Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I adore this story.  A fascinating perspective because not only is it written by a Dad, but the couple are from the Philippines, where they do birth very differently to how we do it in New Zealand.  Ivan emailed us saying they were inspired by our blog leading up to their birth, and they now want to do their bit in inspiring others.  I particularly love the part in their story when Ivan describes hearing of his sons birth for the first time.
Congratulations Ivan and Gizel, thanks for sharing your story.

Image from here

I am writing this work not just as an expecting father but as a spectator. Why? It is because what I’ve witnessed was a work of effort and skills added with a spice of miracle for the birth of my first born son. Such experience was shared together with a very special person in my life – my wife. This article is a reminiscent of what transpired exactly one week ago when she delivered our first child through a medicated induction procedure.

Alex Milcom Tan Villanueva was conceived in the summer of April 2011 with initial confirmations of a positive pregnancy in May of 2011 when my wife, Gizel, performed a Blue Cross ™ home-pregnancy test at home. By June, I and my wife decided to have our first sonogram wherein the full confirmation of our ten week old pregnancy gave us a new perspective on what would happen in the coming days and months. During this same ultrasound session, the first estimated date of delivery (EDD) of our baby was
set on January 6, 2012.

By September 2011, we excitedly went through our second ultrasound where we finally discovered the gender of our baby. A boy! From this moment on, we knew what we will be naming him and my wife had the liberty to shorten what is expected to be a long name - “Ali”. During this sonogram, it was computed that our baby will be arriving on December 31, 2011 and most probably may become one of the New Year babies for 2012.

After a series of morning sickness, nauseas, and indigestions in the first trimester; with the recurrence of some indigestions and difficulty of breathing during the later parts of the second trimester, the pregnancy went through well until the last week of my wife’s eight month. On December 5 during her 36th week of gestation, my wife was admitted because she felt the gradual lightening of the baby and painful contractions with noticeable abdominal pains. During the time, I have decided to rush her to the DMSF Hospital where we intended to have the baby delivered at full term. The main purpose of this is just to have her checked. However, I was surprised when the hospital staff informed me that my wife needs to be admitted because she is already experiencing pre-term labor and we might be expecting to have the baby anytime soon. After two days and three days of observation and confinement, our obstetrician – Dr. Annabel Luy MD, tried to find ways in delaying the delivery of our baby because there is only one week more to go before Ali can be full term at 37 weeks of gestation. Gizel was given an assortment of medications including a uterine relaxant that would help prevent contractions. Dr. Luy further recommended a partial bed rest for my wife for a week with continuous medication to delay the process of labor. During this confinement, Dr. Luy recommended for our third ultrasound wherein it was confirmed that the baby is still at his 36 weeks and two days of gestational age with only a Grade 2-3 placenta but with good heart rate and an estimated weight of about 2800 grams. This sonogram reported that the latest EDD for the baby is on January 2.

The week of bed rest and medication had passed and I and Gizel have started to prepare ourselves for the arrival of our son. Christmas came to pass and no distinctive signs of full term labor were felt. By this time, my wife gradually felt the frustrations after being confined for pre-term labor and the week of bed rest she has to go through. Excitement and longing topped these feelings as we wanted to see the baby soon.

During her December 29 doctor’s appointment, my wife was advised to take Evening Primrose Oil in order to hasten the ripening of her cervix. Unfortunately, our December 31 came and passed and my wife was considered overdue. Our self-diagnosis: contractions would no longer come because of the medications my wife took in order to stall her pre-term labor process. She was then scheduled for a Neonatal Stress Test (NST) on January 2 with an appointment with our doctor the following day.
During this doctor’s visit, my wife was advised by our doctor that she may already opt for admission at the hospital for induction because there are no evident contractions and she is still 1cm dilated and overdue. Being prudent and with concern of my opinion, my wife requested for time to refer the matter to me.

Immediately upon being told about this plan, the researcher side of me ruled in and browsed over the facts about “elective induction”. The results of the research were not so promising because readings in the internet would say that elective induction may bring in negative effects to both mother and baby.
Among these effects is doubling the risks of a cesarean section because of fetal distress caused by the high doses of medicines being used. Eventually, I convinced myself that if this is what the doctor has recommended and knowing that she has the knowledge and experience about these matters, I gave my wife until January 6 or the due date of our first ultrasound before we go to the hospital for admission.

