Saturday, December 4, 2010

Marikh's Birth Story

Ni sy copy dari notes Ayuni Zainuddin dekat FB. Yg ni rasanya sama dlm testimoni ayuni dekat web hypnobirthing malaysia tu..


I was born in my grandmother's house in Kedah. So was my sister a year later. Our mother had the village midwife (bidan kampung) to assist her on both natural deliveries. I have always been proud to tell people I was a homebirth baby born in one of the most isolated villages in Kedah.

Anyhow, when I found out I was pregnant, naturally homebirth was my choice. I have never pictured myself in the hospital setting during labor. It just never crossed my mind. So I started doing research on where to get bidan or any trained professionals to help me deliver my baby. I practically found none available here.

What I found instead was this website when I googled 'homebirth'. Hyonobirthing is a self- hypnosis technique to mitigate the intensity one feels during childbirth. The local trainer, Soo Wai Han, is a mom of three, 2 of which was born in her own bathroom, unassisted. When I say unassisted, I mean she was completely on her own.

So I attended the classes and asked Wai Han if there was any doula, doctor, bidan, nurse-midwife she can recommend for homebirth. None. Inspired by her experience, I decided to do it unassisted too. I just needed the support of my husband who was noncommittal at first. Later he decided to support me out of sympathy because he knew nobody else was going to. In the end, he himself is an advocate of homebirth. Hehe.

I told close friends and family about the decision early during my pregnancy especially to my mother-in-law as we were planning to give birth in her house. It was not until late during pregnancy that she realized I was serious. She had no recollection that I told her about it much earlier as she thought it was just one of my passing thoughts.

Funny how my mother, being a homebirth mom herself was not keen on the idea as she said nobody support homebirth anymore these days. I questioned why. Everybody said it's just because people do it at the hospital these days. It got me wondering even further as pregnancy, in most cases, is a natural event. Pregnant mothers are not sick though they may be in pain during labor. I just don't see the reason for me to go to the hospital.

The negative reactions were of course to say the least, annoying. When I said I wanted a calm and gentle birth in a setting I feel the most comfortable in, some contended by saying that childbirth and calmness just don't go hand in hand. That's the flawed thinking everyone has these days. Why can't it be calm? Why does it have to be traumatizing?

To just shut one of my bestfriends up, I decided to again look for some sort of professional or at least experienced helping hands. What I found instead was a group of women in Klang Valley who has a support group called The Gentle Birthing Group Malaysia. I decided to join them for one of their biweekly meet-up sessions in Hartamas. At that point of time, I was already set to have my delivery in the bathroom which I had been cleaning so religiously almost daily with lemon bleach because I loved the smell so much. The thought of waterbirth had came across my mind but I thought it would be too much hassle and we didn't have enough space in our small bedroom. I am a practical person and delivery in the bathroom like Wai Han seems so ME. Deliver, clean the tiles with water and bleach, DONE.

That was until I met Teri Liew, Dani Sweetman and Vanessa Beyer. Vanessa was the one who responded to me when I emailed the GBG. Vanessa herself had a waterbirth assisted by her midwife friend whom she flew all the way from US. Teri told us about her waterbirth experience assisted only by her reluctant husband who in the end was the first to hold the baby. Their stories got me swayed a bit with the waterbirth decision but not much. Not until Teri said how being in the water helped the elasticity of the perineum therefore lesser chance of tearing. I still wasn't sold yet as I thought I still don't have enough space to put a pool in my small room. Teri showed me the picture of her pool. It completely only fitted her. In fact it was a gym pool meant to be filled with balls. I was in awe. I was sold then. Hehe. Thanks, Teri.

So we bought a kiddy fish pool from Toys'r'Us for RM100 and had a few (wet) dry runs with the pool in the bedroom. It actually fitted in the bedroom and it's big enough to fit two adults. Ehem. I shared the pictures of the cute fishy pool with my close friends, family, and the GBG ladies.

So at 40 weeks and 3 days, at 6.40am, I was half-sleeping, half-hoping that my baby would come out soon as I was getting extremely restless and impatient. I felt something unplugged down there. I ran to the bathroom and checked my panties. It was clear liquid. Honestly I had way too many false alarms already at that point of time so I was dismissive at first until I saw a drop of diluted blood on the floor. Then there was a few more drops. OK. That was it. I woke my husband up and asked him to look at the puddles just to make sure I was not being a drama queen as usual. He said yeah, that looked different.

We went to see the doctor at 10am later that day. I had already told my doctor my wish for a homebirth many weeks ago. What I loved the most about this doctor is that he (and his colleagues) didn't think we were a nutcase for wanting a homebirth like most people who absolutely had no faith in the womanly body to function what it is hardwired to do. I have come to the conclusion that established professionals like my doctors know more therefore have no reasons to object my wish as I was in the low-risk category. My husband and I were very thankful that he didn't try to change our minds when we told him of the decision. He did however offered to attend the birth IF HIS SCHEDULE PERMITS IT. We thanked him for that but we were not hoping high that he would be able to make it as in the hospital itself, he seems to be in a few places at one time.

