Of Second Tries, Natural Birth, and Being a Mom to Two

Two weeks ago, I became a mom to two.

While this may not be a big deal for other more experienced moms, it's one of the biggest events in my life as a 22-year old mom still wading through the waters of parenting.

Last September 9, I gave birth to Cyrus Alexander Drake. A healthy baby boy, he weighed at 8.2 lbs, is 53 cm in length, and earned an Apgar score of 9.9 (I didn't know babies were given grades till the pediatrician came along with the pamphlet).

What makes him special though is how he was brought into this world.

First, a C-Section

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Holly, I had to undergo a Caesarean section due to cord coil. My cervix wasn't going beyond a centimetre for three straight days, so my obstetrician decided to perform the operation. The recovery was no easy process, but I was able to get back up on my feet and enjoy two years of happiness raising my little girl from infancy to toddlerhood.

Two years later and a long scar on my belly to preserve the memory, I was pregnant again. This time, I wanted to birth this baby naturally. I told my husband, my family, and my obstetrician, and thankfully they all supported this decision. Apparently, there's this assumption that once you've been hacked with your first baby, it's going to be the same procedure for all of your succeeding births. I wanted to change that for myself.

And the Uncertainty Kicks In

Prenatal checkups went by smoothly, although I had to keep reminding my OB that I'm going for a natural birth.

The phrase of the day each time I visit is "try for natural birth" with uncertainty oozing out of it. Once I reached my 37th week though, that's when the panic and worry began to kick in. Was I really capable of giving birth naturally to an eight-pound baby boy? Would his size and the fact that this is going to be my first time birthing vaginally lower my chances? If it will resort to another C-Section, how will I be able to cope with the pains now that I'm at Manila, far from the comforts of my provincial home?

There was only one way to find out, and that's to wait till I go into labor. It wasn't long though before I started experiencing those nasty Braxton Hicks contractions at 3-minute intervals and several water bag leaks. My husband and sister brought me to the hospital and as it turned out, I'm already 1.5 cm open. I could have gone home and waited for it to progress, but since I was already leaking I had to be confined to avoid infection.

The Final Stretch

The memory of labor two years ago wasn't as clear to me as it was for this birth.

I had to lie on a stiff hospital bed for three days straight with only my sanity and random interactions with the nurses to keep me intact. I watched and listened as mothers were wheeled in and out of the labor rooms, screaming and moaning their hearts out till their babies' cries filled the room.

Lying there, I'd ask myself if I was strong enough to handle all this, considering that my threshold of pain is as thin as a breadstick. I prayed, I consoled myself, I talked my baby through the heartbeat thingamajig beside me, and I silently waited for my turn.

Eventually, I progressed from 1.5 to 2-3 cm, 3-4, 5-6, 6-7, then 7-8. I am now screaming and moaning in my bed, squeezing and pulling my pillow for support. I had to be sedated twice to cope with the labor pains. After the second dose, I woke up to one of the nurses telling me that I was almost 10cm open, dilated, and that she's gonna teach me how to bear down. This was it—the moment I've been waiting for 40 whole weeks.

As much as I want to say that I pushed and pushed till the baby popped out of me, it didn't. My efforts didn't help bring the baby's head down because of his size and a double cord coil around his neck. There were two choices left for this situation: a C-section or low forceps. Thankfully, my doctor didn't give up on me. She went for the latter and managed to pull the baby out safely.

I Survived

01:27 AM. Hearing his cries for the first time and after what seemed like two hours of non-stop torture, I was speechless. I was dumbfounded over the fact that I was still conscious after all that has happened.

When it finally dawned onto me that I have just given birth to a baby boy naturally, I burst into tears. The feelings inside were a mixture of fear, emotional stress, and happiness. I managed to survive what was the most painful, traumatic, and life-changing experience a mother could go through, despite the risks and the uncertainties. And having been able to birth Cyrus naturally and after a C-section is a big deal for everyone at the hospital. I received plenty of congratulations, all of which were not short of surprise.

Two weeks after, at the morning hour of 5, I sit here smiling at the thought of having brought two beautiful children into this world. Being able to address Holly and Cyrus as "the children" stirs butterflies of happiness and excitement in my stomach. I can now look forward to many years as a mother to two, watching them grow together as siblings and best friends.

One thing's for sure, I would not be where I am today without prayer, hope, inner strength, and the love and care of all my family and friends. In fact, the piece of advice that has sustained me throughout both pregnancies and both births came from my mother: "As each day passes, things will get better."

Cheers to the next twenty to thirty years of motherhood.

Stef Gonzaga is a 22-year old mom, a freelance writer, an online shopper, and a tech maniac. Read about her life at The Steffi G. Blog, learn everything you need to know about freelancing at The Freelance Pinoy, or connect with her via Twitter @stefgonzaga.


Naomi said...

Once again, congratulations on your second baby Steffi. This story brought tears in my eyes! Felt like I was the one there on the hospital bed. boy, I actually felt your relief in the part where Cyrus finally came out. And almost another C-section! thank your for sharing dear. will be praying for your full recovery. BIG HUG.

Kelly said...

We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Do you feel that you can take on the world now, that you don't have to take any BS from anybody, after the birthing experience? 'Coz that was how I felt! Hahaha.

Congratz Steffi!

Kelly-- survivor, mother of 3 naturally birthed baby boys

Naomi said...

Mommy Kels, best signature ever! :))

Anonymous said...

Mommy Kels, yes with a capital Y! And your signature is the best.

We are all survivors—strong women physically and emotionally. Even though childbirth comes with pain of the highest level, it is a gift only we moms are blessed with, and one that brings out the most powerful in us.

Naomi, thank you! I'm still experiencing aches and burning sensations from time to time, but it's bearable now that two weeks have passed. Thank you for all the encouragement and support!

Love always,

Krazelle said...

Congrats Stef! This post is an inspiration. I hope I'll do a VBAC like you the next time I'm with child. I'd really like to experience natural birth as well.. :)

Anonymous said...

Krazelle, thank you so much! I didn't know Ia was a C-section baby.

If the time for another little one does comes, just let your ob-gyne know that you'd like to go for a VBAC. Considering that C-sections are the trend nowadays, you'll need to voice out your birthing options as early as the first prenatal checkup. :)

Krazelle said...

Yup! I had pre-eclampsia so they had to take her out via CS :/ Thanks for the advice! I would really do that and hopefully my OB would be okay with my decision. :)

Ronnie Maurillo said...

Upon reading your story I got hooked!
Really amazing... I admire Moms like you!
Keep it up and Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ronnie, thank you! So far, life has been nothing but surprises. :)

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