Pregnancy pop quiz!
“How much time do you have after your waters break before you go into labour?”
A few hours? Half a day? Mere minutes?
How about, EIGHT DAYS.
Welcome to Part Two of my Crazy China Birth Story.
What’s happened, so far…
At 34 weeks, my waters broke at home in Zhuhai, China. But after a doctor at a local hospital refused to believe I was having a baby we decided to chance it – rushing aboard a boat to Hong Kong.
At the time, we were thankful to have made it to the English-speaking island.
Little did we know, we had plenty of time, and hardship, ahead.
So, why the week-long wait?
From what *reliable* online medical resources tell me, after your waters break, 95% of women go into labour naturally within 24 hours.
If not, your doctor will likely recommend you are induced soon so as to reduce the risk of any infection.
BUT when your waters break before 37 weeks, you’re classified as “PPROM” or (Pre-term Pre-labour Rupture of Membranes). This happens to about 3% of women. Lucky me!
So for me, it was an agonizing 192 hours of uncertainty, blood tests, monitoring and waiting in hospital.
This, all in an effort, to mature my baby girl’s lungs and give her the best fighting chance when she makes her entrance into the world.
Between Heaven and Hell
I’m beyond spoilt at Matilda Hospital.
I’m doted upon by the nurses at the five-star
hotel hospital, and there is a menu à-la-carte that I can order from for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The food apparently comes from the Shangri-La restaurant.
And then there’s dat view.
And yet, there are some not-so-great things.
For starters, I’ve become a human pin cushion; pumped full of IV antibiotics to starve off infection, countless blood tests and THREE steroid injections.
(Anyone will tell you the pain of these injections on a scale of 1 – 10 is on about a ‘Oh-Lord-Jesus, make it stop’ level).
Monitoring the baby’s heartbeat several times a day and then, all night long, I sport this fashionable belt, married with this gorgeous seafoam hospital robe.
But the cherry on top is that I am put in a room directly next door to the delivery suites!
So each night, I am gently soothed to sleep by the loud screams and moans of laboring women.
Jokes aside, the scariest thing by far, is not knowing if our baby will be OK.
A visit from a pediatrician does little to allay my concerns, as she begins listing all the possible scenarios after birth.
“She may not be able to breathe on her own”
“She may need a feeding tube”
“You may not be able to hold her”
“She may need to go straight to NCIU at another hospital”.
I obviously break down into tears.
Oh, baby! It’s time to go!
After more than a week of waiting, I’m finally getting induced.
I have a slow-drip epidural and labour-inducing drugs, simultaneously.
I feel my stomach becoming as hard as a basketball as I watch the contractions on the monitor, feeling nothing.
I love epidurals.
My husband, and both our Mums, are in the delivery room and together we wait, we eat, we wait, we talk, watch a movie we wait.
I stand up. I sway. I bounce around on the exercise ball. I sleep.
But after trying for 15 hours, I have dilated diddley squat.
This is known as a “failure to progress” and the nurses begin prepping me for a C-section.
Wait and See Section
I’m devastated. A C-section? This is not how I wanted things to happen.
I must take off all my jewelry and sign a consent form before going into the operating room downstairs.
My OB arrives, but instead of taking me into theatre, she says she wants to “give it one last try” naturally.
She gives me an examination to help along the cervix and then puts me into the very flattering ‘cow position’ to try and encourage the baby out.
I stay on all fours determined not to move. (Not even turning around for a blood test, which they had to take from my hand).
A short time later, I feel it. She’s coming!
After another examination, the doctor snaps off her gloves and says, “It’s time to push”.
About 15 minutes later, our daughter Sasha arrives. Perfectly healthy… and 2.6 kilos!
I. Need. A. Drink.