My Labor & Delivery and how God delivered me

My due date was fast approaching and I prayed for the following things.

1. That I will begin labor early morning (because, TRAFFIC plus it was also very rainy and there may be floods so I was praying that we will not encounter these things.)

2. That my sister (staying in SG) will be able to see Greyson since she will just be home for a few days. That my aunt’s family who came home from the US will be able to see Greyson too since they will be staying for just 3 weeks.

3. Normal, safe delivery and healthy baby.

We were scheduled for check up on Thursday June 7, 2018 to check if I was dilating. So far baby’s head is engaged already and we were just waiting if my cervix would open. Prior to this we have been walking and walking and doing some squats as to facilitate labor quickly. I was instructed that we go to the delivery room if any of the 3 conditions happen -bloody show, contractions, and water breaking.

 June 6, 2018 We visited our friends, brother and sister Ian and Sheena in their new home and also to congratulate Ian and Joan as they just had their wedding in Baguio which we were supposed to host but we are scheduled to give birth around their wedding date. I had to go up a flight of stairs (maybe this triggered my labor! :P) and then chatted for a while with our friends. I noticed there was a dot of blood when I went to pee, but it was so unremarkable that I brushed it off. I mentioned this and joked that maybe tonight is the night I’ll go into labor!

We left their house and had dinner at Alex III. It was pouring during that time. I remember telling Jason what if I go into labor and it was raining this hard, maybe we should go to St. Luke’s our bags are packed anyway and with us in the trunk of the car. But since there weren’t very real visible labor signs we went home.

June 7, 2018 around 1AM. I got up to pee and went back to bed. As I wrapped my legs around the pillow to get back to sleep I felt as if there was a short gush like pee. Maybe I was losing the muscle and was peeing uncontrollably. I told Jason that maybe my water broke, he told me to just observe. I got up again went to the toilet and there I saw some weird looking material / discharge. I looked up what a mucus plug looked like and yup it was my mucus plug. Shortly after water with a tinge of pink came out and it wasn’t like the movies wherein water would pool at the floor! It was just some drops on the floor. I told Jason that my water broke. I texted my OB. I was so excited! Could this be the day? I still remember my excitement and anticipation! I was trembling in excitement. I was excited to go into labor to really experience how it feels to push, to finally see my baby!! Jason finally got up and I took a shower and we prepared our snacks. By around 2 AM we reached St. Lukes QC. It was raining lightly and there was no traffic – an answered prayer!

2AM : I went to the Delivery Room at the 2nd floor bringing with us our admission order by our OB Dra. Jing Fernandez. I told them that I think my water broke. I was instructed to wear the hospital gown and the first IE happened. To be honest if I were to rank pain it would be in this order 1. Breastfeeding 2. IE 3. Contractions. That was how painful the IE was of the resident doctor huhu. It was confirmed that my water did break and I was already 3cms dilated (didn’t feel anything up to this point). Actually the IE I think depends on the doctor, the other resident doctor’s IE was uncomfortable but not painful.

4AM : We were transferred to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit since our request was that Jason join me. They gave me antibiotics thru IV and I was just laying down the whole time. Jason got some coffee.

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5AM : I was able to sleep since I didn’t feel any pain still and around 545 an IE was done again.

6AM : I was given cervix softening meds – Buscopan? (3x during the day) From this time until the afternoon nothing really happened I was just laying down and watching TV. My mom arrived and there wasn’t really much action going on. I was still able to eat light food, it was a bit boring just waiting for things to happen. I wasn’t allowed to stand up to walk so I was given a bedpan.

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Doc Jaycee, my ate’s friend who so happened to be mentored by my OB Dra. Jing, visited us during the day to give tips and encouraged us when labor happens and to stimulate contractions. She also advised that I need to reserve my energy to push during labor.

3:30PM  : Around this time I felt some contractions and when I timed it, it was between 3-5 minutes for around 30-60 seconds. It was tolerable, I need to remember the cleansing breath (this was all I remembered in a free birthing class we attended). I was 4cm dilated around this time.

6PM – Induced : Finally Doc Jing arrived and induced me with Pitocin to speed up dilation and contractions. I was on a catheter too around this time.

