I had a trial run of the hospital I will be giving birth in on Sunday.
Just as V and I were almost out of the door to pick up my mum from the airport, I decided to do one of my inevitable last-minute pees. Glancing into the pot, I noticed something bloody there. And then glancing at the tissue paper in my hand, I realised it was full of sticky and bloody stuff.
(Sorry to those who are grossed out. But this process is gross)
Immediately, I knew it was the mucus plug that keeps the cervix closed. I realise now that labour is a bit like finding the man you want to marry. I had kind of been wondering how I would know I was in labour, just as years ago I had asked my mum how I would know who I should marry. The answer to both is “you just know”.
So, instead of picking up my mum, we had to go to the hospital. We must be the second couple in Hong Kong (one of V’s colleagues also did this) to take the MTR. But I felt fine, and I have an affinity for public transport.
At the hospital, they asked me some questions and hooked me up to a monitor to check on the baby. I wasn’t feeling any contractions and halfway through I told V to go get my mom, because I figured even if I went into labour, it would be ages before the baby was actually born.
They decided to admit me and took me up to the antenatal ward where I was happy to get a corner bed near the window in a room of five other women. Through the day, three of them we carted off panting presumably to deliver their babies. I sat around feeling perfectly fine.
My only panic was that I would be hungry and I instructed V to come by in the afternoon and bring me food. The public hospital has strict visiting hours but women in the antenatal ward can wander outside as they please.
I realised I quite like hospitals. I like the solitude, the opportunity to read, the sensation of being set apart from the world, undisturbed. I finished a paperback (Bringing up Vasu by Parul Sharma – quite nice, and I guess relevant) and the copy of Cosmo my mom had brought.
But by evening, I wanted to go home. I realised that it could be days before I went into actual labour and in the meantime I wanted to take a shower and wash my hair. I could take a shower in the hospital but it’s a shared loo and washing my hair there seemed too tiresome. This idea – of washing my hair – fixated me and I asked the nurse if I could go home if I didn’t show signs of pain.
Besides, I was eating junk food like a pig – I consumed almost an entire box of Pringles and McDonalds – stuff I had avoided throughout my pregnancy. Plus the ward was small and I didn’t think just sitting there was doing me any good.
What I had was “show”, which signifies the start of early labour. But I could take days to go into active labour.
Early the next morning, I had some more “show”. When the doctor came around, he said they could keep me there for another day unless I really wanted to go home. I opted for the latter. I was missing V and I was missing out on time with my mum. Besides, I wanted my own loo.
So, I called my mum and E, the helper, and they came and got me. I got the MTR back to and here I am on the couch, having washed my hair, consumed a spicy dinner and stayed up till 1 am yacking with mum.
And the baby? He’s still bobbing around, kicking and seemingly happy to be inside a bit longer. We’re urging him to time his exit for the weekend.