Monday, October 8, 2012 | By: BlackGargie

Confinement and Motherhood

I am now officially into my 2nd week of confinement, while spending a lot of quality time with my little Liara, trying to get the hang of motherhood and the odd hours of sleeping and such.

Those who dunno about confinement, you guys can research here, here and here, coz I'm too lazy to put in detail what the heck is all about.

But basically the main thing about confinement is that it's a sort of house arrest post-natal care kinda thing for new moms who just gave birth and it's a time for me to recuperate and try to regain my strength and health. A lot of lying down is involved, although I couldn't really lie down much since Liara keeps me on my toes all the time, a lot of herbal foods involved including the rice wine chicken and herbal soups and stuff, and bathing in herbs but no hair washing for a month was definitely the case. Oh, and not getting yourself too cold. And at the end of the confinement period, we would celebrate a sort of baby shower kinda thing or we'd call it the full-moon celebration. Yeah, that's the basic line of it.

Thankfully I'm practicing the more liberal, modern-ish confinement. If I were to practice the actual traditional old-school confinement, I'd be having a) cabin fever and b) a protest riot. LOL!

The fun and astonishing part about after giving birth was the massive weight loss. While I still have a bit of excess belly flap due to the stretching and whatnot, the weight is totally gone and I feel absolutely empty and light now. Despite what I've read about people still looking 5, 6 months pregnant after giving birth, according to my hubby, I seem to look like I used to back in college. I guess the 5, 6 months pregnant look are for those who are not first-time moms, because I remember seeing a mother who had given birth to her 4th child and her stomach looked like she hadn't really given birth at all.

And would you know it? When I weighed myself just for the shits and giggles, I found out that I was 64kg! When I was admitted I was 73kg on the dot. That means I've lost 9kg after giving birth! How's that for a weight loss? LOL!

The first week of my confinement was a little bit shaky. The blues was still going on, so occasionally the waterworks come in and my hubby had to calm me down and reassure me that everything would be fine and that I'm doing a great job as a mom. They issued a midwife from the gov clinic I go to to check on me and Liara every other day until her umbilical cord comes off (her cord came off on the 4th day, and tradition states that I have to keep the cord in an envelope along with some money in it in a safe place), and on the first day of her visit, she noticed that she was quite jaundice, so she advised me to go have her checked out and may be admitted if she gets worse.

So, despite me supposed to be at home being confined under "house arrest", I went along with my hubby and mom in law to bring Liara to the gov clinic to have her checked. I had to go due to the fact that Liara might need me if she were to be hungry. Once she was checked up at the clinic, she was confirmed to have quite a serious case of jaundice and told us to go back to the hospital to have her monitored and possibly admitted. Thus we went to the hospital to have her run blood tests, and sure enough, the level of jaundice was high that she had to be admitted, and because she might need me for her feeding, I had to stay with her as well.

Apparently the docs believe a steady diet of breast milk as well as exposure doses of photo therapy with UV rays would make her jaundice go away. My hubby and I stayed for almost the entire weekend with Liara, praying that her next blood test would show that her jaundice level had gone down, only to be disappointed and told to stay another day. My blues hit me like a ton of bricks and I was beating myself up, thinking that it was my fault she was getting jaundice and my hubby comforting me and telling me to stay strong. Finally on Monday, despite her level still slightly high, the doc discharged her, claiming that the numbers don't really matter as long as her physical health was fine, and since she couldn't see any serious ill effects other than her yellowish complexion, Liara was good to go home. I was so relieved and happy.

Nappy changes were a bit of an ick factor for me, though I try to look past that and get Liara as clean as I can. Her poo was slowly going from black to greenish-black (due to the berilium she's expelling out from her jaundice) and is slowly making its way to become yellowish. I get icked by my own poo, so naturally nappy changes were a bit of a challenge. Unfortunately somebody has to do it, so I just have to grit my teeth and do it, though sometimes I cheat and let either my hubby or my mom in law do it, LOL!

