Friday, April 29, 2011

Graham 성호 Cha!! 12:06pm, April 12, 2011, 4.16kg, 55cm.

Despite all our hard work and preparation, Graham was stubborn and refused to budge. He also measured quite large so the lovely midwives at Bless Birth had no option but to refer us elsewhere.

We decided at this point our only options were a repeat C-section or a very expensive attempt at a VBAC in Mediflower. My husband and I discussed our options and we chose the best choice for our family - the repeat VBAC.

Despite having had a not so great experience with our first unexpected C-section we did know that I healed exceptionally well with a very minimal scar. We decided that it was best to work with the same surgeon that we used the first time. We also knew how and what to prepare for the post-op care this time so we were confident that our experience would be better. In addition we had the support of our Morning Calm doula, Karen Zamperini.

I visited the doctor and explained our situation. He performed an ultrasound and was surprised to see that Graham was measuring at 4.73kg-a full kilogram larger than Thomas was when he was born! While the previous doctor we had spoken to regarding a VBAC was terrified that I was almost full term, our doctor was rather nonchalant and scheduled us for a C-section 4 days later. I was surprised but appreciative as I had hoped for Graham's health to at least have a chance at labour. If we started labour before the scheduled day, we would have an emergency C-section. But Graham was very stubborn and we had no signs of labour whatsoever.

The morning of April 12th we were very excited and eager to greet our second son. Karen joined us and took some great photos of me saying good-bye to the first Kimchi Kid, driving myself to the hospital and waiting to go in to see the doctor. It was great to have her there and she was determined to help me to breastfeed as soon as I was out of recovery.

At the hospital we were asked a few basic questions, but one question I found very odd. They asked what type of C-section I wanted. My husband explained to me that they could perform an operation that made it easy to conceive a 3rd or a type that wasn't as easy. My husband immediately replied that we were done with 2, but I was worried that he perhaps didn't fully understand what they were asking. Just in case I asked for the easy-to-conceive-#3 style, because I didn't know if they would tie my tubes or something otherwise!

We then went to the delivery and nursery floor and that was when things started to go slightly wrong. I'd hoped that my husband could stay with me and come in the operation room, but they told me he could not. I was then instructed to undress, put on my robe and lay on the bed. After 10minutes by myself they realized I needed some translation help and brought my husband in. I was glad to see him as I was feeling lonely and teary, not the feelings I wanted to have at this point. They then escorted me into the operating room and he left.

There was a male nurse who tried to explain to me what to do next, which was comical and confusing. He kept talking about "shrimp, make a shrimp back" which meant nothing to me. Turns out they wanted me to curl up like a shrimp on my side to receive the spinal anaesthetic. I laughed at this and did as they asked. It is quite hard to do this move when you are 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with a huge belly! The male nurse tried to help hold me and the doctor of anaesthesiology told me what she would do. They would make 2 attempts and if it failed, they would have to use a general anesthetic. I replied that it was fine, when I'd had my son she had done it successfully on the first try and I was 15kg/30lbs heavier that time!

It didn't work. It was horrible. I've never had such an awful feeling in my whole life. Just typing this makes me feel physically ill. She tried twice and then they had to bring my husband in. I was hysterical. It was so, so awful. I cried and cried, I apologized to my husband for being weak and told them not to try a third time. I couldn't allow them to do that to me again. I was so upset because I could only have the general anesthetic now and that meant I would miss the birth of my son. I cried and held my husband's hand as they made me count backwards into oblivion.

When I started to wake in the recovery room, the nurses brought Graham in to me. I will never forget seeing my beautiful baby boy for the first time. He was wearing a little white cap and they latched him onto my left breast. He suckled away, staring at me with one little eye opened. I was so happy to see him! I thought he looked just like his big brother and I was so in love! After that brief moment he was whisked away from me and confined to the nursery for the next 24 hours.

I was so happy that they allowed me that brief moment, and that first latch. The rest of my time in hospital went very smoothly. Doumi stayed with me the first 3 days and nights. She was so amazing, it made my experience so much better. Knowing what to expect and being prepared made the whole post-partum recovery a lot easier. We had a brief bout of bad latch in breastfeeding but the lactation consultant on staff was awesome and helped immensely! We had Graham with us all day and he stayed in the nursery from his 9:30pm bath time until 5 or 6am. They had a strict cup feeding policy in their nursery and the extra rest I feel really helped me to recover. We were able to go home at noon on Saturday, so I was very happy that things went so smoothly in the post-partum recovery department.

Since then he has been feeding and sleeping so well. He is nowhere near as fussy as his big brother was and he has been so good! We're truly blessed that he is healthy and happy!


  1. You are such a strong mommy and congratulations. Your new baby is really soooooo cute. Seems like you did not have the birth you wanted, but you still have an amazing story.

  2. I am so sorry this birth did not go as you had hoped, but I hope your recovery is just as easy as the last. The pictures are so cute, and the main thing is that you have another healthy boy. Welcome to the world Graham! Does he have a Korean name too?

  3. Thank you ladies! He is really a joy to have. We're truly blessed to have such amazing sons. I've always wanted a daughter and everyone wants us to try for a girl, but I'm pretty happy to stop and enjoy my boys. He's feeding well and gaining weight, getting more alert and stronger by the day.
    His Korean name is 성호, his older brother is 성용. We wanted to reflect the older, traditional style of sharing a character between siblings and both names are a nod to their Korean grandfather's name.

  4. After returning back to the post, I noticed you had written his Korean name up in the title. Stupid me! But I really love that tradition of sharing the same character between generations :)

  5. VBAC or no VBAC you did great! Graham looks like such a little angel (and I can see Thomas in him^^) Congratulations, can't wait to meet him :P

  6. Hello! Thanks for the comments on my blog! And congratulations to you!

    Your story and mine are surprisingly similar in terms of the birth of our children. Finley was born in Ansan on April 24, and I did a natural labor (at Rosa's OK Birth clinic). When I was "complete," at 10 cm and ready for the pushing phase of labor, my contractions completely stopped. I had to have an unplanned C-section. The docs tried three times to give me an epidural but it didn't work for me, either! And my husband was not with me, either.

    I'm glad to hear that your son was able to nurse right away. That was the same for us, too.

    It's tough to go process a birth that doesn't go according to your plan, I know! But it's so wonderful to have a healthy child, too.

    Anyway, congrats to you!

  7. Hi Sarah, That's the first time I read your birth story. I feel a little teary^^ That is really interesting about the type of C-section you can choose from. I had no idea. What do you mean they had a strict cup feeding policy?

    At Motae, they offered to take J for the night and give him a bottle but I refused. They did not offer any cup feeding.