Last July 25, I had to be admitted to the hospital due to possible Preterm Labor caused by severe contractions. I was having mini episodes of contractions a week before, lasting for 5-10 minutes at a time. July 24, Morning: I was feeling unusually tired (but I’ve been working really hard the past few weeks so I figured it must just be fatigue) but went on my usual tasks. While getting some supplies, I had a really painful contraction in the afternoon. Practiced some relaxation breathing technique and the pain subsided. July 24, Evening: I noticed some blood on the toilet bowl. For some reason, I was unsure where it came from. We decided to ask my doctor in the morning and went to bed. When I woke up at 9am, the contractions were there and the pain was bad, but slightly manageable. I went on my usual tasks. At around 1:30 PM I felt this really painful “tug” on my tummy, followed by what felt like the worst case ever of menstrual cramps. I couldn’t move my whole body and I was literally paralyzed in pain. I practiced the relaxation breathing technique and they actually helped. The pain subsided and I quickly fell asleep. When I woke up at 3:30PM the severe pain was back and we immediately called the doctor and was advised to come to her clinic as soon as possible.
Upon arriving at the clinic, my doctor checked my tummy and right then, she could tell I was having really painful contractions cause my tummy was really stiff. She did an Internal Exam to check if my cervix has opened. Thankfully, it hasn’t but that doesn’t mean baby and I were safe. She had me rushed to the hospital’s delivery room for admittance, so they can give me some uterine relaxant via IV to prevent preterm labor.
Let me tell you about my Preterm Labor Scare experience at St. Luke’s Medical Center’s Delivery Room Holding Area. It was SCARY and very stressful, seriously. I wouldn’t want to go through that experience again. First upon arrival at the delivery room, they did the usual interview then proceeded with the Fetal Non-Stress Test. A Fetal Non-Stress measures your baby’s heart rate and your contractions. There are two palm-sized round sensors attached to your belly with a belt. It also checks whether your baby has adequate oxygen for the heart rate and movement to be within normal ranges.
Next, I was started on the IV and several doses of uterine relaxant were administered. I was then transferred to the Holding Area and sadly, I had to say goodbye to daddy since no one is allowed inside. The Holding Area looked like a huge ward with 4-6 beds and nothing but curtain dividers and huge empty spaces per division. No TV, no magazines, no one to talk to, nothing- COMPLETE ISOLATION. When I arrived, only 1 bed was occupied and it felt really creepy,like you’re in some nuthouse’s isolation area cause the divisions were huge and there was a nurse’s station with one nurse . I could hear the anesthesiologist briefing the moms in the room about labor procedures and boy, was I starting to get nervous. After a few minutes, a nurse arrived and informed me about the steroid shot she was going to administer. she said it was for baby’s lungs, in case baby comes out, the little one will have strong lungs & be able to breathe. That got me scared as —-.
After a few hours, I was wheeled out (in bed and all) so I can have my dinner. Can I just say that that was the worst meal ever??? It was cold and nasty, nothing like the meals they I got the last time I was confined at St. Luke’s (May 2012). After dinner, I felt this severe pain in my stomach followed by a sudden urge to “move”. I was wheeled into a different room, along with moms who just gave birth. I was transferred to the Recovery Room. I was put in complete bed rest so that meant no going to the toilet and having to poop/pee on a bed pan. I’ve never experienced doing so and that was the most awkward and disgusting thing I have ever done. I asked for tissue and cleaned myself afterwards. We only had one nurse (there were two nurses: one was assigned to the moms and babies and ours was working on us preterms and the new moms/babies). It was a challenge to call the nurses attention.
I suffered diarrhea all night til morning due to the hospital food and was in pain the entire night until the next day. I couldn’t sleep. I had the IV attached to my left hand and the Fetal Non-Stress Test Machine attached to my belly althroughout. The babies kept crying all night and the severe pain due to contractions and acquired diarrhea didn’t make things easier. I had to “move” every 30 minutes or so, and in addition to the contractions I was having, the pain was insane. It was so hard to call for a nurse and the buzzer was out of reach. There were times when I almost pooped on my bed (and 2 instances which I did). They did not provide water or soap for you to clean yourself with and I had to clean myself and wait a really long time for the nurse to remove the used bed pan. I was lying in bed with my own poo and pee beside me. I kept asking for drinking water but the nurse just kept saying yes but never comes back with it.
Thank goodness the new nurse arrived and she was somewhat better than the last nurses. She gave me water and soap to wash myself with after every painful “movement” and provided me with a sheet covering. It was still hard to call out and ask for the bed pan to be emptied and I never got that water.
I really felt like crying all throughout the night due to desperation and frustration as I waited til John could come back. I borrowed the service phone and asked him to bring me some crackers and water as I was extremely weak, starved, and tired from the non-stop diarrhea I was having. I had to wait until John arrived so I can finally get some decent amount of drinking water and a good meal.
My doctor arrived in the afternoon and told me I could go home as the contractions have subsided. I was given the second dose of steroid for baby’s lungs and was discharged afterwards. I’ve never felt so relieved! Overall, it was the worst experience ever. I felt so weak and depressed after. I wouldn’t want to go through that experience again. It cost us more than 10,000 pesos for less than 24hours of stay at the Delivery Room.
Now, I’m having second thoughts on my birth plan. Considering these three options based on the cost of giving birth at St. Luke’s Hospital and their services (these are not the actual/total fees, I will include the breakdown and estimates on my next posts. These are for the stated rooms/facilities only):
- St. Luke’s Birthing Room, Global City and Quezon City: P 15,000 per day
- High Risk Pregnancy Unit (HRPU): P5,500 per day
- Delivery Room Holding Area: P1,500 per day
Looking into Natural Birthing (no sedation, no epidurals, water birthing) as well. I have yet to discuss it with Rome Kanapi, my Prepared Childbirth Class Teacher and Betty San Luis, a certified doula. I will post updates on Prepared Childbirth Classes and on these two ladies on my next posts.
I am just more than grateful that my little one is out of harms way and is safely getting fat inside my ever-hungry and hugely growing tummy. The pain from all the contractions, IV insertions, shots, and yes, even the diarrhea, as long as baby is safe, it was all worth it.
This post is not intended to ruin the hospital’s and the nurses’ reputations, rather it aims to inform so as they can provide better service to patients and to avoid another unfortunate experience from occurring again. I really hope this will serve as a wake up call for nurses and healthcare providers/hospitals to go beyond duty and business and provide better care and show more compassion towards patients. My brother is a nurse and so are most of my friends, so please don’t take this the wrong way as I understand how hard and stressful being a nurse is.