Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ethan's Birth Story

Thursday 5 Dec 2013

8:30 am 
Ian and I had to go to Home Affairs in Paarl to get my spousal visa and work permit renewed before it expires next month. Yes, long story short, I have to wait until next year 2014 to apply for my permanent residency. Until then, we had to have a bi-annual visit to the Home Affairs.

8:45 am
We were attended shortly but then was told we lacked a document needed which was the doctor's signature to state that I am healthy. ( I tried submitting my gynaecologist's letter that I am healthy but they would not accept it, as it has to be signed on an application form).

9:00 am
We have to spend more than 2 hours waiting at a nearby doctor's office for my turn and spent ZAR300 for a 3 minutes check up! Even the doctor was embarrassed as there was really nothing to check so he just did a usual listening to my breathing,  blood pressure, and checking my tonsils?
Also walked 5 minutes to a nearby photocopy shop to make copies of application.

11:00 am
Felt my first slight stomach pains while waiting for our turn to submit the application. It didn't feel like cramps, felt more like diarrhoea pain.

01:00 pm
Finished with application at last. The plan was to drop Ian at his office in Stellenbosch and I drive home. As the pain was still troubling me, we decided it was best I wait for Ian to finish off a short meeting at work, so he can drive home with me.

03:30 pm
Got home. I was in more pain by now and felt like I have to go to the loo all the time. It still felt like diarrhoea pain. I was in such a hurry to leave Ian's office that I left my yellow handbag there. A few calls to his office later, the reception people found it in the cafeteria. Ian then arranged his friend to drop it by us later after work.

05:00 pm
I went to the loo a few times. I noticed some streak of bloody mucus. Ian called the labour ward and was told it should be the mucus plug, and we are just at the beginning of labour. We should only get to the labour ward when the contractions are 5 minutes apart.
I am then convinced I am close to labour! I felt excited yet nervous at the same time. I also noticed Ian getting his stuff like camera and last minute items ready.

05:15 pm
Went to take a shower so that I feel fresh for the labour. I cannot stand dirty hair. Also made sure I shaved where it needs to be shaved. Funny how one can still think about things like this at that moment.

05:45 pm
Had dinner that Mummy cooked, while chatting with her and Ian. Mummy kept on saying I should not stay in the loo for too long if there is nothing coming out. She was worried the baby might come out!

09:30 pm
Pain was getting stronger. There was some strong contractions by now but it wasn't regular. There would be some strong and some not so strong ones. They were 4 minutes, 6 minutes, 3 minutes, 8 minutes, 12 minutes apart.
Very irregular.
Ian made a call to labour ward again. We were told it will be more regular when I am close to labour. Ian by now was helping me to time my contractions.

11:00 pm
Contractions were still irregular, but the strong ones were getting so much stronger. We decided to go to the labour ward to be checked. Rather be sent home than to be not sure at home.

11:15 pm
I was at the hospital. The midwife asked me to change into my hospital gown and also to pee in a cup. I was unable to pee, only did like a drop of it.
They connected me to monitors to check the fetal heartbeat, as well as monitored my contractions.

Graph capturing the fetal heartbeat (top) and contractions (bottom)

Friday 6 Dec 2013

12:15 am
The midwife left me for a while and eventually returned to do an internal check. It was quite uncomfortable. She announced that I was already 8cm dilated. We were really was shocked. 8cm?? A person gives birth at 10cm!! I panicked that my gynae would not get there in time. The midwife assured me that she is calling gynae right away to let her know and she should be there real quick as she lives close by.

12:40 am
Dr Marie Pienaar arrived. I was so relieved! She did a check and said baby should arrive within half an hour to an hour. Pain is now more and more intense, but Ian did such a great job supporting me. He got me concentrating on breathing in and out on each contraction. I was still without any pain relief.
It was painful, but still bearable, and knowing that the baby will be out soon was somewhat comforting.

01:05 am
Waiting for the last centimetre but seemed like baby is not yet coming out. Doctor then decided to break my water. I heard her mentioning there was not much water, that maybe baby's head was in the way.
She wanted me to try pee again, which I did, but the pressure down there is too much and the pee did not want to come out!
Doctor then said she had to put a catheter in as she could feel the bladder was full, and it might be blocking baby's way out.
Believe it or not, once the catheter is in, there was at least 1 litre of urine flowed out from me. (It filled the kidney surgical tray to the brim!)

01:40 am
Pain was getting more and more intense! Hubby continued to assist me in concentrating on my breathing. Midwife asked if I would like to have any pain relief. She offered me the gas and assured me that it would do no harm to baby.
I was thinking ok, might as well have it by my side in case pain got a bit too much. I did less than 3 puffs on it. I vomited....
There goes my only pain relief I thought might help with the pain!