Breastfeeding was prolly the most interesting conundrum I've ever experienced. Originally, I was totally worried that I would not produce milk since I've read people's testimony of not having milk and some only start to lactate when they have their second child and stuff, but I'm glad I could, since I plan to breastfeed Liara until she's at least a year old. Mom in law and maids advice me to drink more fluids to produce more milk, and insist that I drink my drinks warm so that it would not affect the temperature of my milk despite my showing proof to the contrary. While I am convinced about the more fluid, more milk part, I'm not thoroughly convinced about the drink temperature part. I'm also a bit worried about my rice wine chicken diet, since it's alcohol-based and it might affect my milk, but then again, women have been doing this for ages and haven't boozed up their babies yet so far, so I guess I could take their word for it. I still worry though.

We're also learning about Liara's habits as we went along this journey of parenthood. She can't really see at the moment, so she would open her eyes real wide and we noticed that her pupils are larger than the whites of her eyes. When she wants to nurse, she wouldn't really cry out loud for it, but she would stuff her fists in her mouth or chew on her swaddle and lean her head towards either direction she thinks the tit might be and making that "nom nom nom" face. She would smile in her sleep and once in a while, my hubby and I would both catch that smile instead of just either of us catching it. She's got that really innocent look sometimes, and she's learning to drink water to keep her hydrated instead of just fully relying on breast milk (plus, it would get her full a bit faster), though she gets fussy and tries to spit out the bottle because water is tasteless.

At times, Liara would be insatiable and want to nurse nonstop, to the point where I worry that either I might overfeed her or make her stomach upset because she occasionally throws up, but still wants to feed anyways, and then at times she just wants to sleep and not be bothered but I have to keep the 2-hour feeding schedule for the sake of her jaundice. But after keeping up with that schedule, her biological clock has set itself up and now she wakes up on her own every 2-hours to feed. She rarely cries, except when she's being given nappy change, but that is if she doesn't get her feeding in a hurry while we're changing her, then all hell breaks loose as she cries like a maniac, as well as if she wakes up for feeding and no one is tending to her, then yes, she will cry. Other than that, she can just sleep the day away, and you can have a bomb blowing up next to her and she'll still sleep through.

At the moment, because I'm in confinement and technically should be mostly resting, my mom in law decided that the maids will take over looking after Liara while I recuperate and only bother me when it's time for feeding. That took quite a load off my shoulder, even if it's only an every 2-hour break. I could get things done, like writing this blog right now, or play Facebook and surf the net (especially dA) or watch TV, or even catch that extra shut-eye. Still haven't got down to drawing yet, but I will soon.

I could blab and blog all day about it, but there is just not enough words or expression to describe how intriguing parenthood is. All I can say is that it's a learning experience and we're going through the hurdle one day at a time ^_^
Sunday, October 7, 2012 | By: BlackGargie

D-Day (Part Finale)

Final part of my D-Day record. Enjoy~!

Sept 26th (after the birth):

We made the announcement to all immediate families about the birth of Liara, and my hubby took pictures of Liara to be posted on FB, and as expected, a stream of congrats poured in. I totally didn't realize until the chaos was over and until the midwives commented on it that I was wearing the star bracelet that my chat friend sent me (I promised I'd wear it so that she could be there in spirit).

They said how cute it was, looking almost like sugar candy and they would love to have one. I told them that I'll pass the message to my chat friend, but I have a feeling she wouldn't be able (or want to) make it for them, LOL! We offered them some ang pau as appreciation for helping us out, then they helped to wrap and put my placenta in the plastic bag we prepared. I didn't get to see it since I was busy being doped up and stitched up, and frankly my concentration was all on Liara anyways. I'd like to see how it looks like though. Some last minute cleaning of my womb to get rid of excess membranes and leftover placenta pieces were done before I went to get changed and get wheeled to my bed.

Me and my little bundle of joy ^_^

We couldn't secure a first class room due to overcrowding (this month seems to be the fertile month or something; Mr Stork must be working overtime), so it was back to the maternity ward, though I was being put together with all the other mothers outside instead of the ward I was in (I would've liked that though). It felt kinda weird sleeping in a row of beds with a bunch of strangers. If I were to share a room with one stranger like my roomie, I'd be fine, but this was way out in public, and I was afraid that Liara would be bothered by the crying of the babies or she would bother others instead.

