Jun's fearless birth of beloved Aimee
I reflect on how much has changed over the past few months and how much I’ve grown as a person. The word “a lot” doesn’t even cover the amount of changes that occurs when a child comes into your life. And it is a good change. Although it is almost a year now, it feels like I just birthed Aimee yesterday. I still remember my birth vividly from the moment I have my first birth show, to the colour of Dr. Paul’s shirt (orange), to all the surges and emotions, to the birth and beyond. Back when Aimee was 6 months old, I’ve written a really l-o-n-g birth birth story but I didn’t share it because it was very personal, raw and detailed. I needed to remember, so I wrote everything down. Now that Aimee is turning ONE, I feel it is time to share my birth story but it'll be a simple one.
I never really thought much about my birth before I met Nadine (My Hypnobirthing guru). All I know is I would like it to be natural, no caesarean and no epidural. But I remember how afraid I was for the day to come... How am I going to “try” and birth naturally without epidural? I asked myself and my answer was always “Suck it up JUN!” Suck what up my brain would ask. And so it was a constant fear and bravery battle that has no ending to it.
I found out about hypnobirthing from a friend (Va Nee!!) and then I met and attended Nadine’s classes, changed my doctor and hospital (at week 32), embrace hypnobirthing teachings and then my whole world changed. I no longer fear my birth. I understood how my body works and how God created our bodies to be able to birth naturally. And I was very excited and looking forward to the arrival of our daughter. On top of everything, the best part was, I wasn’t afraid. I was calm, relax and ready to birth. I guess that’s the beauty of hypnobirthing. It changes your perspective and lets you understand the beauty of birth and it allows you to embrace what nature intended for you to do – Birth naturally.
Counting down to December was fun. Our previous doctor gave us a deadline to birth on 29th of November and I know it wasn’t my EDD. My EDD was in December and I was wondering if I would birth in December or not. True enough my birthshow came midnight as we enter into December. I remember how excited I was to see blood, knowing that I’ll be seeing Aimee soon and it’s DECEMBER! As excited as we were, Ruey and I did what we learn from Nadine – stay calm and go to bed. So we slept. Morning came and my surges weren't as frequent as the night before. Nadine reassured me that everything was normal. So we continue with our daily routine and Ruey decided to work from home. I spent most of my time in our bedroom because I was most comfortable there. I was constantly praying and talking to Aimee, telling her how much we love her and that we can’t wait to see and hold her. Every surge I’d breathe and focus on my blue ocean. As calm as I would be still there's a little butterfly fluttering in my heart making me sneak smiles every time I thought bout my daughter. My husband constantly checks on me and what he sees is a happy smiling, round belly wife bouncing on the birth ball or walking or on all fours, listening to the birth affirmation and breathing calmly. Focus, alone and quiet.
Waiting can be tiring too. So I decided to take a shower and nap. Constantly still breathing and visualizing my calm beautiful turquoise ocean and how each surge was like calm waves, pulling and rolling on my feet making it sink deeper into the sands and bringing me closer to my baby. When I woke up it was already evening and my surges was building and getting more intense. But I knew it wasn’t time yet so I requested for baby’s favourite carbonara for dinner. My surges were getting so intense; I was constantly closing my eyes and breathing as we ate our dinner. I know my surges were getting stronger, picking up a pattern and constancy. So I message Nadine again just to update her and yes… It’s anytime now! With my birth bag in the car, I was ready to go but I requested to go home instead. I resume my breathing and focus but some surges were so intense I would go on all fours just to be comfortable. My surges were 3-4 minutes apart and it has been happening for an hour now. So we decided to head to the hospital.
