The day Faith was born was nothing like the day we had the little berry. I guess right from the beginning, she’s already her own person carving out her own journey into this world.
Unlike the first time, there was no uncertainty, no wondering whether the pain I was feeling were indeed contractions, no timing of contractions and no having to rush to the hospital.
It was a scheduled c-section surgery.
It was the end of 38 weeks and Faith was still breeched in my womb. After turning down at 33 weeks, she decided to turn back up and stayed there, seated comfortably snug.
We dropped off the groggy little berry at my parent’s place and got to TMC just after 5am for the 7am op. After the paperwork, GY and I were checked into my room at level 6. GY found the room to be very noisy because it’s just next to the nursery and requested that we change a room. They swapped us to an empty double room which was great because GY was able to get a lie-in as well while waiting.
GY and I spent the next 30mins or so in that room talking, joking, praying, taking pictures, goofing around and then trying to get some sleep. Just when we were getting comfortable, each on one bed, the nurse came in to shave me and change me into the scrubs for the op. Soon after, I was wheeled off to level 2, and GY was told to take a different route to meet me at the operating theatre.
I was wheeled into the recuperating area where the Gynae (Dr Yeap, since our original Gynae was on holiday) did one last scan and confirmed that Faith was still breeched before wheeling me into the operating theatre.
There, I met the anesthetist, a Dr Chew who seemed like a nice, confident man. I told him about my phobia of needles and he did his best to reassure me that it’ll be mostly painless because of the local anesthesia which he’ll be giving me first.
He showed me the “smallest needle” he’ll be using to poke my hand to numb the skin. I looked away and felt the prick. It was bearable. Then he told me to cough and I did, and mid-cough, he inserted the IV drip needle into my hand. It was disturbing to know, but still bearable.
My Gynae came in at this point and tried to exchange some pleasantries with me. I wasn’t a good candidate for early morning conversations, much less when I’m facing imminent pain, but I tried.
I was told me curl up like a shrimp for the anesthetist to locate the spine where he gave me 2 pricks to numb the area. The 2nd prick hurt and I made sure he knew that. Then he did the big injection which didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would but was still highly disturbing. Soon after, my legs started to feel tingly and numb.
The numbness took over very quickly thereafter and in less than a minute, I could no longer control the movement of my legs. At this point, the nurses inserted a catheter into my urinary tract.
The numbness spread right up to my chest level and it was shocking to find out that I couldn’t breathe very well. The anesthetist said something about my diaphragm being affected by the numbness and to take controlled breaths. I tried but couldn’t get the hang of it, probably because I was too freaked out by then to stay calm. I felt like I was being suffocated to death but no one cared.
At this point, GY came in all decked out in his scrubs, hood and mask. He came over to my side immediately and asked how I was doing. I told him I couldn’t really breath and couldn’t say much after. But I think my eyes conveyed much fear and he just stayed by me and held my hands tightly. (Later, he told me that I looked like I was in too much distress for him to make fun of me.)
I remember that look on his face. It translated a mix of concern, sadness, and love. He had that same expression when I was in great pain when in labor with the little berry. Back then, he told me he felt helpless that he couldn’t share my pain or make it go away.
They put up a green screen in front of me so I couldn’t see what’s going on down there, but I could tell from the sensation, pulling and tugging that I was definitely getting cut up.
It was extremely unnerving to feel them pulling at my skin in all directions to try and get the baby out. The Gynae will tugging at my skin, the anesthetist was pushing down on my belly, GY was holding my hand looking concerned and I was just trying to keep breathing.
I was very tempted to ask to be put GA or just close my eyes so I could knock out completely but I wanted to hang on for a while more so I could see Faith. They kept telling me 5 more minutes and I can see my baby. I kept waiting and hoping for the ordeal to be over.
After a while, someone said that baby’s out. I was so relieved but I didn’t hear her cry and wondered whether that was normal. The nurse brought her over to another table by the side of the room to be cleaned up. That was when she made her first cry, it was very short and cute. Then she cried a little more after that.
GY was reluctant to leave my side but he had to follow them to ensure that they put on her identification tags correctly. I kept looking across at the table where they were as I experienced more pulling and tugging around my abdomen area. I felt the Gynae sewing me up with a very long string, threading it through my skin, pulling and tightening.
Soon after, the nurse brought her over and placed her on my chest. I looked at her and started tearing. She was beautiful and perfectly formed, everything we asked God for. It was around then that the anesthetist kindly offered to take some pictures for the 3 of us. Even though I was totally not in the state of mind to be photographed, I managed a smile for the camera.
They left her on my chest for a while more, then GY had to leave with her to get cleaned up and brought to the ward.
It felt like an eternity, lying there trying not to think about my inability to breathe, and feeling the tugging of needle going in and out of my skin, sewing me up. When they’re finally done, the nurses put a bandage over my wound and pushed me out to the recovery area.
I started shivering quite badly in the recovery area, strange because I didn’t feel cold at all. It was an involuntary response to the morphine pumped into me. I still couldn’t feel my legs at all and just laid that, waiting for someone to push me back to the ward to see my baby and GY.
When the nurses pushed me back to the ward, the first persons I saw were GY’s parents. They had friendly smiles even though they look concerned. It was touching to see them care and come so early in the morning. Then I saw GY grinning in the ward. It was a relieve to see him again.
Faith was under the warmer in the nursery so I didn’t get to see her until later. I was truly tired from all the mental disturbance and drugs, so I told GY to go have breakfast with his parents first, and I’ll try to sleep in the meantime.
I can’t remember whether I actually managed to nap, but I do remember seeing GY coming back to the ward, holding our new daughter, and thinking how blessed we are.
This birth experience was just the beginning of a faith journey with God, where he showed me that His ways are not my ways. I had a picture of what a ideal birth should be like – natural, non-induced, drug-free. None of that was in His plans. But I’m learning to trust Him because like what GY said, what we see is the limited present, but He sees all.