It would have been nice to start this blog in chronological order, but it wasn't an easy pregnancy and the few times it was, I spent most of those procrastinating!
Finally though, and possibly because I'm in confinement and bored senseless, I am at a stage where I have decided to stop making excuses and write about this extraordinary experience I'm coming to know as Motherhood.
This blog is for my daughter Zara Aaliyah Nazrudin, who was born 10 days ago after 20 agonizing hours of labour.
This was taken at about 11am after I had been in labour for 8 hours. Little did I know then how much longer it would take for Zara to make her appearance!
We had been advised the day before by our lovely ObGyn Dr Alex that it would be best to induce labour since she was already a little overdue and her head had still not engaged. And so we prepared to check in the following morning at 6am for the procedure.
It's funny how she seemed to know that she was gonna have to come out that day, because lo and behold, at 3.30am on February 23rd, I had my first contractions. I wasn't sure what they were at first, but after a few more that lasted a good 30secs and came about every half hour, I knew I couldn't be mistaken.
We went to the hospital at 6am anyway as planned, and just as Naz and I prepared to solat subuh in the labour room, I had my bloody show.
So that was that. I'd wished for a normal delivery and I was going to get it! Yay!
By 9am, despite increasingly strong contractions, I still wasnt dilating. Dr Alex popped a fanny tablet up my nether regions to soften the cervix and speed things up. Sure enough, the contractions started getting worse and closer together, but not enough to dilate me further.
At 12noon, my anaesthesiologist Dr Chua came in and asked if I wanted an epidural. The pain was still almost bearable so I said I would hold off until I couldnt any longer.
By 4.30pm, after 13.5 hours and yet another fanny tablet, I was getting tired and the contractions increasingly painful. I gave in and begged for Dr Chua. I had indicated in my birth plan that I preferred a low dose epidural that would allow me to still move around and feel the contractions. Yep, I wanted to be a hero. But when Dr Chua was about to insert the needle into my spine I had a panic attack and started hyperventilating. Naz gave me some Entanox (laughing gas) to calm me down but because I was breathing so fast, I got a bit high and started to cry. Silly me.
So there I was, on my partial epidural, at what seemed like a gazillion hours later. I'd brought magazines and books to pass the time (what was I thinking?!) but of course, when you're in labour, all you want to do is just get the baby out and get it over with!
At around 7pm, I was only about 3-4cm dilated so Dr Alex popped the waterbag, again hoping that would speed things up.
Still, by 9pm, I only managed up to 6cm. Dr Alex gave us an hour to decide how we wanted to proceed - an injection of pitocin to strengthen the contractions or a C-Section. Because I had been in labour for so long by then, Dr Alex was concerned I would be too tired to push. I began to resign myself to the idea of a C-Section - something I really didn't want. But it had been 19 hours and despite the partial epidural, I was in agony.
And then... Suddenly... Magically...
At 9.30pm, as if Zara too didn't want the trauma of a C-Section, things began to turn around. Strangely, I felt like I had to shit. Seriously. I told the midwife, please, I really need to shit NOW.
And all she did was smile calmly at me and put her finger up my fanny. Ah, she said, there's the head! And invited my poor husband to take a look (which he did).
So it was that Zara was born 28 minutes later - and sure enough, it did feel, like my aunty had warned - like shite-in' a football.
Still, every single minute of those 20 hours was worthwhile when I watch her suckling peacefully now at my left boob, as if she was always meant to be here.