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Cathy's Childbirth Experience: CALVIN'S STORY

My husband Reggie and I are fanatics of Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. Hence, we ve always wanted to name our son Calvin. We can just imagine him imaginative, creative, has a mind of his own but totally lovable and fun. So when we learned from my ultrasound at 5 months that our baby is a boy (his penis was totally upright sort of like a preview of his naughtiness), we ve already started calling him Calvin.

It was also around this time when we started taking the Prepared Childbirth class of Chiqui. There is no other way for us but to do a natural childbirth. We have read about all the advantages and benefits that it brings to the father, mother and especially the child. Plus, I believe my tolerance for pain is really high and Reggie is so eager to be part of the birthing process as well. So the countdown begins&

Chiqui's classes: The classes were like the highlight of the week. We would eagerly look forward to Saturdays, take notes in the class and sponge up all the info that Chiqui is more than willing to share. I religiously did the Kegels and the squats and would walk every chance I can get. We are BRAVE and STRONG!!!

36 WEEKS: I am about 1 million pounds (180 lbs, actually) and have read and re-read What To Expect&I m getting anxious everyday and have started to dream about my delivery. Reggie is getting tired of assuring me that everything will be ok. I m so bloated and heavy. Calvin seems to be doing gymnastics inside. Everyone tells me that I will deliver later than expected because my belly is still high. WE CAN T WAIT ANYMORE!!!

38 WEEKS: My belly looks like a giant watermelon. It's perfectly round. Calvin does not seem to have any plans of coming out soon. I can t sleep anymore. Everyday I report for work I get the usual " You re still here?!?" I m walking 2 kms a day hoping for Calvin to go down. WE RE GETTING TIRED OF WAITING.

39 WEEKS: My OB-GY tells me I m still 1cm like last week. I ve been feeling pain everywhere. 2x I called my OB this week thinking I m on labor already. Calvin has settled down and does not seem to move so much anymore. OB tells me to have another ultrasound if I still haven t delivered on my 40th week. I m not afraid anymore. I just want to get it over with. WE WANT TO SEE OUR BABY!

39 WKS & 4 days: Labor pains. Real labor pains from my understanding of it. I can t move, talk or breath. I call my OB and she tells me to call again when the contractions are 5 minutes apart. HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT!

39 WKS & 5 days: I thought I was gonna give birth last night but the contractions are so erratic 5 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 10. Geez& My coach has given up timing my contractions. We haven t had sleep for 4 days. Are these for real or am I just imagining things??? We go to the hospital for an ultrasound. Calvin is cephalic and about 7+ lbs and I m 190 lbs. Anytime now.

39 WKS & 6 days, Sept 29, 9pm: THESE ARE FOR REAL. My OB tells me to go to the hospital when my bags of water break or when my contractions are 5-3 mins apart. We are so calm. My husband is religiously timing my contractions and trying to nap in between.

Sept 29 11:30 pm: 5 minutes. We gather our stuff to go to the hospital. This is probably the only time I ve seen my husband drive so slow considering we live in Sucat and I m giving birth at Cardinal Santos. My contractions are bearable. Everything under control.

Sept 30, 12mn: We get to the hospital and we do the SOPs. I m 3cms and 5 mins. I tell the resident that we are doing Lamaze (sorry Bradley, they are more familiar with that term). I tell her that I do not want an IV and an enema. We wait for a space at the labor room so they can do further tests. Wow!!! There are about a dozen mothers in the Labor Room.

Sept 30, 3am: I ve just been given a bed at the LR. My contractions are still 5 mins and I m 4 cms. Still bearable but increasing in intensity. I lose concentration because my coach can t be with me in the LR and they are attaching all these monitors to my belly.

Sept 30, 7am: I m reunited with my coach at our private room. We re supposed to call when my contractions are 3 mins. We concentrate and we concentrate hard not wanting to transfer to the Lamaze room until the last minute (the room rate is P1,500 for 1st 2 hrs and 250 every hour thereafter). My tolerance is thinning out. I m screaming at my coach for sleeping in between. I m in pain.

Sept 30, 3pm: Aaargghh!!! The contractions are so painful!!! I ve already told my husband to ask for medication. It's been hours and I m still 4cms. I m hungry, thirsty, tired and in so much pain. My OB gave us instructions to transfer to Lamaze room.

Sept 30, 6pm: Still free from medication. It seems like I got my second wind when we transferred rooms so I changed my mind about the anesthesia. I CAN DO THIS!!! I walk, breath, squat, watch the other moms give birth in the DR across. I ve seen the last of my batch in the LR give birth and I m still here! My coach is so alert. Calvin will be out soon&

Sept 30, 7pm: They break my bags of water so I would dilate faster (I m 5 cms now) explaining that the contractions will be on top of each other and that I wouldn t be able to walk anymore. TRUE!!! I have tears in my eyes and I can t seem to concentrate. There's practically no time to catch my breath. The contractions are longer and nearer to each other. They ve also given me an IV already.

Sept 30, 8pm: I m 6 cms and they tell me that I should dilate at least 1 cm/hr from hereon. ARE YOU KIDDING??!! 4 MORE HOURS OF THIS??!! Give me the shot and give it now! They give me pitolycin (am I right???) or some sort of medicine to induce dilatation further INSTEAD!

Sept 30, 9pm: 24 hours of labor. Still 6cms. They strap me to a fetal monitor. I talk to my husband seriously (I m dead serious now!) and tell him that I want that anesthesia. I m SOOO TIRED. He tells the OB. OB calls the Anesthesiologist. While waiting, Reggie talks to me lovingly while I cry feeling like a total failure. We ve talked about this moment remotely happening many times. It's been 24 hours and I choose to forgive myself.

Sept 30, 9:30 pm: They are giving me the EPIDURAL. I m curled up while my contractions are PAINFUL TO THE MAX!!! It slowly takes effect. Meanwhile, Calvin's fetal heartrate is falling. My OB doesn t like it. She suggests that we do a CS or wait a while longer, if we prefer. Reggie and I talk again from the looks of it I will not be dilating any further. I m still 6 cms after 2 shots of pitolycin. We give the OB a go. We don t want anything to happen to Calvin. They prepare for the emergency CS.

Sept 30, 10:00pm: Reggie is right beside me in the DR. He's instructing me to look straight into his eyes. My chin is shaking uncontrollably and I m so afraid for me and for our baby. They opened me up and told us that Calvin had meconium staining and that his umbilical cord is wrapped twice around his neck. All sorts of thoughts go through my head until I heard our baby cry at 10:52pm. The sweetest sound I ve ever heard!!! Reggie is taking pictures and describing everything that they are doing to our baby. Calvin is 8lbs 1oz and 54cms. I want to see my baby! Where is he???

Sept 30, 11:20pm: They bring Calvin to my breast swaddled in a blanket. He's so beautiful! I cry because I can t hold him in my arms (they are strapped to the table) and I tell him I love him instead.

Jan 1, 2001: Calvin is 3 months old. He's 19 lbs and 65 cms. He's a happy, breastfed baby and, I think, starting to show signs of mischievousness like the Calvin of the strip. He loves to smile and play and coo. He ll probably grow as tall as his Dad (6 4).

I've completely forgotten all the pain that I ve gone through and would gladly go through it again for our baby or for another baby. Though he was delivered via CS, Reggie & I bask in the experience. The Lord is good. He was with us the whole time orchestrating everything and He orchestrates well. As for giving birth naturally, maybe He will bless us with that the next time around...

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