Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My homebirth journey with JianMeI have had 4 hospital deliveries with the works – shaved, given an enema, doped with pitocin, endured painful labor on my back, vaginal examined every so often to determine extent of dilation, legs dangled in stirrups, yelled at to push, episiotomy for all 4, stitched, no idea if umbilical cord was cut before pulsation stopped...I basically surrendered myself to be manipulated and violated by the doctor and nurses. After each and every one I felt horribly exhausted, like I had just completed a marathon. It was so engraved in my mind that this was how babies were born that I never questioned their procedures and was just thankful that baby had 10 fingers and toes.
My thick fog of delusion was finally lifted after separate encounters with 2 wonderful women. Hoi Yan made homebirthing acceptable, Teri made it seem doable. I told myself that if I were to get pregnant again, it would be a homebirth. Hubby didn't take it seriously and since we weren't planning on having anymore kids, he said "Ya, ya whatever you wish" and brushed it off as one of my crazy schemes. Well, I did get pregnant again and reminded him of his consent of me doing a homebirth. He, of course, retorted "How was I to know you would get pregnant again!"
Conquering FearThe what-ifs still clouded my mind. This is my list to elevate the anxiety (in no particular order)
1. Scrutinize all the documents on home/water/gentle/unassisted birth . Lots of gems online. Get inspired! Homebirthing women are extraordinary!
2. Books
Homebirthing stories was reassuring. Ina May's book has a good compilation. Lots of stories here and on Wai Han's website as well. Another musthave was Hypnobirthing:The Mongan Method which was essential for me as I didn't attend sifu's hypnobirthing class.
Other books that opened up my mind were Birth Reborn by Michel Odent and the Birth Partner by Penny Simkin (thank you Zas)

3. Watched gentle birthing videos. Hayati's list of beautiful births was my favourite.
4. Surrounded myself with positive, pro-homebirth, Go-For-It people.
5. Avoided negative, fear-inducing people at all cost.

Preparing the kidsI didn't do much. For those who are curious as to what I mean by nothing much…
with my 14yo, I left my reading materials all over the house, talked openly about homebirthing – my feelings, my thoughts, what I plan to do next, what should be done, put on the hypnobirthing CD on the DVD player so that everyone hears it . Btw I never got through more than 10minutes of the CD as my 6yo found it annoying and would promptly change the CD to his XMen DVD for my viewing pleasure.
With my 3boys (8yo, 6yo, 4yo):
I started off reading "Hello Baby" a book I bought at a book sale not knowing that it was on a home birth. They knew there was a baby growing inside me and I told them that baby will be born at home just like in the book.
Boys would watch gentle birthing/ water birth on Youtube with me. Later they wanted to know how the baby got in there, so went on to watch animations of the fertilization of the egg and its development to a baby. Nearing EDD as Odent's book was my bedtime reading, the boys would peer over my shoulder to look at the many photos of women in various stages of labor and babies being born. The boys would ask if it was painful as some photos showed women with a pained grimace and I would tell them that it could hurt but needn't be painful if we didn't fear birth and flip to a woman experiencing orgasmic birth to show them a smiley woman in labor.
March 31st 2012
7.45amExperienced mild surges. My first thought "Oh No, I haven't listened to that hypnobirthing CD to completion"
Put it on.
Fell asleep midway.
No longer felt any surges so I went about my daily routine with the kids.
Heard 3
pops that felt like little bubbles bursting, followed by a trickle of fluid. My water bag burst!
My First Thought " SMS sifu!"

Me: Water bag just broke
Sifu: what colour?
rushed to site of my puddle to examine the colour…
Me: brown. No smell
Sifu: it's not green? Brown could be because of mucus plug. Any surges?
Me: None
Sifu: Go to sleep. Action will only start at midnight.
Meanwhile, Hubby leaped into action. Gave the pool a wipe. Instructed the boys to fill the pool up with the garden hose. Then he decided to rearrange the mattresses. I have no idea how he managed to move 2 king sized and 4 single mattresses. And put everything into order in 1 hour.
14yo was put in charge of boiling water. She got out every available kettle and pot and boiled for 2 hours.

