06/16/2014 - I went to my OB-Gyne as per her request. She wanted to IE me to check when I was due. Earlier that week, she required me to walk for at least one hour everyday. After the IE, she told me I was 1cm dilated and if things go accordingly, I am all set to give birth the next day. My heart was pounding like mad. Was I nervous or excited, I had no idea.
06/17/2014 (08:00) - Today is the day. I got up quite early. Little one was kicking like mad inside me. This never happened prior. Maybe he’s just as excited for the big reveal as I am. I ate a huge bowl of cereals and rechecked if I got everything inside my luggage.
The rain had started to pour really hard. We were on our way to the hospital and I texted Jennell (who was in school then) that I was about to be admitted. I was told that I was 3-4cm dilated, but oddly I couldn’t feel any contraction. After a couple of tests and interviews, I was sent to the labor room.
The labor room was empty. No beds, no anything. I was there lying in my bed, wired to a dextrose and several machines to monitor my stats. A med student doing his clerkship was asked to keep me company, with a resident OB who leaves every 20 minutes or so. The clock ticked and I still couldn’t feel any contractions even though the values on the monitor kept spiking regularly. They told me I had high tolerance for pain — I honestly don’t know. The resident OB kept her hand on my belly to manually record the contractions. It was quite funny and awkward. IE number i-don’t-know, and I still couldn’t feel anything except hunger and thirst. My last meal was lunch. I was starving so I kept sleeping to pass time. Another OB IE-ed me and told me I was around 8cm now and they started preparing to transfer me to the delivery room. Mmm, I still don’t feel anything.
06/18/2014 (~01:00) - 8cm and no progress. I couldn’t remember anymore which happened first: the doctors puncturing my water bag or administering an anesthetic down my spine. All I could remember was me muttering “oh my god” at the sight of my amniotic fluid and repetitively asking the doctors if I was supposed to feel anything.
And then there was pain. I could finally feel the contractions, and boy did they hurt. We started pushing. Everyone was asking me to push but it seemed like little one doesn’t one to come out. His heartbeat falls flat whenever I push and it was scary. After almost a dozen of attempts, I passed out. I tried to open my eyes and I could remember the doctors yelling and running in and out of the room. I was exhausted and groggy. Then I completely blacked out.
I woke up to a bright room with several others lying nearby. I was in the recovery room. Touching my tummy, I confirmed that I was done giving birth. A nurse approached me and told me they could transfer me to my room as soon as I can move both legs. I got transferred to my room after an hour or two. I was happy to see my family again, but I was told not to speak too much. I conversed by scribbling words on a small sheet of paper. People keep telling me how huge and cute my son was. I envy them as they could see him in the nursery. I still could’t move much.
06/19/2014 - I was told that little one can already room-in with me. My emotions were all over the place. I patiently waited.
And then I finally, finally saw my son. The nurses kept asking me if I wanted to hold him but I said nothing. I just stared at him — overjoyed. It took a while before I could mutter a soft “yes”. I held him close to me and felt him lightly breathing. He was so beautiful, and warm, and gentle.
For the first time in my life, I shed a tear out of happiness.
Joaquin Louis Manuel Portillo (8.2lbs; 54cm) was born via emergency cesarean section on 03:16 of June 18, 2014.