9PM – The intense contractions came : Then came the painful contractions! Even if I tried to breathe it was tolerable but I guess anticipating the pain made the pain worse than it actually is! I asked for epidural and my anesthesiologist, Dra. Marzo came around 30 minutes later, good thing she just lived nearby and she was able to arrive soon! I was asking Jason for lower back massages to distract me from the pain. I was already 5 cm dilated! I guess when Pitocin was administered it did speed up the contractions.

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They wheeled me out of the HRPU to the delivery room to administer the epidural. The delivery bed was narrow I felt I was going to fall off with my huge belly! They instructed me to do the fetal position it was so painful to hold still, a male assistant had to hold me still in the fetal position but I really couldn’t! So I was instructed to sit down instead. This was so much easier to be in a crouching position and Dra. Jing was holding my hand during these moments. As soon as the epidural kicked in WHEW! I felt that I could go on and push. I was like BRING IT ON! Haha. It was a bubble though because I was given a few doses only so I can feel the next dilation coming along! The epidural wore off as the centimeters got wider and as the pain intensified I just gave in and asked for epidural.

JUNE 8, 2018

1AM at 7CM : It has been 24 hours since my water broke but I was still at 7cm. The progression was very slow but I was successfully dilating.

3AM at 9CM : I was finally 9cm! But baby’s breathing dipped a bit with my contractions. But the belt that was strapped to my waist kept falling off / it had to be readjusted every so often so… This time Dra. Jing told Jason that I had to undergo CS because of baby’s breathing. At this point I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted a normal delivery and I wanted to experience the pain of delivering normally! But I also wanted to see our baby and his safety is a priority!

4AM : I was wheeled out once again into the Delivery Room. Dr. Marzo gave me more anesthesia and Jason followed soon after.

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I really appreciated Dr. Marzo telling me what’s happening and she was also the one taking pictures since Jason was already in gloves to prepare to cut the umbilical cord. (Unfortunately we had to forego this…)

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I was sleeping some of the time during the procedure due to the anesthesia. Before Greyson came out, Dr. Marzo told me I would be feeling a pressure! I didn’t realize it would be so hard and intense! They were pressing on my chest and my brain was telling me I should panic because I had a hard time breathing, but because I was a bit groggy I was calm. The pressure was because they were pulling the baby out.

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5:39 AM : FINALLY BABY IS OUT! Greyson Maddox Tan was born on 06/08/18, a combination of our birthdays… Jason was born on 06/16, I was born on 08/08.

But when Greyson was pulled out, he didn’t cry! Meriting him an apgar score of 6. They had to rush him to the corner to check on him and then he finally cried which raised his score to 9. I was a bit worried when I heard “baby out” but I couldn’t hear the cry.

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They also had to forego the cutting of umbilical cord since they had to check him. After a quick family picture they rushed him to the IMCU (immediate care unit) just beside the NICU.

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8AM : They were done with the stitches and I was wheeled to the recovery room. I was able to drink water by that time. My mom and Doc Jaycee visited me there and checked if I could raise my legs which signaled that the anesthesia has worn off or something like that 😛

10 AM :  I was able to go to my room and I was informed that Grey may have some complications due to the prolonged labor. He is presumed to have sepsis and they had to do blood culture, cbc and Xray.

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My heart sunk. Hearing this was hard to process for me since I thought that I would be able to see and hold my baby right after I give birth and eventually be beside him in the hospital room. I thought that we would go home in just 5 days maximum but we had to stay for 7 days because Greyson was given antibiotics. I was hoping that my labor and delivery would be so uneventful like I would just “poop” my baby out and then be on our way home (I just packed for 5 days) but here it was. I wasn’t even allowed to do Unang Yakap because he was whisked off to the IMCU. I was disappointed, to say the very least and the room was so quiet as I still stared at that empty space beside my bed on the day of my delivery. I didn’t know how to feel but I felt a deep sadness.

4 PM : I was given morphine to ease the pain of the CS.

10 PM : We were visited by friends – the Disciples, Josh and Corinne . We really appreciated their presence as we were at a loss on how to handle this new stage and also this unexpected outcome that we had no baby in the room! It was also a relief to share how labor and delivery went, our disappointments, and frustrations. We were also very thankful that they prayed for us as we were at the most confusing time in this season!