Surprisingly, as I slept through the night, waking up in between to check on Liara to see if she wanted to be fed, she had not cried much. She wasn't bothered by other babies crying either, unlike the other babies who cried at the first whine their tiny little peers made, and she didn't really cry when she had a full diaper either, so I had to monitor on that. She pooed twice that night and the first time I was listless and needed a nurse to help me out with changing her. Her poo was totally black, which they say was normal as she is expelling meconium from her system, and boy, did she poo a LOT. Fed her once or twice, but other than that, we both slept through the night.

Sept 27th:

My mom in law dropped by in the morning to bring me some eggs with rice wine, but I didn't really eat it coz I've already had my breakfast provided by the hospital. She brought over extra maternity pads just in case, and I can tell you, it was the heaviest blood flow I have ever felt in my years of having my period--and I'm quite the heavy bleeder during my menstruation, btw--though thankfully, I've researched that it was a pretty normal thing to happen because my uterus is trying to get back into shape and is expelling lochia aka excess blood.

The docs came in to do their routine check up, though a different doctor is assigned for babies exclusively only while the mothers were still being checked by their designated doctors. The OBGYN doc I met was glad to see me pop the bun outta the oven, and saw that I was looking fine with a clean bill of health. I was hoping to be discharged on that day, but apparently because of my lack of breastfeeding skill, the doc checking Liara said her sugar level was low and we have to stay another day to monitor her until she gets her sugar level back up.

My BFF came over to visit and we sat and chatted until my mom in law and my hubby came over for the afternoon visiting hour. He managed to sneak into the examination room inside to catch a glimpse of Liara and took shots of her and him goofing around with her (as usual), and gave his congrats. My mom in law immediately got me started on the confinement diet and I had to forgo the hospital lunch, which in all honesty, looks pretty tasty though. It was chicken with rice wine, and definitely got the good kick to it with the wine and the ginger.

Me enjoying my rice wine chicken
Later on, turns out that Liara's sugar level was normal all along, it's jus that because her feet were col when they took her blood sample that it gave a false reading. But the nurses were not taking any chances and still want me and Liara detained, including the lame excuse that they think I'm not confident enough to breastfeed and therefore shouldn't be released. So what? If I never get the hang of it, I'll never be released forever? That's just stupid. But it seems that legally they can do it, because if I discharge myself without authorization, they're legally allowed to refuse to treat me and/or Liara in the future due to waiver of rights or something. Meh...

Nightfall after my hubby, dad in law and mom in law's final visit, Liara had a sudden long streak of demand feeding. After I changed her nappy and fed her and put her to sleep, she was suddenly restless and refused to sleep. At first I thought it was because she had caught wind, so I tried to burp her, but everytime she burped, she was hungry again, and I've been switching breasts for her to feed from 1am all the way till morning light. I asked the nurses if this was normal 4 hours down the feeding and she said it's demand feeding and it's perfectly normal, since my milk supply was still at its early stages and not producing much yet. I didn't have a decent sleep and the weight and reality of motherhood had really started to come down on me and overwhelmed me with the blues, and I literally shed tears.

Sept 28th:

Before I knew it, the sun was already out and I barely had 10, 15 minutes of sleep between feedings, even after the nurse taught me to feed Liara lying down so that I can catch some shut eye. The docs came for their rounds and issued Liara a 100% clean bill of health and I was officially discharged, in which I quickly texted my hubby to come and pick me because all of a sudden I have never been so homesick in my entire life. They asked if I needed contraceptives but I declined since looking after Liara and also the upcoming baby clothes business is going to take up most of our time to even think about sex. As I packed my stuff and changed Liara's diapers and clothes, she continued to demand feeding and I had to break in between to feed her, and my brains are just in pins and needles wanting to sleep and just don't wake up until I'm ready.

My mom in law and hubby finally showed up to help me with the packing and I went to get changed. According to my maternity records, I was supposed to get a Rubella shot after giving birth, and somehow, despite me declining for a contraceptive, they still issued me a Depo anyways (I only knew what Depo means after I went home to research on it) along with the Rubella shot. There is a Chinese tradition in which when you're leaving the house or coming home with your child, you must announce it to the child so that their spirit would not get lost or something, so when we left the hospital, we had to say "We're going home now" and once we reached home, we had to say "We're home now" to Liara.

