Samantha's Composed 2nd Unassisted Home Waterbirth Story

Second birth will definitely be faster as we were told. For our first child, we went through 44 hours of labour after the membrane released. So we definitely hope the birth of our second child will be much faster.

The Birth Show

This time my membrane did not break. I had a birth show 5 days prior to EDD. I noticed the birth show when I went to pee early in the morning and immediately told baby: "please don’t let me wait too long this time!"

Nothing happened after the show and it was a Saturday. So I quickly got my outstanding office work done at home. Throughout the whole morning no action still; came noon time I felt mild surges starting. The surges came quite far apart and lasted only a short while so I proceeded to go to my parents’ place for lunch. After reaching home from lunch the surges got a little stronger but with experience from the first birth, I told myself I needed to have some sleep before the intense moments came. I needed energy!

The Cosy Corner

I managed to have a short nap but throughout I could feel the surges getting stronger and longer, but still bearable. I quickly dropped Wai Han a text to update her and continued to tell baby: “don’t wait too long to come out and see us!” Being more prepared this time, my husband, Joshua quickly set up a corner with my yoga mat, birth ball and a chair so I could use that ‘birth corner’ to handle the intense surges later. He also filled up the bath tub. We tried to have a water birth for our first child but ended up dry as baby did not want to come out in the water! Hence we wished to try again this time.

Evening came and surges were getting even stronger - still bearable as I could move around freely. So for dinner my mum brought food over to our place. As I was going downstairs from the second floor to the ground floor I needed to stop half way as suddenly a surge came. I just breathed through it and told myself baby should be here in the next few hours. So we quickly finished dinner and went back to the room to prepare for the intense moments. It was around 7:30pm. At the back of my mind I hoped I could breathe through the surges calmly, unlike my first experience where I could clearly remember how ‘out of focus’ I was with the intense surges! Now that my son was around, running in and out of the room, I needed to keep my composure.

The Focus

This time whenever a surge came, I breathed in to the count of ten and breathed out to the count of ten, humming from the bottom of my throat. I spent quite some time sitting on the birth ball at the early stage. It was the most comfortable thing to do at that time and I also updated Wai Han frequently. Surges were around 5 minutes apart; some lasted a short while and some longer. She suggested that I stand and walk around more to keep the birth path open and she will be coming over soon. I joked and said she better be here quick so baby can come out faster which was the case for my first child whereby baby was born soon after Wai Han arrived.

So while walking around, whenever a surge came, I will either hold on to the back of the chair for support or on to the window grill and count. Joshua has also started to help me with hip press during a surge to ease the discomfort. I went to pass urine very frequently, at the same time keeping myself hydrated with lots of water and coconut water. Luckily my mom was here to entertain my son and tried to keep him out of the room so I could focus on my labour!

Wai Han arrived at 9:30pm. I was still breathing through my surges. I could talk to her after each surge but I already lost count on the frequency of the surges. However, I could feel that baby was moving downwards especially while I was standing. She took over with the pelvic massage and suddenly I had the urge to pee. So off I went to the toilet.

The Tsunami

A surge came while I was sitting on the toilet bowl which was very intense and I called to Wai Han and Joshua. I started to lose focus on my breathing as the surges were getting really intense but I could remember saying to myself, “not again, another toilet bowl baby?!’ but this time I managed to get up to enter the bath tub. I kneeled in the water facing and holding the head rest of the bath tub. When the surges got very intense, all I remembered was Wai Han making the low breathing sound somewhat like a long sigh. I just followed which actually made it better for me. Joshua did the hip press during surges while Wai Han poured warm water onto my back. That was actually making it more comfortable.

In the water, surges were very intense, with urges to push but luckily Wai Han was there to guide and bring me back to focus. Just then, my membrane released. I felt a ‘pop’ and both Wai Han and Joshua also noticed the gush of fluid coming out. Eventually (actually it was really quick!) after a few intense surges, baby was crowning and this time I actually felt what was known as the ‘ring of fire’. My mum and son came up to witness the birth at that exciting moment.

The Emergence

As for me, I was actually losing focus again and all I wanted to do was to push. However, after baby’s forehead emerged, the surge stopped. So we needed to wait for the next surge for baby to finish her journey. The wait felt like forever. I felt baby’s head being ‘stuck’ and not knowing what to do but to let nature take its course. With the next surge, baby’s head came out fully and I tried to keep my body low so baby will complete her birth journey inside the water. I felt much more comfortable when her whole body was born.

The Meetup

Baby was quickly passed to me between my legs. She immediately breathed and cried upon being taken out of water. I felt such an achievement having successfully completed my water birth this time. I quickly checked baby to ensure everything was fine. We rested in the water for a short while. I then wished to have the placenta birthed in the toilet bowl which will be easier where we just put a sieve under the toilet seat. While getting out from the bath tub I noticed that the water was very clear except for some vernix.

I remembered telling myself the birthing process was not complete until the placenta was birthed. I instructed my body to birth the placenta quickly while holding baby close to me. True enough, the placenta came out soon after and baby passed her meconium immediately too.

We then moved back to the room to enjoy more skin-to-skin with baby. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, Joshua took the honour to cut the cord, officially welcoming baby earth side. We initiated breastfeeding and to my very surprise this little girl got the right latch from the very beginning!

Law of Attraction

I truly believe that when we have a positive mindset and the right energy, the Universe will make things happen for us. Before birth, I went through my birthing wishes with Wai Han regarding the labour process and duration, whether I should have my son around to witness baby’s birth and whether she could be present. Everything we discussed came true! We thought it would be nice to have an en caul birth (i.e. water bag still intact). Well, my membrane only released right before baby came out. We also joked about my labour time and intense labour period, to which she said this will be way much shorter. It was! As to the concern of having my son witnessing the birth - as I was afraid the experience might frighten him - the birth chose to happen on a weekend and on the evening that my son was around! Guess I needed to ask Wai Han for lottery number already!

- Samantha Siah (Sept 2016)

First birth: Samantha's Intense Unassisted Toilet-Bowl Home Birth Story (Oct 2012)