I gave birth to Amira, my second baby, much later than I had hoped (between 38-39 weeks). I have been trying to induce labour naturally since I was 38 weeks + by doing aerobics and keeping active, but the labour was nowhere in sight. I was getting nervous that I would birth to a large baby.
Then, came 27th January, a day before due date. I had a check up that morning with Dr. Hamiza at Gombak Medical Center. I went to the hospital all by myself, drove all the way from Shah Alam. While driving, I felt slightly more intense braxton hicks (or a.k.a false) contractions, accompanied with pressure somewhere on my pelvis.
However, upon CTG scan at the hospital, it was not at all contractions. The doctor predicted the labour will be soon as the baby had already engaged. I was excited, but I tried not to get too excited as I had been disappointed by frequent BH contractions that went all night long only to wake up to a perfectly normal day few days before.
I drove back home with BH that happened twice every hour. Then, that noon I had a rather pink or slightly brown show on my panty.
Ok, now I’m excited.
But again, I tried not to get too excited. I ignored the show and went on the day as usual, I was making a busy book for Sara. At around 4pm, I noticed that the BH got slightly stronger to a point that I had to focus on my breathing. It wasn’t painful, it was just this tightening sensation around my abdomen that’s making me hard to breathe.
I didn’t want to make Edwin too excited so I just told him to finish off his work quickly. Might happen tonight, or maybe even tomorrow morning. I decided to try to take a nap in case if it does happen tonight.
I probably got 5mins of nap. I timed the surges and they were 20 minutes apart.
Ok, better get ready! I cleaned up some loose ends around the room and packed the toiletries. Our hospital bag is ready to go in the car. Packed Sara’s bag for her Opah. Then, came Asar, so I prayed. Tried to get more naps. After that, I bounced on gymball with each surge. Cleaned up all the craft supplies off the desk. All these while entertaining my 2-year-old toddler.
Told my mum that I was in labour. Drank goat’s milk, ate a lot of dates. Made a bottle raspberry leaf tea. Then Edwin came down to the kitchen to help me with surges. We hugged, sometimes I squat while he massaged my back, he breathed with me. We were like in-sync all through the surges, it was so wonderful. By now, surges were already 10 minutes apart, and this is the time the doctor advised to go to hospital. But I wasn’t ready! My mom took over Sara. I went upstairs to take a shower, while husband prepared coconut water.
A long good, hot shower. Oh, it felt sooo nice. Surges were 5 minutes apart. I had 3 surges while in the shower and it almost didn’t feel a thing.
We had dinner. I ate a full plate of rice and chicken tom yam. I surprised myself that my appetite was still there. Yeah, I needed the energy. After azan, we immediately prayed Maghrib. I prayed as usual.
We were on the road, on the way to hospital. I called the Doctor’s handphone number to let her know that I was on the way. ETA 45 minutes. Surges were a lot worse in the car. At some point I lost control and cried. I pulled myself together and focused on breathing. My husband held my hand with every surges. We brought a hot water compress in the car, and it was helpful. I drank coconut water between surges.
With my first delivery, postpartum was such a mystery. I tried to dig around some information but it seems like nobody wants to talk about postpartum period. In our culture it is more known as confinement period or berpantang. In Malay culture there are so many pantang, do’s and don’ts and I wonder which are legit or just myths.
Now let’s talk confinement and what it’s all about. Bear in mind there will be some TMI’s (too much information) but may be beneficial if you are genuinely looking for some light. The more you know, the more you can be prepared for it. Also, I can only speak from my own experience and readings. I had normal births for both of my pregnancy so this may or may not apply for those who had ceasareans.
Labour can be very taxing on your body. Hours of labour and prolonged delivery may leave your body aching all over for the first few days. Take things easy, do not massage while having these aches. You may apply muscle ache creams to ease the pain.
Once you have a tear, you need to take care of it well. Apart from the prescribed disinfectant, you may wash your perineal with warm salt water (rock salt, sea salt is best) or giving your perineal a warm water bath using a sitz bath. You may also add salt to this bath. However, upon reading, there is no proof that salt water makes for faster recovery. Nevertheless, the warm bath will be soothing for the perineal area.
Earlier this week I converted prefolds from the traditional flats that you can get anywhere in Malaysia. It is very cheap to make, I got the flats for RM36.90 for a dozen.
So, let’s start with determining the size. For this tutorial, I’m making newborn size, that is 11″ by 11″. I also want a good absorbency, so let’s make it 4 x 8 x 4 ply.
You can either prewash the fabric to allow for shrinkage or, prewash later, but you have acommodate the measurements for shrinkage. The flats shrunk about half an inch. The funny thing is, on packaging it says 30″x30″ but I got flats that are 31.5″ by 27.5″. Prewash 1-2 times to make sure it has fully shrunk.
Trim off one edge. Eventually we are going to trim all edges, but I find the fabric is more forgiving when working with the edges.
Then, fold on the long side until we get a measurement of 11.5″ folded. The extra half an inch is to accommodate for serging in case the edges end up wonky.