22 April 2013, by Tan Yi Lin
That pretty much summarises Claire’s arrival.
But since I can’t just pass off six words as a blog entry, I’ll have to embellish this post with more details.
So let’s start from the very beginning…
1 April: Week 37
Over the Good Friday/ Easter long weekend, Dan and I checked ourselves into Changi Village Hotel for a much-needed rest while Coco had her own staycation over at the in-laws’ place. We treated ourselves to a leisurely lunch buffet (when was the last time we had a nice hotel buffet?!), drew the curtains and sank into bed – into deep, restful slumber.
It was pure bliss.
It would have been completely restful if not for the waves of abdominal cramps that occasionally came and went throughout the weekend. We kept anticipating that the intensity and frequency of the cramps would increase – as I had experienced prior to Coco’s birth – and that I would go into labour soon.
But they didn’t.
On 1 April, I turned up for my scheduled check-up with Dr G, who conducted a physical examination and informed that my cervix had dilated by 1 cm, which explained the occurrence of abdominal cramps over the weekend. Dan was hoping really hard for an April Fool’s baby (yes, that’s Dannie for you) but Dr G disappointed him by saying that the baby was not likely to arrive that week, much less on that very day. Claire-ver baby! 😀
The rest of the week was highly uneventful as I went to work as usual – with my cervix dilated and no other signs of impending labour. Anticipating a boring weekend ahead with nothing planned to occupy an active toddler, I rounded up three other sets of parents and babies for a paint date at our place.
6 & 7 April: Playing with paint
Recreating our last painting play date was easy, given that we already had all the materials at hand. We’re glad that our little guests and their parents had fun!
Coco and Baby A, as usual, started colouring their own bodies the moment they got their hands on the paints.
We added more painting tools to our stash of brushes and sponges – such as a toy car, which made very pretty coloured tracks across the paper.
Everyone had a great time getting down and “dirty”!
To combat the hot weather and at the same time, wash off all traces of remnant paint on the babies, we filled up Coco’s inflatable pool and dunked them all in! The babies had a great time cooling off and splashing around in the water while the adults sat around and chit-chatted. Perfect combination.
And that, folks, sums up the otherwise very uneventful weekend over 6 and 7 April.
10 April: Week 38
I turned up for work on 8 and 9 April as usual, only to be greeted with “How come you’re STILL here?!” from just about EVERYONE I met.
Sheesh. Doesn’t anyone just say a normal “hello” anymore? How would I know why I’m STILL here?! Ask the baby lah!
Grrrrrrr. Yes, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Things were getting really hot and heavy – but not in a fun, sexy way.
On 10 April, I had made plans to work from home after lunch. On the way to the office that morning, Dan and I made an impromptu decision to watch our first ever GV Gold Class movie at I12 Katong later that evening. I made the booking on my mobile phone (aren’t smart phones just the greatest thing?) as we cruised down the ECP.
At 9.30am, I headed to the PUB Waterhub at Bukit Batok (aka Far Far Away) for a meeting. As my colleagues went off for lunch after that, I hopped into a cab and zipped down to I12 Katong to meet Dan for lunch and to pick up our Gold Class movie tickets *woot!*
2 pm: Pop, trickle, trickle…
At 2 pm, while seated at Marble Slab Creamery, I heard a soft ‘pop’ from inside me – like an air bubble bursting – and felt a slight, liquid-y squish in my pants. I hurried to the restroom to check – but there was no visible sign of blood or more liquid. The fact that the irritating auto-flush kept going off and washing away any evidence of a ‘show’ really didn’t help either!!!
But as I returned to the table and started Googling “water bag burst feeling”, I felt fluid trickle down my legs and knew that we had to get to the hospital (nevermind that Dannie found a website detailing how some woman managed to watch an entire movie after her water bag burst before heading to the hospital!)
As we took the lift from B1 to the GV Cinema on Level 4, more and more water flowed down my legs and pooled in my shoes! (See the significance of the meeting at the WATERhub now?)
