Xi En waves hullo to the world!

10 weeks after my water bag ruptured , our miracle boy – Xi En – finally arrived into this world on 31st July 2009 through an emergency caesarean (c-sect). We concluded that he decided to arrive in time to celebrate Daddy’s and Mummy’s 12th year “dating anniversary”. His parents decided to “park tor” (date officially) on 31st July 1997. 🙂

We are thankful that God has really been in control of the whole situation. From an initial situation where many doctors do not even dare to place much hope in our case (at an early gestational age of 21+ weeks) to the current birth of our miracle baby (at 31+ weeks); we knew that only God could have done this. What happened on the eventful day? Ethen Chen Xi En’s birth journey as below:

31st July 2009; 7am

I started with my regular cadiotocograph (CTG) reading early in the morning. The reading showed that baby was a little “sleepy” and there wasn’t enough variation in his heartbeat. One of the obstetrician (Dr L) whom I trusted the most, was on her regular rounds and came by to see me. She decided to ask me to repeat the CTG readings. Initially I was reluctant mainly because I had to repeat such readings so often in the past and most of the time, the end results remained in the “safe” zone. However, I kind of felt that I needed to “follow” instructions today.

31st July 2009; 10+am

I repeated a 2nd CTG reading. This time, baby’s heartbeat showed one deceleration. The medical officer who signed for the readings requested a 2nd repeat on the readings.

31st July 2009; 2+pm

This is the 3rd CTG reading for the day. This time round, there were 2 decelerations in baby’s heartbeat. I became concerned and knew that a journey to the labour ward seemed unavoidable. Asked mum to pack my bag to get ready. Sure enough, within 1/2 hour, I was told to proceed to the delivery suite for continuous monitoring.

31st July 2009; 4+pm

During the admission at the delivery suite; I even requested for a “window view” as I was a “regular” there and thought that it will be just “another one of those times” (I didn’t knew what was coming up!). Kim rushed down and bought some of my favourite food to “celebrate” our 12 years of being together. 🙂 I was strapped onto the CTG machine immediately and left there for monitoring.

31st July 2009; 7+pm

It was a surprise that we found out that Dr L happened to be the overall senior doctor on duty for the night! Praise the Lord! We knew that she is seldom roster for duty and thus is thankful that she is the doctor-in-charge for the night (we knew that if anything is to happen, we will be in safe hands). She came by to see me and said that she had to attend to an emergency c-sect for another patient and will come by thereafter. Meanwhile, baby’s heartbeat continued to show several decelerations…..

31st July 2009; 8+pm

This stay at the delivery suite proved to be different. We were paying close attention to the CTG machine and it began to dawned upon us that baby’s heartbeat was decelerating drastically and recovering at a very slow pace. I started experiencing contractions too. With every contraction, baby’s heartbeat was compromised. We knew that “something” was brewing up. As Dr L was still away, 2 other medical officers attended to me with a fair bit of apprehension written all over their eyes and movements. I was praying hard for Dr L to come back asap. At the right moment, she walked in; checked me, read the graphs and turned to us saying in her ever calm voice – “This is it. We are delivering baby tonight.” Though we are “expecting” it, we were still blow away by what was coming up.

31st July 2009; 9+pm

It was an organised team of midwives, doctors, anaesthetists, nurses and etc who got me ready; pushed me into the operating theatre within minutes, got my half body sedated and comforted me at the same time. I can never be fully prepared for such an event. Shivers and cold sweat kept running through my entire body. Dr L was great – she came next to me; explained some necessary risks in such an operation but assured me that they will do their best. I am thankful God answers prayers. We had always wanted her to deliver Xi En when the time is right; but we knew we didn’t have a choice of doctors as we were on subsided rates. It had to be a “God-incident” that Dr L “happened” to be on duty, finished the other c-sect in time to deliver Xi En. 🙂

31st July 2009; 10+pm

The operation was a success. Dr L went out to tell Kim that mother and child is safe. I was wheeled into the post-operation room and thereafter transferred back to the normal ward once my condition stabilised.