January 6 came without any symptoms of natural labor except for the same mild contractions since our pre-term confinement. Around 8:30AM, we were fetched by our mutual friend, Ofelia, from our home and went to the hospital early. Upon admission and some issues about transferring of rooms that would suit the package that we have been given for practicality purposes, Gizel was confined at the delivery room. At around 10:45AM, oxytocin was administered through an electronic infusion pump with an
internal examination. By this time, she is still 1cm dilated and 50% effaced and most of the time, I was left to wait at either the semi-private room or in front of the delivery room because it is the policy of the hospital to not allow husbands or “watchers” inside the sterile delivery rooms. My only consolation was the prompt accommodations of the nurses and midwives who were looking over the induction process with just one press of the buzzer button in front of the DR.

At around 2:00PM, the attending nurse reported that the effect of the oxytocin is already starting but only managed to increase the dilation to 2cm with effacement still at 50%. When Dr. Luy came to check on Gizel, she promptly prescribed for the intake of Buscopan (My wife later told me that she asked why she’s being given Buscopan when such medication is known for the treatment of gas. The nurses informed her that the medication has a different effect on pregnant women, wherein such would soften the cervix for delivery). During the administration of Buscopan, Gizel was still at 1-2cm dilation, 50%
effaced, and -3 station.

Thankfully, at around 6:30PM, Gizel was allowed to be wheel chaired out the delivery room for some air and the chance to see me (all throughout this time, we were contented in exchanging “love notes” through the nurses and midwives due to the hospital policy on watchers). At this moment, Gizel was able to inform me that she was already informed that she is already 3cm dilated and has already expelled her mucus plug. She was also experiencing back and abdominal pains because of the contractions brought by the oxytocin.

When Gizel went back inside the DR, most of the night was spent waiting and monitoring the levels of oxytocin.

January 7 came and the first thing I did was to go straight at the delivery room when I woke up at 6:00AM. Despite of the midwife’s response that Gizel was still 3cm dilated, she later called me back from the room and gave me the OR Approval Form because my wife has already been brought to the Trendelenburg (birthing table) because she is already at 8cm dilation, 100% effaced at 0 station. At around 9:00AM, the delivery room staffs relayed that Gizel was already 9cm dilated and that the Dr. Luy already arrived and was with her.

From that moment on, time seems to go fast despite of the efforts I made in browsing the mobile internet and reading anything about the stages of labor. Instinctively, I went back at the delivery room waiting area and called for the midwife at 10:00AM wherein the sanitation staff, intern nurse, and the midwife herself informed me that Gizel already gave birth and both were in perfect condition. This is the moment when the priceless feeling of elation and happiness and almost made me jump like a kid who was just told that his parents will be taking him to the beach on a Saturday morning. A few minutes later, Dr. Luy came out from the delivery room (this was the first time I saw our doctor after nine months, hehe) and officially informed me that Gizel was able to deliver our baby boy at exactly 9:56AM via NSVD (Normal Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery) and that she has sedated my wife to give her at least an hour of rest. She then told me that I can now visit our son who is now brought to the nursery for observation and initial postpartum care.

After almost 24 hours of labor induction, Ali was born under the supervision of Dr. Annabel Luy and despite of minor difficulties in pushing, Gizel was able to deliver the baby who was immediately exposed to skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. Born with a weight of 6.5lbs and a length of 52cm, Ali had a significant Apgar score of 8 for the first one minute and 9 within the first five minutes after birth.

The moment I saw a baby being cleaned and dressed in the opening of the restricted area of the nursery, and saw the lump of hair that looked similar to those of my younger sister when I accompanied my mom to deliver her 19 years ago, the feeling of elation turned into admiration. A simple smile came out my face the moment the nurse rolled in a nursery crib containing a small person who I longed to meet since the time I saw my wife’s belly going bigger, and the same person I always imagined what he would look like from the moment I felt his kicks inside my wife’s body.

The birth of our first baby boy is truly astonishing and is definitely beyond words. All efforts and investments were simply worth it because the life here in the outside world has already begun for my son. From the moment that pregnancy testing kit showed the blue line up to the moment the oxytocin helped give Mother Nature a push so that our baby would come out fine, was all worth sharing. Since then, Gizel and I had started doting on our baby boy and the rest of the world has shared the happiness that the miracle of this experience has brought to our lives.

All happiness came into everyone because of one significant birthday that made the future better for us and that occasion is simply the birth of Ali.


Lauren M. said...

He's a cutie! Thanks, Dad!

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