Once home, everyone clambered to see Liara: the kids, my sis in law's husband (my sis in law is at work), the maids and most importantly my grandma in law. She commented on how small Liara was, and I laughed, wondering what is her standard of a big baby anyways. My mom in law made offerings and joss sticks to the ancestor's to sort of "introduce" Liara to the family before we finally brought her upstairs to the room and put her in her freshly made cot. Only then, I finally let loose my tears and hugged my hubby, releasing my blues and have him comfort me before he guide me to the bed to let me have my well-deserved rest.

That's all for D-Day. Hope you enjoyed reading it. And I hope motherhood would be easy on me as I learn my way through it. And here's a photo of Liara in her new home and new cot:

Friday, October 5, 2012 | By: BlackGargie

D-Day (Part 3)

Moar continuation of D-Day. Carry on ^_^

Sept 26th:

Today the docs did their usual rounds, and my hubby and mom in law managed to drop by to check on me and pass me some last minute stuff that I might need before they're caught and kicked out.

When the docs came to monitor me, I told them about my situation, but then again I realized that since I woke up and before the docs made their rounds, my contractions have returned to its usual pace of from 20++ mins to 10++ mins, so I told them that too. All the docs agreed unanimously that I've been a little bit too overdue for their tastes and the maximum they'd usually allow an average overdue mom go to is a week, and I was only dilated 2.5cm. They decided amongst themselves and to me that I should be induced, which totally clashed with my drug-free part of the natural birth plan.

I called my hubby to tell him about the docs' decision and while he sounded a little reluctant too as well about the whole induction idea, he said he couldn't really decide either and told me to ask for details before deciding and to tell my mom in law about it, so I did.

Thus began the sorta longest day of my life.

As I waited for things to progress, I realized that whatever it was that was done to me during the vaginal exam during the docs' rounds had somehow, while hadn't really shorten my contraction gap, had somehow strengthened the contraction feeling and I decided to let the nurse on duty know about it. That's where I heard the plan was that the docs wanted to induce my birth by manually breaking my water, then issue me an IV drip that will dilate my cervix and hopefully get my birth going from there, since my overdue-ness might lead to distress for the baby and the sooner I get Jr out, the better.

Well, looks like it's not really drugs per-se, but it sounded natural more or less. According to her, I was already in the waiting list to secure a place at the 1st stage labour room and it's just a matter of time where they would proceed with their plan. I told my hubby about it, and he told me to update him on any progress, and while I bore the contractions the best I could, with my roomie genuinely concerned for me and giving me moral support, it was suddenly getting stronger and stronger. The only way for me to describe it was an overwhelming menstrual cramp sensation that starts from the back all the way to my pelvic area and just spreads through my abdomen and gives you an almost paralyzing sense of pain and discomfort that makes you want to curl up into a ball and die.

Something like that.

I finally couldn't take it anymore handling it with only a roomie's support and texted my hubby to come and accompany me. About roughly I-dunno-maybe-forever-ago-while-my-contractions-are-getting-worse-please-hurry moments later, my hubby finally showed up and helped me through the pain. When it's about 8 mins apart, the nurse in duty finally came in to say the 1st stage labour room is ready for me. I couldn't really stand or walk due to the incoming contractions, so she decided to get me a wheelchair and wheeled me over. I put up a strong front and a smile to my roomie and gave her a Peace sign as my way of saying goodbye to her before heading off to the room.

Once there, I was asked to lie down and wait for the induction while enduring those super deathly long 8-mins apart contractions. It was absolute torture as time went by, even worse when my hubby had to go back to the office to finish some loose ends, and I had to endure it alone. Before he left, he managed to stay long enough to be there for the induction to begin, which they did it by inserting some kind of teensy-weensy thimble-like cap tablet into my vagina which immediately broke my water. It came out like a gush without warning, and I was a bit surprised but not too concerned--I was already well-informed neways--but it was an interesting experience, in the midst of my pain, to feel my water break. It was unlike the kind that I see happen offscreen in movies or read in pregnancy books, almost like you just peed yourself but you didn't know it until it's all out and it's coming from your vagina, not your bladder.

