Cadence's From-Marathon-To-Sprint Waterbirth Story

Our familyThe Fear

Like many others, I have heard enough birthing experiences or rather “horror stories”  from mothers, families and friends. So deep inside my heart, there was no doubt that giving birth is one of the world’s most scariest and painful thing to do. I even told my hubby that I would not want to give birth and suggested to him that we should adopt children instead. How silly~ :p

Then there was one day I heard about HypnoBirthing and waterbirth from one of my friends. I was truly inspired by her birth story and delighted to know that not everyone need to go through traumatic birthing experience, but a gentle and natural birth is by all means possible. So signing up for HypnoBirthing course was one of the first few things I did as soon as I was aware of my pregnancy.

At week 38, my obgyn Dr. Paul started to ask whether I felt any surges. I didn’t feel anything except sensations of abdominal tightening that happened irregularly. I wanted to avoid induction because I wished that baby could decide his own birth date. Thus I declined membrane sweep and VE during checkups at week 40+. Dr. Paul was indeed very kind and accommodative. He performed ultrasound only to confirm that baby’s condition was good enough for me to continue “waiting”. 

The Wait

I tried to persuade baby to come out on Merdeka day so that he shared the same birth date as his father. Apparently baby decided it wasn’t the right time yet. So I just had to be patient and let baby made the call. The “waiting” game was no fun at all when people all around started to show concern and ask questions.

By week 41, I had tried almost all sorts of natural inducers possible - walking, love making, nipple stimulation, raspberry leaf tea, spicy food… all to no avail.

The Rush

At week 41+1, I started to feel really nervous because I had a follow up appointment the next day, which I believed it could probably be my last appointment before I was advised to schedule an induction. I texted Wai Han and she gave me some suggestions, including going for an acupuncture session with Oran Kivity at Meridians. I quickly made a call to them and was fortunate to find that they still have available slot on that evening. After discussion with hubby, we decided to give it a try. Immediately we rushed to Mont Kiara from Puchong before traffic started to build up.

After listening to my story, Oran decided to increase the intensity of my acupuncture treatment considering that I wanted my labour to start before my prenatal appointment, which was, less than 24 hours. According to Oran, it normally takes 2 sessions to work. So I had the 2nd appointment scheduled anyway, but kept my fingers crossed that something would happen that night.

The Exciting Start

2.30am: I suddenly awoke from my sleep. Then I heard a ticking sound down there. Instinctively I rushed to the bathroom. My membrane released! I was excited and confused at the same time because I thought it should be clear fluid but the water was rather pinkish. I felt very mild surges soon after. Hubby was still sleeping soundly despite my effort to wake him up. After I cleaned the floor, hubby woke up groggily. I told him that my water broke. Surprisingly he didn’t react – he just went back to sleep. “Ok, that was cool…” I though. Nothing I could do in this wee hour anyway. So I tried to relax and get back to sleep. Meanwhile, I timed my surges.

4am: Hubby was finally “conscious”. When he realized what happened, he got nervous and urged me to go to hospital. I convinced him that it was still too early to admit as the surges was very mild and bearable. 

7.30am: Wai Han replied my message and reassured me that I was progressing well but surges being 8 to 10 minutes apart was still early.

9am: Hubby was still worried. As hospital was quite a distance from our house, I was reluctantly “dragged” to hospital when hubby saw my contraction timer apps recorded surges with 2 minutes apart, which actually happened only once…:-/

10am: We were told to go straight to the labour room.  I was monitored on CTG for 40 minutes. Surges were still quite mild. I was still able to smile at the camera. :-)

12pm: I declined VE requested by staff nurse but she insisted the procedure was necessary to determine my hospital admission. After “ding dong” for half an hour, negotiation failed. I gave in. Doing that VE was the most unpleasant experience I had throughout my pregnancy. I was 3cm dilated. Hence I was officially admitted.

Yet Another Wait

3pm: Dr. Paul dropped by to say hi. He expected my surges would proceed to 2 – 3 minutes apart by night time. Then we would see how things go from there.

4pm: I was strapped on CTG again for 30 minutes. Surges were still 8 minutes apart but were more intense.

