Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The last time the oven bell dinged.

- This is actually a post from 5 years, 11 months and 1 day ago-
This is how old Muffin is today and it's part of the reason why I have my baby craving. But just re-looking this post also made me feel exhausted just thinking about it so I'll settle for being nostalgic rather that do anything about it.

So anyway, here's my account of what happened exactly 5 years and 11 months ago. 

For everyone who was checking in to see if Muffin finally decided to show up, the wait ended yesterday. At 39 weeks 6 days at 1426 hrs.

So, how did we finally evict him? Well, he actually evicted himself. Perhaps because he knew the weekend was coming up. Perhaps he finally got clued in to the fact that his watery home was getting a bit too snug for him. Whatever it is, he chose yesterday to make an appearance.

And we only realised it by chance.

Early Friday morning, I woke up to pee. Naturally, since Muffin was exerting a great amount of pressure on my bladder. When I climbed back into bed, I suddenly realised that the usually active Muffin was not moving at all. 30 minutes of prodding and shaking my belly didn't seem to do anything to rouse him, causing me to imagine his umbilical cord strangling him and other horrors that I'd heard about. Massively panicking, I shook Packrat awake so that he could join me in the panicking.

He being a guy, jumped into action, ordered me out of bed to change and get to the hospital. It was the only way to know for sure. By then, I'd already felt some twitches from Muffin but I'd awakened a sleeping dragon in Packrat who insisted he wasn't going to rest easy till we put on the trace and ascertained Muffin's well-being.

Muffin, being Muffin was fine. Thank God! But incidentally, the trace picked up the fact that I was having regular contractions every 10 minutes. Although the midwife and doctor (whom I felt extremely bad for, having been rudely awaken at 3 am to consult on my case) told us we could go home, Packrat asked the midwife to check if I were dilated. This was a bit of an issue with us because without dilation, Muffin was not going to be able to get out of me naturally. And up to that point, that had be not even a micro-milli-bit of dilation. Lo and behold, there was some dilation! Finally.

To us, that was a good thing and it was met with great relief as well as trepidation. It did mean that while the wait would finally be over, there really would be another child in the house to add to the frenzy of our household.

Despite being then counselled to stay on at the hospital, we decided to go home. For various reasons. One, we'd left suddenly in the middle of the night and our children would probably be distraught to wake up to find us NOT in our beds. Two, I'd heard from other mums that the worst place to labour was the hospital as it tended to either halt or retard labour.

In the ensuing hours, for the first time, the contractions got stronger and more intense rather than disappearing as they had tended to do in the past weeks. And because I was home, I basically had to distract myself from the mounting discomfort.

By the time Packrat came back to get me, it was painful enough for me to stop what I was doing. Thankfully, they only lasted about a minute or so and that was the only reason I got through them, knowing that they would only last a minute. Packrat needed lunch and half jokingly suggested we eat at the food court we stopped at. I suspect my 'evil' look is even more intense when I am in pain and that idea was not pursued seriously.

The staff in the labour ward were expecting me apparently, because when I showed up, they were like "Yes, you're Ondine. You're the one who requested to go home and you're the one who wants to be able to walk around". True, I had requested to be able to 'walk' my labour off and since the hospital only had one room with the wireless CTG machine, I had asked them to hold the room for me. And I guess they couldn't believe that I had opted to go home even when I was told NOT TO.

My hospital, unlike some others in Singapore is still a little bit conservative in its approach to delivery so there are no water tubs and birth stools. And I guess to them, I was somewhat of a maverick because I had requested to walk and more incredulous stares followed when I told them I didn't want an epidural and rejected all offers of gas. All I used was my sock of rice that we constantly asked the nurses to nuke in the microwave.

With my sock of rice, I walked, swayed and banged table tops my way through the contractions that were getting more intense as I dilated at warp speed. From the point of entry into hospital where I was dilated at 4 cm, it went to 6 cm in half an hour. By that point, I just wanted to lie down and rattle the rails of the bed as the contractions sent spasmodic pain down my back into my bum. My very cool Ob-gyn waltzed in and congratulated me for finally going into labour. He asked if I want him to break my water bag and I told him to give it a little bit more time since we weren't not in a hurry and Muffin seemed to be nonchalant about the fact that my every bit of my body was finally all working in cahoots to expel him from his watery hotel.

