Updated: Oct 10
Disclaimer: Long story ahead + some bloody details :p
Weeks before the Birth
29aug was the first time I’d begun feeling cramps in this pregnancy, at around 36+ weeks. And felt them again another week or so later. LittleA was born at 40w4d so I didn't think much of it since I expected babyE to not be too far off.
From 13sep at 38+ weeks, I started feeling Braxton Hicks more consistently in the middle of the night, and it came and went all day/night long between 13-15sep. The intensity level was 2 out of 10 which was more than with my first pregnancy, lasting longer and more frequent too. Still, I wasn't thinking too much about it, though that week I decided to finally get my act together and got my hospital bag packed and we got the baby cot set up.
The actual day
On 16sep, at 1am, I woke up to pee. After peeing, I started to feel the cramps again but wasn’t sure if they were anything different from the Braxton Hicks. I lay down for awhile after that but couldn’t go back to sleep. Intensity was around 3-4. At 1.30am, I decided to just finish up packing my hospital bag just in case, went to drink water to stay hydrated and also sat on my exercise ball for about 1hr listening to hypnobirthing tracks. I kept having the pooping feeling and managed to empty my bowels. Hubs and little A were still sleeping in the bedroom.
At 3am, I finally decided that it was probably labour. I brushed my teeth, sliced up one Medjool date to eat (intending to bring more along to the hospital for labour snacks) and halfway through the date, littleA started crying out, so I quickly rushed into the room to soothe her. She wanted me to stay with her and lie down and kept holding my hand. While lying down, the intensity of my surges increased to 4-5. Thankfully littleA settled quite fast and I woke hubs up who pretty much jumped up immediately because he hadn’t been able to sleep deeply. I finished up my Medjool date and called hubs called his parents. We couldn’t decide whether to bring littleA along and get them to meet at hospital or come over.
The intensity of surges started to pick up and soon I had to bend over and rock side to side whenever they came. We decided that it was time to go to the hospital and would bring littleA along. Called hub’s parents to tell them to meet us there and I packed some things for littleA to bring along to the hospital. I went back to the bedroom to change out of my PJs, and hubs turned on the light wanting to wake littleA who was still sleeping soundly on the bed.
But just as I’d finished changing, I could barely stand up after that. I was just doubled over from the intensity of the surges and hubs helped to do the hip squeeze which helped to provide some relief (definitely needed that earlier lol, but we had too much decision-making going on). At the same time he called a cab and asked if we should just go first and leave little A at home while his parents made their way over. The “no” barely came out of my mouth and I couldn’t move from the floor mattress in our bedroom. I could feel so much downward pressure at that point that I knew it was too late already. From my movements, hubs could also tell that there was no way we were going to be able to get to the hospital in time. I told him to turn off the light, which he did, and quickly cleared everything on floor mattress and threw a few big towels on it. He then stepped out of the room to call his parents to tell them the change of plans (again haha) and unlock the front door.
Within those few minutes, I could feel baby’s head moving downwards to the opening with each surge, with the natural expulsive reflex which I’d learned about in our hypnobirthing course. I was on my all fours, remembering to internally rotate my hips this time (when I tried this in my first birth, I had my legs in external rotation and the gynae said my baby was stuck) so that it would hopefully open up the birth canal. Though I felt the poop/push pressure, I resisted the urge to push and tried to slow down baby emerging, hoping to give my perineum more time to stretch. I focused on breathing and imagining my cervix blossoming like a flower. With each surge, her head went down, and as the surge tapered off, she went back up again. This happened just about 3 times before I felt her crowning - I could actually kinda feel the ring of fire! Didn’t seem to notice it the last time. I asked hubs to catch the baby, but realised he wasn’t around (since he was outside unlocking the door haha). So I held out my hands and felt baby’s head emerge into it naturally (no pushing needed!) and her whole body slid out super quickly after that as I tried to cushion her landing onto the towels on the floor mattress.
