Sunday, February 7, 2010 ;
2 Feb - 4 Feb
Our hospital stay this 3rd time was remarkably short and sweet.
Previously with the boys' C-sections, I had to stay 3 nights. With ds2's trial of labour and then eventual C-section, the duration in the labour ward was an additional long period as well. (Was in the labour ward from morning till midnight before he was delivered)
So this time, even though we went to a private hospital, the final hospital bill was less than KKH's cos the previous 2 times were surgeries and longer stays.
Of course, I felt much better and more mobile as well. (The only blip was the injury to my tailbone, or coccygeal region of the backbone/ spine which caused me to not be able to sit, and cannot get up from sitting to standing normally.)
I kind of crushed the tailbone when I kept pushing to get dd's head out, and my bum was at the edge of the bed. Also, when baby's head makes its way out, it tends to push the tailbone backwards. Hence this kind of injury is very commonly sustained during childbirth. (At least, after I did research, I found many people who suffered this.)
During the birth, I was concentrating on birthing naturally, and somehow did not notice the tailbone pain. It was only after the delivery that I discovered how painful it was. Sigh, now it cannot bear any pressure, so sitting normally is out of the question.
Usually I take for granted so many daily activities that can be done with a normal tailbone. Now with this ailment, I realised so many things and movements require the tiny tailbone's cooperation!
For example, sleeping on my back hurts the tailbone. Everyone who is sitting and needs to stand has to lean forward slightly, putting stress on the tailbone. This simple action is something I cannot do now! Weird right? Yes, so that renders me unable to get up should I be able to sit down in the first place. Sigh.
I have a number of physiotherapist friends, of which my primary school classmate is one of the closest, and he advised me certain positions to assume to enable me to have a slightly better quality of life now.
In case you are a silent sufferer and haven't heard of this, I'll just share.
Normally we lean forward with a straight back to stand up (from sitting position). Now, in order to not cause the tailbone to shoot painful signals to your brain, arch or flex your spine (hunching) when you lean forward instead, and push the table or whatever in front of you with both hands, and use your both feet to provide support as well, then stand. This spreads out all the pressure and reduces strain on the tailbone.
Also, don't sit on anything soft. Sofas, recliners are out of the question. I am so sad not to be able to sit on my favourite rocking recliner to breastfeed. Now I can only lie on my side to nurse dd. It is bothersome to have to lie down in the daytime when I could be reading or doing something else while nursing. I really hope to recover soon!
My obgyn says it is common among his clients too. (He doesn't like to say "patients".) He says for some, it takes a month to heal, for others, several months. What I read on the internet scared me further though. Many become chronic cases and suffer in pain for life. Otherwise, the only "treatment" would be regular pain relief injections to the spine, or the permanent solution is surgery. When I read of some cases where surgery was performed to remove the offending tailbone, I was so horrified. I just went through childbirth, I don't want another surgery!!
So I am praying very very hard mine is a mild case that will heal and go away soon!
Now for some positive outcomes from this hospital stay, and some pictures.
This is the placenta, which the midwife declared as very very beautiful. She asked if we wanted to keep it since it is so nice. We didn't but we decided to take a photo. She was very happy that at least we would take pics, and even arranged it nicely for Dh. She also washed it and offered to turn it over so Dh could take more pics of both sides. This is the pic with the least gross factor, for the benefit of the squeamish.
(Note the umbilical cord. After it stopped pulsating, it turned white. It's really really tough. When Dh cut the cord, he said it was surprisingly tough to cut. And no, the scissors was not blunt.)
We requested for Dh to cut the cord in our birth plan and I must say our obgyn, doula and midwife took our birth plan very seriously. I wrote birth plans for both ds' births previously as well but not too many read it then, and certainly nothing came true out of that.
My obgyn even went through it with me point by point during our antenatal session and explained certain procedures have to take place if there is an emergency (because I requested not to have it in the birth plan, so he was saying if there was no choice, he might have to do it). But fortunately in the end, almost everything was what we wanted.
Dh had a comfy lodger bed. It was spacious and he had so many pillows given to him (made me jealous) and they came in to make his bed twice, I couldn't believe it. His bedsheets were hardly dirty or messed up.
The hospital throws a celebratory dinner for all parents who just birthed. And there'd be this butler who will come up with a menu for us to order our food. Quite interesting and amusing for us. The food was much better than the usual meals. And we felt there was not quite enough, since we finished everything very quickly. (We ordered one western and one chinese set each to have more variety.)
