Izwin's empowering Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
I gave birth to my first born, Alman on 31st March 2012 via emergency c-section. My case was the classic "went to the hospital too early-was ignorant about birth choices-agreed to interventions-posterior baby did not engage-heart rate dropped-zoom to emergency c-sect".
I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I only had myself to blame for not being well aware about my birth choices. I only found out about gentle birth months later and I knew that if I happen to get pregnant again, I wanted a natural and gentle birth.
So here's my super long birth story (I don't wanna miss out a single detail! heheh) with my second child, Muhammad Ishmael. Grab a cuppa and hope you enjoy reading it! :)
29 Oct 2015 (39 weeks, 4 days)
6.45 am: Had my first birth show. (A friend recommended fresh pineapple juice to naturally induce labour, so I had 2 glasses the day before...and it worked! ;p) Continued having birth shows for the next 4 days.
1 Nov (39 weeks, 6 days)
1pm: Went for my 40th week checkup at Dr Tan Ee Ping's clinic. Doc did internal scan to see my progress. It turned out that dilation had started, but since Doc didn't perform a VE, we didn't know how many cm exactly. U/S showed baby was posterior, and Doc said it'll take some time for baby to get fully engaged, but she was positive that I'd give birth in just a few more days. Doc also asked me to ask Nadine what to do to turn baby...because who knows, it might just work? So I texted Nadine and she suggested lots of polar bear position and long "sujud" . So I did just that for the next 2 days.
2 Nov (EST. DUE DATE!)
I stayed home the whole day, bounced on my birth ball a lot, did lots of polar bear position and as I could still pray standing up, I performed my "sujuds" for as long as I could. Prayed hard for baby to get in the right position. I also breastfed Alman, my 3 year-old son a lot too, to get the show going. Tightening sensations got stronger by night, but still bearable. I kept thinking they were just practice labour because I was moving about like usual. After my husband helped me with my perineal massage around 9pm, I had another birth show, this time it was thicker and redder. Somehow my instincts told me to get to hospital tonight just to check how much I have dilated. Oh and since I happened to be a GBS carrier this time around, I wanted to make sure I'd get the antibiotics on time.
3 Nov (40 weeks, 1 day)
12 am: Husband and I went to Pantai Hospital Cheras. Did CTG and confirmed there were surges, not just practice labour. At 1am, we found out that I was already 5cm dilated (WHAT?!) Dr Tan advised me to check into ward. At around 2am, I started actually feeling the surges and back pain. Got antibiotics for GBS. Surges were stronger, but I was alright, swaying my hips and moving about, bouncing on my birth ball, killed time in the ward with my husband watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and indulging in McD's fillet-o-fish. Ate lots of kurma too. Between 5-6am, surges suddenly got closer and stronger. I bent down, focused on deep breathing and my awesome husband helped with the counter pressure and light touch massages learned from Nadine's hypnobirthing class. They worked like magic! I informed the nurse about my surges and Dr Tan came to do a VE...and tadaaa I was already 10cm dilated! To the labour room now!
Surges got quite violent by now. I was on my knees and resting on edge of the bed for many hours, waiting for my waterbag to burst. Only the first layer was leaking. I felt the urge to push with some of the surges and thought I could began to do so, but I was wrong. Nurses told me to continue with surge breathing. As hours passed, I couldn't bear with the pain anymore, my body told me to vocalize. So I did, and at some point, I felt so primitive and I sort of became a lioness (true Leo I am). Poor mommies next door, must've been terrified listening to my moans and growls...haha!
By 8am, my waterbag was still intact, I was in so much pain but I couldn't move into another position, so I stayed on my knees. My husband did light touch and counter pressure massages until his hands got really cramped, poor guy. He offered me air zam zam after every surge. Dr Tan came and suggested I sit on the toilet to try to pee/poop and hopefully burst the waterbag too, let gravity do its job. I did this for about an hour or so, but to no avail. I couldn't pee since the night before (bladder was so full, which made the surges way too painful). Around 10am, my baby's heart rate became unstable. Dr Tan suggested I get back on the bed to stabilize baby's heartbeat and true enough, everything was back to normal. She sensed my breathing techniques were not working with my baby, so she said we'd have to go the conventional way. My husband and I had the same thought in our minds (not another c-sect?!?!). Doc said I have to push my baby out instead. PHEWH! I wasn't progressing for too long already, so she had to release my urine (a full bowl of it!) and break my waterbag. At that point, I didn't care anymore. In fact I was relieved she said I could start pushing because that was what my body wanted me to do. Badly.
Immediately after Dr Tan released my urine and broke my waterbag, she instructed me to push as hard and as long as I can. I did just that, but got too excited that I growled while pushing. Doc told me not to use my voice because it'll tire me out. Hehe...so I took deep breaths and pushed with all my might, quietly. Dr Tan, the nurse and my husband cheered for me and I felt like a champ running to the finish line. I felt the head come out, and then Doc asked me to stop pushing and follow her cues to get the rest of the body out gently. I also felt the infamous ring of fire but it was nothing compared to withstanding 5 HOURS of intense surges at full dilation! When my baby was halfway out, Doc asked me to open my eyes to look at baby and give my final push. Within a few seconds, there he was, my little boy, placed on my tummy. And he wasn't posterior anymore! Woohoo! My husband was all teary eyed and in awe (first time I saw him cry ;p), he kept thanking Dr Tan...hehehe... I thought I tore really bad, but to my surprise, I didn't at all! Doc said there was a small spot that was bleeding at the side though, so she only had to stitch up that part. Thank you perineal massage!
As agreed, we waited for the cord to stop pulsating and my husband did the honour of clamping our baby boy's umbilical cord.
We were left to bond with baby for about 2 hours. Baby took some time to latch on, but when he did he couldn't stop!
I'm so happy and grateful that I've achieved the VBAC I dreamed of. Although I didn't score 100% for hypnobirthing, but I am ecstatic that I had a natural birth, no pain relief, no episiotomy and almost fully mother-directed. I'm so glad I went for hypnobirthing classes with Nadine...the lessons got me through 10cm with a breeze! I wonder if it was hypnobirthing too that kept me going for 5 hours at full dilation ;p
Thank You Notes
First and foremost, Alhamdulillah, syukur to Allah s.w.t for granting me the strength and patience in going through natural childbirth. Thanks to my husband, Najmi for being by my side from day 1 and especially during labour, couldn't have done it without you. Thank you Dr Tan Ee Ping for making my gentle+natural VBAC mission a success and being so patient during my labour, the midwives and nurses at CT Clinic and Pantai Cheras for your excellent service, Nadine for the amazing hypnobirthing lessons and advice, and of course to my first born, Alman for being such a good boy while Mama was in the hospital as well as my family and friends (you know who you are!) for the help and support :)
Muhammad Ishmael bin Muhammad Najmi
3rd November 2015 @ 11am