Daily Posts #86-89: My Childbirth Experience (Part 1)

8:30 AM

Coming home at three in the morning from a New Year’s Eve party hosted by one of our Filipino family friends in their home, I woke up pretty early at 830 AM. Ever since I had been on maternity leave, I’ve been waking up at this time, at the very least, as opposed to the 530 AM or 630 AM that I was used to. Still, to wake up at 830 AM in New Year’s Day is too damn early. Anyway, I know I had to. I’ve learned my lesson. Chores will just pile up if I do not attend to them immediately.

I had been active all throughout my pregnancy. I walked a lot, moved a lot and even did prenatal yoga from 14 weeks gestation but since my belly was already heavy at 37 weeks, I was then having a harder time moving around. I remembered waking up that day to a pile of unwashed dishes in the sink. However, washing dishes is such a breeze that my pregnant self was able to finish them in record time. After which, I moved on to organizing our pantry.

10:45 AM

Before I moved on to my next task, I caught my breath first and sat beside Aaron on the sofa. While I was resting, I felt an urgent need to go to the toilet to take a big wee. No biggie, this has been happening quite a lot lately: feeling a full bladder only to find out that I do not have that much pee to dispose of. It’s just the weight of the baby putting pressure on to my bladder.

When I went to the restroom, I discovered that I was bleeding. It was not mucous-like with a tinge of blood like what I was expecting a “show” to be but a period-like bleed. Recounting things that I’ve read and were told to watch out for, I panicked. I remembered that any vaginal bleeding during the third trimester is something that would fall as an emergency situation. I immediately called on Aaron and asked him to ring up the hospital. He said that I should do it so that I could explain it better and just handed me the phone. I explained the situation to the midwife, the midwife whom I was able to talk with on the phone asked us to come to the hospital and come straight to the emergency department and within minutes after I placed the call, we were already on our way to the hospital.

11:30 AM

On the way, I found myself singing along with the song playing on the car radio. I was trying to distract myself and to not panic. “Is there something wrong?”, “Is this it?”, “Why isn’t there any mucous plug?”. I had a lot of questions that warranted some answers!

11:50 AM

As we arrived in the hospital, Aaron dropped me off in front of the emergency department and went on to find a parking slot. I approached the midwife on-duty and she asked me to take a seat as they prepare the paperworks for me to sign. I was still waiting when Aaron arrived minutes later. After a while, the midwife again called my name, I signed some papers and she asked me to sit first and wait for her to come out. The automatic sliding door on the right of the receiving area opened and I followed the midwife as she led me to a nearby room that has some equipment. She asked me to lie down while she take my blood pressure. My BP registered to be high at 180/85. I have not gotten a reading that high ever in my life! The highest that I got prior that is 130/85 and that already made me nervous and my OB wary that she asked me to come back a week later so that she could monitor it.

The midwife checked my BP again hoping that it would register a different reading but it did not budge. She asked me if I was having any blurry visions, headache or if my rib area hurts. I was not feeling any of them so I told her no. She told me to wait so that she could get the manual BP monitor and verify the reading that she got. I became more nervous. I knew it would be higher because I was still nervous about the bleeding and seeing my BP shoot up that high made me even more anxious! She came back with the manual monitor in tow and measured my BP again. It became higher. That was when she decided to admit me and put me in one of the birthing suites.

12:30 PM

At the birthing suite, my midwife, Cara, asked me to collect for her some urine samples so that they could check the protein levels of my urine. She also took some blood samples. After getting all the samples that they needed, it just became a waiting game for us. Though my BP had already lowered down after a few hours of staying at the birthing suite, it was still high at 150/85. With this, Cara explained to me the possibility for an induction the next few days. Sometimes, pregnant women will have a high BP due to reasons that are unknown and before the BP can even have a chance to increase to an uncontrollable reading, they do suggest to induce the labour. Though I told Cara and the doctor that I was amenable to it, the doctor told me that I do not have to decide yet since we are still waiting for the results of my tests.

The result of my urine test came back pretty quickly while my blood tests follow suit. The results were all good but since my BP has to still be monitored I was transferred to the maternal ward and asked to stay for the night.

 

To be continued...

Daily Post #83: I'm On Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is on and now I am back!