6 – 7 pm: Surges were 7 – 10 minutes apart. Intensity of surges increased and became less bearable. I had to keep reminding myself to relax, breathe and not to fight against the surges. Accompanied hubby to cafeteria for dinner. After that, we walked around hospital compound and labour room hoping to speed things up. Whenever surges came, I stopped walking to focus and dealt with them.

The Worry

8pm: I was strapped on CTG again for 15 minutes, argh~ I requested side lying as I thought it would be a better position for me to manage the surges. Nurse came in to inform that reading wasn’t good as baby’s heartbeat dropped with every surge. She would call doctor to come in while I needed to be monitored for another 15 minutes. I requested to lie on my back this time.

8.45pm: Dr Paul came. Fortunately, baby’s heartbeat went back to normal. But my surges were still inconsistently 6 – 8 minutes apart. He was not comfortable with the readings because he expected surges to be 2 -3 minutes apart by now. He predicted that I would have to wait through the night for active labor to happen. If there was no progress by then, we might need to consider induction. I was so disappointed. I wondered how long do I still need to go through this and doubted that I could cope with it when the time came. Meanwhile, I was going through 2 very strong surges and thus couldn’t pay attention to what doctor was saying, but I remembered I firmly declined when he asked if I wanted to do a VE to check the progress. :p

Baby Took Charge

8.50pm: I went to washroom once Dr. Paul left the room. I noticed blood discharge and freaked out. I suddenly had fearful and silly thought about placenta abruption. At the same time, I went through very strong surges that I was not able to get up from the toilet bowl. Once the surge over, I quickly asked hubby to call the nurse. A staff nurse came in and requested me to lie on the bed so that she could check on me. At this time, the intensity shot up and frequency of surges suddenly increased to 1 minute apart. I could barely move. The bed was just a few steps away from the washroom but it took me 10 minutes to finally crawled onto it.

9.05pm: Surges were so intense that I had totally lost control of my mind and breathing. For once I actually grabbed my hubby’s hand and bit on it. :p Of course I was reprimanded by the nurse. They kept reminding me to relax, breathe and practise HypnoBirthing! Nurse asked for consent to do VE. I agreed. (I guess I would just agree to anything at that point of time.) But she didn’t answer my hubby when asked how much I had dilated and strapped me on CTG monitor again. Then I felt a strong urge to bear down and thought baby was coming out. But nurse told me that baby’s scalp was not visible yet.

9.15pm: More nurses rushed in to the labor room. Some of them were busy filling up the birth tub while some were preparing to mobilize the bed as they found out it was too late for me to walk or even wheel-chaired to the birth tub. Other than that, I wasn’t really aware of what happened around me as the extremely intense surges demanded my full attention.

The Sprint!

10mins waterbirth9.30pm: I didn’t know when exactly Dr. Paul came in. The next thing I remembered was being transferred directly from bed to birthing tub with the assistance of Dr. Paul and nurses. The moment I sat inside the tub, it was an instant relief. I was stripped off and I heard hubby said baby was crowning. With the next surge, baby’s head emerged. The cord was seen around baby’s neck. I was advised to bear down and push a bit. So I waited for the surge and with 3 little nudges, baby was out!

Baby was passed to me for immediate skin-to-skin. Oh dear, he was so lovely and calm. Then Dr. Paul said he might need to clamp the cord immediately because baby was not crying. Interestingly baby seemed to hear it and cried out loud to make a statement. Haha. So we were allowed to delay cord clamping as per birth plan, yeah!

Calm waterbabyI didn’t get much chance to “enjoy” the birth tub because total time spent in there was like 10 minutes only. But I felt glad and thankful that baby helped mommy went through the whole process so frantically fast. I had to admit that I was quite panicky during transition of active labor and was not that “gentle” to hubby ( sorry dear~ :p) But it was afterall a wonderful drug-free and natural birth experience!

Last but not least, I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to Wai Han for her guidance, advice and support throughout my pregnancy until birthing. Not forgetting to thank my hubby for his ultimate love and support. Certainly, I wouldn’t make it without him~ :-)

- Cadence Low (Sept 2014)