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My second pregnancy was tougher than my first, though definitely many people will still consider it smooth sailing. I didn’t feel pregnant at all when I had my first one. This one, I had mild morning sickness. I needed to have crackers with me everywhere I went as once I felt hungry, I felt nauseous too. I could no longer change the poo diapers for my #1 as I felt like puking when I smelt the poo. (Maybe it was just an excuse for my hubby to take over the job completely? hee… maybe not..) I vomited about once every 1-2 days in my first trimester but felt nauseousness a couple of weeks into the second. This was when we suspected (daddy secretly hoped too) that we were expecting a girl.At our 15 weeks check up, gynae had said most likely she was a girl. At 19 weeks check up, he confirmed she was a girl. But we did not dare keep our hopes high as there were many cases where the girl “became” a boy. So at 23 weeks during the detail scan, he triple confirmed it was a girl. Even then sometimes we had doubts when people told us my tummy looked small and compact, must be a boy, or that my belly button is jutting out so must be a boy.Well, the little baby girl in me probably increased the amount of female hormones in me and I went to buy dresses and maternity clothes which were really unlike me (I didn’t buy any maternity clothes for my #1) and I even spent $100+ on a set of facial wash when I usually just use water to wash my face and at most use those facial wash that is less than $10 from Watsons!Back to the pregnancy itself, I thought it would be better in the second trimester. Well, indeed it was better. The morning sickness part was better.However, I would get terrible headaches and neckaches. It’s not as bad as the migraines I used to get but it was bad enough such that I was unable to function at work and needed to go home earlier to rest. And I had headaches almost every day.And then the third trimester came. The headaches disappeared. Now was pelvic pains. The baby was engaged by 32 weeks and was very low after that. I had problems turning in bed, I had problems getting up from the bed. But as the day goes on, or as I walked more, usually it becomes slightly better. I had problems walking as well. The pelvis was really painful. And because the baby was very low, she kept using my bladder as the pillow and there were many times I needed to run to the loo but only a little bit of pee came out. Which also meant waking up many times in the night to pee. With the baby so low and engaged so early, we had expected her to come much earlier. After all, we also knew she was conceived about 10 days before her brother and that calculated out to be about 38 weeks from her EDD. But she stayed inside and was so comfy but mummy was so uncomfortable…Thus we decided to induce her at 39 weeks and 3 days.I was quite tired from the pelvis pains in the pregnancy. In my 38 weeks check up, the gynae suddenly mentioned that we could induce her if we wanted on Monday 16 Feb, which would mean we can be discharged by 18th Feb and still be in time for reunion dinner. Though we have been expecting the arrival of the baby for many weeks now, we had not thought about inducing her. Reason being I wanted to try to do it without epidural and I know that for any kind of induction, it would make the contractions and labour pains worse. (I have been diligently drinking raspberry leaf tea and eating dates to prepare myself for a natural labour without the epidural!) That does not go too well with my plans. Hubby, on the other hand, is chiding me for being stupid and told me to take epidural and not cause him too much pain in the process.Gynae did not want to induce on 21st Feb which was baby’s EDD and my #1’s birthday as it fell on a Saturday and he does not want to plan any appointments for weekends. Needless to say, 19th and 20th which was the CNY public holiday were out of the question too. Next would be 23rd Feb already. We decided not to take up the gynae’s offer and made an appointment to see him the following Monday, 16 Feb, hoping that maybe during this week baby would decide to make a natural appearance.Before the appointment came, hubby and I discussed about the induction. We decided that we did not want the baby to come after the EDD and would prefer before. We also decided that we would rather have a horse baby than a goat baby. (Though this was not the priority). Thus we decided that at the clinic, we would ask if gynae can induce her out on 17th Feb (baby would be 39 weeks and 4 days). 17th means he would have to work on the 1st day of CNY (19th Feb) cos he would have to check on me before I was discharged, or possibly both 1st and 2nd day if induction took a long process and I gave birth on 18th Feb instead. If not then we will have to settle for 23rd Feb. So basically we left the final decision to the gynae.At the appointment, when the nurse was checking on my weight and bp, I was asking her if induce, what time do we have to check in to the hospital and he said 12 midnight. So means if gynae is ok with it, we go into the hospital that very night!!?! When it was our turn to see the gynae, after checking on baby and proclaiming that she is of a good weight of about 3.2 kg, we asked the gynae if we can induce baby like he suggested the week before. He asked immediately if we wanted a goat baby or a horse baby and we asked if it was possible to induce the next day, and he said of course, but it means we have to go to the hospital tonight. He then got the nurse to call the hospital to ask if there was any vacancy and there was. So it was decided!At 12 midnight, my brother dropped me off at the hospital while my hubby stayed with my #1. I walked into the delivery suite myself and was immediately ushered to Labour Ward 1 to change. The nurse did all the paperwork for me as we completed the pre-registration in January. I was then hooked on to the CTG for monitoring of baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. And this was where the first surprise came. I was having very regular but mild contractions at intervals of 1-2 minutes! I had thought it was Braxton Hicks as usual as most were not painful but some were a little painful on a scale of 1-2 out of 10. So the nurse called the doctor and it was decided that the pill which was supposed to be inserted to induce labour should not be done as I was already having contractions. Dilation: 1 cm.I was monitored on CTG until 2 am and continued to have regular contractions and then I was taken off the system to allow me to rest. But I couldn’t sleep at all. Uncomfy bed, wearing the hospital gown, keep having the urge to pee….Think I fell asleep finally at 4+am only to be woken up again at 5 am…At 5 am, CTG was attached again. No more contractions.At 7 am, they checked dilation again. Ouch. I hate this process. 