JUNE 9 – I was finally able to see and hold baby in my arms…

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I thought about baby and this gave me the courage to immediately stand up from the bed and visit him at the IMCU. I thank my aunt from the US who helped me stand up and recover quickly.

Jason was the first to visit baby and he was able to do KMC. I asked him how baby was and I got a bit envious he was able to hold baby first (no wonder baby is now a daddy’s boy :) .

The following days were a blur as we had a very difficult time breastfeeding, plus I had seroma – I was leaking lots of fluids from my CS cut which lasted for 9-10 weeks. I was in between emotions – I was ecstatic, frustrated, sad, joyful, thankful to God, felt bold and brave for my baby and battling some misgivings about breastfeeding. I couldn’t feel my CS pain as the pain from breastfeeding was so intense! (All in the next entry)

I was sad I couldn’t rejoice 100% since I had to visit Grey at the IMCU which was totally unexpected. I was also in pain and didn’t expect that breastfeeding would be so difficult! I thought that you just had to stick baby to the breast and that was it! But no….

I was also frustrated and felt hopeless that my CS wound leaked so much that it seeped through the many times the gauze was changed and placed – I had to use a maternity pad (that thick and that long) to cover my wound and yet it would still get soaked (then my wound opened which could fit around 5 cotton buds). I couldn’t just expose it for it to dry up because then it would drip everywhere (clothes, floor etc.) and I would probably need so many hospital gown changes in a day. When asked what caused this, the doctors couldn’t explain it and they just said it just happens…though very rarely! It was so rare I didn’t know anyone who had the same situation though I searched so much in online support groups and told people about this. At that time it was the least of my concern as we focused on baby’s well being, and that he should be able to get food from me.

 But God was in control the whole time and I felt I was being refined and tested in spite of all these. Would I still praise Him? Would I still have faith? Despite all these, I was just so thankful to see my baby and finally hold him.  I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining us, and giving us the grace to endure and also financial providence. For me it was the darkest time – I was in pain all over, we had a baby that could be sick, and who possibly couldn’t be getting enough milk (formula was not allowed at the hospital and we had to keep going at latching, pasteurized milk was also scarce) and who had to go back to the hospital just after 2 days at home. Though it was the darkest time by far, it was also the time I saw God the most. I felt that I was being taught to be humble but God didn’t leave me there broken and discouraged. Whenever I would feel at my wits’ end, He would always come to rescue me. I just feel so grateful. 7 days passed and we thank God that baby was safe from sepsis. Our prayers were answered , he was healthy though just not in a way that we expected it to be.

Looking back, I am very thankful how God delivered us from this ordeal. We were not in control of the people, of the circumstances, but He was. It was also best that Greyson wasn’t roomed in with us immediately because I had time to rest and recover – ready to face the challenges ahead. I was able to sleep and relax and still have my baby taken care of at the IMCU with pasteurized milk initially. Every time I would feel like I would have a meltdown, He would always rescue me – whether it be thru my husband, my family especially my ate who was emotionally supportive of this new phase in my life, thru friends, for a new found friend and ate in Doc Jaycee, and even strangers like the nurses at the maternity wing. I praise God for them – we had the best mother-baby care at St. Luke’s QC because of the nurses and staff. It was a nursing aid who helped me realize I already had milk which came in on my third day.

I thank God for The Disciples’, The Santos’. My mom who was always there. Our family and in laws who helped us adjust to normalcy. Many more who visited us, prayed for us! For our godparents, Ninong John and Ninang Maeva for visiting us, Tita Julie and family who sent their love through a beautiful bouquet that made our room feel less empty. Even during breastfeeding I was led to depend on God to help both Greyson and I. That he would be able to get milk from me. I was praying every time we tried to latch and whenever I would give up, God delivered me… He came to my rescue and baby and I would have the perfect latch. I realized that it wasn’t about this one time moment. It was about who God is all this time and how He never failed us and was so faithful to us in these trying times. Indeed, when I called He answered
And He came to my rescue and I just want to be where He is,

By God’s grace it has been almost 5 months since I am writing this entry and looking back we would not have survived and would have drowned if not for God’s goodness in our lives. I thought that after our problematic latching which lasted for a couple of weeks, we wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. But as I write this entry, I type with my left hand and baby is happily breastfeeding on my right breast. I am looking forward to know God more as we begin this journey of parenting and we pray that Greyson grows up to know God and love Him with all his heart, mind, and strength because truly knowing God here on earth will be the greatest treasure that he could have. <3

Waiting on God: Our Journey to Pregnancy part 1

Jason and I got married on May 19, 2013 after 6 years of being in a relationship and 1 year of getting to know each other. We were just kids when we fell in love! 😛 I was 19 and in college and he was 24 and finding his way in the world when we met. See how we met each other in the link below.

