Jo-Ann's quick and easy second birth
" When I discovered I was pregnant for the 2nd time I knew I wanted a different birth experience from my first. Even before I learnt about gentle birthing and hypnobirthing, I knew that I did not want to go through what I experienced 6 years ago for my first birth. I had a vaginal birth but nothing about it was "natural" at all."
My baby girl was born on 13-Dec-2013 at 2.15am weighing 2.85kg after 4hrs of surges. I'm very glad it was a short labour. Suppose the talking to baby to make it quick works.
I'm very grateful to my hubby and the staff and doctor at PHKL for a positive birthing experience. Thanks also to Nadine for the hypnobirthing techniques. I believe I was fully in control and made informed decisions for this pregnancy and birth.
When I discovered I was pregnant for the 2nd time I knew I wanted a different birth experience from my first. Even before I learnt about gentle birthing and hypnobirthing, I knew that I did not want to go through what I experienced 6 years ago for my first birth. I had a vaginal birth but nothing about it was "natural" at all. Without delving into details, suffice to say my first birth was a full medical intervened birth from the moment I stepped into the hospital.
So...back to my 2nd pregnancy & birth. I had come upon the Gentle Birthing Group somewhat by accident through a comment on The Breastfeeding Advocate Network. From GBG I learned what gentle birthing is and with it hypnobirthing. I read all the files, posts and inspirational birth stories. I also signed up for your hypnobirthing class hoping very much to avoid taking the epidural again this time. I've also started living a healthier livestyle such as using organic products wherever possible, taking natural remedies instead of medication whenever I'm not well, going for chiropractic adjustments (I have a history of slipped disc), attending weekly prenatal yoga, and etc.
My EDD was 22-Dec-2013 but I somehow had a feeling my baby was going to arrive earlier just like my firstborn. Therefore I had already made plans to be away from work from my 38th week. However on my 37th week I came down with a bad throat infection and had to take a course of amoxicillin much to my disappointment - I had managed to avoid medication so far.
On 12-Dec-2013 at 4.30pm my water bag broke. I was 38+4weeks along. On that morning I felt a dull backache, similar to what I feel at the start of my period. I didn't think much of it and continued about my day. I even drove my in-laws to Petaling Street for some errands. After lunch at home I went to take a nap and was awaken by a feeling of something coming out from down under. I thought perhaps it's my mucus plug and straight away jumped up to go to the toilet. When I sat down on the toilet bowl liquid started flowing out and I had a moment of confusion - am I passing urine? After a few seconds it dawned on me that it's my amniotic fluid. I quickly grabbed a container to collect some of the fluid to check the colour and consistency. It appeared pinkish and with some white substance. Wasn't sure if the pinkish hue was normal as I remembered from the Hypnobirthing book that it should be clear. So off I went to call hubby who said he'll be back asap and also Dr Paul's office - Dr Paul was away (my baby couldn't wait for him!).
After I've showered we made our way to the hospital. I wasn't sure if we should go so soon since I didn't feel any surges yet but again a voice inside just told me to go. We arrived at the hospital at 7pm and was shown to the waterfall scene waterbirth suite. CTG was strapped on me and the nurse gave their mandatory briefing. She had wanted to do a VE on me but I declined which was gracefully accepted by the nurse. I was also allowed to be in my own clothes.
Dr Idora (standing in for Dr Paul) came at 8pm to check on me. She said she had to do a VE (this was the only VE I had) to assess how far along I am. Before consenting I asked about the risk of introducing bacteria with a VE since my water bag had ruptured but she reassured me that all caution will be taken to minimise the risk. She was surprised I was close to 4cm as I had told her I am not feeling any surges at all except some hardening of the tummy like the Braxton hicks I've been experiencing since my 6th month. Dr Idora said "that's the contractions my dear" :) Well, I didn't expect it to be so easy since I remembered I was cringing in pain at 3cm with my first labour. Before leaving Dr Idora told me she'd see me in the morning since my cervix was still thick. I was resigned to staying the entire night in the labour ward and was a bit regretful I had come to the hospital so soon.
I settled down to wait and had a moment of panic when I realised I had forgotten to bring my birth plan and the nurses did not have a copy in my file at the labour ward. The copy was in the clinic which is already closed! So I asked for a pen and paper and rewrote my birth plan.
