The day the contractions started, I happened to have a doctor’s appointment. She did a physical examination and said that I was 2 cm dilated. Later in the afternoon, I started to have very gentle contractions. Having nothing better to do that day, we decided to go for a swim at the pool. Afterwards, my contractions got slightly more obvious while showering, and then more.
Mike asked if he should heat up dinner. We timed my contractions and they were 5 minutes, then 7 minutes apart. He went to take a shower. I timed myself while he was in the shower. It suddenly became 3 minutes apart. I waited until Mike got out of the shower to tell him the good news. Close to 7pm, we decided to head to the hospital. I called a taxi and Mike called Jeremy to come babysit Knox. While waiting for him, we decided we probably shouldn’t wait and I called Brooke, our neighbor, to help watch Knox until Jeremy arrived. I bustled down and got into the taxi. Knox seemed fairly surprised at this turn of events as he was handed off without ceremony.
We got to Al Ahli hospital and went up to the maternity ward. It is Ramadan and they are open from 7pm~2am. The nurses seemed to wish we had gone up to the ER as they have doctors there, but then decided to just push me up to the labor room and call a doctor. The nurse in charge kept calling me “My dear,” From admittance into the delivery room at 7:30 pm to birth at 9:30pm, Mike speculates that our previous story of Knox being born within half an hour (of admittance, quickly followed by my water breaking) might just have been due to us waiting too long to get to the hospital. Previously in Taiwan, we had been rejected in the morning due to irregularity of contractions and feared being rejected again. This time, when I (to my genuine surprise) timed that my contractions were coming in 2~3 minute intervals, we decided to hurry over. Am glad we did.
In the delivery room we had a male doctor greet me who said he would be delivering my baby. Then later during labor another female doctor came in and did the actual delivering. It was slightly confusing. Mike went away to do some paperwork but came back quickly. He seemed more stressed out than I was, but once things got into swing he became much calmer. A nurse stuck a needle in my hand for an IV. I later learned that IV during labor is related with the mother’s milk coming in later.
This time besides screaming, I felt it comfortable to recede into a sort of mental haze where I could mumble whatever random thing came to my mind. Mostly it was “This hurts.” in mandarin. When I said “Make it stop.” Mike reassuringly told me that it would be over soon, that I just had to pull through, to which I snapped “Stop trying to reason with me.”
I was anxious that Mike convey how I didn’t want an episiotomy, and how we wanted to delay cord clamping. The
doctor smiled and said yes, yes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to reiterate this to all medical personnel present, because the moment Quin was out they clamped the umbilical cord, and rushed Mike to cut it. I am experiencing delayed disgruntlement about this now a week after delivery. She was born 9:30 pm, 2 hours after our admittance.
Differences between Knox birth and Quin birth:
- They did not give me an IV in Taiwan. Here they wouldn’t let me drink but 2 sips of water during labor, and stuck an evil needle in my hand. Hated it as I couldn’t make a fist – it is supposedly a modern plastic needle that will bend with the vein and thus can afford to be two inches long.
- I could clearly feel pushing out distinct parts of Quin. With Knox, once he started to crown, it seemed but a quick sliding out. Mike said it was because of the episiotomy, where the doctor snipped my perinium and Knox just slid out.
- Quin cried quite soon after she popped out. That helped me realize that our baby was real. Knox was laid on my chest just a few moments after birth and a quick check, wipe and wrap. Quin was taken away for a bath and it was much longer before I was allowed a (very) brief hold, while the doctor was vigorously massaged my uterus, to my chagrin. Quin’s first pics with me feature an uncomely grimace.
- It seemed more painful, the uterus massage. And I felt much more provoked with all the probing at my genitals.
- The doctor said she would not check me too often. But between her and the midwife I felt checked (probed) more frequently than I enjoyed.
- Mike shot a video! And I got to see the nitty gritty!
- For 2 hours, we were left alone in the delivery room “to be observed”. No one came in to observe us during that time. The nurses were having their meal. + The baby was taken away ftom us. To be bathed thoroughly in soap. For in Taiwan they only used water or water with some mild green enzyme inside. For days post-birth Knox smelled gloriously of newborn. I sniffed Quin in vain.