It was around 3 P.M when I first felt the pain, which I never thought was a pain of contraction. It was my first pregnancy, and I had no idea how the contraction pain was. I had been writing a diary full of my hopes and prayers on a special blog for my daughter while she was in my womb. I’d been googling, asking friends who have had experiences in pregnancy, still I was having an inner monologue:
‘Naaa, it can’t be now! it’s still 12. You will be born 14’.
I know I was way too optimistic that my baby would be born on exactly the expected date. It was mainly because I was rather afraid of the labor process. Then of course, I kept on having a secret conversation with my baby telling her to cooperate with us, mostly me so that you would be born on the 14th. My late mother-in-law came to us after dinner, and it was already around 8 P.M when I felt the pain again, and this time was more intense than before. From that point, I was prepared to have a meeting with my daughter, my baby, and will always be my baby. I was just lying down on the bed while my mom-in-law kept on sitting next to me. From time to time, she kept on looking at her watch: observing whether the pain was already coming in a relatively regular intervals.
It was already late and she had to go back to her hotel.
I believe in God, thus I kept on praying that everything was going to be alright, you would be healthy, and cry loudly. Truth be told, I was also praying that I wouldn’t feel the pain so much that I could not bear any longer. I know some or maybe many would say that the good thing having a baby was feeling the pain, then you know how your mom felt when she brought you to this amazing but at the same time a cruel world. I have to disagree at some point: I still hope I would not undergo any difficulties during the labor process, God knows best!. I tried to close my eyes, while my husband was already asleep. I was nervous as well as excited that I was going to meet the angel of my life, the love of our life I was nervous with lots of things. Those little feet inside me kept on kicking my stomach here and there, moving here and there, and I kept on telling her to be patient. It was funny! when she was kicking me inside there like crazy, I was telling her to be slowly, but when she was quiet I knocked on my own belly to ask her whether she was awake or asleep.
The time was ticking, and it was almost 2 a.m. Let me quote the lyrics of one of the songs by Jose Mari Chan, that I have liked so much since I was 9 years old.
It’s 2am we’re lying in bed
Stillness all around there’s not a sound except in my head
Yep! it resonated my feeling that time! exactly at the same hour! I was more than just glad that my husband was sleeping soundless next to me while I was still trying to hold on the pain at least I hoped I managed doing it until the sun said ‘Hello, good morning’. I was glad because he managed to get some rest as I would be needing him a lot before and during the labor process, well I know for sure that without being asked, he would be there for me. Only sometimes did he wake up because he heard me moan a bit.
‘Are you okay, sayang(honey) should we go to the hospital now’
I kept on telling him to hold on, and I kept on saying that I could stand it. I suggested that we go to the hospital when the day was bright.I kept on going back from the toilet to our room many times. I felt like sitting on the toilet made me feel rather better than lying down. However, I managed to fall asleep for a minute or two, but the pain was getting more and more obvious. Exhale-inhale thing did not really work for me. I might have been a little bit panic. It was exactly at 2 a.m, I woke my husband up, and told me that I could not bear it any longer. I stood up and my water sac fell half way out of me. I was sure I needed to head to the hospital soon.I grabbed my bag which full of things I needed during my stay at the maternal hospital.
We live on the third floor of a relatively old apartment with no elevator. There are two hospitals nearby our home: all are less than 1 km distance. I went down the stairs while my husband held me like I was a little kid who was just going to learn to step up and down the stairs. I was hoping I managed to go down without being carried by my husband. Poor him if he had to do that as I was heavier than before. The taxi, which my husband called was there outside waiting for us, and we were heading to the hospital nearby. I know we could have tried to walk, but it was 2 a.m, it was cold, and I was probably once again too worry of a lot of things. Spoiled and overreacting? well, I leave that up to you! but we made the right decision.
The overreacting continued…
People in general are hoped to be strong, but I did not pretend to be strong when I knew I was weak. I was teased by one of the nurses there :
‘Come on! you don’t need the chair, you can walk’.
The hospital looked quiet with lamps were mostly already or still on. We were placed in a maternity ward which was rather dull: no interesting pictures to look at. The only interesting ‘thing’ to look at was my husband who seemed to be a bit sleepy but still trying to cheer me up. I kept on looking at the clock on the white wall wondering when I would be seeing my daughter: really it was like being in love with someone whose face we have never seen before, yet have grown a strong connection for so long that you feel butterfly in stomach. During this time, I kept on holding my husband’s hand who was sitting next to me. A nurse came and asked me not to panic and kept on telling me to put into practice the lessons I got from a ‘Geburtsvorbereitungskurs’ or a short course for usually 8 meetings about anything related to babies, the birth, and the labor process. ‘EXHALE, INHALE, EXHALE,INHALE’ well for some this thing might work, but for me it did not help much.
