Saturday, March 15, 2014

Birth of Alivya

In a blink of an eye, life has changed so much. Finish schooling, get a job, get married and start a family. Make a home. It's been a week of motherhood and I am in a lull of all sorts of emotions. I am happy, sad, guilty, so content yet feel so inadequate but most of the times, I am just a proud new mommy who worries too much for her newborn and her husband.

Parenthood started off with a hmmm. I went way past my due date by almost two weeks and was in the direction of two weeks and a day but had to bring my inducting date earlier to Wednesday, 5th of March when my Amniotic Fluid Level measured just four, instead of the good range of five - 25. I remember my husband and I in a room with the sonographer and she talking to us just a few moments ago to ease the backaches and slight contractions I was already starting to get. I was 1cm dilated. Baby was just touching the cervix but hadn't completely dropped down. And then next moment, she said, we will have to push up the induction to tonight, if not tomorrow by latest. We were the happiest parents-to-be! We were so done waiting. I was done being an overturned turtle and my husband a masseur. We did almost everything to bring on labour but if it wasn't meant to be, I suppose, it will never be. We didn't even feel an ounce of guilt, kicking her out before she was ready.

At 8pm that night, I was started on a drug called Cervadil. It's to ripen and soften my cervix over a period of 12 hours, it was not a contraction inducing drug, its not meant to start labour or anything. But in six hours time, I felt a seeping gush of something. I thought I was holding onto my urine and had accidentally let go. I pressed the call button for my midwife and a student midwife.

"This is embarrassing, I don't know how to say it but I think I wee-ed. And I need you to take off all these machines off me so I can go and take a proper wee."

Midwife replied, "I think your water broke. You never had any bladder problems throughout your pregnancy, why would you have it now?" Her name is Therese and she was all sorts of an angel with a soothing voice to match along with.

And she was right. Only thing was, the water I was passing out was greenish brown in color. It is called "Meconium" in medicine. I can't be bothered to research much about it, but I am pretty darn sure, it meant baby had already poo-ed inside me. By then, I was contracting quite crazily and consistently but I was hardly feeling any pain. They were amazed. I was then taken into the delivery suite. Big and spacious, overlooking the hospital's helipad. I was still leaking more and more...even tinges of blood. I had called my husband but he said he was going to sleep in upon midwife's suggestion (husbands weren't allowed in the ward until labour was active). I wasn't quite happy but nothing makes the man as happy as sleep time. It was after all the middle of the night. Sometime then, I was started on the inducing drug called cytotec (if I am not wrong). At around 4am, baby decided she wanted to be really difficult. She started playing a game only she thinks is funny.

All I remember is my midwife saying, "Now, Genisha, don't be afraid..." as she pressed a red alert code. I was clueless but I was also in a state of blacking out somehow. Because I couldn't open my eyes at all to see all these things unfolding just before me. I was shaking. Shaking so hard from the trauma, I would only associate with. I heard too many footsteps and heard too many voices. Too many hands all over me. A rough lady prying my legs open mid contractions, I barely managed to see her smokey eyes. She was a tiny Asian with strength of a man. She forced her hand up and failed to get the fetal monitor up to baby's head. She tried again. I heard male voices. I tried so hard to keep my emotions in check. And in between that, I was being asked to roll from one side to another periodically. Baby had went into bradycardia arrest. Her heartbeat was fading and had gone to a flat zero. Later Therese told me, they had to resuscitate the baby because she was being cheeky. I was hooked up with too many things everywhere. Hand, both legs and insides. I wasn't allowed to move around and was stuck in bed. Immediately after I reached for my phone and almost screamed into it.

"You better get your ass here. This is your baby I am delivering!"

Therese later told me, the room had all the doctors on duty as well as a few helpers. She also told me that she had warned me that I shouldn't be afraid because the room was going to be full of people. I hadn't heard the end of it. I was pumped with more drugs and then completely stopped. Alivya wasn't liking the inducing drug at all.

By the time hubby came in, I was not calm anymore. I was feeling every bit of contractions. The ones that start in the back were the most excruciating pain in the entire world. I would tremble every time it came. My husband asked if that was alright.  I was contracting so well, four steady deep contraction every 10 minutes. But the only problem was, I was just only dilated at 2cm by 8am. I was about to get started on all the drips again. But before that, I requested for epidural. No way I was going to pull through another shit without pain relievers. I refused to give consent to get started on the inducing drug before I got my epidural...might that mean another hour wait for the anesthetic guy to come up after she was done with an emergency caesarean. I didn't care who I was holding up for whatever reason. It was smooth sailing after that. I slept throughout like a good baby, waking up for a drink and some laughs. Until epidural started to stop working on me after a few hours. I had a super long labour. 32 hours when Cervadil was put in me and 26 hours after water break. I was again trembling in pain. And I was starting to feel all sorts of agitation. I told whoever was in the delivery suite, I could kill someone. I was at the height of irritation. I was introduced to nitrous oxide, the laughing gas. It worked, it left my throat raspy dry but it worked. Husband says I said the most hilarious things while on it that made everyone crack up, but I don't remember saying anything other than the most sensible things. By 11pm on Thursday night, I was just 4cm dilated. I couldn't take it anymore. Husband and I agreed with a caesarean.

