Friday, 27th June 2008
5.00 am - I get a feeling today is the day. Yes, its our once in two weeks Laundry Day, usually a busy day for me. Then I experience the beginning of mild contractions. I time them. Lasting 15 seconds and coming every 8 minutes. "Oh no, not on laundry day", is my first reaction! There are still some baby clothes to be washed. The clothes my mom brought from India which smell of Payatham Maavu and Oorugai. Then there are the bed linens and towels, of course. So like any self respecting house wife, I start sorting out the laundry while timing the contractions.
7.00 am - The contractions are coming every 5 minutes lasting 25 seconds now but manageable. I wake Hd up and ask him to start on the laundry as we have a long day ahead. His reply - "I'm not waking up a minute before 8 am". I thrust the notebook on his face where I ve written down the timings of the contractions and ask him "Are you sure?" His reaction was priceless. Knowing his priorities right, he starts on the laundry. If not for the fact that we ve to climb two floors with a fully loaded laundry basket to get to the laundry room, I would ve done it, of course. But even a super woman like me knows her limits! So I shower, organize a few things around the house, give instructions to my mom, call my sister and father, eat light breakfast, call the hospital and get ready to go.
9.00 am - Every three minutes lasting 40 seconds and they are becoming worse. I hold a door, bend a little, breathe and try to manage the pain every time it hits me. I do a Namaskaram for God and for my Mom and get into the car with Hd. (Did you know that the Namaskaram position - Child's pose in Yoga - helps the baby descend through the birth canal?)
9.15 am - The midwife is expecting me. She does an internal examination, my water breaks and I am 3 cm dilated. "You are nt going anywhere", she tells me and I change into the hospital garb.
10.00 am - I am 7 cm dilated. The contractions are more painful and more frequent. But still manageable. "Your breathing is good", tells the midwife and gives me more ideas to handle the pain. I ask for an exercise ball and sit on it. It helps a little. Hd pressing my back with his fist every time I get a contraction helps me immensely and not to mention the breathing. I don't think I perfected the art of breathing the first time, but this time it came to me as natural as, well, breathing! Kodi's Mom come to my thoughts a lot during all these ordeal. I have nt even seen a photo of her but somehow I feel shes there. Guiding me. Don't ask me, it was just one of those surreal things that happens during labor. (Thank you for the invisible presence, A. You were my strength. Truly.)
10.45 am - I am 10 cm dilated. I want to push. I say so to the midwife. She guides me. The contractions are horrible now but I focus on pushing. The midwife tells me what I am doing wrong. I am stretching my neck, exhaling through the mouth and pushing my legs instead of bending my head downwards and focussing on pushing. So I do that. Meanwhile, the IV needle inserted on my left wrist gets ripped off and theres blood everywhere. Hd asks for a tissue to wipe his hands. I manage to give him a look in spite of my situation.
11.00 am - The baby plonks out. Hd cuts the cord and the baby is lying on my chest. Placenta is delivered, my Doctor who arrived a few minutes before the delivery does the honor of stitching me up. Second degree tear. Not as bad as the first time, thank God. Hd calls up family to share the news.
And this is where the story should end on a high note. But not in my case. The after pains which came soon after the delivery was HORRIBLE. It seems they are worse after the second delivery. I truly felt that the labor pains were much easier to handle than these God-knows-what-pains! I started crying and pleading to Hd, "Kill me, Kill me now." He was totally lost on what to do. "I thought my part was done as soon as the baby came out or did I forget something from last time", he seemed to ask. Of course, he did nt dare ask. He knew I would ve killed him first. The midwife thought that it might help me if I pee. But I could nt. So out came the catheter and my bladder was emptied. I was also losing too much blood. I tried to get up, but felt dizzy.
1.00 pm - The midwife commented that I'm looking pale. More than one doctor was checking my pulse and BP, a ECG machine was wheeled in and I was monitored. I did nt know what was going on. Meanwhile, the baby was bathed and dressed and was sleeping. The midwife asked Hd to give the baby her first bath and he looked at me as if the midwife has gone nuts! "Just wash her. I don't care if shes not clean but don't drown her ok?", I gave my 2 cents. He passed the test though.
2.00 pm - Hd and I shared a light lunch. I was drinking gallons of water. I tried to sleep but could nt. I wanted to take a shower and be taken to my room. I was getting impatient. I was bloody and battered and felt dirty. Why am I still here, I wondered. My pulse and BP were being checked regularly.
3.00 pm - The Doctor tells me that my pulse went down, BP was alarmingly low and my heart beat was erratic. I gave them a scare. She asks me if I'm feeling anything. No, I reply. "I'm having heart palpitations", I gloat to Hd.
4.00 pm - The after pains are killing me. The awesome midwife I had so far wishes me good luck and leaves while another one joins duty. I tell her I want to pee and take a shower. She helps me to the bathroom. I'm happy to be up on my feet again. I sit on the toilet and heave a sigh of relief. Then get into the shower cubicle and switch on the shower. Next thing I know, I am lying on the floor like a tonne of bricks and the midwife is asking me, "Can you hear me? Can you see me?" Hd is switching off the shower and getting me a towel. They bring a wheel chair and take me to the bed. So much for being on my feet again!
5.00 pm - Hd leaves the baby and me and goes home to bring my mom and Ashu. The baby is cosily sleeping on the counter and I'm lying on the bed hooked to the IV. I think about all those movies where the deathly ill hero/heroines yank off their IVs and tubes and run to each other either to die together or to be killed by one of their parents.(duh!) I don't think I would ve budged an inch even if some stranger came to the room, took the baby and ran away. All I could ve managed was a weak "Good Luck". Its not like I would ve recognized the kidnapper(or the baby for that matter!) in a lineup later since I was nt wearing my glasses, so whats the point?!
6.30 pm - Hd, Ashu and Mom arrive. Ashu is thrilled. Photos are taken. I am still in pain.
8.00 pm - At last! We are taken to our room. I am hooked to the IV. I'm given a mild pain killer. I need help to go to the bathroom. I am constantly monitored.The baby latches on beautifully and nurses. I eat dinner.
9.00 pm - Everyone leaves. Its just the baby and me in the room. We both sleep soundly the entire night. Nurses check both of us every 3 hours.
I felt better the next day. But very weak. Even with a third degree tear and comparatively longer labor last time, I was on my feet within a few hours of delivery and was on the phone non stop. But this time, I was on IV for two days. Could nt walk to the bathroom without help and could nt lift the baby. My right hand was swollen due to the IV and I could nt write or type. But things got better the third day. On Monday, I was sent to the Cardiologist. He did an ECG and declared that my heart is normal. Told me that my palpitations could ve been due to the labor and advised me to get it checked if it happens again. I was relieved. But that does nt stop me from using such a juicy excuse to taunt Hd. Clutching my heart and pleading "Don't argue with a heart patient" has been working like a charm these days!
And thus arrived Baby Antu making my heart skip a beat. Literally! :)