May Wong's Celebrated CNY Unassisted Home-Waterbirth Story

Dear readers,

We hope this video would give u the strength, hope and courage to do the things you may have dreamt of.

 

Traumatic First Birth

We were very cautious and rather apprehensive when pregnant with our firstborn because we didn't want to lose it again (I had a miscarriage 2 months before the pregnancy.) We left almost every decision to the doctors & nurses as we believed that was the safest way for both baby & me. Nearing EDD, we were so excited & couldn't wait for baby's arrival. But we never knew that it would be such a nightmare.

I was 4cm dilated upon arriving to hospital. The nurse then strapped me onto the trolley. So we thought we should be meeting our prince very soon (usually government hospital is very full & may send you back if birth is not imminent). Shortly, the nurses started to get busy - inserting IV plug (for pitocin & saline hydration), fetal monitoring, shaving the private part, and doctors/medical students came in for VE & broke the waterbag. We were clueless, just allowing it to happen & dare not ask why. Not much explanation was given to us. It was so painful & unbearable, lying on the trolley in labour room since 6am with limited space & I could hardly move.

Close to 9am, I think the consultant was making his round. He then scolded the nurses for not emptying my bladder! Imagine I was hooked on drips since 6am & never get to go to the toilet since. When the nurse inserted the urine catheter, it was such a relief although having a catheter was uncomfortable. We kept looking at the clock, hoping that all these will end soon.

Contractions were getting stronger & regular. I was quite drained. Neither food nor drink was allowed. So hubby had to secretly feed me water when no one else was around. Later on, a nurse offered me IM pethidine but I refused. She then offered me the laughing gas. Due to the discomfort of lying on the trolley for so many hours with increasing pain, I opted for laughing gas but got very sleepy after that and really wanted to give up. I have no will to focus on the breathing techniques anymore. Subsequently, I even asked for the IM pethidine! So I had 2 types of pain reliefs which made me even groggier, without any strength to push.

My 1st attempt to push was at 1pm. In between, I got too exhausted and did nothing even though I felt strong urges. During this period, there were 2-3 nurses standing at both side of my bump and kept pushing it downwards when there was contraction. It was a very awful feeling. At one point, I heard them threatening, "if you don't push then we need to have c-sec!" My only wish for this birth was natural, so I got a little alert & tried pushing, yet to no avail... Sigh... Finally they offered vacuum, episiotomy and baby was out around 2+pm. We were so relieved when we heard that baby was fine. I was then left in the room to birth the placenta & for stitches. Finally a nurse came to offer me a cup of hot milo.

Improved Second Birth

As for 2nd born, I did some read up on birthing choices. I couldn't imagine myself going through everything again. I contacted Wai Han via email and it was very nice that she understood my limitations to travel all the way from south to attend the HypnoBirthing course. She helped me to obtain the materials. I did self reading, listened to the CD & practiced the breathing techniques. We opted for a private clinic this round. However, the doctor wasn't fully supportive of my birth plan. We decided to stick with him as it was way better compared to going to the government hospital.

This round I had a shorter labour - baby met us 2 hours later. I did not need any analgesic. I focused on the breathing exercises, did my daily chores, had a nice warm bath, took my dinner & settled things at home before heading for hospital. But unfortunately, hospital's standard operating procedures still prevailed - I was hooked on IV pitocin & saline for hydration, strapped onto the trolley with no freedom of movement, episiotomy and vacuum assisted birth again, which caused a bigger hematoma compared to my first birth. It also caused prolonged jaundice in baby.

Perfecting Third Birth

After all the above encounters, I told my hubby that if I'm ever going to get pregnant again, I want none of the above anymore. But I think he didn't quite get my point at that time.

Preparation: Knowledge

When we came to know about my 3rd pregnancy, I continued to do more research. I shared positive birthing stories with him, and what's in the HypnoBirthing book. I wasn't working this round, so I really put full effort in preparing for this birth. I connected with Wai Han again and we met up. We were so amazed by her compassion and expertise in sharing knowledge. After the session, hubby gained more confidence.

Preparation: Supportive Careprovider

2 months before EDD, we knew very well that our birthplan was not well supported in the south, so I contacted Ms Fadilah (a doula who practices active labour which supports natural birth). We discussed and felt certain about our decision to have waterbirth at home if all the check ups went well. Nearing EDD, we managed to find an obgyn who's supportive of natural birth. She agreed with our (hospital) birthplan. We were so glad that finally there's someone who believes in natural birth! In the meantime, I continued with my checkups at Klinik Kesihatan also.