After he left, I decided for the last time to get up and try and walk around, somewhat still trying to justify to the nurses why I wanted the wireless CTG monitors on me. But when I did, I felt that I had actually sat on a huge water balloon that went "SQUISH" under me. Yes, the water bag that I'd told the doctor not to burst, burst quite dramatically on its own accord. Right onto my Mashi-Maru bedroom sleepers.

I'd read somewhere that bursting the waterbag was a "committment to labour" because it really would be the point of no return and it truly was. I shrieked in pain when the next contraction came. The water bag must have cushioned much of the intensity of it and since the bag had burst, I no longer had that buffer. At the same time, that elusive urge to 'bear down' was upon me and Packrat wasn't sure if I was conscious of the fact that I kept telling him that I needed to poop. Apparently, the sensations are identical.

The midwife chose that moment to plunge her fingers into me causing me to want to kick her in the face. Thankfully, the result also heralded the fact that it would be last time anyone unceremoniously did that to me. 10 cm and we were good to go. There was only one problem. The time that had lapsed between my Ob-gyn leaving and my severe need to take the biggest dump of my life was probably just enough time for him to have arrived at his clinic and start seeing patients again.

So despite the midwife telling me to push when I felt like it, I was screeching for the doctor and going mad with the idea that I had to bear with this pain because the doctor wasn't back yet. And it didn't occur to me to cross my legs either. When he finally returned, I was partially distracted by the fact that I was watching my doctor change out of his work shoes into the most unglamourous of yellow boots.

But that was where the real fun began.

He, in the calmest of voices, told me to push when I was ready. By that point, I was alternating between sobbing from the intensity of the discomfort and swearing like a banshee. Until I heard him very firmly tell me I was wasting my breath and should channel it toward pushing the baby out. He also warned me that I was going to feel some stinging because he remembered that not only was I anti-pain relief, I was anti-episiotomy and the only way around it was to administer a perineal massage to muscle that was already going to be stretched beyond belief.

My thoughts at that point I think bordered on "I don't care what is going on, I just want this extremely weird, burning sensation to STOP!" I'd clarify at this point that while it was painful in a way that being sliced is painful, there was the very real sensation of something very big and possibly alien like bursting forth from my very core. And despite that fact that I've run for so much of my life and pride myself in being physiologically aware of my body and its muscles, I really had no idea what I was doing or what muscles I needed to engage.

But since millions of women have go through it before me and have survived, I figured I would too. 3 pushes and his head was out. And these 3 pushes came almost one on top of another. Because of that, despite the fact that I wanted to be free from an episiotomy, the doctor had no choice but to do it. He said that Muffin was coming too fast for him to stretch the muscles out in time. Anyway, another half push and the shoulders were released and then another half push for the rest of him to come tumbling out.

The minute they put my steaming hot Muffin on me, I declared very loudly that I wasn't ever going to do this again. I think that broke the tension in the room quite a bit.

So that's how Muffin was born. Between my water bag bursting and him tumbling right out of me was the longest ten minutes of my life but in the grand scale of things, it was a mighty short labour and delivery.

Incidentally, Muffin's name is Dylan Josiah Tan.

And here are some souvenir shots from the birth that are totally inane.

My trusty heat sock.


The victim of my water bag bursting unexpectedly! My Mashi-Maru slippers. If you look very carefully, the right one, has a stain above the ear that Packrat, try as he may, could not get rid off.

Presenting Baby Dylan, 30 minutes after delivery after his first feed.

His very proud Big Sister who fawns over him like a doll. His Big brother however, is a bit worried about his position being usurped and is clinging on to Mommy for dear life.

For all those totally freaked out by this post and are contemplating adoption and a hysterectomy, it really isn't as bad as I've made it out to be. It can't be all that bad since I really didn't have any drugs to do it. Maybe taking out the wisdom teeth are worse, since you can't do that without anaesthetic. So there, a means of comparison!

We followed up this blow by blow account with a spiritual perspective of the birth. So for those who want to read on, here it is.

This post is part of the ‘Birth Stories’ Blog Train hosted by Owls Well

If you would like to travel to the previous stops on this Blog Train and read more interesting birth stories, you can start with this one here with Prayerfull Mum, Danessa.

2014-01-08 15.11.58
Danessa is a Stay-at-Home Mum to one precious princess. Read on to find out this mother's experience of giving birth that took place 5 years ago. Sometimes we got to be careful what we pray for ...

To read other exciting birth stories please click on the picture below.https://owlswellblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/birth-stories/


  1. Wow I cannot believe it's already nearly 6 years since you first posted this story! Thanks for recapping it for the birth stories blog train!