The day I delivered my babies was both completely blurry and seared indelibly into memory.
They turned out to be exactly what I’ve always prayed for throughout my six years of hopefulness.. They are my perfectly healthy babies:
1) Madeenah Az-Zahraa (means: The radiant city of Islam, Beautiful & Smart)
2) Mayeesha Ar-Rawdah (means: Gentle & Bright, The Garden of Paradise)
They were born at 36 weeks, weighing 2.4kg and 2.6kg respectively at 9.17am and 9.19am on 8th December 2016.
Ironically, I have always loved December, not only that it is also my birth month (which I no longer celebrate due to religious beliefs), but because I always felt that at the end of it, we’ll get a chance to close the doors on all of the things that didn’t go our way. We can start afresh all over again by clearing the year’s calendar and pick up a brand new one. December and I fit hand-in-glove because I am romantic in every sense of the word. I am passionate about everything! I am over the top sentimental, ‘flowery’ and my mind thrives on beautiful thoughts and things! I am starry-eyed and I just love fresh new beginnings. I feel a boundless awakening mixed with emotional wonderment every time it’s December and the 2016 one was truly special with the arrival of my twin princesses 2 days before my birthday! What a beautiful start, Maa Shaa Allah.
I think I was weighing at a hefty 80kilos days before I deliver???! (Penguin passing through, make way make way!)..
Medical check-ups, scanning and what not were all smooth sailing. I must emphasize that everything was utterly breezy for me at the KKH Private Suite and I am so thankful to have a gynae who is neutral on birth plans. From the moment I met my doctor when I was having twins, he advised that a scheduled c-section would be my best option but he was also open to natural birth. He was confident to do both options and had always asked me to relax and let things flow naturally. But on my 35th week visit check-up, he decided that it was safest for me to deliver the twins via c-section, especially since baby B was still in a breech position (Mayeesha’s usual antics! Sleeping like a clock & always rolling & turning that one!) At the time I blew it off and did not think twice about it since giving birth always frightened me anyways. Like many moms do, I suppose, I went back home and started researching what exactly goes on during c-section… I had difficulties sleeping towards the end of my pregnancy so I was on youtube all night watching birth videos with Sazrin’s loud snores in the background (LOL!). I watched all those gory scenes and the whole operation process just to be certain that I know what exactly would be done to me. Not only was I scared during the whole 3rd trimester, I sort of already knew that natural birth was not in my favor either, so I just redha…
The Actual Day
After a long, surreal lead-up to my scheduled c-section, there was nothing left to do but deliver some twins. (keep in mind this was a scheduled c-section, not an emergency, there were no immediate health dangers to either myself or the babies. An emergency c-section, I would imagine, would be rather different. So, remember to read this through the lens of a planned, non-emergent c-section).
That morning, Sazrin was actually sleeping when the alarm sounded at 5 a.m. whereas I only managed to ‘tidur-tidur ayam’ from the night before (guess I was too restless!). I peeled my enormously pregnant body from the bed and got in the shower. I shampooed, conditioned, blow-dry my hair and put on some light makeup. Sazrin couldn’t understand why I would bother, but of course I would! Cos I knew there would be pictures and it might be a very long time before I managed such a feat again.
For the last time as a family of two, we left the house hand in hand at 6.30am, a quiet and chilly Thursday morning that was. CTE was smooth, and we reached KKH Women’s and Children’s Hospital about 20 minutes later. We also had the privilege to choose a nice parking spot as there were not many cars around at that time (so rare!).
We were expected to make our way to the Admissions centre to check in for labour and delivery, at the same desk we had seen on our maternity ward tour when the reality of this day seemed infinitely far off as if it were on another planet instead of just weeks away. This time, it was we who were checking into the hospital to deliver babies, and it was still too enormous to process. I was like a walking zombie, starving, cock-eye (cos I hadn’t had much sleep), heavy, itchy and so so so thirsty (I had to fast from the night before)! All I could think about was that spinal thing they do and whether or not I would feel them cutting me open. Not to mention that I will be having TWO BABIES that morning itself which would change my life forever!
It was sort of strange, sitting there with Sazrin waiting to be rolled to the operating room. I wasn’t nervous at this point. I don’t think it had quite hit me yet. It felt a little bit like a random doctor appointment, but with more equipment.
At that time, I felt relieved as I was surrounded by the birth team of my dreams: my husband and my long time ‘go-to’ gynae along with his team of professionals. Throughout the whole birth, as things came up (and there were a few surprises), I felt totally cared for, respected, heard, and secure in the choices that my birth team and I were making. They did a practice cut on my skin, and I thought I could feel it (I freaked out) but they said I was numb. My gynae then announced that he was making the uterine incision. There was absolutely no pain, but I felt slight pressure, tugging and pulling. It seemed like a long minute, but in hind-sight it was really nothing.
Once the babies were out, Sazrin was asked to leave the operating room while I was stitched up for about 10 – 15 minutes. I was so glad that Sazrin was there with me throughout the entire time to witness our babies’ arrival. As soon as my gynae was done, he congratulated me and said goodbye and I was rolled back into the recovery area where Sazrin was waiting. Awhile later, a mid-wife and a couple of nurses came to my bedside wheeling two baby cots with my babies in them. Such unexplained feeling.
