Jo, Damien & Nature made history by having the first “official” waterbirth in Singapore, which took place at National Univeristy Hospital, with great support from her Obgyn, the nurses at the Delivery Suite, and Four Trimesters of course!
|Jo’s Water Birth Story|
Having heard stories of mothers being in labour for 10. 12 and even 24 hours, I told my hubby, Damien, that I do not want to go through the same ordeal. During the Dec hols, I read a book on pregnancy and came across birthing in the various positions, which make so much sense as gravity helps to pull the baby down as compared to the typical hospital position. I asked around and realized that the wife of one of my colleagues birthed her third child on all fours and her baby was still in the water bag when she made her appearance! Her labour was only 1 hour! That really inspired me, as it showed that birthing need not be done in the typical way. He told me that they had engaged a doula then and as his wife is expecting their forth child, they have also engaged another doula this time round and he gave me the website to Four Trimester as well as their doctor’s contact.
I then got in contact with Ginny and she invited me to a hypnobirth taster the following Sat. Damien and I went and after the session, we decided to sign up for the hypnobirthing classes after a discussion. Even though the cost of engaging Ginny’s service and attending the class did put us off initially but both of us feel that since this is our first birth, we wanted to enjoy it and also, we are looking forward to a short drug-free, pain-free labour…
I was into my 31 st week, if I’m not wrong, by the time we signed up for the course. After checking with Ginny, we realized that KKH do not allow flexibility in birthing position and that confirmed we had to change to NUH. Lucky thing for us, we were under the subsidized group of patients and did not take up any package at KKH, so transferring to NUH would not be too much of a problem other than getting the doctor to take my case. We were really blessed cos that was also not a problem, as my pregnancy had been smooth with no complications and Dr Chong Yap Seng took me, despite me being near to my third trimester then…
My EDD was 31 Mar but that day came and went without much commotion. But things started to pick up in the early morning of 4 April.
At 4.30am , I jumped out of bed and rushed to the washroom, as I felt water leaking which I thought was me urinating while dreaming. Lucky thing, I had been wearing pad for the past few days and after observing the fluid, which was tinted with some blood, and getting Damien to check it out, we confirmed that the big day had finally arrived! I smsed Ginny, informing her about the status of the fluid, which had no foul smell and it was clear in colour with stains of blood. Thereafter, I smsed Dr Chong about my situation, before going back to bed knowing that I needed the energy for labour later.
At about 7.35am, we were awaken by Dr Chong’s jovial replies reminding us to finish the delivery by 6.30pm or after 8pm, as he would be bringing his kids for pizza that night. At about 8am , we got up, had breakfast and read newspaper, while monitoring the surges. At about 10 plus, we called Ginny informing her to meet us at the Delivery Ward at NUH, as we got ready to make our way there, before I could not move.
Upon reaching the Delivery Suite, we settled in and a CTG was done. Shortly after, Ginny arrived with Siang Hui, who would be filming the delivery and surprisingly, the surges were not at all intense like they were when we were at home and Ginny told me then that once the body is accustomed to the surrounding, the surges would start again.
At about 12 plus, Dr Chong came in and did a VE before announcing that I was only 2cm dilated. He predicted that I would take another 8 hours before I was fully dilated, as it was my first birth! He suggested that he performed another VE at around 5pm , though we only indicated that only 1 VE to be done upon admission and he left us to discuss about it, promising that he would be back later to check on us.
After the CTG was done, I walked around the room and true enough, the surges came and the intervals between them got shorter and shorter as they got more and more intense! I had to knee in front of Damien while resting my arms on his thighs, as I concentrated on my breathing. I could only talk in between the surges but not during it. At about 2 plus, Ginny suggested that we got into the tub while I could still move and we did as suggested.
The water in the tub was warm, at around 35-37°C and I tried out the various positions to find the one that I was comfortable with. I started sitting on the tub, with Damien supporting from behind me. Then, I went on all fours, as I leaned towards Damien. When the surges came, Ginny would encourage me to relax and concentrate on my breathing when she saw me not doing it correctly. There were times when I lost control of ‘my vehicle’, like what Ginny mentioned during classes and I would scream, telling Damien that I do not want to birth anymore. But when I was able to bring myself to concentrate on my breathing, the surges would be almost painless, almost. Thoughout this entire time, Damien would encourage me as he held me tight while Ginny continued to pour water on my shoulders and tummy to help me relax. I think the warm water not only helped me to relax but it also aided in the dilation.
At about 5pm , Dr Chong came and he did another VE before announcing that I was fully dilated and I should be ready to birth within the next hour. That came as a relief, as it indicated to me that I was almost near the finishing line!
At that point of time, I sat on Damien’s thighs and I tried to breathe the baby down. But again, I didn’t concentrate hard enough and I was holding my breath as I pushed. I realized that I was doing it the wrong way and stood up, telling myself aloud that I was doing it wrongly and I had to focus on the breathing. But the moment I sat on Damien’s thighs again, I lost concentration again as I only wanted to get the baby out as soon as possible. It was at this position that Ginny and one of the midwives were able to see the progress of the labour with the mirror and torchlight.
But when I was finally ready to birth, I was on all fours. After some pushing, I could feel the baby’s head and Ginny was pushing me towards Damien to prevent me from thrashing about, and as I was preparing myself for another push during the next surge, I heard Ginny saying, ‘Jo, catch your baby!’ and I was like ‘huh?’. I looked down and saw my baby at the bottom of the tub. I immediately scooped her up and she opened her eyes after a short while and she seems very alert! I would see her defined doubled eyelids too! But she was bluish in the face and even though I stated in my birth plan that I wanted to breastfeed her immediately after birth, the only thing that I was worried then was why wasn’t she crying.
As we had delayed cord clamping, Damien did the cutting after Dr Chong had clamped it and when the baby was passed to the nurses for cleaning and checking, she started crying and the colour on her face and body slowly changed to red. It was indeed a relief! And you know what? Dr Chong was quite accurate; Nature was born at 6.09pm , which was about an hour after the second VE.
Birthing her was indeed a wonderful experience and I would not have done it without the help of two wonderful people, Damien and Ginny, as both of them had been very encouraging and supportive throughout. For my next child, I would make sure that I do my visualization, breathing down exercises as well as focusing on my breathing to make it an even more fulfilling experience. Though this birth was not as painless as I had hope, at least it was totally drug-free and the duration was also short, as the intense labour was from about 2-6pm .
And the best thing out of this is having Nature in our lives.