Preparing Another HB Birth
When we found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, the memories of my joyous birth with Baby #1 was still fresh in mind. The birth was such a wonderful experience that I wanted to do it all over again. And it was the time spent with Wai Han on the HypnoBirthing course that allowed me to have such a beautiful experience of course. We met up with Wai Han about 6 weeks before EDD. Even with a beautiful birth I had, there were things that I wished I had done differently. And it was good to go through that in preparation for baby Ana's arrival.
My obgyn is Dr Leong from Alpha Fertility Center, he only uses TMC for all his deliveries. When we heard that TMC is no longer mother friendly, we quickly reviewed our birth preferences with Dr Leong. He told us that TMC no longer accepts birthplans due to some "unfortunate incidences" in the labor ward. Actually, when we presented our birthplan with our firstborn last year, he also did not directly accept it, but we found him to be very respectful of our wishes and thus we were happy to have our second child under his care again.
We visited the labour ward a month before EDD and true enough, the nurse immediately said that they no longer accepts birthplan. So we simply asked some questions about the procedures required and we were quite happy with the briefing given - one VE and CTG upon admission for baseline reading, mummy free to move around after that, free to eat and drink, ... immediate skin to skin contact with baby.
The 'Better' Plan
Fast forward to week 38. Starting to feel impatient and kept telling baby that mummy and daddy were ready for her... whenever she was ready. Now, where was the bloody show??? Last year I could still have my fave banana leaf rice brunch and a whole afternoon to hand over my office work via emails after having birth show in the morning before heading to the hospital. This time, I told myself to leave for hospital ONLY after the birth show, ONLY after my membrane released.
D-Day - was a day that passed without much excitement. I was alone with my firstborn the entire evening and simply enjoyed spending time with him, gave him his evening bath and dinner. I put him to bed at 8:30pm and as per usual routine would sit next to him until he falls asleep (which can take up to 3 hours at the most tiring times!) Somehow that night I felt very uncomfortable sitting on the little toddler chair, and even more uncomfortable when I moved to the floor. I kept having the feeling of doing big business but nothing moved when I sat on the toilet bowl. At 9pm I called my husband to take over, and I took my late dinner.
I still felt uncomfortable sitting at the dinner table, but dismissed it as BH. Went to take a shower only about 10pm, after again spending some time on the toilet. In the shower, this feeling got a lot stronger and frequent. Suddenly I wondered if this was the "bearing down" feeling... !
Where were the Signs?
Out of shower I downloaded a contraction timer app about 10:45pm (yeah, ade masa lagi!) and I was shocked when it showed I was having these bearing down sensations at 5-1-1!!! I was shocked because I didn't have all the "signs" I was waiting for - where was the birth show? Where was the water bag? ...
Called my husband and said that maybe we need to head to hospital. He went to take his shower while I made a bottle of (strong) raspberry leaf tea drink and finalized my hospital bag. I still wondered at this time, will the hospital kick me home?
Left the house near midnight. By this time, I needed to pause often just so that I wouldn't terberak!
At the Hospital
We arrived at the hospital with me kneeling on the front passenger seat, hugging the backrest. I made the walk to the lift for level 3 and onwards to the labour ward despite the matron's repeated plea for me to take the wheelchair. I just told her that sitting was too uncomfortable and reassured her that I will not birth in the hospital corridor!
In the room, the nurses busied to help me change into hospital robes and prepared the CTG machine. Asked me to lie down for CTG. I could not! I might poo!!! Wai Han would laugh at this OCD-ness. I climbed up the bed, but instead of lying down I stood up on the bed cause it simply felt better to stand than to sit or lie down! Luckily my DH was already in the room with me and the nurses allowed me to hug him and just layan-ed the surges for a while. When I could lie down, they gave a VE - 8cm!
From 8 to 10... in 10mins!
Dr Leong arrived about 10mins after, did another VE and said that I was fully dilated... At this point, he released my membrane, without asking! I was shocked at the sudden burst of water, and losing my chance to have an en caul birth!
But the flurry of activities distracted me. Immediately nurses busied again with transforming the bed into the "labour bed". Once done, a nurse was stationed next to me. Teaching me to breathe and reminding me not to waste each surge. I felt tired, and I did not want to push. Each time I "wasted" a surge, the nurse simply encouraged me. It was cold in the room, and the nurse switched off the air conditioning upon seeing me shiver. DH was super supportive, holding me and reminded me of the J breathing. I ignored the nurse urging me to seize each surge to push baby.
Natural Expulsion Reflex
Few minutes later, I felt an urge so strong I couldn't resist but to P-U-S-H, imagining the sweet relief that would come ... And it did! My baby's head emerged with that push, and another push later she was out!
The lights were dimmed quickly upon our request and baby was placed on my tummy. She was a champion, crawling to feed!
My husband cut the cord when it stopped pulsating, and I was given a jab to expel the placenta. It came out quickly and doctor told me that he would give me local anesthetic to make a stitch. He insisted to make one stitch although he kept telling me that I did not tear. Something about making it look nicer (?!!) He could only laugh when I told him that his jab was more painful than the birth!
The Calm After the Storm
We had baby Ana to ourselves for hours, much skin-to-skin cuddle in the dimly lit room and massaging vernix into her wrinkly skin. Although we were quite shell shocked at the speed she arrived when she wanted to, baby Ana was a very contented baby to simply bask in the attention of her blissful parents.
All in all, I would say we had everything that we wanted for the birth, except for the rupturing of membrane. This time, going through with Wai Han the things that I enjoyed and regretted with my first pregnancy & birth, I was conscious of the need to "let go" and I did not feel the dreaded "ring of fire". We were really blessed for the newest addition to the family.
- Yew Peng (Oct 2014)