Oh yes, at the end of your stay, there will be a concierge who will come up to assist us with all our bags and stuff and get us to the car. Parking is complimentary too, and we can exit and enter as many times we wanted to. (Parking was chargeable at KKH last time, and we had to pay $11 for the valet service, I recall. That was in 2003 and 2005.)
All the rest of the photos Dh took of me and dd had to be censored cos they were taken in the delivery suite. Only this one looked presentable enough to be posted here. She's 1 day old here.
We had several visitors. Some were former colleagues. Below are 2 and 2 others, Ming and Judith also came, but I forgot to take pics for them. We had a lot to chat and catch up on. Somehow, fellow moms have lots to talk and share about.
My JC besties. After so many years, they still faithfully visit, with each and every child too. I am very touched.
The grandparents of course. They would be the happiest. And they always start thinking who she resembles more, this uncle, cousin or brother... :-) My mil is very happy for me cos she knows how much we wanted a girl. She was so happy that I delivered this one naturally that she couldn't sleep (she told me that).
My mom. I think she is happy too, although she didn't say she cannot sleep, haha.
Flashback to the delivery suite.
As per our birth plan, they did let baby nurse immediately after she was born. At first they let us have skin to skin contact. It was a great bonding opportunity for Dh, me and dd. We didn't have such a chance with the boys previously, and treasured it.
The midwife will busy herself cleaning up other stuff and the obgyn just waited for the cord to stop pulsating and for the placenta to emerge. He started stitching a few stitches first. (I had a superficial tear, very minor. It is not even painful compared to my tailbone injury!)
Then as she started rooting and crying a bit and the doula helped her to latch on, and I started nursing her on one side.
Of course, at this point in time, there is no milk yet but colostrum. And there was lots of it, so it took quite a long time. Then we continued chatting (doulas, Dh and me). It distracted me from the stitching, and there were still some contractions as the body is trying to expel the placenta. It was so nice having one doula feed me water and wipe my face with a wet towel, and another doula helping baby to nurse properly, Dh was kissing my forehead, telling me how proud he is of me he was, and then taking video clips and pictures non-stop.
The midwife kept praising me saying what a great job I had done, and how good I was with the pushing and all. She said she's very impressed with our "team" (ie doulas, Dh and me). She was very encouraging too and I thanked her.
The euphoria I experienced at that time would be something I'll always remember for life. I think nothing else in life makes you so proud and happy (ok, apart from the day I became a Christian, but that work, most of the work was done by Christ, and not me. this one, i did most of the work)? The good results in school, the awards received, promotions.. whatever...all not important... So I revelled in that moment.
Normally I feel paiseh/ embarrassed when people praise me and I always try to shrug it off. This time, I just enjoyed the moment. I had finally done it, no doubt, with a lot of help from others/ God, but it is done!
I can tell Dh is similarly affected, because even at night, in the still quiet moments, he will still refer to this experience.
Anyway, so after dd nursed on 1 side, she continued to the other side, and by that time, my placenta had come out, and doc had finished his stitching. Dh also had his chance to cut the cord as it was clamped by the doc. Then the doc left first, and midwife continued cleaning up.
My skirt, that I bought from This Fashion, was totally covered in blood, so I decided to throw it away. :-) Helps that it cost only $10. (moral: don't wear your best clothes to birth a baby)
The doulas continued to chat with me until baby was finally done nursing, and the midwife then took her to be weighed (see pic below), and then cleaned and warmed.
We're so glad there was no hurry to clean and weigh her here, and they respected our wishes. I remember how the boys were whisked away hurriedly to be weighed, cleaned etc. I was just shown him briefly after he was delivered (for ds), and then they'd proceed with the normal protocol. Then only he was brought out to Dh for DH to see. Poor Dh, both times, he hated the wait outside and it was nerve-wrecking for him. (He actually cried cos mine was kind of like an emergency during ds2's time)
This time it was such a pleasure for him.
The boys are 2 very happy brothers too. So far, there has just been adorable and love for dd from them. No other negative feelings. I think it must be the age gap. They have their own activities and need not revolve their life around the baby sister or me or Dh, hence they don't feel so affected. Ds1 was more affected when he was a toddler of 2 yrs old, and ds2 was born. He did throw tantrums then and wasn't able to understand sometimes, how I had to nurse baby and could not do something for him there and then.
And this time, I returned to my own home, so all in all, many factors made this birth a particularly pleasant and relaxing experience.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow