DISCLAIMER : Permission obtained from the rightful owner of this birth story and no editing is done to maintain its originality for education purpose. Kindly seek permission from site owner if you wish to share amongst your network.
BIRTHING JULIA (6th October 2013)
Most gadgets and equipment today comes with a guarantee to function. But *just* because it is manufactured by a good brand, we can’t expect it to perform well if we don’t take care of it in the first place. Just like our bodies, it is designed to perform well only if we make the effort to ensure it is in order.
Emotional Baggage Release
I had a birth show one morning and felt mild surges overnight. Something was amiss as the surges came and went but didn’t really pick up its tempo. I knew something was holding me back. I faced my deepest emotional dilemma, had a really good cry, let go and accepted. I felt so relieved and happy after, as if on laughing gas! My whole body felt light and I burst into little laughter while packing my bags and my husband prepared some food & drinks for labor. I realized my surges picked up and was becoming 5 minutes apart! Emotional baggage CAN slow down things. My 2 year old was crying the whole morning; I think he knew this was coming. I was unable to attend to him since the surges picked up so my parents had to pick him up while we head to the hospital.
Nobody seemed to realized I was in labor (as a matter of fact, active labor)
I walked into the hospital to register myself at the ERat 2.30pm. The nurse probably didn’t realize I was in labor (and this was actually just 40 mins prior to birth) and asked, "Yes can I help you?”. While maintaining composure during surges, I told them, "I’m here to give birth". While waiting for the registration papers to clear, my surges were actually getting more intense. At this point I was hoping someone would offer me a wheelchair (like the stories I’ve always heard about) but nobody came with one, probably because I didn’t look like a woman who was about to give birth! I walked slowly towards the chairs and had a really strong surge, which I think it was already the ‘bearing down’ phase, feeling like my lower part was pushed out far below. Still, nobody realized I was in labor.
The 'Right Way' to Breathe
Oxygen. It blocks of pain, it heals, and I made sure to breathe right so my baby gets lots of them via placenta.
When I felt the bearing down sensation at the hospital lobby, “Oxygen” I told my inner self. So I breathed just as how I’ve been training to breathe and harvest Qi (energy) every Saturday morning for 2 hours from my Qi Gong instructor Mr Khoo of Chi Dynamics. My husband was always there to do the same. But this time I was on my own. As this was my first time birthing in a hospital, I have no idea what’s going to happen in the labor room but I kept reminding myself, “I shall birth very easily no matter what the situation will be."
Optimum Position and Strong Amniotic Sac
During my pregnancy, I’ve been visualizing.
"Like a plump dew at the tip of a leaf, the leaf bends down gently to the weight of the droplet until it touches the earth.“
The amniotic sac is the baby’s protection. I would made sure I will not go into premature release of membrane (if the amniotic sac is weak/weakened) as it is the best defense system for the baby from possible infections. In my first trimester I sought consultation from Dr Kader Hussain, a doctor in Integrative medicine and advised me on diet and nutrition. I strived to keep a healthy womb environment and strong amniotic sac throughout by eating organic and least processed food.
I’ve also been visualizing and making sure that baby was in the most optimal position for a smooth birth, Left Occiput Anterior. I had this image from HypnoBirthing handouts and set it as lock screen image in my phone so I could see it all the time.
5 minutes later, I was wheeled on the wheelchair to Level 4 and called my husband who was downstairs looking for a parking spot. One of the nurses who was in the room with me probably didn’t suspect I was in active labor as I spoke casually on the phone. She left me a garment for me to change into and advised me to empty my bladder. I went into the bathroom and suddenly another bearing down surge! This time I had to bend down while sitting on the toilet and focused. I vocalized a bit and once it was over, I quickly changed myself into the garment before another surge came again. I held on to the bars and squatted. When each surge ended, I didn’t feel or look like I was in labor. It was a clear start and stop. It was totally nothing. The nurse came back to prepare the bed and again she didn’t notice anything because it was in-between a surge. I was told to lie down once I’ve change and they’ll come back to do a <a>VE</a> (which I really hope to avoid). I just smiled, she left and then my husband came in and it was just the two of us.