I know I haven’t written for a while now and I have already missed out on a lot of daily posts but I’ll make up for them. This past month had just been so busy and tiring for this momma-to-be. With me carrying my ever-growing baby boy in my tummy, ticking off tasks from my to-do lists and still going to work until Friday last week, I really had not had much sanity and willpower left to cook up daily posts. All I ever wanted to do until last week upon arriving home from work is to just sit back and stare into nothingness. But now, I already have all the time in the world to write while we wait for our baby boy to arrive!

Aaron’s back as well which makes me so happy! He had been here for about 4 weeks now and I can’t tell you how things had become easier and lighter around here when he arrived. During times like this, it really makes a huge difference when your partner (or someone) is there with you. I know how hard it is when he is not here by my side as we had to endure it for a short time that is why this is not something that I am taking for granted. His presence is a blessing and I am thankful for it everyday.

Daily Post #79-82: Peeling Off My L's (3/3)

Peeling off My L's (1/3) | Peeling Off My L's (2/3)

He met me outside, checked that all my controls and indicators are working, then when he was already satisfied, got in the car and proceeded with my driving test. I was nervous but I was confident that I can do it. I got out successfully from the parking lot of VicRoads.

From VicRoads, he asked me to turn left to the main street. It was a busy street as it was close to a busy round-about. When I turned left, he commented that I did not leave a safe gap between me and the oncoming car leaving the round-about from my right and I was too slow to turn. However, he still asked me to continue and make a U-turn on the next U-turn slot. While I was already there waiting for my turn to do a U-turn, a bicycle came up and stopped too in my left. The man riding on it is also obviously doing a U-turn. When he felt that there was already enough safe gap, he made his turn. I gave way to him and waited again for a safe gap (well, what I reckon to be a safe gap) between me and the oncoming car. When I already felt it was safe to move on, I did.

“Unbelievable!”, said the old Indian man.

I initially thought that he was praising my driving prowess but apparently I did a critical error that warranted him to terminate my exam. He was basically shouting at me when he was telling me the error that I committed. A hushed ‘sorry’ was all that I was able to say.

He asked me to go to the farthest lane on my right so that I could turn right back to VicRoads. At that moment, I knew that I already failed the exam. I haven’t been out yet on the streets for 3 minutes and I already failed it! My heart was pounding so hard that time. I want to plead to him to give me another chance but seeing how stern he was, I did not do it anymore. I also knew that it would just fall on deaf ears and there was no point to argue with him a I could sense that he was very unforgiving.

He asked me to safely park on one of the slots in front of the entrance of VicRoads and before he got out told me to meet him inside. As I entered VicRoads, I saw Sarah look in my direction and I gave her the sad face. She mouthed “Why?” but the old, Indian man was already waiting for me in the counter so I dismissed Sarah’s question and approached him first.

He told me that I was unsuccessful as I failed to give way twice and that I should just book again my exam. He shoved a piece of paper to me with comments that I can’t even read. I actually felt like crumpling and throwing it back at him! Sarah approached, hugged me and told me that it was okay. I asked her if it is possible for me to book another exam today and she told me that I could and to approach one of the counters to check too if there is an available schedule today. Yes, I was wretched but I was more determined then to book another test and get it done with the soonest time possible. ♥

I fell in line, got a number and as my number was called, I approached one of the counters and asked her the earliest possible day that I can have another test. Unfortunately, the next schedule available for that branch is January. I asked her to look for other branches as I really do not care where to have my test. My driving lessons may had been based upon the fact that I’ll have my driving test in Sunshine (the branch where I was in then) but I also believe that John taught me so damn well that where I’ll have my test should be immaterial. She told me that there’s one in Carlton in December which is the closest open date. I told her that I’ll book it. I was already readying my payment when she excitedly told me that a slot has freed up the next day in another branch, which is Sunbury, at 920 am. Without thinking much, I said that I’ll book it. I really don’t care how far it was or how early, my only goal then was to have my test the soonest time possible.

After I secured the slot, I went back to Sarah and told her the details of my exam. She told me that Sunbury is a 40-minute drive from our place but we can work it out. She told me that she’ll just drive my car going to Sunbury tomorrow. I’ve also realized that 920 am is not the ideal time to have a test as school zones apply a reduced speed limit of 40 kph for vehicles between particular times during school days. In Victoria, that would be between 8 to 930 during the morning and 230 to 4 during the afternoon.