They then issued me some IV drips with some sort of formula to help my dilation along, which in turn made my contractions get closer and even worse, especially without the water to cushion it. It took them forever and a few painful jabs here and there for them to locate my veins on my hand, but at least it temporarily got my mind off the pain of the contraction. I totally didn't eat anything for lunch since I was in too much pain to have any appetite, and my last contraction made me puke out my breakfast, so throughout enduring the contractions in the 1st stage labour room, I was dry-heaving every time a contraction hits, and I heard the midwives were saying that I should've ate something because I might need the strength later. I would've argued my reasons but it wasn't really time, and I didn't really have the mood to retaliate.

My mom in law came over and tried to stay with me through it, but unfortunately the 1st stage labour room was not like the usual wards. Visitors technically were not allowed to stay, or even be in the room, but I couldn't care less. I wanted my hubby and I wanted him now, so I begged my mom in law to call him to come back and be with me. While she went out to call my hubby, I somehow barely remember being recommended a number of painkillers by the midwives: epidural (the standard painkiller most famous for pregnant women), pethimidin (I think that's how you spell it; it's not really a painkiller per se, but more like a sedative to allow me to rest between contractions) and oxygen-nitrogen gas (heard that its not exactly much of a painkiller anyways). At first, I was having none of those, coz they were sorta violating the drug-free part of my birth plan. But with the contractions getting really closer to each other, I finally couldn't take it. I whispered weakly to give me the pethimidin at least, so they injected it into my butt.

My hubby finally showed up and stayed by my side for the rest of the process. I was starting to feel the effects of the drug as I was in and out, waking up when the contraction hits and napping when the contractions were over. They tell me to try and resist the urge to push if my contractions get any closer because at that point they think I'm not dilated enough, but it was easier said than done. A few times the urge was too great that I was half-complying-half-resisting, and it really felt like trying to take a dump, but of a different kind. Fanfics and RPing that I've been doing about birth scenes pale in comparison with what I was feeling at the time. The midwives did comment that they were quite impressed that I was pretty quiet throughout the ordeal. They must have a lot of noisy mothers once labour starts.

After going in and out of consciousness and enduring contraction after contraction, despite me being only 6cm dilated, they decided to bring me to the actual labour room since my contractions were getting quite closer together. I was wheeled in and sent into one of the delivery wards where I was then guided to the delivery bed. Unlike the beds I see in movies or in documentaries about birth, it was laid flat, not reclined, and even it was reclined, it was only on the head of the bed and barely even tilted. From what I read, I shouldn't be giving birth flat on my back due to gravity, but at the moment, I couldn't care less, coz I was in desperate need to lie down and sleep before my next contraction hits. I recall being injected with some sort of solution on my vagina folds, which later on I assume it could be something to help my vagina stretch or something. I was super worried that they were going to give me an episiotomy (which I totally not want it to happen under my knife-free clause of my birth plan) but thankfully I don't see a scalpel and I don't feel any cut being made.

My hubby was there all the way as I finally got the cue to push. I've been trying to resist throughout and it was a bit of a sigh in relief when they let me do what my body has been screaming for me to do. They didn't recline the bed any higher, but I was both doped up and eager to go anyways. My hubby supported my head to help me keep my chin to my chest as I pushed. They first told me to lie down on my left and use my hand to lift my inner thigh up to push while they hold the rest of my leg up, then the rest of the pushing carried on with me lying on my back and holding my inner thighs up, with them holding the rest of my legs up as well. It really feels like taking a dump, and when they say push along with the contractions like in those fanfics, I found myself really doing it. It's almost an instinct thing going on inside me as I heeded the midwives' words whenever I could and had my hubby giving me moral and vocal support beside me.

Because of the drugs, I think I was in on and off mode. I konked out after pushing and would wake up pretty alert again when the contractions hit and start pushing. I could hear the midwives coaching me and cheering me on, telling me to try and get in as much pushing as possible in that one contraction, but let me push at my own time when my body feels ready. So I guess it's half coached, half assisted, or something. I dunno. In the midst of all that pushing, I remember hearing the midwives telling me not to make too much sound, even though I was technically having my mouth closed at all times and I recall making whimpering and grunting noises. I guess they just want me to conserve my breath on pushing rather than making sounds, but I can't help it. I must've looked my worst in front of my hubby, and I still feel a little embarrassed thinking about it right now.

