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.
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 than 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.
In the morning, I was able to pee enough liquid that allowed me to be sent home. K was checked by the pediatrician, and by noon, we got the go signal to go home.
The doctors, nurses, and staff were all so mindful of our situation. They knew we were going to be paying, and did not want us to stay if it wasn’t necessary.
Iñ and Tom picked us up, and we grabbed salmon sashimi before heading home.
What to Bring
Clothes for baby and yourself
Slippers (that you can use in the shower too)
Diapers for baby
Pads for yourself
Extra pillows/blanket for whoever will stay with you – we didn’t, but others suggest this.
Baby carrier/carseat – the nurses checked if we secured K properly before sending us off too
IDs/papers that may be needed by the hospital admin