These posts will try to outline the differences and similarities of my experiences giving birth – as well as what to prepare and expect. Hopefully, by documenting whatever I remember – I can be better prepared for number 4 (hah! just kidding. That’s it. We’re done.) or help someone else with their birthing experience and the choices they can make (or should be able to make).
Part 1 shares my birth story with J – our attempt at having a natural birth and our experience at Cardinal Santos (August 2012 – San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines). Part 2 shares our birth story with Iñ – our scheduled cesarian section and our experience at Mother Seton (October 2014 – Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines). Part 3 shares our birth story with K – a scheduled cesarian section at Royal Columbian Hospital (October 2017 – New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada).
Among the three pregnancies, I felt physically strongest with this one. I was walking a lot, cleaning a lot, and travelled to Manila and Naga, and then back. I was also more emotional this time around – always angry (sorry, kids), often impatient. It’s a good thing, my checkups were always quick, and the whole experience of giving birth was good, easy, and uncomplicated.
Scheduled Cesarian Section + Royal Columbian Hospital
After meeting Dr. Wesa, our OB-GYN (we were referred to an OB-GYN because I was already considered high-risk, it being my third cesarian section), we decided that the best option was for another cesarian section (we wanted to try VBAC, vaginal birth after a cesarian, but after much discussion, and to the dismay of our family doctor, we opted for a c-section). She scheduled me on a Thursday morning, and my operation was to be at 10 in the morning.
With a 10am operation, I was asked to be at the hospital at 8am. No solids from midnight, only clear liquids ’til 6am, then that’s it until game time.
The first thing we did was to register, and check-in. We were anxious to check-in because I wasn’t a permanent resident yet. A visitor/non-resident would have to be ready with about 3000CAD upon admittance at the hospital.
Wendy, the lady at the desk, was helpful, and really looked into our situation. After looking at my papers, she decided that I was already a resident because of the amount of time I already stayed in BC. There was no need for the initial payment, although, I was still going to pay for the operation, doctor’s fees, and hospital stay.
Sunita and Jennifer were my nurses at the labor/delivery assessment room. They were kind and efficient – and I’d like to thank them for painless blood tests. I got dressed in my hospital gown, and Tom was given his scrubs.
When our doctors were ready (we were the second operation for the day, and had to wait a bit), we were brought to the OR. No music this time around (because for In, I think there was music playing – or maybe I was really drugged). I especially liked my anesthesiologist, she made me feel very at ease, talking me through the whole process.
Baby K came out so quickly, and I was so aware of it all. It was beautiful. It was quick, with no complications. And the best part was Tom was there to witness it all, hold my hand, and be there for our first photo with K.
I remember being comfortable in the recovery room, with layers of warm blankets on top of me. I was checked on often, but I was anxious to go up, and be with Tom and K. I was there for about an hour, but I felt like it was forever. At around 1:30, I was able to move my hips. Quickly after, they sent me up.
While I was in recovery, Tom had K on him for skin to skin. She was cold and needed her Tatay’s warmth.
Once up in the ward, I was able to sit-up and breastfeed K, and she latched right away. Such an easy baby! She was so tiny and light!
By 4:30, Tom left the hospital to be with the boys. It was me, K, and three other patients. The one on my right was an older lady (a grandmother who might not have had room in another area of the hospital), across me were two pregnant ladies with complications. We were separated by curtains, but of course you can hear everything that’s going on. It was heartbreaking hearing calls between one of them and her little child at home. She wasn’t too sure when she was going to be discharged. Other than calls between loved ones, it was quiet and restful – except for my noisy baby.
By 5pm, my toes started to move! The drugs were wearing off, and I was feeling good. They fed me real food right away. I finished it all. This was very different from the way it is back home, where they start you off with clear liquids, and soft food.
At 7pm, the nurse let me try walking to the bathroom. I was able to wash-up, and walk back. No nausea, not dizzy. But taking small steps.
Later that evening, I was moved to a semi-private room. I shared it with a new mother, who refused to take her pain killers. She was moaning in pain the whole time. I felt so bad for her. I took my pain killers, and I felt like a million bucks.
It was a long night, but the nurses were great. I did not feel alone, even if it was just me and K on our side of the room. The nurses encouraged me to move, to walk, to drink, and pee. Some were more strict about moving around, others wanted me to take it a little easy. The inconsistencies were a bit confusing, but we managed fine.
By morning, I had peed enough liquid for them to say I was good to go. By noon, whatever tests had to be done to Kara were done, and the pediatrician said she was doing fine as well.
Tom and In came before noon, in time for K’s last test. We are so thankful for the nurses and doctors for being so considerate, knowing that we were still not covered by health care, making sure we need not stay longer than we have to, without sacrificing our health and safety.
We were ready to pay, and Tom met with someone from administration, and spoke to someone from accounting, and they said, just wait for the bill. One less thing to worry about (at least for that time).
Like a pro, Tom loaded K into her car seat, the nurse checked her, and we were off. Early enough to pick up J from school too.
Before heading to the house, we passed by for sashimi (that was also the first thing I asked for after giving birth to J).
What to Bring
This is what we brought to the hospital this time around:
1. Clothes for yourself – You won’t need to be in the hospital gown the whole time.
– Bring clothes that will allow you to breastfeed easily
– Underwear that you won’t mind getting soiled and Adult diapers – Yes. This was the best decision I made.
– Nursing Bra
– Slippers (that you can use when you shower)
– Toothbrush and toothpaste
– Soap / Bodywash and Shampoo
– Lip Balm
5. Receiving Blankets
7. Clothes for Baby
– Tie-sides are most convenient when they are very small. Onesies are cute (and they cover your baby’s belly button) but sometimes it can be scary putting it on such a tiny person. This time around, I just put her in a onesie, and layers.
– A Beanie / Hat
8. Chargers for your gadgets
9. IDs and Important Documents
Compared to my last delivery, we brought a lot less. No need to bring your whole house here. 🙂