Anyway, those do not matter. I do believe that I can do it despite the odds! ♥

Since there’s nothing more that I can do but to just wait for tomorrow’s exam, we headed back home to drop my car back to the garage. Sarah went home while I hailed an Uber ride and headed straight to work. I wasn’t anymore able to practice that night.

The following morning, Sarah and I headed to Sunbury. It was both our first time to go there so we were not at all familiar with the route. We even had a hard time looking for the VicRoads branch while we are already in Sunbury as it was literally tuck at the back of a compound located along a not-so-busy service road. Good thing we were able to reach Sunbury 30 minutes before my scheduled exam so we had a lot of time to spare to look for it and the sun was shining brightly unlike the day prior. After 20 minutes of looking, we at long last found it! Alleluia! Well not really found it yet as we only saw a small signage along the service road that points to where VicRoads is. Nonetheless, I was super happy! At least we were already there. I only had almost 5 minutes left before my exam when I arrived in VicRoads.

As opposed to the Sunshine branch, the Sunbury branch is not at all that busy. It actually had a very relaxed vibe that is non-existent from the Sunshine branch. I was 2nd in line when I came in. When it was already my turn, I approached the VicRoads staff sitting behind the counter and told her of my appointment. She smiled, told me to just sit and wait for my name to be called.

Ten minutes later, another lady called my name up. I approached her in one of the counters. She introduced herself (her name also happens to be Sarah and she is my examiner), filled-out the form with me, did a quick eye test, explained some rules, reiterated that I’ll be doing my test during school times and wished me good luck. She even smiled at me after! I already love the people there! She asked me to proceed in the parking lot and wait for her in my car. ♥

After a while, she went out and we started with the exam. After all that has happened yesterday and the slight stress that we had to underwent through earlier today to find the branch, my nerves were heightened at that moment. This is it (again) and I cannot mess it up. So I took a deep breath instead, relaxed a little bit and vowed to just do my best. I also reminded myself to always give way however long it may took.

As the exam progressed, I became more and more relaxed. I just listened to her directions and do whatever it is that she wanted me to do as best as I could. It also helped that her voice was calming and that I haven’t heard any violent reactions from her just yet. Instead of a three-point turn, she asked me to complete a reverse-parallel parking, which thankfully I was able to do. She also asked me to drive in-and-out of primary and secondary roads for quite a few times. I did not notice at all the time until she asked me to turn left on the next street as we were already going back to VicRoads. Even though I was already nearing the end of the exam, I did not let my guard down up until I was able to properly park my car in one of the slots. After I was able to park it, she told me to meet her back inside and she went out of the car. That was the only time that I was able to completely relax.

I went back inside and waited for her to emerge behind the counter. After a while, she called up my name to which I quickly responded to by approaching the counter. I was holding my breath at that moment and when she told me “Congratulations, you passed the exam”, I was only able to utter “Thank you so much”. I was happy but not more so than I was relieved. All those time, effort and money I’ve spent had been worth it.

I was giddy during the ride back home. I told my husband and my family of the great news. Sarah, my friend, dropped me back home. I can’t thank her enough as this would not have been possible without her there.

I did not know that the most exciting but scariest part is that moment when I was already left to my own devices. There’s no mom, John or Sarah anymore to be with me in the car and guide me on the road. It was all just me. This realization only sank in while I was already driving my car to work for the first time while being caught up in the middle of a heavy downpour. That marked the beginning of my driving journey. Even though my emotions were then undergoing a bit of a tug-of-war, I was able to arrive safely to my destination and that little success assured me that I can do it and there’s nothing to worry about.

Daily Post #75-78: Peeling Off My L's (2/3)

Peeling Off My L's (1/3)

Two sessions into our driving lessons, which was around the 2nd week of September, I told him that I am planning to take the driving test the soonest time possible. He told me that he will assess my progress during the next lesson and if he thinks I can do it then I could already book my driving test.

He assessed me during the next lesson. Luckily, he did seem happy with my progress as he gave the go-signal that I can already book my test. I was so excited to book after that lesson but my enthusiasm came to a halt when I saw that the earliest that I can book is 2 months from then. Seeing the long waiting time and knowing that delaying the booking for another day would just prolong the waiting time even more, I booked the earliest available schedule which fell on November 16.