Finally, after dunno how many times of pushing, I finally hear the magic words "Almost there, one more push!" I summoned the last of my breath and strength to push that one final time and voila! Jr slid out of my womb just like that. And the moment Jr slid out, the cries rang in the room without even needing the nurse to help suction out the fluid from the mouth and nose or being smacked and rubbed on the back like what I see in documentaries. Surprisingly I only am able to feel her sliding out; there was no fabled "ring of fire" that I was supposed to feel when her head is crowning. She just slid out like it was the most normal thing to do. Prolly coz I was too doped up to feel it or it had something to do with the injection the midwives gave me on my vagina folds. The midwives announced Jr's gender--a girl as the private clinic doc predicted--and quickly handed her to me to initiate skin-to-skin contact for bonding. I was prolly so tired and so doped up that I wasn't really crying for joy, but I was definitely overwhelmed with happiness and relief that she was alright and in my arms, and it's true what they say: Once your baby is in your arms, you'll forget all the pain, and I totally did.

That and the sedative still working on me. LOL!

Neways, I was surprised my hubby was still standing. Unlike the typical stereotype husbands, my hubby didn't faint, and he said it was an interesting experience to watch a live birth. He was there when the midwives examined her and gave them her first clothes to wear, and was there to learn how to properly hold and carry a newborn baby. While he was busy with that, I was busy lying down letting the midwives take out my placenta and stitch up my tears. I got some 2nd degree tears, as they call it, and initially the leading midwife wanted to give me an episiotomy, but she saw that since the state of my perineum wasn't as bad as she had expected, she let nature take its course. Then they gave me something to eat to build up my strength and let me breastfeed Jr for the very first time.

Again, I was surprised that I was quick to produce colostrum when the midwife squeezed my tit to get Jr to latch on, and boy, did she really latch on. LOL! She looked a bit blue, though we suspect it was prolly the distress she experienced from the induction. A bit of exposure to the heating radiator and she was right as rain, and cutely dressed in the clothes my childhood friend bought me when she came for a surprise visit when I was still preggers.

Neways, here's Jr's very first photo, and finally we can announce her name: Liara King, born 26th September 2012, 5.22pm!

Welcome to the world, Liara~!

Stay tuned for the final part of D-Day
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 | By: BlackGargie

D-Day (Part 2)

Continuation of D-Day. Enjoy!

Sept 25th:

Couldn't sleep the whole night due to contractions, which was getting worse and more regular (about every 10 minutes). After I've given the after-midnight uine sample the nurses requested, I started monitoring my contractions until I could no longer stall, and I got up and spoke to the graveyard shift nurse about it.

She then led me to the examination room at the back and gave me another vaginal exam. Again, I tried to relax and instead resisting, I tried to get my hips to stay down and push against her hand instead of  away from her in hopes to cooperate with her ministrations, and she said the same thing the OBGYN doc told me: my cervix is nice and soft, but still not readily dilated. There was only a slight progress from 1.5cm to 2cm, which felt kinda, sorta disappointing and frustrating for me after enduring all that contractions, and needless to say I was sleepless and in uncomfortable pain all through till morning light.

I managed to sorta fall asleep in between contractions coz I was so damn tired being kept up all night, and at around 5.30am, my roomie and I were woken up to do our blood pressure, temperature and ECG reading. I groggily let them do their thing, while the contractions continued with a renewed ache. Since here in Brunei, we don't exactly have maternity classes or Lamaze classes, I had to rely on what I read in books and tried to breathe through my contractions. It was consistent as I counted: roughly 9-10 minutes apart.

My mom in law came over first to check on me, bringing the panty liners I requested, then after she left, my hubby came along, bringing my handbag I requested too. My mom in law also brought extra plastic bags to keep the placenta to be buried later in the day (apparently it's not just a Malay-exclusive only tradition to bury your placenta/afterbirth; not sure what is the reason behind that tradition or what it signifies other than it was part of the baby, and thus the spirit too) if I give birth. Too bad we didn't know that 7.30-11.00am was when the docs make their rounds to do examinations, so my hubby barely stayed for 15 mins before he was shooed out by security. But at least he was there to find out the results of my examination: that I'm still 2cm dilated (the doc was a little rough, turning and screwing around inside doing the VE) and my contractions were considered mild--apparently 3 contractions per 10 minutes (meaning a 3-min gap between contractions) was the ideal strong rhythm, so looks like I'm gonna be detained for another day.