I explained to the GV staff that I was going into labour and that there was NO way that we were going to make it through a three-hour screening of ‘Django’ that day. They kindly replaced our movie tickets with vouchers and even extended the voucher validity from one month to four months for me!
2.40 pm: Contractions
In the car, with a towel under my bum, I felt the contractions start coming quickly at 2.43 pm, 2.46 pm, 2.49 pm….
3 pm: Hello, hospital
Dan dropped me off at the 24-hour O&G Clinic at KKH, where a nurse promptly sat me in a wheelchair and sent me to the observation ward. I was hooked up to machines that monitored the frequency and intensity of my contractions, as well as the baby’s heartbeat.
That went on for a full hour or so. During that time, my measure of the pain increased from 3 or 4 (bearable) on the pain scale, to 6 (hello, I need some help here?!) A motherly senior nurse conducted a physical examination and announced in Mandarin that “It’s still early.” I took it to mean that it was too early to administer an epidural, for which you have to be at least 3 cm dilated.
Dan, on the other hand, was evidently very bored while waiting outside the observation ward to be told what to do.
Oh, and by the way, WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS MY DOCTOR?!?!
4.20 pm: Spot check!
By this time, the ‘aunty’ senior nurse finally realised that I was in frickin’ painful labour and instructed the staff nurse to wheel me into the delivery suite.
Once inside, I grabbed on to the gas mask and started heaving into it and snorting the gas like a crazed rhino. High as I was on laughing gas, I was lucid enough to hear someone yell “SPOT CHECK!” and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the curtains being whisked aside and my husband’s grinning face appeared from behind….
He took ONE look at my face and knew at once that it wasn’t the best of times to crack a joke. It may have been laughing gas that I was breathing in by the gallon BUT. I. DEFINITELY. WAS. NOT. LAUGHING.
4.25 pm: What?! No epidural?!
I yelled (yes, YELLED) for an epidural to be administered, only to be told by Aunty Nurse that I was already 6 cm dilated and it was far too late to be given one. I panicked – for all along, I had planned to deliver with the aid of an epidural!!
The last words from Aunty Nurse that my semi-lucid mind registered were “Listen to me. You will deliver before the epidural can be administered.”
WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS MY DOCTOR?!?!
4.30 pm: What?! No doctor?!
All of the sudden, a medical staff in a white coat appeared by my side. Errr, and who’s she?!
Too in pain to care, I listened to her instructions to keep my hips down as the contractions passed through my body and to… stop pushing?!
Just as I was trying to decipher the intent behind the last instruction, I felt the onset of a contraction and before I knew what I was doing, my body delivered the ENTIRE baby in a single ‘push’ (even though I didn’t actively push at all) and…
4.35 pm: … SHE’S OUT!
Like, huh?! What just happened?!?! Did a baby just shoot out of me?! Dannie didn’t even have to hold up my leg? And oh, so that lady was the midwife?
Dazed as I was, I managed to respond to Dan asking if I was alright by reading aloud the words “Ex Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher” on the Channel News Asia ticker tape on the television screen (who in their right mind watches TV while in labour?!?) and announced that the USD to SGD exchange rate was USD 1 = SGD 1.2368.
Wow. The strange memories that one brings back from the labour ward.
It was an amazing feeling holding my newborn to my chest and hearing her little (well, loud, actually) voice cry out. I remember the first thing I said to her was “Wow, you’re so small. No wonder you came out so fast.”
And that was that: my fast and furious labour was over in 2.5 hours.
Then my doctor arrived!!
A flustered Dr G apologised and explained that she had just arrived home when the hospital paged for her to come back to deliver the baby. She proceeded to deliver the placenta and stitch the “slight” tear (which still hurt a bloody lot!)
And that is the full story – from the very beginning – of Claire’s arrival.
Since everyone already knows how Claire got her name, I’ll just share that we’ve chosen ‘Kai Shan’ as her Chinese name, which means ‘Joyful Coral’ (pretty apt given that Coco’s Chinese characters mean ‘Joyful Core’).
Welcome to the family, Baby Bear.
We love you so much already.
Now, just let us have some time to finally watch our first-ever Gold Class movie, okay?