We knew she was never a Thursday baby, she never felt like one. I told them to stop me on all sorts of drugs. Husband and I were left alone in the suite and we fell asleep when we could. Our spot kept getting knocked off for more emergency cases, right up till we were at the operating theater door. It was around 3.40am on Friday now. I told husband, I want to deliver the baby after 4am. I went through another shivering shot of epidural by a cutie anesthetic guy named David. He was married with the deepest blue eyes on a chummy face. Every shot of epidural made me feel like I was out of Avatar. HA! The spinal cord chill. And as if as planned, I went on to having baby Alivya at 4.05am exactly. I heard her tiny little cry and then it stopped and then it got stronger. That was the most magical sound I ever heard. Her daddy was by my side. I was shaking like a dry leaf on a really, really windy day from all the drugs. Husband went to cut off the cord. Alivya was showing some breathing problems. We were prepared beforehand that, that might be the case due to the history of the labour. She was whisked away from me with her daddy off to the nursery before I could even hold her. I puked more. Throughout my entire labour, I puked more than 10 times. I hadn't even had a bite of anything so it was only a wonder where it all came from. I puked just as I was pushed out of the theater. Cutie David had to wipe my mucous covered face clean. All I could do go back to sleep. I didn't even intended to do that. About forty-five minutes later, I heard my husband call my name from far back to my right side. And that's when I saw Alivya properly for the first time. All I saw was the darkest black eyes ever looking right back at me. And then I saw the rest of her. She was too fair to be any one of our daughter. She was too gorgeous as well.

Her daddy tells me she was nearly about to get a shot of injections, I assume the steroids, in the nursery to get her breathing properly. Her nose were just flaring up! But just then, she started getting better and when her daddy held her, she recovered herself. Our daughter is a fighter. I look at my husband and I have never seen him smile that wide a smile so content and so full of life. I look at my husband today a week later, exhausted from all the new role of doing everything for me and baby in the kitchen - cooking and all, and middle of the night duties and yet he looks like he is just the most satisfied person in the entire world and nothing is going to faze him from that.

Three nights in the hospital alone was the worst. Again, no husband policy. Hated it like nothing. By day three, I was begging him not to go and we tried to hide him in our small little private room. Nights were long because breastfeeding hadn't been established then. I thought feeding her for 15 minutes would satisfy her, it didn't. I increased feeding time until there was no more breaks in between. How much could a chickpea size stomach feed on? By the end of the first night, at my wit's end, I asked for formula. 15ml down. I regret it deeply. Night two was the same but I was better prepared. But by night three, I was on the verge of driving myself insane. It had been five nights since I had a cuddle with my husband and enough was enough. However many little time Alivya was settled, we squeezed into the small bed and got into our nightly ritual of cuddling and falling asleep. A few minutes of that was all we needed. Midwife came in and as understanding as she was, he had to get out and so he did, in the middle of the night at around 3am. Next day I was getting discharged. Breastfeeding was getting more easier with tonnes of help especially on the last night when I pressed the call button over and over again because I knew it was my last night to gain all the important knowledge of breastfeeding from the experts because boy does it take skills and lots of practice. I had the worst nipple sores ever that didn't make anything easy.

Eight days today, Alivya has been an angel child ever since coming home. She has been sleeping really well and feeding really well. My breast milk has kicked in. Nipple sores have decreased. I have decreased my dosage of painkillers for my surgery drastically as well. I haven't popped in any painkillers today and I think I am heading in the right direction but oh darn, the medicine cabinet is constantly on my mind. The idea of pain is just something I don't even want to put up with. Both husband and I are pretty well rested for new parents. I mean look at me, I just wrote this entire essay without much of a disturbance from Alivya. Took me about an hour, I reckon and I managed to do it in peace, in between feeds.

Since yesterday, she was latching on nicely for about 30 minutes each feed and with three hours of sleep. Since yesterday night, I think with more breast milk, she is going at 15-20 minutes and waking up quicker or just around the three hour mark. My diet is all typical Nepali confinement chicken soup two main meals a day that my husband, mother-in-law and my sister cooks for me with tea for breakfast and some biscuits. And some mid-afternoon snacks and something to drink. Yesterday night, my husband cooked the worst of the lot. He is still feeling guilty about it. And obviously my sister has been making the best! I am so lucky to have her during this stage of life. My family is, too. She cooks my family a feast whenever she come around. Their family adores Alivya too much! And we love Alivya so much, its hard to fathom how.

Lots of love,