As we arrive, they prepared the water and did a quick VE and I was at 7cm. Great! So I got into the pool and boy was warm water soothing. I tried a few position and found a comfortable seated position and I continue to breathe and snack in between. In the hospital, I wasn’t tune into what time it was and how long was I in the pool. My midwife Fong told me to inform her when I feel like bearing down. And so we waited and suddenly I felt a switch. My surge was so intense for the first time I forgot to breathe and I clench on to Fong and Ruey’s hand so tight I felt a sharp pressure to push. It’s time, BREATHE!!! My baby is descending and my membrane (waterbag) was still intact! So with Dr Paul around, everyone waited and I was tuned into my surges. I know when the real strong surge was and I breathe down the baby. I’m not sure how long was I breathing or was it right or wrong (note to self, try not to self doubt) but I suddenly had reflux and was vomiting. And Dr Paul gave us a suggestion to try holding my breath instead. So we tried pushing method for the next few surges and after awhile my membrane gave way and the liquid was clear, so that’s good news. Next few surges were memorable because my husband could see our baby’s head playing peekaboo and he exclaim “She has lots of hair!”
I closed my eyes every now and then just to breathe and visualize my blue ocean. At one point after all the breathing, pushing and vomiting, I slept. I was tired and the pool was so warm and calm, I actually doze off. I know it was a quick nap but it was refreshing and a much needed rest. I remember Dr Paul telling Fong that I was really in sync with my body and I waited for the real strong surge to push and not waste my energy on small mild surges. But we weren’t making much progress and Aimee’s heart rate was dropping. So Dr Paul suggested to vacuum her out and I was sad to hear this. Ruey asked to give us time alone to discuss things and he reminded me that we wanted it to be natural and that she was almost here. I know my Aimee was facing sunny side up (posterior) like how she likes it. Everyday I would turn her and every night she managed to turn back to posterior and play with her mummy. So we asked Dr Paul if we could try a little while longer and he said yes. So we tried for another hour but still no progress. So I asked Dr Paul if I could try Dry birth. And he said yes, let’s try 3 surges.
So up on the bed I tried a few position and still nothing. (After birth my husband told me I made more progress in the pool than on dry land.) So okay. Vacuum. I felt defeated but Dr Paul and midwife sister Siow reassure me that I did wonderful job and asked me not be upset. Soon I felt a strong surge and Dr Paul asked me to push and I did and within seconds she was vacuumed out and cried out her first cry. Dr Paul placed her on me and we had our skin to skin moment. I remember stroking her and telling her we love her and that she’s safe and sure enough Aimee felt safe and warm on me and she stopped crying. Ruey got the honour to cut the cord after it stopped pulsating and after a quick stitch (2nd degree tear) then we had the room all to ourselves.
She was so tiny (3.25kg) but she was mine. Aimee was calm and opened her eyes and looked at daddy and smell her mummy and she took the breast and nurse! I remember it was a flood of emotions (explosion of love, quote Chelle) and such a wonderful feeling. After nursing, Aimee slept on me and I remember it felt good. My placenta birth took a little detour. It was already an hour or two and yet after many surges it didn’t come out. So I let Ruey carry Aimee skin to skin and I focused on my surges. All I know is there were a gush of blood (according to Ruey) and everything went into an emergency state. Voices were fading and visions were getting blur and everyone was rushing and calling Dr Paul to hurry. I remember Ruey holding on to Aimee, asking me not to leave them. I haven’t even looked at Aimee’s face and I was scared. I prayed and asked God to be with me and he did. I’m thankful for my everyday because God gave me time. Time to love, time to cherish and time to live. No matter if Aimee was vacuumed out, naturally birth or waterbirth, she came to us safely and I’m here to witness her grow… This is all that matters now. And at the end of the day I set out to do what I initially set out to do. Have my birth with no epidural or caesarean and along the way I achieved much more… I got to understand birth with my husband and have such admiration for it. I had a wonderful birth, period.
Everyday I learn and grow as a mother, a daughter, a sister and as a person. I’m so greatful that I have Ruey to share this journey with. To my dearest Ruey, I know I’m bit artistic and quirky. Thank you for believing in me and going through all my weird unique choices in life. I love you dearly. December 2nd. A day that my family and I grieve for the lost of my dearest aunt, but God decides to gave me life… and so much more. God gave me Aimee. She‘s our little sunshine that brings so much joy and laughter to our lives, it heals. She is the love of my life and is now my all. Maybe God wants me to celebrate life and remember how precious life is. So we named our daughter Aimee. It means beloved and most precious. She truly is. Happy Birthday darling Aimee! We love you dearly.