Visitors and Hospital food…
My family arrived shortly after I delivered and we spent some time visiting with them. At the beginning, there was a lot going on because they were all anxious to carry the babies and would accidentally placed them at their wrong cots. This caused a red light to flash and the alert system to go off. For all we know, nurses would start swarming into my room to check what was going on. This happened quite a few times!.. So embarrassing. But if baby and cot are correctly matched, the tag will flash a green light and there will be a sound of musical chime. A corresponding tag was also placed on my wrist, in addition to the usual identity bands that were placed on babies’ ankles. I was very impressed with KKH’s baby tagging features to give us greater assurance that there’ll be no babies mix up whatsoever.
At this point my pain level was at a 1, on a scale of 1-10. Very minor. And it pretty much remained that way for the duration of my recovery. I stayed on top of my painkillers and took them every time they were offered. The nurses also arranged for me to have customised compression stockings (they got someone to come in my room to take measurements of my legs and they were ready within an hour, amazing!). I tried to get up and walk around on the same day after surgery to prevent my legs from swelling. But I needed a lot of help getting out of the hospital bed, going to the bathroom, and pulling my disposable panties up though.
Food has always been important to me, but never has a meal been elevated to such extreme importance as the first post-birth meal. My children’s birth is marked not just by the swell of love I had for them when I first laid eyes upon their precious beings, but by what deliciousness I devoured shortly after they were born. I was so so hungry and thirsty! I had been fasting from the night before remember?! So, in honor of the awesomeness after delivery, I felt that I very much deserve a warm hearty meal. And what would be better than thick luscious chicken tikka masala on the menu card?! I think the one I had during my hospital stay was the best I’ve ever tasted! Actually, I’m not quite a fan of Indian cuisine, but during and after birth, I had cravings for chapati, naan, briyani, dhal and anything Indian almost everyday because pregnancy and giving birth messes with my mind like that! LOL!
The nurses and doctors also came to surprise me with a cake since my birthday was on that Saturday, 10th December.. so I had huge slices of it, Yummmms!
We left the hospital on Sunday 11th December, 3 days after the surgery. We were both very ready to get home. At that point I was moving around quite well once I was up, but still needed help getting up and down. Very thankful to have my mum and aunty to help manage the babies for us.
Once we were home, I felt great. I was still a little sore, but it was so comfortable to be home and in my own bed. At this point I was also still taking the painkillers regularly. The baby cot we bought months prior was finally filled up with its occupants. It felt so good and relieved to watch them getting all comfy in there. Finally, our home is complete and no longer empty.
Every night, Sazrin would set up the bed with lots of pillows for me to sleep on an incline. He also slipped a pillow under my knees to keep my knees bent. I wasn’t read to stretch out completely flat cos I was paranoid that the cut might tear! He helped me get up, and lay back down, during the night. As far as going to the bathroom, I was able to do that on my own once I was home but it was still painful when I pee. Bathing wise, Sazrin placed a stool for me to bathe and sit in the shower which I did for almost two weeks!
Within about 5 days of arriving back home, I had tapered off my painkillers and was just taking Sangobion every morning, together with Polleney’s fish essence and Herbal soups that my mum had prepared every morning. I felt really good and almost back to normal. The swelling kept going down too, which I was really happy about. My incision was healed completely and I haven’t had any pain but every once in awhile, I do have a minor sharp pain when I stand up, but it goes away very quickly.
3 weeks after delivery (and after getting the green light from my gynae), I started with my post natal massage with the same makcik I had for all my prenatal massages. I took up the 7-days package which includes full body massage, sengkak, ganggang, herbal ball therapy together with all of the pilis, jamu and bengkung. The joy of motherhood is often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as water retention, bloatiness, body aches, cramps, fatigues and mood swing, therefore, post natal massage is very important to help mothers relieve the stress and anxieties associated with pregnancy, childbirth & motherhood.
And now, almost 6 months post-surgery, I feel 100% myself. I try to go for a walks almost everyday even though it is just at the nearby park or Mall.
I am very, very thankful that I had such a smooth procedure and recovery. I think part of the reason I bounced back so quickly is because I stayed active throughout the majority of my pregnancy (if u see my Instagram/FB pictures you’d know what I mean, I cannot sit still, LOL!)
To those who are having c-sections: I hope this was informative and helped ease your mind! It really wasn’t that bad, and the hype and anticipation of it was far more dramatic than the procedure itself.
On the contrary, I think there is still a considerable percentage of mothers in our society who tend to brag about experiencing the pain of real labour. I admit that enduring the intense pain caused by giving birth naturally deserves recognition. Nevertheless, it does not give them the right to feel superior than those who were hurried to the operation theatre or being scheduled for a c-section because Allah had put trials on them like having their babies in a position unfit for a natural birth.. so, who are we to go against the nature and who are we to judge?..
Irrespective of the delivery method, every mother endures pain and hardships during pregnancy, labour, and for the rest of her life for her children. Therefore, all moms are worth praising! Sending you love!