On the morning of Friday, February 29th, 2008, Betty’s doctor (Mary Wong) recommended
that Betty go to Beth Israel’s emergency room for a check-up. Turned out that Betty was
“only” 3 cms dilated and not having regular contractions yet, so we went home with the
expectation that active labor would not hit for probably another couple of days. When we
returned home, we walked up and down about 70 flights of stairs. Dr. Wong had recommended
that Betty walk stairs as often as she could during her last month of pregnancy to facilitate
labor (by helping to push the baby down) – but probably didn’t expect Betty to be doing quite
so many flights. Ahhhh – the benefits of exercising regularly throughout the entire pregnancy…
That evening, Darin’s good friend from Singapore, Heng Kit, arrived at our apartment to
spend the weekend with us. When we were at dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Maya,
Betty started to feel contractions coming regularly (around every 12 minutes by the time we got
a cab home). Betty was resting in bed and not feeling so well (contractions coming every 5-6
minutes) when, suddenly, there was an explosion inside her at 10:50pm – the amniotic sack had
ruptured. Betty called Dr. Wong immediately and Heng Kit headed out into the street (where
it was snowing) to hail us a cab while we got ready for the hospital. Luckily, our bags were
completely packed and ready by the door.
The cab ride down to the hospital was less than 15 minutes, but unfortunately, we were not
brought into one of the labor and delivery rooms until about midnight. By that time, the
contractions were really intense and only about 2-3 minutes apart. Already 5cms dilated,
Betty asked for an epidural immediately and Dr. Wong (who had asked the hospital staff to
call her with an update at 3am) was called in to the hospital. By the time the IV and epidural
were in place (at about 1:45am), Betty was fully dilated and ready to give birth (so no pain
relief from the epidural – but supposedly it helped to accelerate the dilation). Since Dr. Wong
was still on her way to the hospital, Betty was asked to resist the intense urge to push. At
times, Betty really felt she could not make it and had to push. The wait seemed like a lifetime.
Luckily, Darin was there to support and to distract her by thumb wrestling and babbling about
anything and everything. When Dr. Wong finally arrived, Betty was able to deliver our
beautiful baby girl, Moorea Paulene Friedmann, within 15 minutes – only 7 contractions!
Moorea started to cry and to flail her arms as soon as she emerged at 2:35am on March 1st – a
feisty little one for sure.
It was really amazing holding Moorea for the very first time – for Betty, it was within just a
minute of delivery. The skin to skin contact was incredible – feeling Moorea’s tiny little body
breathing and nestled on her mommy’s chest – where she naturally belonged. Darin did not get
to hold his little girl until the staff weighed, washed, and tested Moorea. When he finally did
though, he was definitely a proud daddy – especially since Moorea had aced her first test –
scoring 9 out of 10 on the APGAR test for her overall condition at birth (the average newborn
scores between 6 to 7). Darin had also accurately predicted that Moorea was 7lbs 2ozs! We
had no idea what to expect in terms of length – so we did not even attempt to guess that she
would be 21 inches at birth.
It wasn’t until 6:30am that we finally left the labor and delivery room to head up to our room.
Luckily, we got the last private room, so Darin was able to stay with Betty and Moorea the
whole time they were at the hospital. The two days at the hospital, until we headed home on
Monday afternoon, are a relative blur since we were so sleep-deprived. Moorea always wanted
to be held though – which we gladly obliged since we were so happy to hold our new bundle of
joy as often as we could and knew that our closeness was just what she needed so soon after
making her grand entrance into the world.
Although Moorea had aced her first exam, she slept through her first class – a breastfeeding
class we attended on Sunday. We’ll probably tell her when she gets older that is the reason why
she lost more weight than the average 10% upon discharge from the hospital. Since she weighed
in at less than 6 lbs 7 ozs the night before we left the hospital, we were given strict instructions
that Moorea would need to see her pediatrician first thing Tuesday morning. Naturally, we
were very worried about her and knew we had our work cut out for us… the first of many
worthwhile challenges as new parents...