Preparation: Health

We gradually tuned ourselves into getting ready for baby No.3. At week 33, I started exercising 3 times a week, diligently taking a cup of green juice & 1 tbsp of VCO daily. I wanted to make sure I was in the pink of health at all times.

At week 37, doctor told me that I may be birthing very soon. I was a little upset as I was hoping for a Fire Monkey baby & not to miss my reunion dinner. It was 2 weeks to CNY. We then disclosed our homebirth decision to her. She advised against it in view of safety reasons. We had mixed feelings after that. Stick to original plan or just have a natural birth in hospital with my doctor??

Preparation: Optimal Fetal Position

I stopped my exercises, and slowed down some activities to avoid inducing early labour. We conveyed our wishes to baby every now and then. So days passed and I managed to make it for another prenatal visit at week 38! The scan showed that baby's head was down but she was front facing (occiput posterior). Doctor explained that labour may take a longer time. She gave us her contact number and shared with us the choices of careprovider in case she was not around during my birth. She would be on leave on the eve & 1st day of CNY. We were a little worried again if baby would come when she is away?? I then consulted Wai Han about baby's position. She suggested forward leaning inversion to encourage optimal fetal position (occiput anterior). I did it daily with help from hubby. Besides, I also did some crawling & on all fours with my gym ball.

So fast forward, our first wish was granted - baby would be qualified as a Fire Monkey because 立春(LiChun- the beginning of spring) has passed! Then I brought forward the reunion dinner to 6 Feb 2016 (2 days before CNY) to fulfill my second wish.

All Set for Labour!

On 7 Feb morning, I got up without any signs of labour, yet somehow had an intuition that it would be very soon. We went for a checkup at the nearby O&G clinic. To our delight, the scan showed that baby was occiput anterior! After that, hubby dropped me at Klinik Kesihatan to have a check & also to obtain the contact number of the midwife (who is on call 24 hours). The clinic will be closed on the 1st & 2nd day of CNY. Hubby then headed to JPN to find out about birth registration for homebirths. By noon, we had everything done and we were almost 100% ready for our waterbirth at home! We talked to baby, told her to come anytime when she's ready.

It was very early in the morning (started even before midnight) on 8 Feb 2016 when I experienced some discomfort and sensed her imminent arrival. I was never wrong on this! So, we had to prepare to meet her one week ahead of her EDD (she's supposed to be 14 Feb 2016 a.k.a Valentine's Baby).

When we woke up, we knew for sure it was either today or the next. We double checked our birthing checklist. (I think amongst all births, this was the most well prepared one). I informed Wai Han while hubby contacted our Doula Fadillah, stocked up coconuts, waited for the raspberry leaf tea which we had ordered (which didn't turn up eventually), thermometer, blood pressure monitor, cleared up camera's memory card (hubby bought a 128GB flash card just to make sure we can have a nice video of baby later.) We had a nice vegetarian lunch at home and went to temple for prayers.

The Real Deal

After all the final shopping, we came home for a good afternoon nap. However, I couldn't really sleep because the discomfort was getting more intense and frequent. The surges started to get more frequent at 15 mins apart by 1730 hours. There was also some brownish discharge (likely birth show). We updated both Fadilah and Wai Han. Hubby busy charging all batteries he could find in the house to prevent any potential hiccups. I spent time sitting on the gym ball, rocking hips & listening to relaxation music over the ear phone. I took a nice warm bath at 1800.

By 1840, surges were more intense, at 10 mins apart. Hubby readied the birthing pool (need to inflate more to make the walls sturdier), connected the hose to the water heater & started filling up the pool. Also readied all gadgets - camera, MACbook, phones. He checked on my dinner (to make sure I have enough energy for labour) but my mum still needed a bit of cooking time. By 1930, we were having dinner in our room while I was on the gym ball, breathing all the discomfort (such an understatement for the STRONG sensations I was experiencing) away.

By 2000 hrs, hubby dimmed the room, turned on relaxation music, massaged my back (light touch, hip press & massage on the lower back), testing out the camera and tripod (the room was too dark for the camera to capture nice images so had to occasionally on the lights), giving words of encouragement, reminding me to relax and to keep my shoulder down, kept me hydrated with red dates drink and reminding me to empty my bladder.

Surge On...

Minutes by minutes, hour by hour, my surges were escalating in frequency and intensity but our doula was not here yet. Hubby started to get a little jittery and contemplating of going to hospital. However, the HypnoBirthing book said something really amazing: "Trust what you feel and sense, not what you hear or see."

By 2140hrs, I got out of pool & sat on the toilet bowl. 10 mins later, I experienced more discharge and went on all fours in the toilet. Hubby noticed more reddish birth show. Hubby updated our doula and she replied that she would be here in 10 mins.

