This is the 10th day after the arrival of the new prince in our household and the first time his Ibu has time to vent on becoming a mother to yet another baby boy..
10 days ago of course, I was already anxious to have him out. It was a Saturday, and I was alone in the morning, doing light house chores of arranging folded clothes into cupboards, sweeping the floors and just lounging around watching TV with my then-one-and-only-son Adam. The Husband was out to Kulim earlier to help his parents set up new fences at their orchard. I was expecting my parents, brothers and sister in law to come over at noon.
To start with, I actually already had menstrual like cramps since morning (or maybe even the day before). I thought light of it because throughout pregnancy, it had come and went away several times so I saw no cause for alarm. However, I did feel a little cautious that day because, since the day before (which was a Friday), walking had become a somewhat painful ordeal as I penguin-stroll at a slower pace. That caution was too little of course as I did not feel the need to share it with anyone. Indeed, i went on to do house chores even despite the cramps. [little did i know that those were probably already the start of my labour contractions].
By noon, when my family came, the on-off-and-on-again-off-again cramps were still there. I didn’t say anything to anyone but for a bit, i did wonder when it happened again, as I was sitting on the sofa watching TV around 2pm that “maybe this baby will be arriving soon”. My family had plans to watch a movie at a nearby cinema and asked me and my son to come along. I declined, thinking that pressured pain I feel when walking doesn’t need aggravating and decided to just rest at home – moreover, my son Adam is not the most patient boy to be sitting thorough an hour of adult movie let alone longer. So it was just me and Adam at home from 3.30pm onwards.
By 4.30pm, i started feeling a little funny, because not only did the cramps not totally subside, it was coming at a regular pattern of 30-40 minutes gap in between. So I googled up labour contractions. Yes, I googled it up. Funny? a little when you think back on it. But necessary since I had no experience on progressive labour contractions. With Adam, I was admitted for gastric pain at 37w6d, when they found out I was already 5cm open by then. After the gastric pain (which eventually turned out to be caused by gall bladder stones) subsided, I was pain free for 6 hours and sleeping – by the end of which at 8am i was still pain free and only open up to 6cm and was then induced – I straight away went into active labour. So progressive labour pain was a mystery to me. After googling it up, I realized the pain I was having was very much like the labour contraction described. So I called hubby around 5pm to enquire where he was and that I was feeling pain that is similar like the one described online as labour pains. He was already nearby, and asked me to get ready. I went to have a shower and a change of clothes and went down into the hall to rest and wait. By then hubby was already back and bathing my son Adam. While waiting for them to get ready, the contractions were becoming more regular. I was getting nervous and perspiring. When it started coming at 7 to 10 minutes interval, I was panicky and kept calling out for Hubby to come quick. Hubby rushed around and we were out of the house by about 6.10pm.
There was a problem. We had Adam with us, which was terribly inconvenient when, by the time we got into the car, I was beyond restless with the increasingly frequent pain cycles. We ran into my family coming home from the movies and Hubby was barking plans into short quick sentences through the car window to my brother in the other car and in the rush, we forgot to pass my son to them. So, on the way to the hospital, he had to call my brother back to instruct new plans so someone could reach the hospital as soon as we do to take care of Adam while he settled me in. He was driving quickly, with Adam in the back seat without his car seat on (too rushed to be installing it), and poor little hero got dizzy. Along the way, in crazy Saturday traffic, he vomitted. There we were, a man driving nervously through heavy traffic with his wife at the side occasionally crying out of terrible contraction pain and his son in the back seat, barfing out his stomach content. What a sight! I wanted to laugh now looking back but at that time, it was not the slightest bit funny. To a small extent, it was even worrisome.
The thing about contraction pain is that its not something that goes on and on. It comes with intervals. Thank God. But then during the intervals when you were without pain, you felt hopeful that maybe the next one will not be too suffocatingly excruciating. You knew it would come back, but you had hopes it would become more endurable once you get used to it. And then when the next wave hit, you got disappointed because, not only was it not a pleasant feeling AT ALL while the contractions lasted, but the pain seemed to get worse each time and longer too. I hurt my palms clinging onto the handlebar. I held my breath enduring each contractions because it was painful. Then Hubs was telling take a deep breath and recite the zikir. I was gulping in air when I can because when the pain started again, I couldnt help holding my breath enduring.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, i was quickly ushered into the labour room. It was 6.40pm when I was all propped on the bed in the same labour room I had my first son delivered in. Yes, i had my eyes on the clock which was smacked right next to the bed in the middle, on the right wall of the room. I continued to glance towards the time every now and then throughout the delivery and was conscious of the timeline of all happenings. I was 5cm open then (me and my 5cm consistency it seems) but unlike the first pregnancy, I did not have the luxury of being free from progressive labour pain and 6 hours of painless deep sleep. The pain persisted and subsequently intensified as the time went by. With the Entonox gas mask in a vice like grip in my hand, I was religiously sucking and gulping the pain relieving substances into a sleep inducing stupor. It felt endless and forever, when in truth, it only took about 25minutes —> because at 7.05pm, I was told I’m all fully dialted and can start pushing when I contract.