John is firm. He taught me a lot. I felt he was not just preparing me for the driving test but he was actually preparing me for the long-term - for what will come after I pass my driving test. He equipped me with skills that I will use in real-life driving. He taught me a lot of techniques! He taught me how to handle my steering wheel so that I can have better control when turning. He taught me how to angle-in the kerb when approaching a give-way or stop line. He taught me how to estimate if I will have a safe gap from the oncoming car when I am turning into a primary highway. He taught me how to safely approach a secondary road, reverse park and a whole lot more! But more than the skills, he also told me to have the confidence, to not second-guess myself and to just commit to it. He is a great teacher! In my 2 months of learning with him, I can truly say that my confidence in driving grew a lot. ♥

The day before my driving test, though I was evidently nervous, but I was also excited for what was to come and confident that I can do it. Especially with John by my side, I know I’d be able to do it.

As I was sitting on our living room’s couch that night, just relaxing and easing my mind for tomorrow’s exam, I received a call from John. My initial thought was that he was calling me to remind me of our meet-up time the following day. Unbeknownst to me, he was calling to inform me that he just had been in an accident and he won’t be able to come to the driving test tomorrow as his car was pretty much rammed up and he, as well, bumped his head during the accident. He was completely lost as he was trying to ring up the driving school so that he can hand me over to another instructor but no one is answering anymore since the driving school is already closed. He assured me though that he will still try his best but he was telling me too to inform him should I find another solution.

As he was telling me this, my mind was racing hard and fast. I did not want to miss the opportunity to pass the test tomorrow. However, I was not sure if I am confident enough to do it without John there. On the other hand, I did not want to cancel the test just because he was not there. I tried asking some of my friends if they know a driving instructor who can accompany me in my exam tomorrow. Since it was already so short of a notice, I was not at all expecting that I’ll be able to find one that night. In that moment, I realized that I just have to proceed even if it means going through it alone. So while I was waiting for them to reply, I was already devising another plan in my mind. ♥

I checked the guidelines in VicRoads’ website about bringing my own car. It just specified in there that as long as the car is roadworthy and all the controls are working, then I can bring my car. I am positive that it is roadworthy since it is a new car. Since I only had a Learner’s permit and I can’t drive alone, my only dilemma then is to find someone who has a full license and who is available to accompany me from our house to VicRoads. I had a close friend living nearby who was then on her maternity leave but since I did not want to disrupt her or take away some of her precious time from her baby I did not consider her first.

My test was set in a weekday morning so I knew I had to find someone who is available on a weekday. That immediately scrapped all of my friends from work. I also had a few friends and acquaintances that I can think of but I was pretty sure that they do not have a full driver’s license yet. Since I clearly had no choice and was already desperate, I was back again to my friend, Sarah, who is on maternity leave.

I messaged Sarah and told her of my situation. Since the nearest VicRoads is just a 10-minute drive from our house and the test would not take much time (and maybe she had picked on my desperation!), she told me that she’ll accompany me. She and her husband had their driving test there too so she was quite familiar with the usual test routes. I haven’t driven my car that much yet so I also asked her if we can meet up an hour before the test so that I can familiarize myself with my car. Being a very helpful and accommodating friend that she is, she told me that we can also practice that same night. Two hours later we were already on the road practicing. ♥

We went directly to VicRoads and she did a simulation of the driving test with me. We practiced parking in VicRoads, changing lanes, doing U-turns, and parallel-parking and doing a three-point turn in nearby suburbs. We did two to three rounds of going back and forth between VicRoads and a nearby suburb before calling at a night.

I went home feeling a lot better than hours prior that. I knew I can do it. I went to sleep feeling confident about the exam the following day.

The next day, I was up early. It was raining hard outside. This is it. This is the reckoning that I’ve been waiting for. All of those months I’ve spent learning the basics of driving and cash I’ve burned on driving lessons will all be reduced to the outcome of this exam that I’ll take. This is what I’ve been preparing for and I was really hopeful that I’d be able to get the license in one try.

Sarah and I met an hour early so that I could still do some practice driving before the exam. When I had already accomplished enough parallel parking and three-point turns, we decided to go then to VicRoads. I was 20 minutes early than my scheduled test when we arrived in the center. Good thing, there was no line in one of the counters so Sarah was able to approach it and ask if I can already have my test. The old Indian guy who was manning the counter told her that I can. With a nod from Sarah, I approached the counter. He was simultaneously filling-out the questionnaire while he was asking me some questions. He was quite nice. He told me that he will be my examiner for that test and I can already wait for him in my car.

Peeling Off My L's (2/3)