3 Jan started with thick white discharge sticking on the morning’s toilet paper and a nagging suspecion that that was the mucous plug. Anyway, no point getting worked up so off to work we go. That day was the day where most people returned from christmas and year end holidays and i sort of felt a sense of purpose and was very diligent about telling everyone this will be my last week because before full term the ob will intervene because of risks that GDM carries.
At midday, I went for my usual salad at salad stop with Jane at MBFC so we get to walk back after that as well, which is what I typically do to keep GDM under control. On the way back I again felt liquid coming out and thought I must really be getting incontinent. When making a trip to the bathroom immediately after reaching office, I saw more white thick discharge than usual and streaks of bright red blood mixed in it. I had a feeling it was a “show” and called Christine’s clinic. The time was just before 1 and I was told she will be back at 2. I quickly sent Sentosa handover matters to Daphne and took a cab over. Reached perhaps 15 minutes after 2 and sat waiting for Christine. When she finished her current appointment, she walked towards me and asked about the discharge in whispered tones. Then turned and said “CTG” to the receptionist. Every now and then either she or Rin would come in and check. Baby was still so active that I had to hold the sensor else it quickly slips out of place.
I was told it takes 20 minutes but perhaps because of the movement I was rescued more like 40 minutes later and actually the lying position was quite uncomfortable on my lower back. Glad to be rescued. Christine said there were mild contractions. I was also starting to feel them as the CTG was being done. Felt like menstrual cramps.
We then did a VE and determined that 4/5 of the baby’s head was still above the pelvic opening. Whatever was left on the gloves was also clearly a “show”. The scan shows that there is even more fluid now (16.9) and baby was still in OT position (meaning head down but facing the side). Christine’s assessment was that if we try for natural delivery there is a high chance of having to go for emergency c-section. I asked for some time to discuss with Kenny and was given the side room. We quickly decided to go with C-section.
I came out of the room probably faster than she expected and told her our decision. She looked worried that I’ll be really disappointed so I tried to keep it light and said oh its nothing, its just that I won’t be able to wakeboard for another 3 months. She looked shocked and said something like you’re going to breastfeed right? I think you need to be prepared for lifestle changes. It will leak etc. But thereafter the wakeboard became a recurring theme.
Anyway I sat in her clinic waiting for her to make arrangements for the c-section. She didn’t want them to ward me because if they brought me to the delivery ward before an elective c-section was booked, I’ll be charged twice for delivery suite then for c-section. Finally she managed to get her usual team and book an OT at 10pm. I was sent to do admissions but wanted to wait for Kenny. Meanwhile contractions got stronger but bearable. Good thing the Mt E staff told me to go ahead with admissions while waiting for hubby.
The concierge came to bring me up to the ward and asked if I needed a wheelchair. Absolutely not. I do not do wheelchairs. After getting changed and lying on bed, contractions started getting stronger. Meanwhile dad and Kenny were happily watching this variety show on channel u. The nurses came in to do fetal heartbeat check and wanted to give me an enema but saw that my contractions were getting quite strong so checked with the sister on duty. The sister called Christine who ordered a CTG and rushed down.
When I saw her I actually couldn’t stop staring at her clothes. Its not like I’ve never seen her in black t-shirt with black jeans before but she had always worn fitting clothes these were kinda baggy and she had a pen stuck on the neckline. How unlike glam Christine perpetually in fitting, stylish armani jeans. These could well still be armani since I’m not terribly good at recognising brands but just didn’t look as good.
Anyway the decision was made to skip enema, Christine did another VE, asked me to describe how I felt and thought very hard. She then went to do her thing, perhaps try to bring forward the surgery and came back to do another VE. I must say the hospital’s gloves were scratchy and nowhere near as comfortable as those she uses in her clinic. Also, the last 2 VEs were extremely bloody. Christine asked what I thought. She mentioned that contractions is good because it gives her a second chance to verify whether her earlier assessment is correct. I told her its very tempting to try for natural birth but I’ll go by her decision. At the last VE she could still bounce the baby’s head away so baby was clearly not engaged yet. Her assessment of the chances of a successful natural birth remained the same. Hence everyone was called in an hour early.
The delivery was not traumatic at all, insertion of the epidural was not painful, I was more affected by the cold. oh btw, I was not given the choice of GA or epidural, it seems the decision is made for me, as was the choice of single ward. Both would have been my choice but it was just amusing to note. The anaesthetist was Dr Catherine Yap and she was really humerous. She would also keep asking irrelevant questions and say I was really light. SHe also asked me to cough 10x as she was inserting the epidural and complained that I cheated and didn’t do 10x, did perhaps 8. She then revealed that she sometimes doesn’t insert on the first cough. I thought I did more than 10 actually perhaps I was too gentle 😛
After this Christine came in and started rubbing down my tummy area. Catherine said “Oh dear, Dr Yap didn’t give me a chance to test” and said that now that iodine has been rubbed on she can’t test as it would leave a mark. And I said “like a tattoo?” and someone made a joke about if I see “C Yap” on my tummy thereafter its the other Dr C Yap, not her. But if everything goes well she will claim credit the other says. Anyway so the operation went on in this light manner and was over by 9:34. In between Catherine even took photos for us (as they were cutting me up I think). Catherine helped to give an almight push and a loud cry was heard. Christine emerged on the left holding up a bloody baby then put her on the table for cleaning up.
Kenny got to cut the umbilical cord and the doctors did their thing. Soon we were handed a baby wrapped in aluminium foil then a towel and its photo time. When she was done stitching up Christine asked how I felt and I said not as traumatic as I thought. She sneakily looked around then whispered “I got you the best anaesthetist”
I quickly got very sleepy and the doctors were chatting as Christine stitched me up. A colleague of hers helping her at the tummy area whom I didn’t get to speak to left. I was then pushed to the waiting area to be collected back to ward. Christine was writing something nearby and suddenly bounced over and said “I have good news for you, you can eat whatever you want now.” And started telling Catherine how my control of GDM was excellent. Catherine said “now?” in the you don’t really mean now way, which I guess was right because of the anaesthetic and I could throw up. But to be honest I don’t think I would have.
When back at ward Chiristine came to see me and we had a long chat. She was very reassuring and we chat not just about the op and long term management of diabetes but also Obama’s healthcare bill and other matters. At one point I started shivering again and the way she tucked me in was so comforting.
Very much later that night baby was brought to me for breastfeeding. I think we both just wanted to sleep.
Thereafter Christine came by everyday to see how I was. On the first day she was panting when she arrived and I felt quite bad. On the last day she came once when I was in breastfeeding class then again when the lactation consultant was with me and wanted to go off and come back yet again. I would have felt so so terrible. Catherine also came by the first night and asked some routine questions.
All in all a great experience. All the staff at Mt E was excellent and Christine was really a pillar of strength. At one point when I broke down re breastfeeding I wanted to run to her clinic but told myself don’t scare her by acting like a crazy woman. Only thing I should have opted differently though, is to take her advice and stay an extra day to learn babycare, even though on her side she is happy with my recovery and threshold (for pain?) and thereby probably avoid having to send baby to A&E on the day after discharge. Well, we all learn…