When I came back from my second walk before lunch, I had the urge to go take a dump, so while I was dumping while playing iPad that my hubby so kindly brought along with my handbag, I was about done when I felt something really weird and slippery slowly slithering out of my vagina. I thought my water may have been broken, but instead it fell with a resounding "PLOP". I managed to catch a glimpse of something like a brown clump of mass before I cleaned myself and pondered what just happened and whether to tell the nurse.

When my hubby came over after his lunch, I told him about it and he suggested I should inform the nurse anyway. So I did, and the nurse told me it's most likely my mucus plug, since it's a brownish mass, and because of my vaginal exam in the morning that pried it loose. She told me to monitor my contraction progress and let them know if they get worse and/or I'm starting to leak water. I was quite excited since finally it's a matter of time before my water breaks and I can meet Jr.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as I hope for. My water showed no signs of breaking whatsoever. In fact, after I took my dump and lost my mucus plug, my contractions have mysteriously decreased greatly to the point where I thought it almost disappeared. Throughout the day, I've only ever felt it about 4, 5 times, and I did raise my concern about this, but the nurses doesn't seem to think it anything wrong. When my mom in law came to visit in the afternoon (though she had to leave the room for a while because we're getting our fetal heartbeat reading) and told me to voice my concerns to the nurse in duty, she, too, doesn't seem to think it urgent and told me to just monitor my contraction progress and/or if my water breaks.

The fetal heartbeat reading was interesting though, as we were temporary training subjects. The nurse was educating a group of trainees the ropes and we were the perfect example of one who is and isn't full term. I was the easy one since I'm full term and it's easier to find the heart rate, while my roomie is the non-full term one and they have to learn with their hands how to guess the baby's position to find the heartbeat as well as telling the difference between finding a heartbeat and finding the placenta. We were even directed questions, which was kinda cute. Reminds me of when I had to learn the ropes of something in a group.

Other than that, the day went by without incident. I took more walks as per my mom in law's advice (only feeling 1, 2 contractions in between) and generally worrying about Jr. Saw a distressed mother whom later I found out from my roomie was stressed out with her lack of progress in labour and sorta making a scene that they had to transfer her to a different ward so as not to stress the other would-be mothers. My mom in law, 2nd sis in law and her husband, and my hubby came for the last visit of the day, accompanying me and basically just idle chit-chat before I could finally get my well-deserved hot shower and took a last walk before retiring for the day.

As I write this and just given my after-midnight urine sample, I saw one of the would-be mothers being wheeled out and one of the attendants saying something about Code 12. I hope she would do OK and come out fine with her little one, and I hope Jr will be alright too.

Alright, that's all for now. Stay tuned for my next entry and keeping my fingers crossed.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | By: BlackGargie

D-Day (Part 1)

Well, here we are, the news you 've all been waiting for! But it's best if I just start off from the beginning and build it up from there.

Sept 24th:

On Friday the 21st, I had been feeling more than just Braxton Hicks. It definitely felt more painful and uncomfortable and more like contractions, at more or less a regular pace, and the pushing down pressure seemed to be more and more prominent, like as if Jr is trying to push her way out or something.

On the due day itself, on Sunday the 23rd, Jr hadn't shown any signs of coming out, but the midnight contractions were getting worse. I knew then it was actual contractions because I felt it all the way down my back, but still no signs of water breaking or a bloody show (or, in the scientific term, the mucus plug that holds the whole pregnancy together).

So on Monday the 24th, I went for the OBGYN appointment at the hospital as scheduled by the gov clinic to see what is in store for me. You really have to be there early because by the time we got there, which was about 10, 15 minutes prior to my appointment, the whole place was jam-packed with expectnt mothers, which was way worse than when I had to go for morning check-ups at the gov clinic.

Had gotten my number and everything and proceeded to waiting. Weirdly, we waited for almost forever to have my number called, but there was none. After waiting for almost 20 minutes, I went to the counter to enquire about it, only to find that apparently I had to wait inside where all the examination rooms are, and do self-urine test and weight-taking just like in the gov clinic.

