Today marks baby R’s first birthday and it only just struck me that I have never written about my birth story. Well, better late than never I suppose, and I thought I should recount the whole experience before my mum brain decides to fail me.

It was 4am when I woke up to head to the toilet, like every other pregnant mummy. How much longer would I have to do this for?! I let out a sigh and waddled back to bed. The heavens must have heard my pleas. As I lay down, I heard a pop sound and felt some fluid trickle down my legs. I immediately got up to check and I leaked even more! My waterbag had burst. Omg those squats worked?! That was the first thought that crossed my mind. I was doing squats the night before, as suggested by my prenatal masseuse to avoid being induced.

The second thought that crossed my mind was ok, I need to bathe now or I won’t get to bathe for a month (due to confinement)! I woke my hubby up before that and he was surprised by how calmly I told him I was gonna take a shower before heading to the hospital. I even remembered to line my undies with a thick pad and protect the car seat with a waterproof liner.

The journey to the hospital was rather uneventful, peaceful even. I think we have never enjoyed a smoother ride on the expressway as 3/4 of the country’s population was probably still in lala land. We arrived at the hospital at 5am and was promptly whisked into a room with several beds. I was hooked up to a machine that tracked my contractions and was told I was already experiencing mild contractions, although I hardly felt any pain. If I recall correctly, I was only 1cm dilated. After a visit to the washroom to cleanse my bowels, my hubby and I were asked to wait for my gynae in the labour ward.

6am – my gynae arrived! I wasn’t dilating fast enough and was induced via the drip. Contractions were mild initially but they became 1-2 minutes apart at around 730-8am. I immediately requested for an anaesthetist to administer epidural. I couldn’t be more relieved when the epidural took effect. I didn’t book a doctor in advance but by some stroke of luck, my preferred anaesthetist came to my rescue!  kept upping my epidural dose throughout as I felt my right side wasn’t as numb. If you’re afraid of pain, just get epidural right from the start and I assure you you won’t regret it. I experienced a number of side effects such as shivering and vomiting, which were still tolerable compared to labour pain.

Then the waiting game began. After countless programs on tv and multiple checks throughout the day, I was still only 5cm dilated at 7pm. In between, my hubby left for a short while to have dinner with his friends at the hospital’s delifrance. I was told it was probably going to be a long night for us until my gynae started inducing me via drip. By 9pm, I was fully dilated and asked to push. After an hour of pushing, nothing seemed to happen. Partially, I couldn’t feel anything down there so it took me a while to figure out which muscles to activate. I think I was also distracted by the tv as I was looking forward to watching Pompeii at 10pm. My gynae must have guessed my intention – she promptly turned off the tv and told me sternly that if I didn’t get the baby out soon, I would have settle for an emergency c section as baby was running out of oxygen. Her “encouragement” certainly helped as Rhapsody was born shortly after that, weighing a grand total of 2.82kg (sounds so auspicious). What a relief!

I remember I had a sudden craving for orange juice immediately after childbirth. But oops, bad move. I vomited immediately after. JW later told me that he thought he was going to lose me during the labour process as I looked like I was in tremendous pain but in reality, I was really just trying very hard to push despite not feeling  much pressure. Honestly I always had doubts about whether I could have done natural birth but my gynae never once wavered in her judgment. I couldn’t be more grateful to her for making my pregnancy and delivery a breeze.

And one year on, everything still feels so surreal.

Happy birthday baby R! We hope you’ll enjoy your cozy little celebration later today. Your papa and I still can’t believe we survived one year of parenthood! It’s an incredible feeling to hear you call me mama, and it’s a privilege to have you in my life. But..please call papa a little more often so mama can take a break too ;P