SROM(Spontaneous Rupture of Membrane)
I didn’t know what to do. The hospital room was unfamiliar, I felt like I needed to do something but I didn't know what. So I just sat at the edge of the bed, chatted and giggled away with my husband waiting for another surge. It was almost 3pm, 30 mins since I reached the hospital. The surges were getting closer and I felt a need to get a little bit busier. My husband had prep me a labor aid drink of Red raspberry leaf tea with honey, lemon, molasses and seasalt. I chewed 1 date and then another surge came. It was strong; I just closed my eyes and breathed. Still sitting at the edge of the bed, I told my husband we need to find a good position for birth. I kneeled on the bed and leaned myself forward on my husband who was standing at the side of the bed. Bearing down surge again! I breathed and WOOSHH !!! My water bag broke and the bed was flooded. I was ecstatic as during my first birth my water bag didn’t break. Hubby tried to reach for the nurse alarm but was too far and had to wait until the surge was over. We quickly alerted the nurses and I heard one of them saying “SROM, SROM” and 2 more people came in.
The surges were long, and overlapping on top of each other.
The midwife told me to lie down as they helped changed the sheets. I was still in my kneeling position holding on to my husband. My vocalization was getting louder, a sign that birth was near. “Call the doctor, have u called the doctor?” I heard one of them say. My husband also tried to call the doctor but there was no answer. My husband insisted to help me in my most comfortable position (kneeling) but the midwife said she was unable to assist me in that position. Hubby tried to persuade the midwife again but she persisted. In between a surge, I just laid myself down. I knew I’m able to birth anywhere, no matter what. I’ve been preparing. I’ve been taking care of my pregnancy very consistently to ensure that my body can birth smoothly regardless of any situation. So it will be ok, I told myself.
Birthing on My Back
I laid down and vocalized while they were changing the sheets when I realized, I was already birthing my baby! I thought the midwife was doing a VE (vaginal examination) as she was holding the top part of the ‘birth opening’ with the fingers and didn’t let go throughout the next few minutes, which to my surprise was actually my baby coming out already! My husband was concerned as we often hear stories of nurses holding the legs together to stall the birth if the doctor hasn't arrived yet. Turned out the midwife was actually doing a perineal/labia support to avoid tearing. The birth was happening so quickly that nobody managed to help incline the bed or at least prop a pillow as I was lying so bare on my back unable to look in front! I did my birth breathing which I’ve learnt in HypnoBirthing class with Mdm Soo as well as from the AMANI childbirth class with Nadine Ghows. All the preparation had come to its final test. I breathed my baby’s shoulder out and heard the midwife praising and encouraging me further. Then she told me to give a slight push (which I didn’t know how because I’ve been training myself to do the birth breathing!) I was a bit clueless, paused, gave a slight nudge and wooshh out came my baby.
Did I just birth on my back? Did I just push right at the end there? These two things worried me so much as it can cause a perineal tear. My baby was immediately brought to my chest and the thoughts went away as I fell in love with my slimy, thick vernix coated baby. She let out a soft cry, with her eyes wide open looking around to find the food source! Within a few minutes she found it and nursed like a champ.
Did I mention that the doctor still hasn't shown up yet? The midwife gently touched my abdomen to feel the position of the placenta and while baby J was suckling, I was given a jab to manage the third stage of labor (birthing the placenta) but the jab was not as quick to take effect compared to baby J! She was nursing like a champ and breastfeeding immediately promoted contraction. I continued the birth breathing to push the placenta out. The midwife assisted by gently guiding it as it slid out. The midwife was about to clamp the cord but we suggested her to delay the cord clamping. So she went on inspecting for any remaining bits of placenta or blood clots (if any) while I was doing the kangaroo care (skin to skin) with baby J and nursing her.
