Kei’s Birth Story
In the Hospital
At 6pm I arrived in the A&E. Nurse put me into wheelchair and roll me out to the labor ward at 2nd story. I timed the contraction, it was about 4-5 minutes apart. The labor ward was ready, and I put on the hospital gown. The next hour was spent doing boring paperworks while I was coping with the more and more intense pain. I also complied to CTG since the nurse said it would only take 15 minutes.
Doris, my birth coach, arrived at around 6.45pm and she asked me to move into the most comfortable position. I said to her sitting down is the most comfortable. She also prepared warm compress. It was the first time Indi met Doris and the two of them instantly joked to one another. Having both of them in the labor ward really alleviates the pain.
Doris coached me to breathe out slowly and visualize the sea, and amazingly it really helped to alleviate the pain. When the contraction came Doris taught Indi how to massage the lower back while I squeezed their hands, breathing out slowly. In between the contractions, they all kept throwing jokes to one another and to the nurse too.
At around 7.15 a young doctor came to perform VE (vaginal examination) and discovered that I am 8 cm dilated already. I didn’t expect that, I thought I was only at the early stage. So we had to cancel our plan to have a warm bath in the jacuzzi as pain relief, since the dilation is almost complete.
After that came the most unpleasant moment, having IV patch installed in my left hand and blood taken for matching, while I also have to cope with the contraction pain, and my left hand unable to squeeze Indi. I really hate this moment but it was necessary to later perform the oxytocin flush. It took them about 10 minutes to complete the job. ARRGH!
At this stage the pain reached its peak and what I’ll write down here is based on my vague memory on what’s going on. I could only write down what I felt and didn’t really notice what happened around me.
At around 7.30 the contraction became very intense enveloping the whole lower back, and I said that “I felt the urge to push!“. Doris coached me to go through the pain, telling me not to push and to just breathe through the urge slowly. For me, the effect of doing that was truly sublime and I came into the realization that I could sense what is going on during my labor! For me it was like an enlightenment, that I could understand what’s going on inside my body! I realized that the “urge to push” was actually the baby’s head pushing down when I was fully dilated. As I was restraining myself to push, I let my body do whatever it wanted to do with that pushing down sensation. At that time I felt that the “bulge” retracted back inside my body. Since the nurse heard me saying “the urge to push“, she called the junior doctor back to perform the second VE and he discovered that I’m fully dilated and the baby’s head is really really low. Someone then said to call the doctor, while the nurse midwife is getting ready for labor.
Doris asked me to go into sideways position and to brace into the bed railings, which I agreed to do. I was in the peak of pain and wanted to just fully concentrate to understand it and cope with it. When the pain began to come, I scream “The contraction is coming!“, I closed my eyes, concentrate, and breathe through it. Sometimes I felt the sensation of the head pushing downward by itself, and sometimes the pain came without such sensation. What I did was just breathing through it while translating / conveying what I felt happening to my body to everybody in the room. When I felt the head pushing down, I scream “I felt the baby is coming down!“. Doris then peeked into my underside and confirmed, “Yes I saw the baby’s head“. Then I felt the head retracted back up and I scream “It’s going back up!“, then the midwife peeked to see that there’s no head bulging out.
Then another contraction followed but the baby’s head isn’t coming down.
Then another contraction followed and I really felt that baby’s head IS COMING DOWN and I COULDN’T STOP IT. I scream, “The baby is coming out NOW!“, The nurse scream to me to, “Hold it, hold it” because Dr. Chong hasn’t arrived yet. But I couldn’t hold anything because I was not pushing! I said, “I cannot hold it! The baby is coming out NOW!” Again, I wasn’t pushing, I was just breathing through the force that enveloped me, my lower body just open up by itself, and my uterus just pushed the baby out by itself. It was really amazing, like, my body was possessed by an amazing external force outside my control. Really, I wasn’t controlling the process by pushing because, I wasn’t pushing at all. The baby just came out like a train departing from a station.
There was a bulge coming out and it was the water bag, still intact. Suddenly I felt that it popped / exploded, water gushed out, and everybody in the room scream that, “The water bag had just burst!” then followed “The baby’s head is coming out!“. The flow of amniotic fluid helped to ease the expulsion process. I felt the steady force expelling the baby’s head slowly, and I still wasn’t pushing! Then I sensed a short relief when it got into the neck part, and followed by another strong force that expelled the whole body. I kept breathing through it, and still not pushing, bracing myself to the bed railings in a sideways position. The exact moment when the baby is completely out I felt totally blissful, relieved, and euphoric which was an amazing feeling. I was also trembling and shivering like I had just finished a long run. It was 7.50 pm.
After that I just want to rest and shut my senses for a while, so I didn’t really pay attention on what going on around me. I only remember asking, “Did the baby cry?” and Doris answered, “Yes really loudly“. I also asked, “So he’s definitely a boy?” and everybody said, “Definitely!“. I also remember someone screamed, “Wow! The baby passes urine now!” Yeah, the first thing the baby did after crying was to spray pee to the people in the delivery suite. What a great way to thank them, Kei!
Meanwhile Doris commented that this is a second time seeing water bag intact during the last stage of delivery. Mine broke when it was just out of the birth canal. On another occasion, Doris saw her friend’s water bag delivered fully intact and the doctor was really eager to puncture it.
Here goes the Video of the birth process
It was just amazing and unbelievable that my body was just possessed by an unknown force. I didn’t have any control of what’s going on, and had to just surrender to the force. All that I could do is to concentrate and move along with the force, surrendering to the pain. And once it’s all over, I trembled, shaken, breathless and tired like I had just gone through a marathon, even though I did not move my body much. All those energy spent to do a marathon are focused on contracting my womb to expel the baby.
You may ask, why such unconventional position to giving birth? Current medical procedure makes us believe that there is only two ways of giving birth: Lying down on labour bed or through cesarean operation. Such position are actually invented quite recently for the convenience of the doctors rather than to make it easy for the mothers themselves. Actually, you don’t need to use the same position like you’ve seen in the movies, where the mother is lying down and the legs are lifted up in stirrups. I heard story from my sister in-law that the mothers of Papuan forest tribe would go into the forest, alone, and give birth in squatting position, just like going into squatting toilet. That makes sense, because I’d say, giving birth is somehow similar to expelling a very big poo or having a bad constipation. Ina May’s book also show pictures of people giving birth in standing position, or in all-four position. My friend Bridge gave birth on a birthing stool in a semi-squatting position.
Anyways, I was able to stay in that position because the the doctor hasn’t come yet. Side lying position was the most comfortable position for me that was able to slightly reduce the pain. All the nurses asked me to hold until the doctor came, but alas, Kei couldn’t wait and decided to just slip through by himself. As I said, I didn’t have any control of the whole process, my body just decide to give birth and I was just following my urge. At the end I gave birth without doctor’s help…. the doctor only come 10 minutes after birth… but I was still charged doctor’s delivery fee! Now that’s the painful part! Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!
A few minutes later Dr. Chong arrived and said, “Congratulations, you just had a self-service delivery!“
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