1 cm.8:45 am, I was put on the Oxytocin drip to start the contractions and to start the labour.At 9 am, gynae came to check on me. He gave a little bit of hope. Dilation 1-2 cm.9:30 am, hubby arrived. He was flabbergasted when he asked about the dilation. What??!? how long more do we have to wait? I told him to go get breakfast. He did and came back and started on his work.At 10 plus am, HBO started showing Notting Hill. Hubby liked the show and we decided to watch it together. All these while, contractions started and got regular. But they were still bearable. I rated them 1-2 out of 10 as per my contractions earlier in the night. Just before 11 am, the contractions started to increase in intensity. I had to focus during the contractions. I tried to tolerate the pain. In my mind, I remembered what I had planned to do. For natural birth, I would like to try without an epidural. But I knew inducing would be more painful and I still was open to having the epidural.At 11:15 am (Yah I know my pain tolerance is low…or maybe the pain intensity really exponential-ed) we decided to call for epidural. It was painful and I wasn’t sure how long I can last. And I was tired from not having a good rest the night before. Just before epidural was administered, I visited the toilet as I wouldn’t be able to after epidural. And I had my bloody show. It was pink and mucus-y, like pink egg white. Probably dilation was more already but I can’t be sure.Anesthetist came in at about 11:30 am and told hubby to go grab a coffee. The administering of the epidural was scary. It felt like I had 2 bullets stapled into my spine. And I had to try not to move during contractions. I wonder why he didn’t look at the CTG while administering. Then he can pause his procedure while I was contracting… I told him the last time I had epidural it was too strong and I couldn’t feel myself push. This is probably the worst statement I made. The nurse told him I was dilated 1-2 cm and he gave me a low dosage. He said we can increase later as I’m still in the early stages of labour. He was so sooooooo wrong. Hubby came back and we continued with the show. Pain rating was now 0 and I thank God for the epidural. I fell asleep while watching the show.At almost 12:30 pm, it was when the drama began. I felt a lot of pressure down in my vagina area. I was on epidural so shouldn’t I not be feeling it? I thought it was weird and it was becoming uncomfortable. Not pain (yet), but uncomfortable. And in 5 minutes, it was painful. I got hubby to get the nurse and told the nurse. And then I was in a lot of pain. The pressure at my vagina hurt, and somehow my tailbone area hurt too. She checked my dilation and it was 8 cm.They started to get to work. And I started to be in real pain. They hurried around the room, told me to breathe, and another nurse dressed differently came in. Was she going to deliver the baby in case my gynae doesn’t arrive on time? Was she the doula? I’m not sure. But she held my hand (while my hubby held my other hand) and she told me to breathe and do not push. And she told me that very soon the pain would be over. I remember telling them to increase the epidural dosage but I think it’s not an instant thing.With each contraction, the pain exponential-ed. I saw the gynae arrive. I was thankful that he was at his office in the same building and not at home or something. My last 2 contractions I had really wanted to push, and I think I was shouting out loud in pain. Was I screaming? I can’t really remember. The 2nd last one they allowed me to push but said I had to push slowly. It was super painful. My last contraction, they were ready for the push. They told me to push and I did. It was so so painful that I let out a really long and loud scream. Screaming helped me as it made it less painful somehow. And the baby was out and given to me and all the pain stopped!! 12:46 pm. (4 hours from being induced) I’m glad the pain was only for such a short period of time. I couldn’t have tolerated another contraction and I was glad the baby was out in just one push.I was panting as I tried to catch my breath from that long scream and push during the final contraction. Gynae passed hubby the scissors to cut the cord. He hadn’t wanted to. But he did so. They gave me a jab on my thigh to deliver the placenta. I felt that ant bite. I felt the placenta coming out. I told hubby to look and he scolded me for it. (Lol) I saw and felt every stitch. But it was bearable. I wouldn’t call it painful. Maybe the labour pain was too much. Maybe that area was numb already. When it was done, the clearing of the blood clots was painful but it was only for a short while.I was really amazed at how fast the gynae worked and how calm he was. He came in, got ready, and delivered the baby all within one of the loudest screams I had even given all in less than 5 minutes? (I apologized to him later on. I was quite embarrassed. heh.) By the way, he is Dr. Douglas Ong. We really chose him due to the closeness in his clinic and our place. But through the process, we met 2 old friends under him, one with him for #3 and the other #2 and both raved about how good he is. I concur now.After that, I was shivering cos of the epidural. Gynae placed the baby on me for some skin-to-skin and the baby actually managed to find my nipple and latched! Wonders of God’s creations.So, we paid for epidural, but still had to go through the pain. Worst money spent. At least hubby cannot say I didn’t have epidural and caused him to be deaf in one ear or something. And guess what, be careful of what you pray for. I had prayed that I would be able to tolerate the pain that God had intended for all women to have because Eve had sinned. I prayed that I might be in a situation where I won’t chicken out and have the painkiller injected into me. My ideal situation would have been that contractions happened naturally and by the time I reached the hospital it was too late for epidural.Bottom line, if I were to deliver again, I would have epidural done again. And I would tell the anesthetist to give a higher dose straight away. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my newborn first before I think about having another one.