Haida's triumphant vaginal birth after cesarean
Hafiy was born at the comfort of our home, in a colourful kiddy pool at 10.13pm on Sunday, September 8, 2013 after nearly 36 hours of labour. How did we get here? Our homebirth journey started after the traumatic emergency cesarean birth of our first child, 30 months earlier.
I had no health problem during the pregnancy of my 1st daughter. So when two young doctors came into the labour room and told us that they need to perform emergency cesarean due to fetal distress, we were not ready for it. However, we trusted them and followed their decision. Prior to that, there were too many things going on, nurses came in and out to check, I was surrounded with so many unfamiliar faces, didn't eat, didn't move.
I had to stay in the hospital for 5 days because I was unable to urinate by myself. The catheter was being inserted and pulled out numerous times. It was very painful. During my stay, some of the nurses gave me rude treatment, I was laughed at, being scolded for not being able to nurse my daughter. How could that be "normal" when everything seemed so wrong?
After the birth, I was depressed as I couldn't talk about how terrible my experience was with family or friends. As far as anyone else was concerned, my baby was healthy so I should not complain.
When we found out that we were pregnant again, I did a lot of research for having a normal vaginal birth. From there, my research became more extensive and I realized, not only I wanted a VBAC but a gentle and natural birth! Then I started to discuss this issue with DH, we finally took AMANI class with Nadine. After attending a couple of classes, I made the decision to homebirth. DH was against the idea, unless a doula or a midwife is present during the birth. It took months to convince DH, I was frustrated as I thought he wasn't participating as much as I hoped for this birth.
At week 35, we went for our routine checkup at a private hospital with our chosen obgyn and presented our birthplan. Unfortunately, she didn't agree with some of the requests. Both of us were disappointed to hear her explanations. Our main concern – what if they won't wait and proceed with cesarean instead?- On the way home, we talked about our frustration about the doctor, then suddenly DH asked me “So..have you made up your mind bersalin kat mana?” “Home?” Surprisingly he said, “Ok, at home then!” Yay!!
7 am : I realized my water was leaking while I was in the shower (same experience with LO#1). I thought it couldn't be this soon, plus we have planned to go to Aquaria this morning! Before we left home, I told DH that my water is leaking but, no surge yet. He got frantic and almost cancelled our plan.
Basically, we were not ready for the birth as I had two different due dates from two different doctors. One according to my last period, 12/9/2013 and another one (our ex-preferred obgyn) according to the scan 24/9/2013, so it couldn't be today! I was only at 39w/37w! There were so many things to prepare before the birth, I haven't printed out Dini's busy bag activities, we haven't bought water hose and electric cooker for the water. I haven't even printed birth affirmations, dua's and surahs that I have prepared earlier! But i told DH, maybe not today but walking would definitely help to speed the labour!
11 am : While waiting in the line for the tickets, I started to have stronger surges, but I could still bear it. Every surge made me feel going to the loo, every 7-10mins!
12 pm : Done with Aquaria. Continued tawaf KLCC with strong surges. Sempat makan at Chillies and timed the surges. Still irregular.
3++ pm : Finally reached home, DH left me and Dini (LO#1) so that he could go and buy the water hose and electric cooker. For every surge, I constantly felt the sharp pain in my bladder, then I did a quick Google research ( I was afraid – could it be UTI??). Most results put ease to my mind-NORMAL. DH came back with the equipments needed, he also bought coconut water for me to drink.
4pm : The leaking stopped and I had the awaited bloody show (mucous with blood stain) when I went to the toilet. Baby's movement also slowed down and it worried me. I texted Nadine to inform the situation, she said GOOD but she didn't mention anything about the baby's movement. (Some may experience less fetal movement during labour). DH asked me if I needed to go the hospital for check up, at first I wanted to go but I didn't want anything to change my mind to homebirth so I decided not to. I prayed hard and believed that Allah protects both of us. (It is good if you can have a doppler to monitor baby's heartbeat)
The surges continued until in the evening, DH started to set up the pool. Until late at night, nothing happened except the surges had became more tense and regular. We continued the night, sleeping.
Sunday 8/9/2013 :
11 am : Asked my sister to bring out Dini, just in case we need to go the hospital later.
2 pm : Walked around the house and climbed up and down the stairs to making sure the labour progressed. DH started to fill hot water into the pool. Unfortunately, the task was too daunting. He tried boiling water in our big pot, but the electric cooker couldn't detect it. FHe had to go up and down boiling water from every sources in the house, an electric jug, two stoves and the electric cooker. I could see DH sweat profusely and I just hoped he won't start to give up. But thumbs up DH, positive all the way, just what I needed the most :)
4 pm : I went into the pool, and it felt sooo good! While I was enjoying the warm soak, he kept saying- “remember Phuket ok, remember that?” he grinned. - What on earth..Phuket? Like now? but most of the time I didn't bother to reply. (After birth, I asked, what about Phuket? He said he wanted me to remember the most beautiful moment on our honeymoon- hehe..so sweet) Both of us were tired and dozed off, I was in the pool, and my hubby next to me outside the pool.
