Warming Up Labour
At 4 am I was woken up by a strong contraction. Went to the loo and had a strong urge to poo. Twee Lim
was certain that the birth is imminent. We moved Ksena to another room but she refused to go back to sleep. So Ethan and
she helped Daddy to fill the tub. The two kids were so excited.
The excited children and pool
The contractions were manageable and regular. I poo-ed several times. That’s it! I called Hana and Rashelle
to come over. I went into the tub. Ahh!! The warmth enveloping me was wonderful. Too wonderful! All contractions slowed and
died away. Rashelle arrived at 6am. She was really gentle.
For the next hour, everything came to a standstill. Contractions were strong but sporadic. I was concerned
if bb was posterior. Rashelle came in the second time and checked the bb’s position. ROA and heart tones were good. Rashelle
assured me that baby could still be born in the ROA position. Before she left the room, she asked if there were other concerns
holding the labour. I said no.
I texted my friends for prayer support and did all I could to speed labor. Literally everything. Squatting, on
fours, nipple stimulation, ate and drank …etc but nothing happened. An hour or so, I requested for a VE. Rashelle could feel bb’s
head and the posterior fontanelle—head‘s in good position. Rashelle refused to reveal how dilated I was. But after the birth,
she said I was 3 cm only. Meanwhile, the kids were enjoying themselves, watching DVDs.
Every Birth is unique
At 11am, I asked Rashelle and Hana to go home as there wasn’t any progress. What a waste of energy to work
against nature. As Rashelle said, “Each labor and birth is unique and need its own time to unfold.” Even as a doula myself,
I seem to have forgotten that! And Hana’s explanation was cute; it’s a probably a girl and needed time to doll herself up
before making appearance.;)
Is this the real thing?
At 11pm, the urge to poo hit again. Twee Lim asked how things were but I was reluctant to say anything. In
and out of the toilet I went, clearing my bowels. The contractions were getting more and more intense. Twee Lim was keeping
a watchful eye on me. He wanted to top up the tub with warm water. Just to get ready. Is it going to be another ‘false alarm’?
I told him to hold on. But he was adamant. Not a good time to fight. Rather, I did not have the strength to argue. Perhaps I
should time the contractions, I thought.
12:18, 12:22 12:28, 12:32, 12:36, 12:39, 12::44, 12:48, 12:52, 12:54, 1:04, 1:06 (17th May)
Now they were three to two minutes apart and lasting only for thirty seconds. Shall I call Rashelle and Hana again?
I believe there would be some progress this time. Pacing around the room, I was getting restless. I tried to lie on my side in
between contractions but they were coming so frequently. The only comfort I found was to sway my hips. A birth dance? Help me God!
I prayed. Call Rashelle, I ordered Twee Lim. At 12:59 am, Twee Lim called Rashelle and Hana shortly after.
I can’t take this anymore, I said to Twee Lim. He asked if I wanted to get into the tub. I asked Twee Lim was to
hold me, to massage my back, etc but nothing helped. Again, he asked if I want to get into the tub. In the tub I went. I let out
an ear-piercing scream. Twee Lim was really nervous and was getting ready to catch the baby from my back.
Please God, send Rashelle quickly. I shifted to a spot facing the bedroom door and leaned over the side of the pool.
Within the next second, I saw Rashelle. She was getting ready some stuff at the dining table. “Rashelle, help me.” I pleaded.
Immediately, she walked into the room and stood next to the tub.
“Is the water warm enough?” asked Twee Lim. “No” whispered Rashelle. Twee Lim left the room to fetch for more hot water.
I could sense the baby descending down the birth canal. Let go, I reminded myself. Just release it. Rashelle spoke very softly to me.
Intense pressure and Pop! “Oh the water has released!” Rashelle said. I could feel the warmth of the amniotic fluid gushing out
between my thighs. In came Twee Lim with another pot of hot water.
Relax it. Rashelle was very reassuring throughout. She instructed Twee Lim to press my bottom to make sure it stayed submerged in
the water. I could sense the head. Unlike the previous four babies, this baby emerged slowly. The head, the shoulders, then paused. The bodythen paused.
I was feeling weak in the legs and urged both of them to help the baby out quickly. I could feel the tiny feet as Twee Lim gently lifted the baby out.
Twee Lim Experience
Twee Lim recounted how the baby did a turn in the water and blow bubbles. Hesitant, he wanted to lift the baby up.
He was waiting for Rashelle’s cue. It appeared the baby is floating up. He was afraid the baby would surface up due to its natural
buoyancy would. Since I requested, he lifted it out.
It’s A Girl!
As soon as baby was of the water, she coughed. Rashelle was watching closely at her as she took her first breadth. Baby’s back was facing me.
“Wake Ksena up.” Originally in my plan, she was supposed to announce the baby’s sex.
“Catherine, it’s a girl.” announced Twee Lim. My heart leapt for joy.
The baby was passed to me and Twee Lim ran off to wake Ksena. In that dreamy stage, the birth did not seem to register
and she did not look please. She went back to sleep immediately. Later on, she told me that her brothers may blame her for praying for a girl.
I was not keen to sit in the tub. My bottom hurt! They helped me out of the tub. My legs felt weak. Hana arrived. I wished I
had called her earlier. I reclined on the mat for a while before sitting on the birth stool to birth the placenta. (2:25am)
Rashelle advised me to have adequate rest for at least the next five days to aid the healing. She then helped Twee Lim
to drain off the water in the tub with another hose. It was quite a breeze. They checked the time. The birth happened around 1:35am.
Hana and Rashelle helped me to settle down and then they left.
As I reflected on the whole journey, I am thankful to have known Rashelle and could have a home birth. Once again, Twee Lim
and I have learnt so much about birth and labour. As a pregnant mum, I find it is not helpful to hear too many ‘frightening’ stories.
This reminds me that I too should be careful, as a doula, with what I share. Words can instill fear unknowingly.
The belly cast
A home birth requires some preparation and it is worth it.