Oh God! some doctors came in to give me some epidural injections. It did hurt! Some people (mothers) are proud of delivering the babies normaly without any painkillers, then they speak like they are the strongest women in the whole world. Well, everyone may have different thoughts on things, but in this case I will say that NO MATTER what the labor process a mom endures to give birth to her loving baby, she is just amazing! ( I miss my mom now).
Epidural analgesia provides rapid pain relief in most cases. It is more effective than nitrous oxide, opioids, TENS, and other common modalities of analgesia in childbirth. Epidurals during childbirth are the most commonly used anesthesia in this situation. The medication levels are very low to decrease the side effects to both mother and baby. When in labor the mother does not usually feel pain after an epidural but they do still feel the pressure. Women are able to bear down and push with contractions. Epidural clonidine has been extensively studied for management of analgesia during labour. Epidural analgesia is a relatively safe method of relieving pain in labour. In a 2011 Cochrane review which included 38 randomized controlled studies involving 9658 women, wherein all but five studies compared epidural analgesia with opiates, epidural analgesia in childbirth was associated with the following advantages and disadvantages:[20
WIth this epidural injections (PDA so to say in German: Die Periduralanästhesie (von griechisch περί peri, „neben“, „rundherum“, lateinisch Dura [mater] „die harte [Hirnhaut]“ und altgriechisch αἶσθησις aisthesis, „Wahrnehmung“, ἀν- an- „nicht“; Abkürzung PDA; synonym Epiduralanästhesie (EDA), von griechisch επί epi, „über“, „auf“) ist eine Form der Regionalanästhesie, genauer der rückenmarksnahen Regionalanästhesie (vergleiche auch Spinalanästhesie). Sie bewirkt die zeitweilige, umkehrbare Funktionshemmung ausgewählter Nervensegmente, führt dabei zu Sympathikolyse, Empfindungslosigkeit, Schmerzfreiheit und Hemmung der aktiven Beweglichkeit im zugehörigen Körperabschnitt und ermöglicht die Durchführung ansonsten schmerzhafter medizinischer Prozeduren.) I felt like it was not so easy to move my body.
The nurses came to see me and check me. It was ony 5 cm dilated, if my memory serves me right.
My baby does loveeee sleeping just like her daddy. There was this machine that enables us to see the baby’s heart rate ( baby’s heartrate monitor?) graphics.
‘Your baby is sleeping in there’
I had no idea how they managed to say that only by looking at the graphics, and I did not bother to ask either. I smiled! not long after that, a nurse tried to wake up my baby inside by putting a small alarm clock on my stomach. I couldn’t help smiling while I was in grimace because of these excalatory contractions. Some minutes later, two doctors came in to help the labor process. My baby was still moving slowly. My husband was such a big help that I felt secured as well. It is so much different from the labor process in Indonesia, not that I have ever had any there, but I heard from many people and family that a husband is not supposed to be in the labor ward for certain reasons ( I am not going to discuss them here). Here, a husband is hoped to be the great helper as well: to comfort the wife, and to help hold the wife’s head to give strength for the wife to push out the baby. I was amazed! My husband kept on saying ‘Push’ I don’t remember whether it was in English or German. As of I am writing this, we use English most of the time to communicate. It is just hard to speak in German all day long for we have known each other for almost 11 years, and after all these time, English is 95% used for our communication. Anyhow, my baby really loved inside my womb! she wouldn’t come out easily. She was probably shy! a male doctor came and pushed the upper part of my stomach to help the baby out. It was not really painful, but I found it tiring. Then, a nurse said ‘ Oh, I saw thick black hair here!’ and viola! she showed herself up and cried loudly. She was put directly on my breast to have a direct eye contact with me. The image of her eyes looking at me while some boold spots were still on her is still very clear on my mind. I have met my daughter for the first time. ‘ God knows best’!, and this was the process of the labor I underwent. Some mothers undergo it easily, and some are on the other way around, but either way I admire all mothers. And I hope I can be the best mother my children can be proud of. The worrisome days continued…
(To be continued)