Finally the doctor came! She was amazed at how smooth the birth went. The midwife checked and said no tear! I was truly happy! 3.45kg baby, birthed on my back and no tear! Alhamdulillah, I guess it must have been the daily VCO consumption and external application, plus a little gentle support by the midwife while the baby was crowning. The cord was clamped after it stopped pulsating and the nurses let me bond with my vernix coated baby for an hour. The midwife mentioned to the doctor that the vernix protects the baby and keeps her warm so it’s best that it not be wiped immediately.
I was in joy. I was in joy because all the preparations & training I’ve been doing throughout the entire 9 months was worth it. Plus being in joy since the beginning of labor makes everything feels at ease.
While it’s important to have a good care provider, it is not complete if we do not take responsibility for our own pregnancy and birth. Childbirth classes helped me and my partner understand and love each journey of pregnancy and birth with full awareness and responsibility. Some of the preparations done are :
Choosing a care provider:
After scouting around for a care provider who is very supportive of natural births, I finally found Dr Noor Fidak who is based in Tropicana Medical Centre as well as Hospital Pusrawi KL. Went for regular check-ups and consultations and she was very helpful in all of my queries related to birth.
Although it’s a bit further, I chose to birth at Hospital Pusrawi KL as from my research, I find that it’s more mother and baby friendly. This is important as, in case the birth plan didn’t get through due to the absence of my doctor, at least there is minimum intervention in their routine protocol.
HypnoBirthing class attended during 1st pregnancy under Mdm Soo Wai Han and AMANI Birth class during 2nd pregnancy under Nadine Ghows. Self-read on Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Spinning Babies to understand baby’s position and be aware of it.
Before conception and throughout - stretching to promote blood circulation especially around the pelvic area, morning walks for an hour, also for the exposure to morning sun. Taking care of my posture to ensure baby is in optimal position. Pelvic tilts on the gymball and kegels in squatting position whenever I could.
Emotional baggage release - writing down and talking with my partner to resolve emotional baggage issues from my previous birth and etc. Visualizations of a gentle birth.
Check up and adjustment with an Osteopath (Nicholas and Pierre of One Osteo) as I was suffering very intense sacroiliac joint pain throughout 2nd and 3rd trimester. Checkup is also necessary even if there is no pain, to ensure good alignment for birth.
To be in an alpha state during birth (just like half-asleep or right after waking up) - practicing with breathing exercises (Qi Gong) which is also what HypnoBirthing is about, going into a ‘meditative-like’ state. Breathing practices and visualization were done every day. I imagined myself as a heavy steel ball, balancing its own weight.
Very calm, relax, a state where the body is in autopilot for healing, but awake. Birth deals with emotions and hormones, therefore it is very important that the body works on its own, undisturbed.
Food and diet:
I started believing in consuming whole foods for better absorption instead of just putting faith on supplements only. I switched from refined products (e.g white sugar, white flour, salt, etc) to molasses, unbleached flour, rock/sea salt, and avoided instant 3in1 drinks. Fruits before meals, honey & lemon juice first thing in the morning, probiotics, Red raspberry leaf tea 36 weeks onwards to tone the uterine muscles, coconut drink for hydration, virgin coconut oil 3 times a day, (at times taken together with raw garlic), organic veggies - steamed to preserve its nutrients as much as possible, organic free range grass fed chicken, supplements only after I’ve made the effort to eat right, which in this case I only required liquid iron supplement at the end of my pregnancy based on my checkup results.
Consultation with Prof Zainal Aripin and taking remedies mid pregnancy to balance out whatever imbalances I have. Basically there is no supplement needed for pregnancy or birth. Woman is made to birth, we just need to work on staying ‘fit' for birth. However there is a birth mix and post birth remedy taken only after reaching full term and at the onset of labor.
- Ernadia Os’Hara (Oct 2013), a 2nd time mum. Her first labor in April 2011 also seemed calm but fast in which her baby boy was born into her husband’s arms at hom