Once out, Kim told me the neo-natal doctors were working on baby; he didn’t get a chance to see our precious baby yet. He needed a lot of help due to his pre-maturity and lack of amniotic fluid. We were relieved that baby was delivered; but couldn’t rest till we knew he was “safe”. Kim went back to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) several times to get more updates. I couldn’t sleep without at least seeing a photo of him…seriously which parents could rest without seeing their new born at all? Finally at 3+ am, the doctors allowed Kim one glimpse and one photo of Xi En to bring back to to the waiting mother. 🙂

When Kim registered his birth certificate, he commented that this paper is probably worth more than any other certificates he has held in his entire life. I couldn’t agree less. After 10 weeks of anticipation, it is no wonder that the harvest tasted sweet to the farmer. 🙂

Ethen Chen Xi En's birth cert

Currently, our little fighter is progressing well in NICU. He started from a big ventilator to a small ventilator to zero dependency on ventilator. From numerous tubes on his small body to just 2 tubes yesterday as well. 6 days after his birth, he cried for the first time; a good sign to show that he is working his lungs! He had also started feeding on breast milk and yesterday, Kim could touch and stroke him for the first time too! (making me so jealous that I wasn’t there to join him… another motivation for me to recover asap!). We are hopeful that very soon, he can “graduate” from the NICU and move on to the step-down unit and subsequently to the special care nursery! 🙂

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

Week 29 to 30+ : In and out of…. DELIVERY WARD (a.k.a prison cell)

This was probably of one of worst weeks @ KKH for us (that’s beside the first week when I was admitted). 2 Sundays back, I started having abnormal readings on the cardiotocograph machine (commonly known as the CTG machine). Most mums will know that this is the machine which is strapped onto the tummy once you go reached the hospital during labour. I was “ordered” to go to the delivery suite immediately after one of the daily monitoring readings. That’s because baby’s heartbeat showed signs of decelerations and I was having early contractions too. After much haggling with the registrar-on-duty that fateful Sunday night, I relented and was sent to the delivery suite. I was almost left with “no choice” when she called me on my mobile and said “ You have come so far, I don’t want you to lose your baby! I strongly advise you to go to the delivery suite NOW for closer monitoring. You can’t wait for your husband to come either; just go NOW”. That’s was almost 12 midnight; and the urgency in her voice shook my whole being. I managed to grab my pillows and was wheeled hurriedly into the labour/delivery suite. I thought….. that’s it – I’m going to give birth NOW! And baby is still too pre-mature at week 29!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How? How? Why? Why?

 

To me, the labour ward is a like an ER or a prison cell, depending on how long you were confined in there. It is a super expensive place too (6* price for less than 3* facilities and service!). But the most traumatising factor is probably the CTG MACHINE! Here, you are strapped (or tied) to the CTG machine and monitored 24hrs. You are not supposed to have any toilet breaks and you can’t move too much ‘cos the contact points might be lost. I felt that I like a prisoner, tied with handcuffs and not knowing my sentence! Doctors and midwives come and go – they can only say – “Let’s monitor”. I didn’t know my “fate” then; all I knew is I was stuck to that machine and that small bed for a long long time…. “miserability” at its maximum! 😦

 

I was given extra strong womb-relaxing medicine to prevent early contractions. Started on iv drips to provide nutrients to baby and hydrate me. I knew the doctors meant well; they want the best management for my situation but sadly to say most of them only took into consideration the “medical aspect” and ignored the “emotional aspect” of the patient. Kim and I were stuck in this small room for almost 3 days before I was “released” to go back to the normal ward (that’s after much pleading with various doctors). By then, I was exhausted to the point of giving up. We didn’t know how often such incidents might happened again (yup..subsequently we were sent back to the labour ward on 2 other separate occasions and “held captive” for 1 to 3 days); We didn’t know how to persevere further. The uncertainty of events were eating us up alive. Kim and mum were so worried I might deliver early and thus kept asking me to eat and eat… for a food lover – I almost hated eating for a moment. But we felt that we were racing against time; I had to eat to help baby gain more weight in the shortest possible time (primitive thinking you might say; but then again, that’s what a layman can do in desperate times like this!). But the weirdest thing is – after 2 weeks of all these “nonsense” – I actually lost more weight than before! Fingers crossed – the food had gone to baby and not me. haa… 🙂

 

This week, we settled back to a few days of normalcy (FINALLY!). I could finally sleep properly at night and Kim can finally go home for some much needed eye-shut and peace. However, we are still living by the day, by every single CTG readings (2 are scheduled per day; morning and evening). We knew by now that if we “fail” one reading, off we go again to the “cell”. As such, we are not able to receive guests readily as before (thanks to all who want to come by; but it is probably not the best time due to the uncertainty of the situation).

 

On a happier note, I am glad to announce that come tomorrow, we can start the count down to see baby Ethen! Roughly 3 more weeks to the targeted week to deliver baby (at Week 34+). Thus, we are praying hard. Praying that there will be no more decelerations in baby’s heartbeat, contractions will not come back prematurely, no signs of infections and baby will continue to grow heavier in womb (and for us all to remain sane and maintain a sound mind till then! haaa :)). Please stay with us in prayers for this final lap. 🙂

 

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12: 1-2

 

finish line