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.
We arrived at the hospital. oh, thank god. Surges were not that bad at all. However, now, I found it difficult to speak while having surges. I knew the time is near. Surges were 3 minutes apart.
Finally warded. Waited about 15minutes for the doctor to arrive. I peed any chance I get. She performed VE and I was 9.5cm dilated. ALHAMDULILLAH. Now we can go to the labour room.
After this period, I totally lost a sense of time. I knew that this is the transition stage of labour. The stage between first stage labour (dilation) to the second stage labour (pushing/ birth of baby). It is the stage where the baby moves towards the cervix.
The surges were too too strong, accompanied by intense pressure in my bowel and in my pelvis, I sometimes lost it. Baby was making it’s way down and I could feel it. At times I was screaming, but it only made it worse. I found low moaning vocalization worked best, but my husband had to always coach me. In my birth plan, I have asked for a mother-led pushing, so nobody in the labour room told us when to push, so my husband was the only one coaching me.
Suddenly my water broke and oh, the surges were even stronger, I felt it was bigger than me. I have no idea how to describe it, but I was so overwhelmed.
I tried to breathe with every surges, but pushing felt so much better. So I pushed with every surges. At times, I realized I have pushed too hard but I didn’t care. I just wanted this to be over. With every surges, I went into squatting position and once it’s over, I leaned over the back of the hospital bed, on my knees to rest my legs. My back was facing the doctor.
Then, I knew the baby is almost out. The last few surges, I kept touching my perineal, trying to feel the baby’s head. Suddenly, boom! A big gush of the remaining water was out and I felt the baby’s head on my perineum, and… oh, the INFAMOUS RING OF FIRE. It was perhaps the most painful thing throughout my labour. It shouldn’t be that painful, so I knew I had torn. I knew because I pushed too hard so the baby came too fast before she could warm up the perineum.
Then, with another surge, out came the baby’s head. I looked down and I shouted in delight, “baby’s head is out!” In my mind I was thinking, “oh, she’s so tiny!” The head was already touching the bed.
Edwin looked around and there was no one else in the labour room (haha) and so he called out for the doctor. I could see the doctor was just standing by the door, chatting with the nurses. She came rushing in and with another surge her whole body was out. The doctor announced time of birth at 10.13pm.
There was a hugeeee sense of relieve. Alhamdulillah. We delayed the cord clamping and did skin-to-skin. I tried to breastfeed Amira but she was uninterested. She seemed alert and was crying a little out of unfamiliarity. We cherished our moment with our new arrival and Edwin told me, “you did it. We did it on our own, there was no one else” Within 15 minutes I birthed the placenta without syntometrine injections. I had first degree tear. The doctor stitched me up a little, no biggie.
I did it. Drug-free birth.
The nurses weighed her, 2.8kg! Woops! I felt so guilty for wanting her to come out earlier. Turned out she really wasn’t even ready! Hahaha.
That night, Amira was already a pro at nursing. She latched with strong suction. Unlike my first, born with epidural, Sara seemed a little sedated.
I did have a little episode of hemorrhage but 4 hours if pitocin drip fixed it.
One thing I really appreciate about GMC is that they are very breastfeeding friendly. When I was having the hemorrhage, I was so weak I couldn’t breastfeed Amira so the nurse suggested formula. I was heartbroken and so frustrated. The nurse gave me some time to consider and so I asked them to not use bottle. I was so relieved when they can use feeding cup. So they took Amira to the nursery from 6.30am and only returned to us around 2pm upon our request.
Alhamdulillah, Amira had no problem going back to breasts and for that I am forever thankful.
My take on Gentle Birth?
I have to say I am very thankful that I found this Amani childbirth class. I was so fearful of childbirth before, (which is why I took epidural for the first one) but after attending the class, it gave me the confidence to go through it drug-free. Yes, epidural was convenient but it also had it drawbacks and certain risks.
I would highly recommend all pregnant women to atleast read up on gentle birthing method, be it Hypnobirth or Amani birth. If you have the time and budget, attend childbirth class. Another really good read is, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin”. The book totally gave me a new perspective on childbirth and totally takes away all the fear of childbirth. In fact, it made me really excited to have the baby and really, the birth does have an impact on post-childbirth.
I have less baby blues. Amira is healthy as ever. She hardly have any problems. Her jaundice was so minor it cleared up within a week. She was born alert and energetic. I didn’t feel too tired after giving birth, I even felt euphoric (instead of feeling traumatized).
My childbirth educator is Diana Shuwardi (+60 13-330 2013 ) she’s based in Shah Alam. So thankful for her to make a special class for me because I discovered gentle birth only in my third trimester. I guess, it was Allah’s way of granting my wish for an easy and smooth childbirth.
Alhamdulillah for all the blessings.