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2nd Delivery – The Birth of Gareth

They say that every delivery is different. Indeed, there have been quite a number of differences with this delivery compared to the first one. Perhaps it is old age creeping up on me but I was certain that the bed felt more uncomfortable and the food tasted worse than it did the first time I was in here with Gavin.

Since we have Gavin now, hubby hasn’t been able to sleep overnight at the hospital to keep me company. The sensation of spending the night alone has been rather curious. I feel almost like Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager after she was separated from the Borg Collective.  Although I used to relish my time alone – particularly having a bed all to myself and not having to share a blanket, it appears I have become far to accustomed to having someone else in the room with me – be it Gavin or hubby.

The procedure this time was also been different. The pill insertion at midnight to help dilate the cervix went as per usual, but I was not given the anema until late afternoon the following day. I was allowed to eat real food instead of the usual liquid diet restrictions I was subjected to during my last delivery with Gavin. They also allowed me to stay in the normal maternity ward and didn’t move me over to the delivery ward until the evening of the following day.

They inserted the second half of the pill the next morning but did not follow up with the pitocin drip until 4am on the second day.  Dr Wong was trying to avoid using the drip unless it was necessary and I was quite happy to go along with that plan since I became aware that pitocin is one of the causes of jaundice after birth. Dr Wong ruptured my membrane late Monday evening to breathe new life into my contractions.  It worked, up until about 4am when the contractions started weakening again – which was why I needed the pitocin drip.

The pain started began earlier this time. I felt the equivalent to period pain in the morning following the insertion of the second half of the pill. They progressively got worse but I was able to find a position that kept them manageable and at bay. They were quite frequent – about one every two minutes initially then suddenly they because less frequent but more intense. Throughout the entire time, Gareth’s head has remained high even when I was 8-9cm dilated.  They say it is because he is a big baby so perhaps it was difficult to get his head into the birth canal?

Strangely, I felt more nervous delivering for the second time. When the contractions started, I was suddenly in fear of the labour pains to come. I kept having the urge to press the button and ask for the epidural even though the pain was still bearable. My recall of how quickly the pain escalated the last time was all too fresh in my memory and I didn’t think I could bear to go through that again.

Thankfully, I managed to find a comfortable position to keep the pain at bay. Lying on my side makes a lot of difference to the pain, making what was quite uncomfortable tolerable.  It only gets worse when I lie on my back – which I had to do periodically when the nurses came in to attach the baby monitor and contraction monitor to my tummy.

Perhaps it was because it was the second pregnancy, but once I managed to overcome the irrational urge to request for the epidural, I actually felt in control of the pain even beyond the time when it started to get unbearable when I was in labour with Gavin.  Is this what they meant when they said that second pregnancies are usually easier? 

The only reason I asked for the epidural was because the nurse told me that the anaesthetist on call usually left for home at 12 midnight.  Although they could call in the anaesthetist in the middle of the night, he would have to come from home and I would have to wait longer before getting pain relief.  Since I didn’t want to find myself in the position where it would be too late for me to get pain relief, I just requested for the epidural to be inserted before the anaesthetist went home.

The last time they put in the epidural, it was unbalanced.  The right side was a lot stronger than the left side and I felt partially numb.  As far as I understood, it was because I have a crooked spine which makes it harder to find the right spot.  Add to the fact that I was trembling in pain during the epidural insertion the last time, I guess it must have been quite a task for the anaesthetist.  This time, the epidural was just perfect so maybe there is value in having it inserted before the pain got unbearable.  I felt more relaxed this time and the anaesthetist, too, felt more relaxed.

I guess my spine must be difficult to tap because I heard a comment from the nurse stating that she better tape down the tubes properly since this was so difficult to insert.

Unfortunately, that’s about all that went well with this second pregnancy.  Nothing else about it felt easier.  As I’ve already mentioned during my updates on the pregnancy, most of my symptoms occurred earlier and were worse than it was when I was pregnant with Gavin.  The labour and recovery with Gareth were also worse.