6 pm : Felt nothing progressed and I looked at my wrinkly fingers, I went out of the pool and continued to sleep on the bed. Before that Nadine suggested me to get some sleep while I could.
DH checked the 'situation' down there, and he said, “OK, I think you are already at 5cm! Good, good!' It was such a great accomplishment but I had no idea how did he measure?? definitely no VE haha!
7 pm : Got up from bed, the surges became super duper intense and there was a moment where I felt I just wanted to go to the hospital and get epidural or what ever pain killer they have! Then I remembered, there would be a stage where you just don't care anymore, “transition stage!” So I knew I was almost there!
8 pm : I started to feel the pressure of pushing but I kept on breathing, tried not to push. I became very impatient and I asked DH to check again, “how many cm now?” “Mm not sure..cam sama je..” “What?? Tadi 5 cm and now still the same? (feeling demotivated) How did you check before this?” “I agak je..nampak cam bukak besar je (Sounded guilty)” I grunted, arghhhh....
9 pm : Nadine asked DH to check the purple line (for my case- black line!hehe). Nadine said “Very soon”. Went into the pool again.
10 pm : I leaned against the wall, with my legs up, DH said “I can see his head now!” Great but the baby planned to play hide and seek with us! Erghh! DH texted Nadine to ask if it's normal that the head keeps going in and out, “- don't worry it's normal”. So after a couple of minutes the head kept going in and out, DH asked me to squat down, but still no progress. Finally, he asked me to change position to all fours, and I sort of kneeling in the water. When I felt the head, I couldn't stand it anymore, so I began to push so that I could get my baby out. Within a few minutes, the baby came out. No sound coming out from him, he didn't cry at all. My hubby kept on saying “ Yang, anak kita, anak kita,” and I slowly turned to both of them. DH was holding this little baby, covered in vernix, staring at us. It was like a dream, a beautiful dream.
Suddenly, he sneezed a couple of times, that moment we knew yeah he's alright! DH went out from the pool and immediately performed sujud syukur while we continued our skin to skin bonding session. After that, he helped me to get out of the pool and went to the toilet. In less than 6 minutes, I felt another surge and birthed the placenta while I squatted down. Alhamdulillah, everything was in good condition. Since we were too excited, we immediately cut the cord even though we had planned to wait so much longer! Wrapped him in my kain batik, DH recited Adhan and Iqamah to our baby's ears, and performed tahnik.
Alhamdulillah, that night, we achieved the most natural and gentle birth as we planned, even though my mom wasn't really agree with out decision. It felt really good to be at home and being able to sleep in our bed with our new baby next to me :) The best feeling ever!
This is Mr. Hubby's version (since I am writing on behalf of DH I might exaggerate some points haha):
When she asked me to go to the birthing class, I had no idea what she has in mind but I agreed. During the first two classes, I constantly fell asleep, still wasn't interested to know. It was only after Nadine mentioned about the Surah Maryam, how Allah has perfectly engineered woman to give birth, brought to my to my attention.
She stated her desire to homebirth every time I asked her to choose a hospital. I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of having a baby at home, unless a doula or a midwife is present. I still didn’t want to be the one who had to deliver the baby, I worried that it would be messy, worried that something would go wrong, and worried about what our families (both sides) would think.
I was very skeptical about homebirth, but after watching a number of safe, natural birth videos and because, ultimately, I trusted that she had done her research and knew what was best for our baby (I consider myself very lucky that he has this much faith in me). I felt more comfortable after going to the class with Nadine and hearing her experience and how to handle emergency situations.
The day when she said her water leaks, I was a bit panic since we didn't prepare much for the birth that time. Nadine helped us a lot (we communicated through smses and phone calls) even she was not able to attend the birth.
SubhanaAllah, it was amazing to see the baby turned his body as soon as he came out. I didn't pull him out instead he worked to come out by himself. When he finally came out, I caught him and quickly brought him to my wife. Alhamdulillah, we had our skin to skin for a good 5 minutes before all of us went to the toilet. Then my wife managed to expel the placenta without any complications.
During our 1st child birth, I was not aware with what exactly happened but Alhamdulillah, I found the homebirth experience to be positive as a husband and a father. I have to say, my wife is stronger than me, if not because of her strong will (keras kepala), we wouldn't manage to homebirth our son.