WARNING: THIS PAGE CONTAINS REAL LIFE BIRTHING PHOTOS
I gave birth to my son on 23 Feb 2007 - another painless childbirth with HypnoBirthing. This time, it was an unattended homebirth (zero cost) I birthed and received my 3.5kg baby boy in the downstairs toilet while my hubby (DH) and daughter (DD) were sleeping upstairs. Active (painless) labour less than 2 hours. Here's the story...
One morning, as I was lazing around on bed with my 2.5yo DD, she suddenly put her ear on my belly and said, "Got baby inside." My heart missed a beat. I thought perhaps she's heard my tummy rumbling but when I checked the calendar, it dawned on me that I was blessed again with another baby... just 2 months after my miscarriage! Initially, I was in the "self-protective" mode - reserving my love in case this baby was not meant to stay. Knowing that I was being unfair and fearful, I did a release on limiting thoughts and finally I could fully embrace this little being who was growing and sharing my life day by day.
It was another blissful, smooth sailing pregnancy. I dreamed for a peaceful homebirth, with DH and DD witnessing the labour and welcoming baby into our family. I had my antenatal checkups with Klinik Kesihatan, intending to register myself for homebirth as only the community midwives can legally attend homebirths, there is no independant midwives available. But I was greatly disappointed and sad that the nurses/midwives were quite "hostile" (or perhaps fearful) towards homebirth. Every time I answered "home" to their questions of "where do you want to give birth", I was brushed off and was told that it was dangerous, sometimes one or two horror stories entailed. I was not given any instruction/guidance on the procedure or registration for homebirth. It was apparently not an option for that Klinik Kesihatan. Luckily, a friend helped me contacted a community midwife, Norma, who is attached to UMMC. Norma was helpful, informative, and encouraging. I realised I have to DIY to achieve my dream. I prepared myself, did my own research, and fully trust that my body and my baby will know what to do. I visualised a birth so fast that there won't be enough time to get to the hospital. I kindof kept it a secret as not to attract negative comments and discouragements. DH, although believed in me, was getting cold feet.
My EDD was on 26 Feb but we were hoping for a nice birth-date such as 20-02. However, on 19 Feb, one of my couples had an unexpected premature labour and I directed my focus and thoughts to support her labour. Also, my eldest uncle was admited to hospital due to heart problem and we (especially my father) were all worried for him. So, 20 Feb wasn't a good time to welcome baby. On 22 Feb, my eldest uncle was discharged from the hospital and my youngest uncle and auntie had flown all the way back from Australia. I jokingly told DH, "if baby comes out now, he'll get to meet everyone." Baby heard it too, of course. That day I had a strange feeling or an intuition that baby is coming...
That night, after a nice dinner and a grocery shopping trip, I had the birth show at 11pm while watching TV with DD. DH has retreated to bed early. I could hardly contain my excitement. I breastfed DD before sleep to encourage oxytocin to jumpstart labour. I listened to my HypnoBirthing relaxation CD on discman and slept.
Around 1:30am (23 Feb), I realised my batteries were exhausted so I came downstair to continue listening to the CD with mini-compo and went into deep relaxation with HypnoBirthing techniques. Surges (contractions) were painless. I frequently emptied my bladder and kept myself hydrated. I have to sit upright as baby was moving actively between surges to get into optimal position for birth as he has been lying on my right side throughout pregnancy. The night was tranquil and peaceful.... I tuned into my body, visualising cervix opening. I could see, in my mind's eye, a light at some sort of "opening". DH came down and checked on me a few times. However, seeing that I was still in the same relaxing position, he went back to bed. Around 4+am, surges started to get more frequent and intense, still painless. I sat on the gym ball to encourage baby to descend, while gently bouncing and swaying to the rhythm of the surges, also keeping myself hydrated and emptying bladder frequently.
Later (probably almost 6am), I felt like peeing. As I sat on the toilet seat, my membrane released with an audible "pop". The fluid was clear. Next came the birthing urge. I instinctively got on fours on the toilet floor. First surge was strong but short. I almost chicken out (hallmark of labour) and thought, "should I head for hospital now?". But without time to think for an answer, second strong and longer surge followed. I was amazed to sense baby's bulging head at my stretching perineum. Almost immediately came the most intense and the longest surge I've ever experienced. I reached down and I touched... the head! Spontaneously, I assumed a kneeling position and out slid my slippery baby - he "floated" out with more fluid - into my arms! For a moment, I felt as if time stand still. I could hardly believe this miracle... almost magical. I could hardly believe I'm holding a life! What a gift!
Amazingly, baby didn't cry at birth. He made an acknowledge sound twice as if to greet me. He was such a cute pinky baby. I warmed him at my chest. He opened his eyes and we chatted while waiting for DH to wake up. He also took to the breast like a pro. The dawn was so peaceful, so serene, so quiet and dark. Nobody knew I have birthed. DH found us at 6:30am, with me cradling baby sitting on the wet slippery floor, and my placenta still intact. I breastfed more, and the placenta was finally expelled when I squatted (about 30mins after birth). DH wrapped baby in a receiving blanket, with the attached placenta on a tray and brought them to the living room while I cleaned the toilet and took a warm shower. I was energetic and on cloud nine.
We enjoyed some bonding moments with baby before getting the klinik nurse to come over about 8:30am (2+hours after birth) to check on me and baby, and examine the placenta to make sure it's complete. I only had a slight skin tear which does not require stitching. The cord was clamped then. Baby was measured (52cm) and weighted (3.5kg). We delayed newborn jabs to the following week to make the birth-day as comfortable as possible for baby. When my 3+yo DD woke up, she fell in love with her baby brother immediately and she gently cradled baby. I tandem nursed them and bonding continued. We only gave baby his first bath in the afternoon (> 12hrs after birth). For the lack of ideas, we buried baby's placenta in our garden.
Baby Hao-E is a calm, and peaceful baby like all other hypnobabies. He smiled and laughed out loud within the first 5 days of birth, sleeps through the night since birth, nurses well, no colic, no rashes, very communicative, very cheerful. Without any "injuries" to recover from, my confinement has been a bliss too.
It was such an easy, fast and empowering birth. Most events unfold according to plan... except that baby has chosen a better place for birth than the bedroom that I envisioned. The toilet is definately much easier to clean up. Too bad DH and DD didn't get to witness the birth but at least DH was there to witness the birth of placenta. I hope my experience will inspire more mothers to trust their inborn birthing instincts and to demand a gentle natural birth for their babies.
Mommy Baby magazine, Sept 2007 issue