Initially, before you fell into the pushing rhythm, as with my first pregnancy, i started whimpering first due to the pain. Hubby at my side as usual, reciting the surah Al-Inshiqaq in my ear and urging me to follow. But then I remembered the right way to push and gathered as much oxygen into my lungs, started pushing. In between the pushes, I could hear voices around. The room felt bright and noisy but all I had my focus on was my pushing, my own internal thoughts and self encouragements and the time shown on the clock on the wall. I remembered thinking somewhere in between the ordeal, “This is crazy. How could I have thought I could endure this crazy pain again?! That’s it, this will be the last time I am delivering!”. I remembered ONLY that thought among any others I might have had then. No more labour. It was that intense, that painful i felt like it all needed to stop right away.
It felt as forever as it did earlier when I was waiting to be fully dilated. In truth it was less than 20minutes, for exactly 17minutes after being told to push, the baby came out crying at 7.22pm. I remembered it was Maghrib because, then the aazan can still be heard. The moment the little gut was out, all I wanted to do was sleep ; —> which of course was impossible because right away, the doctor started pressing and prodding my stomach to get the placenta and blood clots out. It was no picnic. At all. I whimpered out the pain again. Hubs already went away to observe the handling of the baby. I was alone with a nurse and the doctor. I felt so raw and sensitive and painful and told the doctor so but the doctor patiently explained he needed to to this right away to get the clots out. It was important. In my energy drained state, I remembered having enough strength to push the doctor’s hands away several times when it was really painful. The doctor was starting to get annoyed I could tell because his tone changed a little when he insisted that I stop pushing because it was important that he did it right away or else I would be in more pain later. I told him Ok but I needed painkillers. He told me, “You baru beranak. The worst part is over. Now tahan sikit sakit. This will be quick if you can just tahan a bit”. Who cares. I was the one in pain. and after enduring what he said was “the worst part” I think I deserved a break from pain. So I did not want to tahan the pain, at least not without pain killers. I continued pushing his hand away. He finally got irritated enough to stop and told the nurse something. Then they administered the local anaesthesia before the stitching. I did not feel the stitching pain too much or else I would’ve bitched like madness but I twitched a bit now and then as it wasnt totally painless.
After the doctor was done with the stitching, I felt somewhat relieved. Finally they can clean me up and transport me to my room. Fat chance! The nurse then took over what the doctor could not finish earlier. Prodding and pressing and pushing my stomach on all sides to get the clots out despite my protests and I tell you, she was relentless and merciless. Even when I was pushing her hand away hard, she continued on, but all the while maintaining polite insistence that it was important. Finally she was done and I cried. I remembered crying a while because when she was washing me up and I was still crying, she pacified me saying its okay, its over, you did a good job pushing and the baby was beautiful. A while later another nurse came in to show me the baby, his gender, his fingers, toes and then proceeded to put him by my side to get his first feeding. The little guy quickly latched on and suckled – his primary reflexes in excellent response. I was sensitive to everything and the first latching wasnt a bed of roses pain-wise but I endured it, happily, knowing it nourished my child. Looking back, it was amazing to think I would not endure the pain that I felt in order to ensure the clots out for my own good, but no matter what pain there was for the little guy, I needed no asking and willingly endure it. Such is the force of a mothers’ love, selfless for her child’s well being, no matter what it takes.
Until three days later, I was still on a tight painkiller schedule. Post partum contractions for me was as bad as pre labour contractions, I will have you know. Despite the painkillers, the pain was still great. So I was on oral ponstant as and when allowed. But life began to get more peaceful by then before the jaundice worry. Its a cycle – the never ending one. You start worrying from the very first time you found out you have conceived until forever. Breast feeding, though painful, was not as trying as it had been with Adam.
Today, 10 days later, (and still working on getting the jaundice away), I have very much delightfully embraced motherhood the second time around. I wear my post partum tummy bulge like a badge of honour for the blessed child that it held cocooned for 38 weeks. I still cry just looking at the little guy, out of utter joy and gratitude to Allah. I was never disillusioned with the fact that my love though now divided between two babies has not diminished the slightest bit for the eldest son. It should be said that my love has now multiplied, instead of divided. Now the reception of his brother for little Aidil Iman is another thing to tell, but that will belong to a separate post of course, IF I ever have the time to do anyway, now that I am a mother of two and juggling work and a three- storey household in between.
But for now, I am contented. I hope you are too.