She was out! Born at 4.23am. As she lay on the mattress, she was calm and quiet initially, before she found her lungs and started crying. I quickly removed the clothes that I’d changed into to go out, and brought her to my chest for skin-to-skin, just as hubs came back into the room and realised it was all done. I’d delivered my baby all by myself. The irony too, was that with all the drama going on, LittleA was still KO-ed on our bed in a starfish position.
The next (nearly) one hour was lovely, as I sat in the dark on the mattress (with blood and fluids splattered around me hahaha), marvelling at this baby whom I’d just birthed. She lay on my chest and we’d covered ourselves with a big towel to keep her warm, and it took a little while, but then she started nuzzling around for milk, and found my breast to begin latching. In the meantime, hub’s parents arrived (they stayed in the living room), and hubs called the hospital’s ambulance which arrived slightly under an hour later.
Though I wished I could’ve had a bit more time, I’m really thankful that baby and I had the chance to experience most of the golden hour with such peace and quiet, all by ourselves in the dark bedroom.
Heading to the Hospital
The ambulance and nurses arrived around 5.15am. They turned on the light in the bedroom, helped to cut the cord to separate baby & I and examined both of us. It was then, that littleA finally woke up, and sat up on the bed in complete bewilderment. We told her that her baby sister had arrived, and asked if she wanted to meet her. She just looked stunned for a moment (too much for an early morning), then cautiously nodded her head. Hubs carried littleA and brought her closer and she stared in wonder. After the nurses completed the checks, they helped to clean me up a bit and asked if I could stand up. I felt surprisingly strong, with minimal pain in my perineum, unlike my first birth when my legs were just shaking uncontrollably from the exertion of pushing. I managed to walk to the stretcher without any problems and they wheeled me out of the house with baby and hubs (littleA stayed with her grandparents at home).
Oh, forgot to mention that probably the only thing that was uncomfortable in the golden hour was the surges resuming for me to birth the placenta. But I’m not sure whether it was because I was in a seated position holding baby, or some other reason, but the placenta just wouldn’t come out! So I literally went to the hospital with the rest of the cord hanging out of me haha. If you’re wondering what’s it like to ride in an ambulance (it was my first time), it was no fun at all. The entire stretcher ride was so bumpy and the ambulance ride felt so long even though there was no traffic and the hospital isn’t too far from where we stayed.
Anyway, we reached the hospital and were wheeled to the delivery ward. My gynae arrived! I was so surprised and glad to see him (even though most of the work was already done), because he was actually supposed to be on leave from that day already! But I guess it was before his flight so I’m really thankful that he still came down anyway. By then the surges from the placenta were getting quite intense again, but he gently nudged the placenta out and it came out pretty quickly phew. He said that I had a small tear and stitched me up (thankful for the perineal massage sessions with PhysioMatters that I managed to fit in before delivering!), and then shook my hand congratulations and whisked off, typical him. Haha.
We spent quite a long time in the delivery ward after that while hubs got all the admin things done and we waited for the room, and I just enjoyed the time with my new baby with more skin-to-skin and latching.
It was certainly an epic birth to remember. I'm thankful for this birth experience where I felt like I could have it the way that I’d envisioned it to. Though no one ended up opening my birth plan at the hospital (since everything was pretty much done by then), but it unravelled at home just the way I’d wanted it to be. While I honestly did not plan to deliver at home (though we’d joked about it many times), but I’m glad that we had gone through the hypnobirthing & birth preparation course with Doula Lorraine because I had an idea of what to expect and we did have some mental preparation just in case it happened. Was I scared? Not at all. Through the course, understanding that most births (especially those that proceed so quickly) are often not a medical event and constantly practicing my affirmations that the birth would go well gave me the confidence that things would go smoothly. And it did! I went with the flow, trusted that my body was designed to birth, and that that my baby's body was designed to be birthed. It turned out to be a dream birth :)
And now, we’re gently settling in as a family of four. With lots of chaos, I might add, but lots more love and joy as well!