Since I had given birth via C-section at Makati Medical Center (MMC) a month ago, I have received quite a few inquiries about my experience with Caesarean delivery: varying from why I did not give birth naturally, to the process of being checked in at MMC, to the duration of my operation, who my OB-gyne is, the recovery period; among many others. Thus, this blog post will quickly run through my delivery story from OB-Gyne selection, to going into labour, to actual child birth, and to my post-partum recovery (so far).
OB Gyne Selection
I did not have an OB Gyne prior to missing my period and finding out I was pregnant. However, after jumping from a few OB’s, I ended up with Dr. Mae Syki-Young, introduced by a friend. Turns out, I share the same OB with many other friends and acquaintances within my circle. It was also a pleasant surprise to find out that Dr. Mae is actually one of the most (if not the most) sought after OB-Gyne’s in MMC. She has clinics in St. Lukes BGC and MMC.
Generally, our OB prefers delivering babies naturally. Some reasons why OB’s would recommend C-section surgery are if (1) the mother has had C-section delivery previously; (2) the baby is too big to fit through regular vaginal delivery; (3) cervix won’t open.
In my case, my pelvic bone was too low and too narrow. Moreover, I had gained over 40lbs over the course of my pregnancy. Hence, unless the baby is small and less than six pounds, the risk was high that even if I attempted at normal delivery, I might still end up with C-section surgery.
On February 11, 2019, at Week 38 and 7 days, my husband Jacob and I agreed to pursue C-section for our baby Jake Dean’s delivery and scheduled it with Dr. Mae on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019.
Unfortunately, on the same day we made our decision after our consultation, I suddenly felt weak from minor contractions within that late afternoon which I dismissed as false labour. Multiple text exchanges with our OB later, by 11:45pm, we rushed to leave home to proceeded straight to MMC’s 5th floor where the delivery rooms were.
The receptionist at the 5th floor quickly asked us to fill up a form for personal details and brought me to the examination room where there were about three other women being assessed. They performed an internal examination on me and stated that my cervix was still only dilated at 1cm despite my strong contractions. While there, about three nurses approached me at separate occasions asking me similar questions about my full name, birth date, who my OB is, what the agreed delivery procedure was and why, my allergies, among others. I’d suggest preparing documents stating basic personal information to avoid needing to respond to repetitive queries about yourself.
I was later transferred to the labour room. Jacob and I opted for it over the birthing suite, not only because it’s less costly but more so since it’s just the two of us. I do not remember much other than being in so much distress, but I probably begged for pain alleviation medicines three or four times from 1:30am to 5:30am. These were inserted via IV-fluids but were not enough to appease the pain (literally the worst pain in my life, despite my reasonably high tolerance for pain). Evidently, there was no sleep at all for me, and of course, none for Jacob either due to all my screaming.
I’ve heard horror stories about the stinging stimuli from epidurals from other moms (who therefore encourage the Lamaze method instead in managing labour pains). I did not consider that as an option as I vehemently implored to be administered with the local anesthetic as soon as possible. My surgery was scheduled at 7am based on the time I reported for the last meal I consumed. So the epidural should have been done only a few minutes before the actual operation. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Raphael Tuazon, who by the way is heaven-sent, for coming much earlier at 5:30am to give me the epidural I desperately needed.
I recall being asked to sit up with my back facing Dr. Tuazon who shot the medication so smoothly and painlessly! I jerked at the first injection to my lower spine, but could not feel anything else afterwards. It took effect instantly, and I knocked out immediately.
I woke up when the nurses were pushing my bed to the operation room. I was so drowsy and shivering uncontrollably while they prepped me. I initially attributed it to the cold temperature in the OR. However, shaking is apparently a side effect of the epidural. Dr. Mae entered the room at 7:12am. Baby Jake Dean was born officially in February 12, 2019 at 2.98kg (6.57lbs, I prefer using pounds) at 7:24am. It took my OB only 12 minutes to cut me open and deliver Jake Dean. Dr. Tuazon who was closely monitoring my oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure, told me I might be bothered by some tugging in my abdomen from Dr. Mae’s surgery, but no pain. I literally did not feel anything at all though.
Post-surgery Recovery at MMC
I was taken to a recovery room where I believe I had to stay for a couple hours before I could be transferred to the Large Premium room we had reserved. The incision area was painful but nothing I could not tolerate. I felt tinges of pain when I tried to move a certain way, but it manifested primarily when I coughed or sneezed; it was difficult trying to control my allergic rhinitis. They had placed a binder on me to minimize the pain by compressing the wound, I later asked to have it changed to my Wink Postpartum Girdle just before I was discharged. I was not cleared to leave MMC until three days later, on February 15, 2019.
I did not stand up at all on the day of the operation. I had a catheter attached to manage my excretory needs, so restroom runs were no problem. My belly was bloated, and according to the nurses it would subside only after a few days; and it did within a week. My diet was mostly soft and clear liquid on the first day post-op.
I was able to walk after they removed the catheter the next day, but needed some help sitting up and getting off the bed, since pulling myself up would entail working my abdomen. Generally, by the time I was given an OK to leave the hospital, I was strong enough to walk without assistance, climb the stairs, and carry Jake to the car. My recovery process at home, of course, is another story.
During the time I was in our Large Premium, baby Jake stayed in the nursery to recover from his circumcision, performed by Dr. Mae Syki-Young as well. Jake was brought up to us the first two days only every three hours for feeding. The third day, when walking was easier for me, I would go to him instead to reduce stress on his end from being transferred back and forth from the nursery to my room. He did not finally stay in my room until my last night at MMC, which proved to be challenging because he kept crying and wanting to feed every hour
We were asked if we had a pediatrician in mind already; Jacob and I did not. So they assigned one to us based on Dr. Mae’s referral, Dr. Jose Enrique Clemente. Word around MMC is that he is one of the best in the field. I can’t attest much since it has only been a month and we’re not due for another check up until sometime end of March. So far so good though. He is very responsive to our concerns via SMS, which is immensely appreciated and significantly valuable to me!
C-section surgery is not as bad as it seems. The actual operation was not painful, recovery is tolerable, and even the incision wound is not as terrifying or physically unappealing as I had anticipated. I did not really prepare myself mentally coming into the decision for C-section, and I would probably recommend taking it as it goes, and not worry so much prior to the actual delivery… also because I believe nothing can ever make one ready enough for the severe pains of active labour until you actually experience it, then you’d just want the contractions to stop.
Regardless, the most fulfilling part is finally seeing the baby I’ve nurtured for so long in my belly; alive, healthy, and well. I realize that at least I’ve done something right over the past nine months, and have the remainder of my life to be a good mother to our new bundle of joy!