Thursday 1 December 2011

Our Baby Ally Birth Story

She came a day late, at least as far as my estimated date of delivery (EDD) goes.  For Mommy, she could come out any day she wishes to and it would still be perfect.  However, I had to deal with the inevitable proposal of induced labor and I was once again adamant to wait for another 2 weeks.  But of course, that did not keep me from worrying so I was glad nonetheless that Baby Ally chose to support Mommy.

In the wee hours of November 23 around 4:45am, I woke up to some mild contractions.  Since I’ve been getting Braxton-Hicks the last few days, I decided to wait and see.  An hour later, it regularly came at 12-15 minutes apart so I decided to inform my husband and we started to time the contractions.  We were taught from our hypno-birthing class that the duration of the contraction is more important than the interval.  If the contraction from start to peak lasts for 60 seconds, then I would definitely be in active labor with at least 4cm dilation.  We do not want to go to the hospital prematurely and run the risk of medical intervention. The less time spent in the delivery room the less chance of this from happening.

Around 1pm, the duration and interval were there.  I actually wanted to stay longer at home where I was more comfortable and wait till maybe I was around 6cm dilated (contraction from start to peak lasts for 60 seconds or more but interval closer at 3-5 minutes).  Alfred however wanted to go having learned from our class that the body has a memory and that labor the second time around is much faster.  He was scared of ending up delivering the baby by himself in the car! 

En route to the hospital, Alfred and I went through what we have agreed.  I will be in no position to assert what I would want as I will be focusing all my energy on giving natural drug-free birth to our baby.  His role as the keeper of our birth plan is to make sure that it is being upheld and followed.  As second time parents, we were more prepared and confident this time.  We believed 101% we can achieve gentle birth for our daughter.  We arrived at the hospital around 2pm and found out I was 3.5-4cm dilated, as expected.

Once settled in our delivery room, I did everything I practiced from our hypno-birthing class.  I put on my headphones and lulled myself in hypnosis.  I was very happy that I was a free mom in labor – free from IV drip and monitoring machines, free to eat and drink anything I wanted and most importantly, FREE TO MOVE AROUND.  I was in every position I felt instinctively right.  Walking around, rotating on the birth ball, sitting and meditating, going to the loo constantly (we naturally relax when we are on that toilet seat right?), I was on all fours, slow dancing with Alfred, I was even lying down on the floor at one point!

Opting to wear my own clothes (with front zipper for easy skin-to-skin) to feel at home.
Still joking around at 4cm dilation
Having hot milo and biscuits while on the birth ball

Now, it would be utopic to say that the pain did not hurt.  It was manageable.  The deeper I went into hypnosis, the lesser the pain became but it took a lot of concentration.  I visualized that every contraction pushed my baby closer and closer to me.  I remember coming out of my hypnotic state and immediately felt the immensity of pain that I shouted, “baby is coming out!” only to find out I was still 7cm dilated.  Again, I pictured in my mind how my baby and I are working together to achieve the harmony of giving birth – naturally.  I trust my body and my baby.  We will get there.

Contractions starting to get intense
Slow dancing gives off endorphins for that nice physical touch
Deep in hypnosis at 7cm
At 9cm, trying to sleep off contractions and getting extra confidence from partner

Then came the funny and unexpected part.  Thanks to our hypno-birth teacher, she taught us that although most hypno-births are quiet and peaceful, at the end of the day, moms should trust her instinct on what she felt like doing because to each her own.  And that was exactly what happened to me.  At 9cm, I suddenly lost control (probably the adrenaline kicking in) and was shouting instructions to everyone around, even to my doctor.  At 10cm, my water bag was still intact so I gave a go ahead signal to break it and yelled “Doc, yes! Break it!” and  “Do an episiotomy now!”  I really felt the head was too big for me and I knew I would tear.  All these requests were against my birth plan but I guess I was too aggressive to be resisted! Haha!

After so many pushes, our precious baby girl finally came out at 8:11pm, all 7.1 pounds of her!  She was brought to my chest for our skin-to-skin contact and the most amazing thing happened.  She breast crawled and self-latched!  Our eyes met and it was truly a dream come true!  Daddy Alfred waited for the cord to stop pulsating (around 3 minutes) before he cut it (for delayed cord clamping benefits to the baby).  And because she was big (relative to my diminutive size), I bled profusely and was administered with pitocin to regulate the blood flow and the placenta came out as well (my only regret was I did not get the chance to see the placenta that nourished our baby for 9 months).  After everything settled down, Daddy Alfred had his skin-to-skin contact with Baby Ally too.

Self-latched after skin-to-skin contact
Skin-to-skin with Daddy too!
So happy with our doctor who honored our birth plan

My husband and I were so proud of each other.  It was really a team effort.  He did a very good job too.  I could hear him giving instructions to dim the light when Baby Ally came out, asking all measurements to be done later so I could bond more with our baby and making sure the baby was with us the whole time.  Baby Ally slept with us that night and for the rest of our hospital stay (she did not see the nursery room except for some quick protocols).  Looking at her serene and contented face, it was truly everything what we have wished for and more.
Our peaceful baby girl
She slept the night with us

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