02:00 am
Gynae came in to check on my dilation. She said I could try pushing. She assisted on when to push, together with the contractions. The pushing part was actually not as bad as compared to the contractions itself.
Unfortunately, doctor said the baby has moved his head and it was not in an ideal position. While making his way out, he had tried to squeeze and way and in the process, placed his broader part of head towards my pelvic bone. Gynae said there was no way the baby would be coming out with his current position and we would need to have an emergency C-section.
I must admit I was quite disappointed. To have gone all the way till here, without any pain relief, and this would have been the very, very last part where the baby should be out after the pushing.
I did not know if it was all in the mind, but after the pushing, the contractions seemed to be much, much stronger and unbearable.
Gynae explained that it would be very painful now because it was bone grinding against bone right then. But I somehow think maybe it was my brain realising all the effort to bear with the pain still had to end with a spinal for the emergency C-section. At this point, I was hoping that the theatre team would get there as soon as possible so it can be all over.

The C-section team arrived. It was quite a large team. Paediatrician Dr Vermeulen, arrived finally. This half an hour of waiting felt so much longer compared to the last 3 hours. I wanted the pain to be over, fast.

There was a bit of administration to be done before they got me to the theatre. The midwife in charge was filling up forms and got me to sign forms that basically got me to agree to everything.
There was a brief discussion on where Ian's extra items would be between the midwife and Ian, and I think I might have said a bit too loud, LET'S JUST GO TO THE THEATRE NOW, PUT WHEREVER!

Hubby was escorted by the midwife to put on the theatre gown while I was transferred to the theatre. Dr Heyns, the anaesthesiologist explained to me what will happen to me before I was  given the spinal. The gynae held me throughout each contractions before Ian came in and took over.  I was not sure how many times the anaesthesiologist tried to poke the needle in, but I was told to relax my back a few times. I was busy having a long painful contraction at the time he was trying to give my spinal so it was really hard to relax!

With Ian holding my hand and me shivering from the effect of the spinal, baby Ethan was delivered safely at 3:10 am.

6 December 2013, 3:10 am

He was given the green light from the paediatrician and Ian got to cut his umbilical cord.
He got an APGAR score of 10/10 *First achievement*
He was then placed on me, and the smart fella immediately latched on my boobies. *Second achievement in the first few minutes of his life! Proud mummy*
Proud daddy with baby Ethan

Ethan with his Pho-Pho and mummy during the 10am visit

Although I was a bit disappointed I had to go through a caesarean to get Ethan out, I am still glad I went through the natural way without epidural and pain relief. Call me crazy, but I will, if possible, try again the next time around for a natural birth :-) It was all worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ethan Chen-Rae Abels

Ethan Chen-Rae Abels was born on Friday, 6th Dec 2013 at 3:10am.

Birth weight : 3.815kg

Weight 3.815 kg

Head circumference : 36.5cm
Length : 50cm

Length : 50cm

Meaning of name:
Ethan means strength and optimism.
Chen  is my maiden surname in Mandarin.
Rae 玮 means precious treasure.
Abels our family surname.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mummy and her 30kg of Goodies Arrived in Cape Town

Short and abrupt post since I am now busy packing away my winter clothing. I am finally convinced summer has arrived!

My mum is now in Cape Town since last Saturday, and will be here for the next 3 months! *jiggly dance*

Mummy with a trolley-full of luggages


I am really lucky to have my mom here, with the baby coming anytime soon. Already I am enjoying the luxury of mummy's cooking, not to mention having the opportunity to be a tourist all over again. Since last week, we visited the Waterfront, Franschhoek, Kalk Bay, Bloubergstrand and practically all the shopping centres in Northern Suburbs!

View of Table Mountain from Blouberg beach

Hubby also got to take some time off his nagging wife. According to my hubby, I managed to get my words quota fulfilled everyday. Me and my mum will just chat and chat and chat anywhere and of everything. Guess hubby is relieved I am no more bugging him after he comes back from work. He even said I am speaking more Malaysian now after a week of Mom here that he is finding it more difficult to understand me these days.

It's also amazing to see how the dogs still remembers Mom after a few years of not seeing her. Rainbow almost wagged her tail off upon Mom getting in the front door.

Rainbow's fetish of sitting on luggages
Most of all, little bump is the luckiest to have his grandma waiting for his arrival and already have so many presents waiting for him all the way from Malaysia.  Not sure how Mum managed to stuff all these into her 30kg limit, excluding her own clothes.

A lot of stuff also comes from my sisters Shu-Yin and Shu-Min and family at home, from cloth diapers to baby carriers, hankerchiefs, clothings, swaddles, sensory toys, swimming clothings, even baby bolsters!

Stash from Malaysia

Hope baby can see all these and decide to meet his grandma soon!