How I Met My Husband

Finally in 2013 sinagot na nya ako. 😛 Haha just kidding! Our proposal video is below if you dare see. I struggled to say YES to be honest I am a shy and private person and I was embarrassed because there was an audience.

Our Proposal Video by Julaenie

That time it wasn’t trendy yet to do flash mobs and such. But I was glad to be there with friends. :)

Anyway that’s not the point of this entry. When we got married, we were advised to just enjoy our married life for 1-2 years before we have a baby. 6 months into the marriage, I felt that I was ready to have a child. But God knew otherwise.

I remember I was compelled to start praying for our future child back in 2012 after the proposal. I was given the desire to be a mother someday. I really thought that when we get married and have our honeymoon we would instantly conceive. After our wedding, we took precautions because of the advice of enjoying our marriage first. And then a few months after, we went on our way.

I raised my concern with Jason that I wanted to start a family. That time I guess he wasn’t ready yet maybe because of all the new adjustments – getting married, running a house with me, finding our partnership, finding our sweet spot of working together.
Despite the apprehensions, he agreed that I needed to check with my OB.

2013 – FIRST OB CHECK UP 

So I had a visit with the first of many OB’s. She did a pap smear on me since it was mandatory for married women to undergo a regular pap smear. I thought that was it and then I would conceive. Then I was required to do an ultrasound.

2014 – A SERIES OF TESTS

I did the ultrasound months after and I changed OB then. I first did the ultrasound in a nearby hospital, Marikina Valley. I was expecting normal results because I wasn’t feeling anything unusual anyway.

Result 1

When we got the results, my eyes zeroed in on polycystic ovaries. Surprise! I wondered what the NEW GROWTH in left ovary meant. My OB requested that I do another a gyne doppler which was more painful than a regular ultrasound.

Result 2

And still there it was.. A solid ovarian new growth. I had a suspected tumor on my left ovary and its nature needed an operation to find out if it was cancer. Surprise #2.

Our prayer life deepened and I would have bouts of crying. Hearing that you have a suspected tumor brought some fears. Is it cancer? What if it is? Will I be needing chemotherapy? Will we still have a child?

I was just desiring for a child and I was given a “tumor” instead.. I really felt ashamed and felt like a burden to my husband. I knew he wanted to be a dad, but instead I had this.. I wanted to respond better but I felt bitter.. But God had a plan and I am so thankful for this experience looking back now in 2018.

It was also my first time to see my husband deep in prayer, crying with me and contemplating on what next steps we should take. Even with this setback, God has provided us with people to help us on this journey. I am not sure if I should name them but there were 2 women in our life who shared with us their journey on their ovarian cyst. We are very grateful for them.

We met with other doctors for 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion and they recommended open surgery because they had to be careful with the mass and do a biopsy. They were going to do an open surgery so they can check within 45 minutes if it was cancer or not. If it was, they may have to remove all neighboring organs since it may be affected, worst case scenario.

 We really didn’t want an invasive surgery and looked at laparoscopic treatment. But was rejected by the doctor because of its nature. We prayed for God to come through and take it away miraculously on our next ultrasound. But it was still there! We sought prayers from our family, D12 leaders, and close friends. We prayed, prayed and cried and we asked God for wisdom what to do.

Then we had to do a tumor marker test.

Result 3

It came out negative. Praise God! Then we had to do another ultrasound..

Result 4

The words “suspicious of non-benign in nature” what does this mean? It’s so confusing. I was cleared from the tumor marker but the ultrasound indicates a non-benign growth. Also I was higher than normal in other cut-off’s.

Really, it was a roller coaster of emotions! But I felt that God was teaching us to trust Him on this (and just everyday of our lives!)

