Our daughter and source of all light and happiness Kimiko Gabrielle Silverio Gargar was born at 2:18 am last July 9 at the Trinity Women and Children’s Hospital in Sta. Ana via C-section. She was supposed to be born the ‘normal’ way, but at the last moment (around 11:30 after I went through 4 hours of increasingly excruciating contractions (no, I didn’t cry — I BREATHED in and out and focused on the science behind labor pains as Nova advised me to) when my doctor Dr. Melani Espino did an amniotomy, the fluid that came out was greenish: it contained meconium. No ifs and buts – I had to go under the knife and within the hour I was flat on my back on the operating table. I confess to being surprised at myself because not for a second was I afraid or nervous : being a firm believer in science, trusting my doctor, and having a husband constantly telling me I and the baby would be fine fine fine helped me keep calm.
Now for the last two weeks Kim had been pressuring me to take the c-section option so I would be spared the agonies of labor (I think it was the impact of Walkie and Jang’s stories the time they had dinner at our house — all the descriptions of wailing and huffing and puffing in between made a distinct and decidedly scary impression on him, I guess), but I was determined to go the ‘natural’ way (albeit with an epidural). Besides, c-section operations cost a mint!
My original due date was July 12, but the start of the rainy season as well as the new academic semester put quite a bit of pressure on us to push Kimiko’s birth a little earlier than scheduled. Dr. Espino prescribed Buscopan which she said would help dilate my cervix (by July 3, my cervix was dilated only by 1 cm).
It took me three days to finally decide to take the Buscopan. I mean, of course I trust (and even worship) my doctor; but all these months I’ve been acutely conscious of what I take in, especially if its meds. Artificially accelerating uterine contractions did not exactly seem like a good idea to me, particularly given the scare last May when I landed in the hospital because of burgeoning preterm labor.
Anyway, on the afternoon of July 7, I crossed my fingers, patted my big, big tummy and asked Kimiko to be ready, and took a Buscopan. Five hours later, the contractions started: my uterus started tightening, and I felt Kimiko moving more than usual (which was quite a lot — she was quite a mover of a fetus; now that she’s a real wriggler of a newborn). It was hard to get to sleep that night because my back ached like giants used it for a trampoline, and added to that was my rising anxiety over the Buscopan and the increasing contractions it caused: I was worried I might go into labor and we lived an hour and a half away from the hospital.
The following morning, Kim hoisted my red backpack containing my stuff and Kimiko’s for our hospital, and we went to my doctor’s clinic so i could get an internal exam( warning – what comes next might be too graphic for sensitive readers…). I got up on the clinic bed, and Dr. Espino proceeded to check whether the Buscopan had an effect already. Underwear off, assumed the position, took a deep breath and waited to hear whether the tablet worked.
It did: the cervix had dilated 5cm. Dr. Espino wearing latex gloves then proceed to strip away layers of the cervix, and after a painful and uncomfortable two minutes, the bed was spotted with gobs of bloody mucus and cervix fibers (whatever you call them).
As I lay there slightly nauseated at seeing blood, my doctor smiled widely at me and told me that I should go to the hospital with Kim that afternoon and have myself admitted: Kimiko was on her way!
In the next few days I’ll write about the details of my three-day hospital stay, how I ended up getting a C-section after five hours of staying in the labor room and breathing like a beached dolphin struggling to get back to the ocean; how it felt to hear that my baby could be in danger because she expelled meconium while inside me; how strange it was to be completely anesthesized, sleepy but keenly aware all at the same time; and what the anesthesiologist said when Dr. Espino finally scooped Kimiko out at 2:18 am. It really felt like I’d been to war (I’d never known that my body could feel so much pain in so many different places and still remain intact), but I’d go though each and every single agonizing moment gladly because of what I have in return for withstanding the punishment.
(Here I am compelled to express the deepest, almost weepy gratitude to and love for my husband who did not even blink when he found out how big the hospital bill was. He told me to not worry about the money and insisted that every peso was worth it because all the while I and the baby were safe and secure. All in all, his comforting words, his quiet strength and very presence all throughout my experience took much of the pain away.)
In the meantime, thank you to all the friends and comrades who texted and emailed their congratulations and best wishes. (Thank you for wanting to visit and see Kimiko, but it really would be best if we were quiet for the meantime…)
Jo has been so supportive of my intent to breastfeed and sent various links and articles on the subject; Nova and Jang I thank for the clothes Kimiko wore at the hospital (and the clothes Kimiko wears now!) and again Jang for the Dr. Harvey Karp DVD (information saving Kimiko and me a lot of grief, even if Kimiko is so far proving to be a wonderfully behaved baby); Walkie for her moral support (and the delicious red tomato pesto sauce, yum yum!); and Tonyo for the Anne Geddes babies. The email from friends abroad also help distract me from the recovery pains (stitches! lochia bleeding! swollen boobs!) .
Kimiko is now one week old, and my life and Kim’s are focused on keeping her happy, well-fed, warm and comfortable. When she smiles it’s like sunshine floods the room and her every gesture and movement with her small hands and feet cause us to fall prostrate in front of her bassinet, in awe of her very being. Every single moment is a gift because of Kimiko, and even changing her pee and poo-filled nappies causes me enjoyment because we bond over the experience (she coos and gurgles whenever the diaper’s full of poo — it’s almost like she’s trying to distract me from the sight and smell of the nappy’s less-than-fragrant contents).
I have to stop here — mother duties (which I view more as great and delightful privileges) beckon.