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Planning for a c-section birth at Thomson Medical Centre (Singapore)? Here’s my experience of an elective c-section in June 2023 that I hope can help you mentally prepare for yours too!
As we opted for a planned c-section birth, our gynae scheduled for a 8am surgery. As such we had to head down approximately 2 hours prior to register and get ourselves settled.
Being the ever-worrier that I am, we headed down at around 520am. I couldn’t sleep from excitement and hunger (from fasting) anyways. Being super early, we were only 1 of 2 couples who were waiting to be registered. It took around 10-15mins and by 545am we were in the room getting set up!
Fun fact: We originally booked the Premier room ($788 daily rate) but those were full by the time we arrived! Because of that we got upgraded to the Dalvey Suite ($1688 daily rate) without additional cost! A great start to the day! Check out their different types of rooms here.
A nurse brought us to the room and briefed us on the next steps: changing in the hospital gown, getting shaved, taking vitals, putting on wrist tags. At around 730am two more nurses came by to transfer me to the operation room. Husband was brought separately to prepare his getup (clean overalls etc.) to enter the operation room after me.
Once I entered the operation room, everyone was nice and warm, greeting me and telling me what they were going to do to me at every step. I was helped onto the operation table where a flurry of activities began. The most significant was the anaesthetist telling me to turn on my side so he can inject me with anaesthesia. He made small talk, and was really comforting throughout the process, which helped calm me down. Thankfully I barely felt the needle going into my back.
Once I started feeling numb in my lower body, my gynae joined us in the room, and another flurry of activities began again! The PD also came in with a medical student and asked for permission for her to observe. Next my husband was also ushered in, dressed in full PPE. By then, the side effects of the anaesthesia started kicking in. I started shivering so intensely that the anaesthetist had to inject some stuff into the tube going into my hand to calm down the effects.
And it began! Firstly my gynae checked if I could feel anything in my lower body. Once I confirmed I couldn’t feel anything, he informed me that he was going to start cutting. My husband then started playing my curated birthing playlist (as per our birth plan). The Circle of Life from Lion King started playing in the operation room, and before the song was even over, I heard my baby girl crying.
Because we opted for delayed cord clamping, there was a slight wait before the clamp. Then, my husband was given the honour of cutting the cord. He didn’t manage to cut it cleanly on the first try so he had to cut it a second time. Apparently it’s much harder than expected! Give your partners a head up!!!
Baby was then taken to the side where there was a warmer for a quick wipe down (not bathed!), measurements and checks, wrapped up snuggly, and brought back to me for a quick hug. After that she left with daddy to the room to do skin-to-skin.
My gynae took another 15-30mins thereabouts to sew me back together, all while I was still shivering intensely. Shortly after, I was then brought to a waiting area outside the operation room for observation just to make sure I was okay post-surgery. They put on compression stockings and some compression machine on my legs. I think was to help prevent blood clots in the leg – then it was just waiting. It was a very busy day, so I was there for almost 2 hours. I waited so long, my anaesthesia drip almost ran out and I had to ask the nurse to top it up.
When they had enough manpower, I was finally wheeled back to the room to see my little baby girl! She had done almost 1+hour of skin to skin with daddy. After which she was wrapped up snuggly in her little transparent cot under the warmer.
It took two nurses to transfer me back onto the bed as I was pretty immobile waist down. Daddy and nurses helped to bring baby to me to do skin to skin and also encourage latching every 2-3 hours. Baby was a dear and slept quietly most of the time while she was with us in the room. We opted for sending her to the nursery at night so we could get some uninterrupted sleep.
I was only able to eat my first meal post operation at dinner 6+pm which was a simple fish porridge and the famous papaya fish soup (yes it lives up to the hype completely). Boy was it great to finally get some food inside my tummy.
We stayed a total of 4 days and 3 nights for recuperation, which I think is the normal duration for C-section birth. Thankfully my husband was there for me throughout the entire duration.
Was it necessary? A 100% YES. This c-section birth delivery is probably the most intense operation I’ve undergone and I felt incredibly weak for the the entire duration. I cannot imagine being discharged any earlier.
MY EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS
At the start I was barely able to move. Had to pee through the catheter until they took it out. Warning, you will be lying in bed bleeding into a pad which the nurses will change out for you every so often, so get ready to throw embarrassment out of the window. Oh and also the nurses will accompany you to the toilet probably for fear of you falling over. In my case, the nurses were nice enough to hold my hand to sit down on the toilet bowl. Again no such thing as embarrassment after giving birth!
The first time I tried standing up post op, I ended up crying because of the pain and gave up. The nurse helping me was very encouraging and told me it’s okay I can try again later, which I did. In spite of the pain meds, I felt a weird heavy sensation around my core region weighing me down every time I moved. It was incredibly uncomfortable for me. I was encouraged to keep walking to help me get better. And I did with lots of grunting, swearing and crying.
But because of that, I refused staunchly to shower. Because that would involve another walk to the toilet and standing there in pain. So I did daily wipe downs with the help of my husband.
In between of all that, I also had to pump every 3 hourly, latch baby, do skin to skin, load up on healthy and yummy meals, red date tea and milo, and sneak in naps to help my body heal.
MEALS I HAD DURING MY STAY
Here are some pictures of the meals I had during my stay. I would say the menu is pretty awesome. There was a good variety of chinese confinement food, western, and classic Singaporean dishes. The pictures don’t do them justice. But they were all really yummy (think really good zhi char store standards but healthier).
On the day of discharge my husband took two trips home. Once to bring all the gifts we received and the stuff that Thomson gave us, the second with me and baby. Take note if you have alot of barang barang to try and bring those home before you discharge so you can focus entirely on baby during discharge.
After packing everything, we informed the nurse to help baby to take her first bath! This delay was because we wanted her to have the beneficial vernix coating remain on her for as long as possible. It was quite fun to watch her first ever bath through the nursery window!
Once she was done, we did a final check of the room and went down to the car together. My husband went with the baby and a nurse with me as I was literally walking like a snail. Took awhile as we were so scared putting baby into the car seat for the first time. I sat behind with baby and took our first trip home as a family 🙂
Note: Discharge timing is around 11am! Also hot tip, upon registration you can ask for signing of some discharge documents ahead of time so you DO NOT have to go to patient services centre on the day of discharge and wait around and they will send the bill to you instead. So much more convenient.
THOMSON MEDICAL C-SECTION DELIVERY BILL BREAKDOWN
Within the week, we received an email from TMC with the interim discharge bills for my c-section birth. Here’s an approximate breakdown of the Thomson Medical delivery bill we received:
|C-section birth Hospital Charges For Mummy inclusive of FBI/SBI membership discount
This includes all the room charges, supplies used during operation and your stay.
|Doctor fees (Gynae and Anaesthetist)
|Medisave deduction (Mummy charges)
|Hospital Charges For Baby
|Doctor fees (Paediatrician)
|Medisave deduction (Baby charges)
|Total Paid After Deductions
WOULD I DELIVER AGAIN AT TMC?
I would say it was an overall good c-section birth experience – with more pros than cons. Furthermore, my gynae delivers only at TMC and Mount E (Novena) so it’s not like I have much of a choice. Hopefully the renovations will help to give the hospital a good upgrade, so that should I ever consider to have a second child I’ll be able to give birth there again.