Giving Birth


I kind of have the impression that the world was on a wild baby boom last 2013 and it seems that 2014 will be no different. Having given birth to two adorable boys via the same method but under different circumstances, here is my two cent’s worth.
Finding the Right Doctor and Hospital
I had different doctors for my two boys, mainly because we moved houses and my old doctor/hospital became more than an hour’s drive, which would be disastrous if I suddenly get stuck in traffic while going into labour. So hubby and I decided to have our second baby at the nearest hospital, which also necessitated the need for a new obstetrician, as my old one wasn’t accredited at the new hospital. I did a lot of online research on our doctor (in short, stalking and snooping; let’s hope she’s not reading this, hahaha), didn’t find anything bad, so I was basically satisfied. She was also highly recommended by one of hubby’s friends so that sealed the deal for us.
Among our other considerations were the facilities, convenience, and the cost. Since our hospital is a top-notch brand spanking new one and is just ten minutes away from our house (St. Luke’s at Fort Bonifacio Global City), that ticks off the first two factors. Again doing some online research (you can try this link for 2013 prices to give you an idea), I made comparisons among the other hospitals near us and luckily, our hospital offered competitive maternity packages wherein I ended up paying even less than for my first delivery. It did mean though that I had to endure a semi-private room since St. Luke’s didn’t offer private room packages. I don’t like sharing rooms but I just told myself it’s just for two days anyway. The hospital doesn’t get crowded too and I didn’t have to share my room after all. 
Rooming in
I once thought that it would be a very nice idea if my newborn baby stayed with me immediately after birth but looking back, I realize this wasn’t the best scenario. First, it didn’t allow me time to recuperate and recover at least some of my strength before I had to take care of him. In fact, I was still in the recovery room and I was already breastfeeding and barely had time to sleep during my two day-stay since, as we all know, babies almost always wake up and need to be fed every two hours.  
This was totally opposite from when I had our firstborn – I had a full day to rest on my own, and was given the option to just inform the nurses and my doctor if I am ready to take care of my baby. I slept almost the entire first day and by the second day, I was recharged enough to endure taking care of him without feeling as if my body had the flu.

Anesthetics
I have a high pain tolerance so I basically only require the anesthesia almost when I am about to get in the delivery room. I had the epidural with Georgie, administered when I was already in delivery room (told you, I have high tolerance – I managed through the entire labor without any anesthetics and only asked for one as I was to be wheeled into the delivery room) and the general one with Joey, although I wasn’t fully knocked out during the delivery. 
My preference? Well, I can’t exactly remember all the details of my labor with Joey – I do recall shouting back at my doctor, refusing to push anymore, and remembering being so groggy that I slept for such a long time. But I do remember the details of my labor with Georgie under epidural. What I didn’t like was not feeling the contractions as they come – I mean, my doctor had to tell me there’s a contraction before I knew to push. 
I also had a very bad after childbirth experience related to epidural anesthesia which is why I am not particularly fond of it – one day after being discharged, I was back in the hospital because of spinal headaches so bad I was crying of pain and throwing up whenever I had to walk the short distance from our bedroom to the comfort room. I didn’t even want to eat because eating would mean I would have to sit up and the headaches would come again (the unique thing about spinal headaches is that you only feel them when sitting or standing up; they’re almost entirely gone when you lie back down). Turns out, the needle used for my epidural punctured my spine and the fluid leaked out. Researching a bit on this, I found out this is fairly common for back operations – 4 out of 10 experience it; but relatively rare for childbirth, where occurrence is around 1% only. (Un)luckily for me, I just had to belong to that “elite” 1%. 
Spinal headache is the worst kind I’ve experienced so far. I am not joking when I say I literally saw black spots swirling and that I wanted to hit my head on the wall if only to knock me out and numb the pain.
There are various ways to treat spinal headaches, the most extreme would be to insert another needle and inject some of my own blood into the exact spot where the puncture happened, hoping that the blood will clot and cover the puncture. But we did the non-invasive course first – bed rest and lots of fluid. Three days of non-stop IV (hence, the puffy cheeks when I finally got home), strong painkillers both taken orally and via IV, and being stuck on a hospital bed rid me of the more painful headaches. On the 4th day, I was feeling well enough to continue resting at home. 
Enjoy
Okay, giving birth may not be enjoyable, and I know a lot of women who dread it, but just think that at the end of it all- you’d have a bouncing little bundle of joy that makes it all worthwhile.
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