A week or two before my water broke, I had asked Nadine and Dani if they wanted to attend the birth. I already had Lyna and my sister Nadia as well. Lyna's son's birthday was on the day my water broke and she was doing some important freelance job so I decided not to tell her yet but come the second day, I was already deep in labor to inform her. Nadia on the other hand, had came all the way from Kedah where she lives with my grandmother 2 weeks prior, hoping that I would give birth then. Alas, her nephew wanted to take his own sweet time. I just had to have four of them on standby in case anyone can't make it. Also, in any possibility that the baby faces shoulder dystocia which is the shoulders of the baby getting stuck, I would need to be on all four to get him out and I reckon that would need a few people to turn me around.

So water broke at 6.40am on 30th August 2010. My doctor said if the baby doesn't come out within 24-48 hours, I have to make my decision. What he was really saying is, "you should deliver at the hospital". Hehe. He also did a last check on the baby through the scan and said in a warning tone, "your baby is big...3.5 kilos..." What he was really saying is, "you should deliver at the hospital". He never said it directly though. I think he knew my dead determination to have it at home. He also dropped the bomb that my baby is posterior therefore labor is going to be long and difficult. Again, he never mentioned that I should go to the hospital though I could feel it. I thought, "hey...I have hardly heard of a labor that is a walk in the park. So let's have it at home anyway!" He did one dilation check and I was already 3cm open. We never did anymore check after that because I was against the introduction of foreign objects in me when the water has already broke as it could increase the chance of infection.

So we went home and got everything ready; pool inflated, water filled in, etc. The contraction only started at 11pm that night. By then, Nadine and Dani were already informed but I told them not to come yet. Only at dawn did I ask Adlin, my husband to call them and ask if they wanted to come now as I could do with some massage and Adlin could do with some sleep as he had been giving me counterpressure on my tailbone to help ease the contraction intensity. The whole time we were timing the contractions with my iPhone appl called Baby Bump. Funny how the progress is not linear. I went from being in 'active labor' to 'latent phase' many times. Haha.

Nadine came around Subuh. I slept on the bed while she surfed the net, massaging my tailbone everytime I groaned during contraction. Nadine went back in the afternoon to attend to her babies. Dani took over the afternoon shift. We had Nandos and Baskin Robins Brownie Sundae for lunch on my bed, chatting and getting to know each other. After all, I only knew both of them 2 months prior.Dani left several hours later after I insisted. She has a toddler herself. I told both ladies that I will call them when the contractions become unbearable.

I can't remember what time the contractions became unbearable but I told Adlin to call them to come. They came within half an hour; hardly wasting any time.

At this point onwards, it was lots of groaning and writhing. I was in time distortion. I just couldn't remember the chronology from here onwards except the important bits. One nice thing about homebirth is the freedom to move around. I remembered going into the pool and going back out after I got tired. All the time the ladies massaged my head and my tailbone while my husband replenished the water to keep it warm. I sat on the gym ball but it didn't help. I was on all four on the floor. I was on the bed. I was in the bathroom. The whole time I had the Hypnobirthing CD playing at the background. It was nice to hear positive affirmation of the birth. Marie Mongan, the founder of Hypnobirthing kept telling me that my baby is gently descending down layers of healthy pink tissues, my body and my baby are wonderful at working together, etc etc. It was calming. That was the only aspect of Hypnobirthing that I put to use during the labor. As much as I tried, I couldn't help but to groan and writhe at each surge. Haha. Sorry, Wai Han!

I remembered me experiencing the hallmark of labor. I was getting really upset that this was taking so long. I was writhing in pain and yanking my hair each time the rush came. At one point of time I walked to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and started weeping. My husband said his heart broke to see me weeping like that and he felt like crying himself but he stayed strong for my sake. I wept and wept and wept for several more minutes and then stopped and just said out loudly, "OK. LET'S DO THIS."

I went back into the pool and went on with the motion. At one point of time, it got so intense that I started panicking because as much as I wished there was one, THERE WASN'T ANY PAUSE BUTTON TO LABOR! I must admit I did fantasize about epidural and how nice it would be. After a few hours, I decided to call the doctor because it has been exactly 48 hours since my water broke. He asked about the baby's movement. I could hardly remember but I thought he did move otherwise I would have noticed any absence of it. It was 10 am on 1st September when I called him. He said to go ahead and try some more. If no progress by 5pm, call him again.