By 2200hrs, we thought it was not a good idea to birth baby in the toilet. So I used all my might to walk to the pool. I was in deep pain and hubby had to remind me to let go and not to clench my fist.

Labour of Love.. of the Entire Family

Once in a while, my boys would come and checked on me. My youngest sister helped to bring up hot water to warm up the pool. My mum started to boil red dates and roasted rice drinks. Everyone was really on their feet that night; we couldn't wait to welcome baby.

Once I was in the pool, Fadilah came and reassured us that things were progressing perfectly. She said I was in active labour and hubby was surprised that baby would be coming so soon. As I was sitting in the pool, a strong surge came and I could feel the burning sensation (ring of fire?) I figured it should be crowning. I then went on all fours again in the pool and was in excruciating pain during the 1 min surge. I was tearing & almost gave up but Fadilah kept reassuring me to relax and kept going. I continued to breathe down with each surge.

Then, I heard a "pop" sound (the sac broke) and the head was out! Hubby was caught by surprise seeing baby's head in the pool (things were progressing way faster than we anticipated.) Baby's nose was covered with a layer of whitish discharge (vernix), and her skin was purplish pink. Hubby then started the video recording of baby's journey to this world.

The Celebrity!

The next surge finally brought baby to this world at 2215 hrs and I felt so relieved. Baby was slimy, covered with the goodness of vernix. Hubby was proud to capture the precious moment and be the first to greet her (not to mention our doula of course.) Hubby and doula then lifted her out of water and placed her on my back. Her arrival on this auspicious day was celebrated with the spectacular fireworks outside!

I turned around and carefully moved baby and her umbilical cord near to me. Hubby quickly switched off the air cond (prompted by doula though) to make sure baby was warmed. Everything felt so magical and FAST and there my dear baby was in my arms, in the pool.

Presently, both my boys came into the room, instinctively knowing their lovely sister was born. We then had our first family portrait, taken by my sister.

After that I was assisted by hubby and doula, to rest on bed to birth the placenta. It came out half an hour later with doula gently guiding it out. Our initial plan was to encapsulate the placenta.

The following hours were light moments we would never forget. Hubby was busy taking pictures while I tried to breastfeed for the first time. Finally it was time to separate baby from her cord. We had delayed clamping to ensure baby would not be deprived of all the best nutrients. The cord was very pale now as it has been 4 hours. Our doula used dental floss to tie 2 sides of the cord and then hubby cut it in between. The cord felt rubbery and needed 2-3 trials to cut. It was like an opening ceremony and also a significant one to celebrate our dearest daughter's birth - to be able to be on her own.

          

After that, hubby & doula helped to clean up baby and I. Everything was done in the comfort of our room with gentleness, peacefulness, and joy. This was what we wanted and would never regret the decisions we had made.

I felt great with fabulous blood pressure readings, still wide awoke even though it was past 1 midnight. I had a slight tear, likely a 1st degree. Baby's lungs were clear (she had only cried once during the birthing phase.) The doula stayed until about 0230 hrs in the morning. We were truly thankful for her expertise and support throughout the whole process (she brought along all the necessary stuffs in one cabin-sized luggage bag.)

The Aftermath

The next morning, about 8am, hubby reported the birth at the police station. He then informed the KK nurse. About 9am, 2 nurses came. They gave me a jab for uterus contraction (which wasn't necessary), and baby's vaccinations were done too. Then they interviewed us. They pushed us for hospital admission, saying that I needed stitches and baby would need antibiotic. We declined & but after much hassle, we negotiated to go to the Pusat Pakar Bersalin nearby. The nurses insisted that I went into their car while hubby led the way. We were labelled as post BBA case. They handed some reports to the doctor & nurses at the centre before leaving. While I had my stitches done, I was given IV Rocephine at the same time. Doctor insisted baby would need to stay over night for monitoring since we refused antibiotic for her. Thus, both baby & I ended up in the centre for a night. We requested for early discharge by 10am the next day, as both of us were doing fine.

Before ending my birth story, I would like to thank Wai Han again for her compassion & expertise in sharing & guiding us whenever needed. We would never forget this wonderful lifetime experience.

P/s: Coincidentally, all 3 of my births happened during public holidays. Likely that babies know that I wish to birth them in the presence of hubby. Hubby works in Singapore so it would take a lot of travelling time on a working day. No.1 was born on post Singapore National Day; No.2 on Deepavali; and No.3 on CNY.

- Chee Han & May (Feb 2016)

Baby Zi YuBaby's stat:
Length = 51cm
Head circumference = 34cm
Weight = 3.2kg