Ashley – “Ash meadow.” An English surname. First used as a given name in the 16th century. Also the name of an English saint. Literary: there is a character Ashley Wilkes in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.” Also given exposure through TV via Ashley Olsen in “Full House.” Actress Ashley Judd.
Sometime in May 2005 when Ashley’s journey began, she gave us a little scare because of her playing “hide-and-seek” (See Let There Be Life) in Zhiyi’s womb. However, she couldn’t hide for very long thanks to Zhiyi’s big appetite which I’m sure contributed to her growth spurt. Below are some scans of Ashley over the 9 months showing this miraculous unfolding of God’s creation.
26 Jul 2005 – Ashley anchored to a newly formed placenta, ushering in the stable and fun 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
23 Aug 2005 – This is the scan that fooled us into thinking that we were going to have a boy!
5 Sep 2005 – Ashley’s spine developing nicely! That’s where all the two glasses of milk go to every morning.
19 Sep 2005 – Getting a little cramped in there.
17 Oct 2005 – Posing for the camera. At this age, she’s already a natural!
5 Dec 2005 – Nice long legs… all the better to kick mummy with. 😛
20 Jan 2006 (Midnight) – We headed down to Mount Alvernia to prepare for Ashley’s delivery (more specifically, induce) as Zhiyi’s expected due date was on the 21st of January and she hadn’t started feeling any minor contractions yet. Doctors sometimes try to induce delivery when there is a risk of fetal distress and other things going wrong the longer a full term baby remains in the womb.
Mount Alvernia Hospital was founded in 1961 by a group of Catholic sisters from the Franciscan missionaries and is one of the hospitals in Singapore specializing in maternal care apart from TMC and KK Hospital.
Even at this hour, the hospital still sees quite a number of patients. Thankfully though, we didn’t have to wait long to get a vacant delivery room as this was all arranged beforehand.
The delivery suites on the 3rd floor – a place where all expectant mums prepare for labour and eventually deliver in.
If I counted correctly, I think there were 10 delivery wards in the area and roughly 1 delivery every 1-3 hours. Something like that. Some moms delivered very quietly, and some delivered with a lot of crying and screaming (very blood curling screams, no joke). The latter was very audible from the delivery ward that we were assigned too!
First things first, lie down and take your temperature before…
… posing for photographs around the delivery ward.
Each delivery ward contained all the neccesities required for delivery such as a blood pressure monitor, a TOCO machine for measuring the baby’s heartbeat and intensity of mummy’s contractions, a special pregnancy bead, an array of scissors and other weird tools, bottles of “dunno-what-solution”, etc
We shifted from the first delivery ward into this one thanks to some irritating noise coming from one of the aircons.
Hospital food isn’t so bad nowadays! When I was young and hospitalized, all I had was porridge.
Despite checking in very early on Saturday morning, Zhiyi spent the whole day trying to start off contractions by walking around the hospital. In addition, her gynaecologist also inserted 2 rounds of Prostaglandin into her to ripen the cervix and hopefully trigger off labour. However, by the end of Saturday, we received bad news that her cervix had only dilated by 1cm, 9cm short of the 10cm required for labour to take place. A very long delivery seemed to loom on the horizon and Zhiyi was quite apprehensive.
Before going to bed that night, the doctor popped in another pill, and lo and behold, the next morning, the cervix had dilated to 2cm! Things were looking up!
22 Jan 2006 (11+ am) – Zhiyi’s cervix had dilated to 3cm and it was time to speed things up via the use of a drip containing Syntocinon (a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin) to encourage contractions. In addition, the gynae also broke Zhiyi’s water bag using some odd-looking plastic hook. Shortly after Syntocinon was administered, an anesthesiologist was called in to set up an epidural block for her.
The peaks on this graph indicate contractions (aka P.A.I.N). Note how regular and frequent they are.
Unfortuniately, the epidural was somehow not administered properly and only the left side her body was numb. The right side was still hurting like 10 times the pain associated with menstrual cramps (I suppose that’s painful!). It was quite tough watching Zhiyi grimace in pain and not being able to do anything about it apart from reminding her to “pant-pant-blow” (a breathing technique to reduce pain).
22 Jan 2006 (2.30pm) – The pain finally became unbearable despite some adjustments to the epidural and by now, Zhiyi wanted to just stop and go for a caesarean. Lo and behold, the gynae and another nurse happened to walk into the room around that time for a routine examination. To everyone’s surprise, after examining her, she was apparently almost fully dilated (vs the expected 1cm per hour) and could start pushing already. We scrambled into action and Zhiyi spent the next 1 hour plus pushing with all her strength.
22 Jan 2006 (3.41pm) – After much uneventful pushing, the gynae finally decided to assist using a vacuum pump, and after 2 to 3 more rounds of pushing, Ashley finally emerged from her mom’s womb and let out a small squeek as the mucus was sucked from her nose and mouth. It was one of the most amazing sights I had ever seen. And to quote one of Zhiyi’s first words upon seeing Ashley, “I can’t believe that just came out of me!”.
Ashley trying to open her eyes and see the world around her for the very first time.
Mummy and baby bonding time.
Exhausted, but happy and relieved. And, proud to be a mum!
Reinforcements finally arrived at 6.30pm in the form of mum-in-law, who seems to have a knack for pacifying Ashley everytime she starts wailing.
(more pics to follow shortly!)