We prayed and prayed for wisdom.

When we consulted a gyne-onco (Gynecologist and cancer specialist) for the second time, he quoted us a ridiculously huge amount to do the procedure. It was shocking but then he also said that it was urgent but he can wait until our best feng shui date.

What does that mean? We don’t believe in feng shui. And what if we did and the best feng shui date is 2 years from now? (i don’t know how this works!) Then it means it’s not urgent.. and it may not be cancer. We thank God for this sign that helped us decide what our next steps would be.

It was such a relief. God came through but it’s not how we expected it to be. He just wanted us to trust Him. We started to ease up and relax.

We immediately decided to change doctors and went for my mother-in-law’s trusted OB, Dra. Decena in UST.

We thank God for her. :) After a consultation, we decided to schedule an operation.

We wanted to enjoy the remaining days of my normal self because we didn’t know what awaited us after. We let it off our minds and celebrated our 1st anniversary in Phuket, Thailand which we enjoyed so much.

A week after, off to UST we went.

2014 – A MAJOR OPERATION

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How could I share the experience? It was a mix of worry and excitement. I had my devotion at the hospital and this was what God impressed in my heart.

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Then preps for the operation began a night before. The blood tests, x-rays were fine but after!!

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Que horror really. Enema was performed all over and over again on me! I wished I hadn’t eaten that piece of cake and my last meal of Greenwich lasagna. Took me around 13 trips to the toilet. I was so exhausted and my nurse was laughing and saying I ate too much so I’m suffering this much 😛 We started at 8pm we ended at 11pm. IMAGINE. I felt so many pounds lighter after.

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I then took my last bath and off to bed I went praying that everything will be ok. And the peace of Christ was there. I slept like a baby.

The next day, I was woken up at around 5AM. I was transferred to the operating bed. Goodbye mommy, Goodbye hubby, see you on the other side.

They wheeled me into an enclosed room which was the operating room. The interns were with me and chatting with me, I really felt comfortable. And then they told me they had to prep the uterus area. OKAY do what you have to. Wala nang privacy, it’s fine, ganun talaga..

Then my anesthesiologist came, I remembered chatting with her and when she gave me the dose, I just heard her last words counting down 3, 2, 1…. and I was off to La la land.

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The dream team!! Thank you God for giving wisdom and skill to the doctors who attended to me. At nakapagpicture pa sila :p

The next thing I knew my mom was talking to me! in the RECOVERY ROOM! Visitors not allowed mommy. 😛 She was mistaken as a doctor so they let her in. <Grabe sya o.> And my mom was asking me to just grunt I’m okay to my Tita/Ninang nurse in the states over her cellphone.

As I remember I was not allowed to open my mouth yet because of air getting in. But well…

4 hours had passed from the operation. I remembered being too weak and I was shivering in the recovery room I had to talk and ask for a blanket. An image flashed on my mind, was I still opened up that’s why I felt cold?? They gave me this heated blanket and I fell asleep again. Next thing I knew I was back in my room with a bunch of flowers waiting for me. :) Thank you hubby and to my family..

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The tumor / cyst was benign, praise God! We thank God, our family and friends who prayed with us..

Side story, while I was still opened up, my mom told me that Dra. Decena came out of the operating room shouting “Arnie! it’s not cancer!” after finding out the results.

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UST Surgery (22)

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UST Surgery (32)

UST Surgery (25)

I looked down on my uterus area and I just saw this big bandage and I couldn’t feel anything. It was difficult to cough, to move. I stayed in the hospital for around 2 more days and I remember when I had to get up it was so hard! I felt like my guts were going to spill out. It felt so tender but I had to go pee and do #2 to know if my organs went back to its proper place.

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That whole year I looked pregnant and I was mistaken a lot of times by people who didn’t know what happened, because my tummy jutted out. I couldn’t exercise it felt so numb and come to think of it, it still feels numb. :) I have a scar on my tummy, my husband doesn’t mind and it just reminds us how God continues to be faithful in our lives. We are grateful to be out of that episode and yet we sympathize with those who still are. We know how it feels to go through all those.

Months after…  we asked, is it baby making time yet? Am I cleared this time?

Part 2 on the next entry…