Monday, July 15, 2013

My more-than-perfect little one - Part III

In case you missed the previous part, you can read it here.

I woke up, saw Ashok and wondered when I got back to my hospital room from the OR (where the epidural was administered). I was told that I had been asleep for nearly an hour. I was shocked and asked ''Does that mean I am not having any contractions at all?'', the doctor smiled and said ''No, it means the pain medication is working perfectly''.

She checked me and found out that I was 4cm dilated, still a long way off from the needed and elusive 10cm. I gave a wry smile - I had thought of a Friends epsiode (the one where Rachel has a baby), where Rachel's dilation is really slow and after nearly 24 hours when the doctor says she is 4cm dilated, Ross who has been by Rachel's side all along and is exhausted and is taking large sips of water, stops and shouts in desperation ''How can she be only 4cm dilated ? I am dilated 4cm'' ?!?

The doctor suggested giving me oxytocin intravenously. Oxytocin is generated by the body to help increase the frequency of contractions and hence dilation. Giving oxytocin via IV can make the contractions more frequent and hence, more painful. Since I was already on pain medication, the doctor wanted to take advantage of it and help speed up the dilation process. Once again, after making sure that it cannot have any negative effects on the baby, I agreed, only after shedding a few more tears (well, I am likely to blame the hormones). When I think about it now, I am glad I cried instead of being mean and rude to the people around me, like Rachel does.

Once the IV was in place, I drifted off to sleep again. 2 hours later, I woke up feeling undue pressure on my pelvic floor. I informed the nurse who was checking on me and she immediately fetched the doctor. I was nervous - was something going wrong ? The doctor came, checked me and when she said I was 10cm dilated and the pressure I was feeling was nothing but my body's way of asking me to push, I couldn't believe my own ears !! It was then 6:30pm on monday, June 24, exactly 41 hours after my first contraction.

I steeled myself to push (I was always told this was the hardest part). I pushed 4 times and at 6:42pm, our beautiful little girl was born !! She was perfect - weighed 3.54 kg and got an apgar score of 10 !! In 30 minutes, she was cleaned up, dressed and was drinking from me. And yes, the cliche is totally true - Once you hold your new-born, you forget all about labor and the pain and at that moment, nothing else matters ! And I cannot describe the happiness I felt, when smiled at us (yes, she did, on the day she was born!!)....

Even during pregnancy, I always told Ashok that if they took the baby out of the room, he was to leave me and follow the baby instead, just to know what was happening. Truthfully though, I always had this irrational fear (probably from watching too many bad movies) that the baby would get switched. I don't mind getting a different baby but my question always was ''what is the guarantee that our baby would end up with parents as nice as us?!'' and Ashok would always respond the same way ''oru payithiyatha kalyanam pannindu kashta padaren'' !!

The reason for the digression was because MMC Veldhoven made all this irrelevant. The room was completely equipped with everything needed for the baby, so she never had to leave the room and was always in my view.

Photo shows the kraamsuite (delivery room) in MMC Veldhoven. Restroom, changing table, sink/cleaning area are not shown in the picture. I was in this room throughout my stay (except when I was taken to the OR for epidural)

Seeing my little girl, all the time, definitely made things a lot easier. Sahana had happily gone to sleep.

But my ordeal was not over yet. I had only a couple of stitches and they were done long ago. But still the doctor was busy with me and I failed to understand why. Then she explained that I was still bleeding and they were unable to locate the source. After nearly 40 minutes, they determined that it was a ruptured blood vessel. Unfortunately they were unable to access the blood vessel, irrespective of using all kinds of paraphernalia. So they were contemplating whether to take me to the OR to surgically stop the bleeding.

Since any surgery comes with inherent risks, my doctor came up with another suggestion - to stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the blood vessel using a tampon (the size of a kitchen sponge, I am not kidding!). The term ''dying of pain'' suddenly became all too clear to me. I later remarked ruefully to Ashok that for all the pain, it would have been nice if we had had twins !!

I was too tired to eat, but managed to have some brown toast with jam (perfect food for labor actually, easily digested and gives a sugar boost), fed Sahana again and then after a short nap, asked the nurse if I can stand up (I had been lying down for nearly 12 hours). She helped me with all the gizmos I was attached to and I got up after what seemed like gymnastic manoeuvres. I thought standing up would make me feel better, instead I felt like the room was spinning and the next minute, everything became dark.

I promise there is just one more post on this subject. The reason I am going into detail is because I want to share some lessons learnt with moms and dads-to-be and if my story helps even one of them, I would consider these posts time well spent !
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