It was close to 10pm when I felt the first mild surge. I started timing the surges and was able to tell the nurses who came in periodically of the frequency and intensity of the surges. The surges started picking up progressively. It lasted longer and more intense but I managed to breathe through all of it whilst visualising the blooming rose bud. Alternated that with visualising my cervix thinning and opening. In between surges I spoke to baby, telling her that we'll work together to make this quick. Perhaps she heard me because at 12.55am a nurse came to ask how I was doing and I told her fine but at 1am I suddenly sat up in bed with a very intense surge. I managed to call my hubby who was sleeping on the reclining chair. He looked at me blankly as I have been quiet all these while. I managed to get onto the floor on my knees while resting my hands and head on a stool. That was the most comfortable position for me. Hubby tried to do the light touch massage but was scolded by me. I wanted the hard force on my back! Also asked him to call the nurses quick! I felt the "wanting to poo" sensation - something that Dr Paul had told me about and I had jokingly told him I've never felt it before since I was on epidural the last time.
Suddenly a few nurses rushed into the room and there was some commotion. I wasn't sure what was happening. I only remembered I was very focused on breathing and not moving. Any slight movement made the sensation even more intense. I had also started sweating buckets suddenly - not sure why? I vaguely remembered someone helped me remove my pants and was asked to move onto the bed to be checked. I said I can't! And was replied with "I can't check you on the floor". I didn't have the strength to argue and moved to the bed in between the surges. They wanted me to lie on my back but I said couldn't. Kneeling on all 4s was all I could manage. Somewhere through the chaos I heard the nurse tell hubby that I'm "almost there" and another nurse reassuring me that the doctor is on her way. I had enough clarity to ask for a towel to wipe away my sweat and a hair clip to get my hair away from my face :)
Dr Idora came into the room quietly and a nurse asked if I wanted to go into the water. I nodded yes but couldn't get down from the bed to walk to the tub. The nurses very gently reassured me that they'll push the bed over to the tub and guided me in, in between surges. I felt immediate relief the moment I got into the water. My hubby helped remove my shirt. Now that I'm more clear headed and had some relief I was able to think. I retied my hair, asked for my glasses, repositioned myself properly in the tub and asked for water from hubby. It felt like I was getting ready for combat :) The lights were off in the room except for some dim lights and a spot light/lamp at the other end of the pool. The atmosphere was really very relaxing.
With every surge I instinctively knew to breathe down. It helped tremendously that 1 of the nurse was softly and gently encouraging me to "breathe your baby out" instead of "push!". In between surges hubby who was standing behind me wiped my sweat and gave me sips of water. I was also able to talk or rather whine (ashamed to admit I did that). I felt the whole process was taking very long. "Where was the with 1 or 2 surges my baby was out" scenario that I've read?? Instead I felt my baby's head coming out with the surge and then back in again! I even asked Dr Idora if it's normal for the head to be in and out like that. Dr Idora reassured me it is perfectly normal and it actually helps the perineum stretch naturally. I also asked how long it has been. Felt like I've been trying to breathe my baby out forever. Hubby assured me it's not an hour yet. I wasn't aware of the time since the moment the intense surges started.
When the baby's head crowned my lower back ached rather badly with the surges and it made me lift my butt off the floor of the tub. Thankfully this didn't last long. With each surge I closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing my baby out. It was all about sensation then. The nurses, doctor and hubby were the ones describing what they saw for me. Baby crowning - they could see the hair, head is halfway out, baby's head is out! And finally, the sweetest words of all " baby's out!"
Hubby unhooked my bra for our skin to skin contact and Dr Idora immediately placed baby on my tummy. Baby had a short cord so that was as high as she could be placed. It was love at first sight. The emotions I felt this time were so different. With my first I remembered thinking "why is the baby looking like an alien?" and the emotional attachment came very much later. It goes to show that a positive birth experience has a direct influence on a mother's emotions. Dr Idora wanted to clamp the cord immediately but we told her we wanted to delay it till the cord stops pulsating.
The only regret I had this time was the suction they did on baby. I was told she has a lot of secretion and baby's colour was not good...she was cold. So after her cord was cut, they whisked her out to be put under the warmer. Hubby said they continued the suction until he had to ask the nurses to stop.
I was assisted out of the water onto the bed to deliver the placenta. No Pitocin jab was used for this. I had a very small tear and was stitched up very quickly.
So there you go, the story of my drug free natural birth. I would strongly encourage all moms to be to learn up about gentle birthing and make informed decisions for a positive birth experience :)