As for me, I couldn't sleep. No surges still. I walked around, snapping photos. Rolled the birth ball out to the pool. Made sure clothes for me and baby, chux pads, colander for placenta, sanitary pads were at hand.
4yo said I should walk in the garden. So I took his hand and strolled around our garden enjoying the night breeze and night sky.

I suddenly forgot all the birthing positions. Internet was down due to the early morning storm. Luckily the 'Birth Partner' book had 2 full pages of various positions to refer to but I found walking aimlessly most comforting.

April 1st 2012
First surge came in at 12.14am. Swayed on the birth ball. 8yo was put in charge of recording time of each surge.
Surges came in at 12.20 12.22 12.26 12.31 12.36 12.41 12.44 12.49 I tried to lie down once but the surge that greeted me was exceptionally painful, so I went back to walking. The surge felt like mild stomach cramps. Very different compared to Pitocin induced ones which were terribly, toe-curling painful or maybe it was painful because I was made to lie down.
12.52 12.55
Tested the pool. Water felt too cool. More hot water was added in.

Felt a strong surge that made a puddle on the floor. Baby was coming soon.
Went into the pool.
Squatting felt rather awkward. Kneeling with my arms and forehead resting on the edge of the pool felt better.
Water level was rather low as it only reached mid-butt when I kneeled down.
Hubby stuffed huge cushions under one end of the pool to elevate the water level on my end.
4yo wanted to leap into the pool with me. 8yo and 6yo were deployed to keep 4yo entertained. I had wanted the boys to witness the birth but it was hard to concentrate with 4yo around.

Another 2 strong surges.
Hubby came into pool with me.
I felt the 'Ring of Fire". I kept on breathing the baby down. Resisted all urge to push.
Hubby helped to support the perineum.
One surge later..
Hubby yelled "the head is out"
Next came the rest of the baby.
It was a girl! We didn't know till then.
Hubby caught hold of her and cradled her in his arms while helping me to maneuver around the umbilical cord so that I could sit down to admire our latest cutie.

Everything happened super fast. The baby was out before I knew it.
I got out of the pool and made my way to a chair, telling my 14yo, Ask AuntyWH what to do next!

Sifu: Make sure exit of placenta is not blocked

How silly of me! So the colander with sieve was placed in the potty before I sat on it while waiting for the placenta to be birthed.
Hubby , 14yo, 8yo, 6yo and 4yo surrounded me as I sat there. Baby took the opportunity to gaze at everyone around her. It was amazing to see her so alert.
Placenta oozed out with a plop.
Hubby rinsed the placenta under running water, pat it dry with a cloth napkin then sprinkled it with powdered rosemary.
Baby nursed till 5am.

April 2nd 2 KK nurses came to check on me without warning. No one alerted them of the birth. It was just that I had been skipping my appointments. They took one look at the placenta, panicked and called for back up.
Minutes later a wailing ambulance drove onto my front lawn, stretcher was wheeled out, nurses jumped out and charged into my room.
I am so glad I knew how to handled them thanks to all the stories told in this group.
I refused to follow them to the hospital or allow them to cut the baby's cord or have my baby vaccinated.
The doctor had no idea what to do with me. She called her boss and then her boss's boss. In the end the doctor was told to write out a document that clearly stated that we knew the risks involved and that we absolved them of all responsibilities. Hubby and I signed it and they left.
3 hours later, the district nurse came for a visit. She had impeccable bedside manners. Calm and ready to understand our actions. This was a contrast from the earlier nurses who could do with some lessons on how to deal with cases that do not follow protocol.
For the next few days nurses from Pasir Panjang and Teluk Kemang came daily to view me and my baby. They came in groups of 4, there was always a new face in the group. I felt like the latest attraction in PD.