And they had to tell me like NOW when I've already informed them this was my first time in OBGYN! Meh!

No matter, we're there anyways, there was no turning back, so I went to do my urine-test (which I totally didn't know I had to do until AFTER they asked about it when they took my blood pressure) and weight-taking. 73kg on the dot, no more, no less, so should be alright. Apparently it was a first-come-first-serve basis where we had to sit at the corner row of chairs and wait for our turn, and move the line along after the one before was done, like musical chairs of sorts. There's this lady who prolly didn't know the rules and almost cut my queue, but I quickly beat her to the punch before she did and then she realized the queue.

After that, we waited to be called into the examination room. My hubby had to wait outside at the entrance waiting room (including all other husbands and children) to make way for the increasing pregger ladies coming in. And surprisingly, they called us by name and not by number, so the point of giving us a queue number in the first place was beyond me.

Finally, my name was called, and I was given the standard issue fetal heartbeat check and fundal height (baby size) check. Thankfully I got a nice Sino-Filipino doctor who asked me the standard questions and all. When she saw how far along I was and after I told her about my condition since Friday, she said she'll do a vaginal exam to see the condition of my uterus.

Despite the fact that she told me to relax, my hips instinctively bucked when she stuck her hand in. It's not like i've never had things shoved inside me before for exams, but somehow my pussy seemed to be extra sensitive that my body won't obey my mind to relax.

That was when she told me that I'm technically ready for labour because my cervix has already soften and I'm about 1.5 dilated, so she was going to issue me an escort to admit me into their maternity ward. I was glad that we decided to bring along my maternity/delivery bag just in case this happened as I waited a little nervously and excitedly for my escort to take us to the 2nd floor where the maternity and L&D wards were.

We had to wait for quite a while to be accomodated because apparently it's quite the busy month for them. Beds were almost full and they had to look for alternatives to admit newcomers in. After being taken my temperature and blood pressure again, I was given a bed in the breastfeeding/daycare room which was converted beforehand into a makeshift ward (lucky me!) and while my hubby went down to get my maternity/delivery bag and other misc stuff (mostly my writing and drawing file) from the car, I was snapped onto an ECG (or was it EKG?) machine for the docs to monitor fetal heartbeat and movement, and I was given a trigger button to press everytime I feel Jr move. After about almost 20 minutes, the nurse read the chart and mumbled something positive before telling me to get comfy and change into my hospital gown, which is this:

My ugly mugshot

The rest of the day seemed to go more or less leisurely as I entertained myself taking walks (highly encouraged by my mom in law to ease my baby down and make me dilate), taking random pictures, texting my family back home, my eldest sis in law and my buddy about where I am, checking out the sights and having random text conversations with my hubby as well as  having him and my mom in law visit during visiting hours.

Here are some of the pics I took:

Our building faces directly to the hospital canteen

Corridor with expectant families

Main entrance

The 1st stage labour room

Entrance to our ward

How it looks inside

Door to my room

My bed

The ECG (or EKG?) machine

Stuff I brought over to entertain myself, since there's no internet access in the hospital

My maternity/delivery bag and its contents

More shots of the ward

Back door of the ward

Random shots of Brunei's finest ambulances

Found out later that day that I was getting a roomie, and we bonded quite well. She was admitted for hypertension and high sugar level (she has gestational diabetes, it seems) and will be under observation for the next 24 hours. At least I wouldn't be so bored and alone.

Food provided by the hospital was pretty good, apparently it's from the famous Royal Brunei Catering, which usually caters to airplanes and high-end buffet functions. At least it wasn't those dreaded hospital food that I often hear or see actors complain a lot when they're doing hospital scenes. Unfortunately they don't offer jello or pudding desserts like in the movies either.

Had a bit of spotting patch (aka bloody show) too later in the evening, due to the OBGYN giving me the vaginal exam which must've ruptured it (I still shudder to think of the spots of blood on her glove tips after she was done), and had to ask my mom in law to spare me some pantyliners just in case I get more spotting later on, and reminded my hubby to bring my handbag along just in case I wanted to use my wallet inside there to buy snacks or anything, as well as use my camera.

That's it for now. Stay tuned to my next entry!