospital bag to the car right at that time. I was staying at home with Abigail. We were doing our bedtime routine. I read her bedtime stories, kissed her goodnight and she was finally asleep.
10 pm: I just finished reading and was about to go to sleep. Suddenly there was a gush in my tummy. From my experience with Abigail, I knew right away that my water just broke! I never expected to have my water broke at home or somewhere else (other than the hospital) so I panicked for a short time. Then I took a few minutes of sitting down and telling myself to think clear. Then I phoned my husband and mother.
10.30 pm: Husband came and we hurried to the hospital, taking Abigail along with us. My parents went straight to the hospital.
11 pm: Arrived at hospital. The nurse quickly checked on me and baby. I was 4 cm dilated, she said. Yay, we’re close, baby! That’s what I thought. But then she said that my cervix was still thick. I was taken back right after hearing it. It probably would not be that soon, I guess. But then I remembered, I needed to stay positive. My baby needed his mama to be strong and tough. Also, I had to trust my baby that he was going to make it “Hey baby, are you ready to see us? Well, let’s do this! Mama is here to help you. You’re not alone, we’ll struggle together, we’ll do this together, don’t you worry to push harder.” I said to Benaya inside. The nurse phoned my doctor and came back to me “doctor said the next check up is scheduled at 4 next morning, you may try to sleep now.” Well, all I knew was I could not sleep and I didn’t know how to sleep with this condition and 5 hours waiting was too long because the cramping got more powerful.
12 pm: Abigail slept with my parents at our hospital room, I was in the examination room. The contractions got more intense, 5 mins apart and not a single position was comfortable to me. Husband rubbed my back while I was practicing the breathing technique I learned from prenatal class. I was checked and the nurse said I was 6 cm dilated now. “Good job, baby! That’s my boy! Let’s do this again!”
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
1 am: I could not feel my legs anymore. I felt like all my bones were broken. Husband was on my side, he let me hold his hands as I was going through each wave of contraction. The contractions got really stronger and I started to moan. I felt shivering in my breathe in every contractions. The nurse came and checked me. I was 8 cm dilated and the cervix was already very soft and thin. They ushered me to the labour room and prepared everything. I was in deep urge of pushing this baby. I couldn’t handle it. I really wanted to push. Something big was about to come out I just had to push. “I need to push. I really really need to push” I screamed that time. My husband was terrified, he looked deep in my eyes “not now please. wait until you’re fully dilated. it’s for you and our baby. please hold on a while” The nurses were also telling me not to push until I was 10 cm dilated. I understood and obeyed them. I held my husband’s hands tighter on each contraction and kept shivering as I was trying to fight back that urge of pushing.
2 am: The doctor came in. He checked on me and told I’m fully dilated and I was finally allowed to push whenever I felt the urge. Thank God!! That was in fact the only thing I wanted to hear at that moment. All I remember was I got all my spirit back, the pain was at its peak, I couldn’t exactly describe how it felt but at least I could get things going by pushing. I was so ready to push and for once didn’t mind the pain. “Let’s do this, baby!” I said to the baby, I was so ready. I started some pushes and then was told I pushed wrong. Again. Don’t ask me why, I’ve gone to classes, and this was my second experience with labour and I still got it wrong. I didn’t know how the right push was actually, I only guessed from how the doctor and nurses responded on every push. If they’re saying “Good, Hanna! Keep it like that” that means I was pushing right. Haha. I started to get very tired after a few wrong pushes. And at one last point I was very tired, I was reminded that this had to finish. This needed an ending. Baby was fighting and struggling to come out, I had to help him. It was not the right time to give up so I kept telling myself that I’m not giving up. What happened next, I gathered all the remaining energy I had and pushed so hard until baby’s head was showing. “I can see his hair! You’re doing so well, keep going.” my husband said. Then I held my husband’s hands very very tight because it was so painful down there as the baby’s head tore my cervix making his way out. I groaned the loudest of all groans that night, so crazy painful I could not handle it. I just wondered if it’s the same feeling of nearing to death. Then not long after, I heard the angelic cries of my baby. That’s a huge huge relief to me. “You did great! He’s here!” said my Husband. Then with big smile he continued “he looked like Abigail a lot”. I couldn’t help smiling too. Oh thank God!
2.26 am: Benaya was born at 2.26 am weighing 3410 grams and 49 cm long. It was exactly on his due date, 5 April. He was so divine and cute and perfect. I fell in love again, I was so in love with this little man. I’m a mama for the second time and I could not hold my tears of happiness. He was then brought to my chest for mother and baby bonding moment, skin to skin. This baby was already so so loved. After two hours of that first bonding moment, my husband cut the cord and my baby was checked. Everything was good and I waited until 5 am to bring him to the room and meet Abigail.
It’s just wonderful how I felt things were complete and we were happy with our life before Benaya came. But then he was born and had him in my arms, Abigail was even so smitten with him and I suddenly felt that it had been incomplete all this time. He filled the gap I didn’t know existed before. My heart was stolen again (first with Abigail and second with Benaya) and it grew twice the size. I really thank God for this experience, all glory be to him!