I decided to work as long as possible into my pregnancy as
here in Hong Kong we only get 10 weeks maternity leave. So
if, like most people, you take 2 weeks off before your due
date and then your baby arrives late, you might only get 8
weeks to bond, before having to return to work. As I was fit
and feeling relatively well, apart from looking like a whale,
I decided to carry on working until my due date - October
13, and you guessed it, it was a Friday. Well, as it happened,
I didn't have to work up until then because on the morning
of Sunday October 8 I woke at around 4.45am feeling really
hungry, struggled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen.
I opened the fridge and starting eating the contents - dried
mango, cheese, crackers - loaded up a big plate grabbed a
bottle of water and headed to the living room to watch some
TV. I was up and didn't feel like going back to sleep. I finished
off the food and half the 2 litre bottle of water and watched
a rugby match between Harlequins and someone - very exciting.
After all the water I'd drunk I needed to go the toilet and
noticed that I had some blood stained discharge (yuk!). I
didn't quite know what to make of this, but didn't have to
wait long before the contractions started! They were nothing
much at first, and very low down, similar to period pains.
This carried on for half an hour. During this time I double
checked the hospital bag and walked around the flat, singing!
Poor neighbours - remember this was a Sunday morning around
5.30am. At 6am I woke my husband up to tell what was happening,
he suggested taking a bath, which I thought was a good idea.
I had a lovely deep lavender bath which I managed to sit in
for 50 mins, again singing at the top of my voice, "You
are my sun-shine my only sun-shine." During this time
the contractions continued getting closer together, now they
were just 15-20 mins apart. We phoned the hospital after I
got out of the bath just to let them know that I was in labour,
and the midwife told me to stay at home as first labours usually
last around 12-16 hours. Little did they know! She also recommended
that I have some breakfast, toast and a cup of tea and use
a hot water bottle to ease the pain - but whilst I was on
the phone to her my contractions started speeding up and getting
more painful, and I was only on the phone to her for 15 minutes
max. I ordered my hubby into action: tea, toast and hot water
bottle, but by the time he returned I could hardly stand the
pain. I tried to eat the toast but felt sick however I would
recommend the hot water bottle - it really worked.
We decided to head up to the hospital, we don't have a car
so hubby went to catch a cab with the bag and I plodded on
behind. Had another contraction whilst waiting for a cab and
then headed up the hill to the private hospital - The Matilda
- which is about a 30-40 minute journey - thankfully it was
a Sunday morning so the traffic was very light. I then had
several more contractions on the way - the taxi driver was
looking very nervous!
Arrived at the hospital at 8.15 am to be greeted by a lovely
midwife, we were taken to a private room when I suddenly needed
the toilet. She helped me into the bathroom and I was surprised
to find I was bleeding, but she told me not to worry so I
didn't. I still have no idea what this was! They monitored
me for 15 minutes and she confirmed I was in labour then I
had an internal and was told I was 5cm - wow, after just 2
½ hours! I started walking around but was finding it
more and more difficult, and was offered gas & air which
I accepted. But I also practiced my breathing exercises from
yoga. I had kept up with my yoga
all through the pregnancy and now was the time to found out
if I'd learnt anything. I tried several positions, standing,
sitting but found it more comfortable lying on the bed, which
is supposed to slow things down. In my case it didn't, and
within the hour I felt the need to push. I was wheeled in
to the labour room - my first time in a wheel chair - boy,
did I feel silly. My doctor arrived at 9.30am and said I had
to hurry up because he wanted to get home to watch the Grand
Prix! By the way in Hong Kong your doctor usually delivers
the baby - for which you pay an arm and a leg but you feel
like royalty. He examined me - I was 8cm - and he then broke
my waters, which I have to say was lovely - warm water gushing
down your legs - then the pain kicked in. The contractions
were coming thick and fast and before I knew it, it WAS time
to push. I pushed for 20 minutes, but the baby's head was
too big and I need an episiotomy, which I was trying to avoid.
Well, never mind, and then out he came. It felt wonderful
to be able to feel him sliding out and what a relief.
William was born at 10.44am on Sunday October 8, he weighed
exactly 7lbs and measured 50cm.
William has made such a difference to our lives already; he's
such a happy little boy. He's now 10 months old and a whopping
25lbs and 78cm - we're now planning number 2 and hoping that
the labour will be just as brief.
Alicia coped so well with labour and is now turning into a
wonderful mother - I've very proud of them both.