mt alvernia delivery suite

Checking Into Mount Alvernia

I’m writing this post from the bed on Mt Alvernia Hospital’s labour ward, as we wait for the arrival of the baby.

The Welcome

I have to say that Mt Alvernia is so far so good *cross-fingers*. When I first arrived at the lobby at 3pm, I was welcomed by the security guard, whose first question was ‘Natural or Caesarian?’. I found that an odd mixture of amusement and irony, coming from a security guard. But I truly appreciated his welcome and said ‘Natural’. He proceeded to give me directions to the labour ward. (I’m not sure if the unique welcome has anything to do with it being a Sunday, but it did give me a smile).

The Induction

I was led to the Labour Ward on the 3rd floor, and soon after found myself in a delivery suite down the corridor. After settling some administrative issues (like verifying names & nric numbers, passing the cord blood’s box over, and giving me a whole envelope of all the benefits that I can apply from the govt etc), at 3.45pm, the nurse administered a pill to soften the cervix, and she would do a check 6 hours later to check if any dilation had occurred.

So here I am at the 6pm midpoint, with the sumptuous dinner:

Mt Alvernia Dinner
(Clockwise from Top Left: Honeydew; Cauliflower; Pork in Soya Sauce Black Bean; Rice (I ate half only because of gestational diabetes); Sweet & Sour Fish Soup; Apple Juice (flushed down the throat by the Husband in one go). The meal was really really GOOD.)

Mt Alvernia Labour Ward

I was mentally prepared to have to take a 2nd pill to induce another 6 hours if I have to. I even went through the scenario of going for an emergency Caesarian operation at the end of it if the doctor says I have to (after all the safety of the baby is most important right?).

Breaking of the Water Bag

Being mentally prepared has its perks, because when the bad scenarios don’t happen, I actually feel rewarded. At 930pm, Dr Fong came in to check my cervix; good news was I was 2.5cm dilated (it felt like a surprise because I sort of totally expected the 1st pill not to work). But before giving me a heads up, he said, ‘Can you feel it?’. It took me 2-3 seconds before I started to feel the warm water gushing out (he had broken the water bag)…  it was such a weird feeling! One of my thoughts at that time was…oh no, now I can’t eat the Subway tandoori chicken sandwich that the Husband has packed for me for supper because technically, labour has started! (I love to eat, and facing a long labour without food is quite daunting).

But boy, I had so much water inside me the nurse actually had to change the sheets 2 times. Strangely the embarrassing knowledge kept me comforted because I was thinking ‘Ah!! That is why my belly is so BIG!’ (secretly hoping it’s more amniotic fluid than fat)

The Epidural

Before the water bag was broken, I was having 5mins contractions, and strangely I didn’t feel anything (or much). But soon after the bag was broken, I began to feel slight cramps though they were very bearable… it really wasn’t as painful/intense/crampy as I had imagined, but then again, it’s my first delivery, what do I know?  I indicated to the nurse that I do want the epidural at some point… and she said in a motherly fashion, “You don’t wait until you can’t tolerate the pain then you request for the epidural ah, it will take at least 20-30mins for the doctor to arrive and then some more time to administer the epidural.”

I was thinking, ok it’s my first delivery (could be the last cos we don’t know the future), I wanted to feel it MORE. But I recalled all my friends’ advice about not waiting too long cos it’s just not worth it….and the more I ruminate about the advice from the nurse and my friends, the more I can feel the cramps, HAHA. It’s a bit predictable isn’t it, when the brain is primed. So within 10mins I requested for the epidural.

The anaesthetist Dr Ho Hwee Shi arrived rather fast within 20mins (at 1005pm). At 1025pm, the epidural was administered. The procedure wasn’t as daunting as what others make out to be – i think it helped that i didn’t see the needle as I was back-facing her all the time. The most horrible experience for this part was the alcohol swipe on the back. IT WAS SO COLD that I couldn’t keep still !!!!!!! When the local anaesthesia was injected, it was more of a surprise element, but the pain was very ok, especially since I felt the numbing effect soon after. When the epidural was administered, I didn’t even realise it, and soon I began to feel warm tingling sensation in my legs. Though I could still feel and move my legs and feet, I soon couldn’t feel anything in the womb area. What a wonderful invention!

So now, we wait….

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