I still didn't feel the urge to push and it was driving me insane. So I 'artificially' pushed in case it would trigger the actual urge. Nothing. I got tired being in the pool after a while. For some women, the water helped them tremendously in terms of relaxation. It did for me too but I felt that it was delaying the progress at the same time. So I went out of the pool and sat on the toilet in the bathroom.I 'artificially' pushed again. Nadine came back from her home. She earlier had gone back to check on her babies. She really came back in the nick of time because the moment she peeked through the door to check on me, I felt water bursting. Adlin was leaving the room to get something. I yelled, "ADLIN! COME BACK IN!!! HE'S COMING!!!"

Nadine checked on me, still sitting on the toilet. What she said later was the nicest thing I have heard in 2 days. She said, "HE'S GOT LOTS OF HAIR..." I leaned back and heaved a big sigh of relief. Then I quickly squatted down in front of the toilet. Dani put some fresh clean towels underneath me. She held my left arm. Nadine held my right arm. Adlin in front of me ready to receive the baby.

It was a split second moment. First, I felt the urge to push so I did with all my might. I felt the head coming out but within seconds I pushed again and the whole body came swooshing out. It was literally within seconds I feel. I believe that was because the squatting position is one of the most effective ways to deliver as I was working with gravity. Adlin later told me his face was facing my back when he came out which means he did come out the right way despite being posterior in the beginning. Yay! I was expecting to feel the infamous 'ring of fire' but felt none. I think I shall attribute that to being in the water for so long. It helped the perineum's elasticity.

I quickly looked under me. I had been pushing with my eyes closed. Still blinking from shutting my eyes so tightly during pushing, I saw a pink baby underneath me held by his daddy. He let out a wail to announce his arrival. He coughed and sputtered some mucus so there was no suctioning needed. Lucky for us as we had not much idea how to do it. Haha. Then he went silent and started scanning around the bathroom looking at everyone. I was still squatting and was finding it hard to hold him immediately. Nadine and Dani helped to sit me down on my bottom. While leaning against Nadine, either Dani or Adlin handed my son to me. He is a big baby. He must have been so cramped inside my tummy. I put him on my chest and just cuddled him. He tried to suckle but not much success with my awkward position and awkward nipples. That would be another story. Haha.

10 minutes after the birth, I felt another urge to push and out came the placenta; whole and intact. Adlin cut the cord after it stopped pulsating about 10 minutes later. Dani helped him to put the clamps on and he cut it with a pair of sterile scissors we bought for the occasion. I wasn't paying attention as I was still dizzy from the loss of blood.

It was a beautiful moment. It was 10.20am when he was born; 52 hours after my water broke and 35 hours of labor. The sun was just shining through the window. It wasn't too hot yet. It was just the kind of weather I have always enjoyed.

I took a hot shower while sitting down while everyone prepped the room for me and baby to nurse. Once the room was cleaned up, the pool deflated, etc, I leaned against the bed and he was handed over to me. Nadine placed him on my stomach and he crawled to my breasts and sucked on for 2 hours during which I felt my uterus shrinking and shrinking...

It had been a very long 2 days for all of us. I caught a fever that night due to extreme exertion but I got well within 6 hours. I just had to sweat it out.

We went to see the doctor for a thorough checkup two days later. He was 3.5 kg. No leftover placenta. Doc asked if I tore. I did but when he asked me if I had problem with number 2, I said not at all so I told him no need to have a look and I'll just let it heal by itself.

Will I do this again? Most definitely. If Allah wills it, that is.:)

ps: For more inspiring birth stories in Malaysia; hospital or homebirth, go to Tell Wai Han I sent you there! :D

One of Marikh's first few pictures right after delivery. Notice the elongated head shape. LOL. It got back to almost round within a few days.

He was born so pink like in this picture. He had one eye open. He cried for a few seconds to announce his arrival. He coughed and sputtered a bit to release the mucus in his nose and mouth so no suctioning was needed. Then he quickly scanned his surrounding and saw Daddy, Aunty Dani, and Aunty Nadine.

Mommy only picked him up after she managed to shift position from squatting to sitting down. Boy...he was such a slippery baby! And Mommy can't believe what a big baby he was because her tummy wasn't that huge. Compact yes but not THAT huge. He must have been so cramped. Hehe.

Obviously you can tell where his first swimming experience is going to take place...

I am so in love with the smiling sharks and the adorable turtle. They make me happy during the labor.

All swaddled nicely after the birth. He's 3 hours old in this pic. I didn't bathe him until the second day, I think. It was nice inhaling the baby smell...


Nadiah Sidek said...

erk..gerun pulak baca. tapi mcm best je waterbirth ni. tapi kalau takde org yg berpengalaman sambut baby di sisi, rasa mcm takut la pulak. salute la pn.ayuni!

Kaklong Nuzula said...

Nadiah, dekat US dah byk/ ramai kan org buat waterbirth? ada sorang lagi kwn sy dekat FB, dia buat waterbirth dekat US..