*fair warning (again)-I share a few birth details in here that you may not want to read-this is a birth story after all.* ;-)
Roughly 5:30 pm?
We weren’t halfway to Sarah’s house (she only lived a ten min drive away) when I felt a “POP”. There truly is no better way to describe it, but immediately following that “pop”, and it was audible too, at least to me it was, I felt a gush. Thank God for those towels! :)
Here’s where it got really fun. Haha! No, really, it did. It felt like I was in a game trying to stay balanced in the van while Mom drove through rush hour traffic, all the while taking directions from Mason and I, and I was the only one who really knew exactly where we were going! I kept having to pop my head up to see where we were and the try to give instructions between contractions. It was pretty comical to me. We passed Sarah’s apartments and I laughingly had to redirect Mom to come back around. We zipped in and out of the entrance and Mason hopped up front, letting Sarah tend to me in the back. I have to give a huge shout out to Sarah for her support the remainder of the ride and into the hospital. Her hand on my contracting belly as well as her reassuring words and reminders to breathe kept me calm and focused, and we all had it in the back of our minds that, if we needed it, she had some level of emergency birth preparedness!
I’m guessing at the time here, but I believe it was a few minutes after 7pm when we arrived at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul. We purposefully avoided the ER entrance and opted for the main entrance where we could make our way up to the Maternity floor by ourselves. The last thing I wanted to do was to be in the midst of the craziness I had witnessed walking through the ER (during a previous visit)! Mom dropped us off and Sarah and Mason proceeded to help me inside. Mason tried to get me in a wheelchair, but there was no way I was sitting at this stage (keep in mind, we had no idea how far along I was, but I just knew I couldn’t sit). A sweet young Korean man tried to bring me a wheelchair also, which would make sense because I walked a few yards as quickly as I could before having to stop to breathe through a contraction. It was at this point that I realized Mason was limping, and I asked him what happened to his leg. Apparently he had injured himself playing softball that afternoon! It had to have taken us a solid 15 minutes just to get across the long lobby to the elevators, and sure enough I had a contraction several yards from the elevator doors, so we missed our first “ride” up.
We arrived on the maternity floor and were instantly greeted, realizing the staff on call had no idea we were coming! Apparently the message didn’t make it from the second floor International Clinic up to L&D. That meant, my doctor wasn’t there, and the resident shot us a snide remark along the lines of, “This is why you call and tell us you’re coming!” No joy stolen here-we knew it was time to meet our girl. Sure enough, it wasn’t but a few minutes in the room, changing into my lovely Korean maternity L&D gown (they are actually pretty great-buttons up the front so you’re covered and have easy access for breastfeeding) that they had me get into bed so they could see how far I really was. Let me tell you, trying to hike your leg up onto a hospital bed when you are mid-contractions and can’t sit is pretty crazy. I really wouldn’t say that I had been in “pain” before this next phase, but when they had me lay on my back to check my progress, I was in PAIN! I went from uncomfortable, experiencing pressure and waves of contractions and tightening to OWWWWW!!! *lesson learned-laboring on your back is a BAD idea if you want to actually endure it pleasantly.* After the nurse had checked me, she looked right at me and I felt her press her hand to my perineum (holding Maddy’s head in). She looked me straight in the eye and said, “NO push!” and then yelled to the rest of the staff “DELIVERY!”
I was immediately rolled in my labor bed to the delivery room, where I was instructed to transfer myself to the delivery table/bed. WHAT? I think I must have looked at them like they had three heads! During the several minutes it took me to hike myself over, the resident confirmed a few requests that were in my chart and then asked if I wanted an epidural. “NO!” Really? I want you to just let me have my baby…I can’t even sit up, and I specifically said that I didn’t want one, so why are you asking?! Wasn’t the nurse just holding her head in? Yeah let’s just get this over with already. The nurses were flying in high gear around me, but I was pretty alone in the room, and adamantly asked, “Where is my husband?!” No one had made it into the delivery room with me yet, but I was NOT going to intentionally push until he was at my side. Thankfully, Mom had been able to park and find her way up with the camera, and was hearing what all was going on inside and nudged Mason into the room.
It wasn’t but two pushes from this point and Madeleine was born at 7:57 pm Korea time on May 23, 2012!
Mom and Sarah had made it in the room too, and helped get some great pictures of Maddy’s first moments with us.
And this picture explains why Mason hadn’t made it in the room sooner…he was busy following orders to put a gown, cap and mask on!
And, as you can see, Mom obliged their request to a certain extent, but got her hands on Maddy as soon as she could. :D I was so grateful that my Mom was able to be there for not just my first birth experience, but for her first grandchild’s birth!
Finally back in our room (I was in recovery for some time after all of that), resting and soaking up the best newborn snuggles of all time. Happy Birthday, Madeleine Caillat!
For Part 1, go here.
Part 2 continues here.
Part 3 is here!