We delivered Gareth at about 11am on Tuesday morning.  That’s a full 6 hours shorter than Gavin’s delivery, but it was hardly the 50% faster that I was expecting.  The active part of labour was also much shorter than Gavin’s but it felt a lot harder.  Or perhaps I am weaker this time?  Not only was I feeling fatigued by the process of pushing but I was also getting light headed and nauseous.

Generally, during the active part of labour, you are supposed to push with the contractions.  When you push, you need to take a breath, hold it and “push” as if you’re taking a huge dump.  To be an effective push, you need to hold for as long as you can.  The nurse asked me to count until 10.  Each contraction usually lasts long enough for me to push four times – as in 10 seconds times four.  I found that by the time I got to the third or fourth push, my strength was wavering and I was starting to see stars.

Was it the epidural?  Was it because I wasn’t breathing properly?  Was it because I was unfit?  I don’t k now, but I would become light headed and it felt like I was going to faint.  Though hubby and the nurses were screaming for me to push harder with each subsequent push during the contraction, I found myself unable to comply.  To top it off, I felt nauseous whenever I had to push – which I’m told is because of the epidural and because of the food in my stomach.  No wonder they starved me before the last delivery.

A word of advice to women thinking about having a baby – get fit, stay fit and exercise!  I’ve heard that yoga is recommended because it helps you breathe better.  I don’t know if it helps, but being able to “breathe” effectively is critical during labour.  Either that, or think about taking Lamaze classes.  They didn’t have any here, but my SIL2 says you can do it online.  I honestly don’t know how good or effective the online classes are, but it is definitely worth a shot.

As for me…  the doctor estimates that if I were to have a third baby, he estimates that the baby will be 5kgs.  Personally, I don’t think there will be a third baby.  I’ve told the hubby that if there is an accident, I’m going to abort because there’s no way I’m going to deliver a 5kg baby.  I am more than happy to get my tubes tied right now, too.  To be honest, I question the 5kg baby because Gareth is technically one week early and he was 4.5kgs.  If we had waited until his due date, he would actually be heavier.

So while it would be lovely to have a daughter of my own, I think I’ll settle for doting on my god daughters…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

5 thoughts on “2nd Delivery – The Birth of Gareth

  1. It probably was the epidural. I was light headed and nauseous too – so much that they had to give me something for the nausea! Seems that some do react in this manner…


  2. Congratulations Shen-Li, Gareth is adorable beyond words!
    I really agree with you about being active and getting fit to prepare the body before, during and after pregnancy. That’s what i have been telling my pregnant friends1
    Yoga helps tremendously with optimal breathing technique. We are always being reminded to stay in the present moment during yoga classes, i find that really helpful when put in practice during childbirth as well.


  3. Chin Li – very likely it is the epidural then. I was also given something for the nausea – a bolus dose of Maxilon or something like that (if I remember correctly). It did help – at least enough to keep the nausea at bay until I had managed to push Gareth out.

    Strange that this is the second epidural I have had and the effects were different from the first time I had it. The first time, I experienced intense shivering and the itching sensation of my body (which eventually faded) quite quickly after the epidural went in. I had no nausea, dizziness, or even headaches (as I have read some do experience) at all. I remember the sensation of “coldness” flooding my body as if I could feel the coolness of the liquid entering my back.

    This time, after the epidural went in the numbing feeling was very gradual. I had some itchiness but it was very mild compared to the first time. I didn’t experience the shivering until after the delivery and Dr Wong was stitching up my tear. I kept shaking uncontrollably and thought at first that it was because my muscles were exhausted from the labour.

    Sophia – Thank you! Though I have been anticipating the arrival of a little bundle of joy for some time now, the feelings are still overwhelming. It has only been less than three short years since Gavin was at this stage and already I have forgotten what it was like…

    Yes – I definitely intend to make it a priority to workout more now even though I don’t intend to get pregnant again. I noticed that after the epidural wore out, my muscles were aching as if I had just completed a very intense workout – even muscles I don’t remember using were aching!


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