It’s nearly 6:00 am Saturday morning. I am groggy, but I remember Yan getting up a few times during the night.
“You’re in the bathroom again?” I ask.
“I’m not sure, but there’s some water here.”
I jump out of bed, and after one glance, I grab our packed bags. We’re heading to the hospital. It is in this rush that Yan would find out that she forgot her ID.
We zoom off to the hospital, and at the Labor and Delivery unit, we are greeted by the unit secretary. She could be characterized like the sloths in Zootopia’s DMV; anyways, that’s how she seemed to us. We are assigned one of the rooms, but I ask for a different one—one that has better sunlight. The nurse accommodates my request.
After getting hooked up to monitors, the doctor examines Yan. She’s at 3 cm. There are some regular contractions, but she says they are not too bad. Several weeks ago, I had gone to the birthing class without Yan, since she was preparing for an exam; I took notes, and now is the right time to apply what I had learned. I place Yan on the birthing ball and coach her through breathing techniques. This carries on for quite some time, and the contractions are becoming more intense. Examinations show that the dilation is progressing well.
Yan wants music, and I put on some classical music. Then, she wants different music. I put on different music. Then, she wants different music still. I put on different music. Finally, it’s Secret Garden that works.
Soon, 1:00 pm rolls around. Contractions are becoming more frequent and intense. The breathing becomes more deliberate. Our doctor comes in and finds that Yan is now at 8 cm. It has only been about seven hours, and labor is progressing very well. In the birthing class I attended, the instructor suggested that we help by counting backwards from thirty once active labor starts; that way, there is at least a sense of going toward completion as the countdown approaches zero. We start that: 30, 29, 28, 27. Yan had initially decided against an epidural given the risks, but now, as things are becoming more unbearable, she asks for anesthesia. I stall a little bit before asking for help, thinking we might get a few more contractions underway. 26, 25. Our doctor calls for the anesthesia team. 24. The resident arrives. He asks Yan to sign the consent, which she does in a scribble. 23. He goes out to prepare the tray, and in the meantime, Yan feels like pushing. I tell our doctor that Yan is now pushing. 22. She rushes in, examines her, and cancels the epidural.
“We’re delivering now!” she tells the nurse.
All of a sudden, the bed breaks down into a delivery chair. I am busy taking pictures while helping Yan through the next two contractions. The doctor coaches her. The head crowns, with the next push, and after another two pushes, Daphney is out!
It’s 1:33 pm, and a miracle just happened. Yan is holding Daphney in her arms, and both mom and daughter look exhausted from what they had just gone through. Later, talking to Yan, that first moment of baby on the chest felt so important and special. I didn’t exactly feel the throb of that miracle until later in the newborn nursery while giving her the first hairwashing and cleaning.
The night and next day tested my endurance, as the nurses insisted on waking us up every three hours to breastfeed. But with the help of the lactation consultant, we experience success. The baby latches, and Yan eventually makes enough colostrum and milk. The persistence paid off.
With Daphney joining our family, we feel so blessed!