This is Charmaine’s inspiring birth story in May 2017. After 2 years, Charmaine decided to share her birth experience of transferring of the hospital and a change of OBGYN on the day of her labour. Below is her inspiring birth story.
Taking up a HypnoBirthing course with Childbirth Odyssey was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have never thought going through drug-free natural childbirth could be so calm and fulfilling, which is totally opposite of what my gynaecologist (not a pro-natural gynaecologist) had described. Till today, I’m very thankful to have met Yen, who made natural birth a possible dream for me.
Attending a HypnoBirthing course was not something that I knew I wanted at the beginning. The only thing I had in my mind was my determination to avoid getting an epidural shot. However, having no experience, I was not confident if I could do so as a first-time mum. Also, I felt that getting an epidural shot isn’t truly experiencing childbirth and that was when I felt I needed to arm myself with information. I started off with looking at antenatal courses available online and read up reviews. That was when I came to realise most antenatal courses tend to sell you pain relieve options using drugs and they don’t help you appreciate the process of childbirth. This was when I learn about the HypnoBirthing course offered by Childbirth Odyssey and I decided to give it a try.
Finally, the day arrived when my baby is ready to come to the world (one week before EDD). My water bag broke (membrane released) at 4:30 am. Having learnt the signs of labour from the course, I knew that it was still early and certainly no rush to get to the hospital. Coincidentally, I had an appointment with the gynaecologist on the same day at 9:00 am and decided to get to Gleneagles hospital based on the scheduled time (we were monitoring the timings between the cramps and knew there was no point going earlier). My gynaecologist checked me around 9:30 am and said that I have not dilated. This was when he immediately strongly advised me to induce labour as he said there will be a concern with infection since my water bag had burst. Sensing the urgency from his tone, I naturally asked the question: “How long are you willing to wait? By what time should I give birth as you advised that the birth needs to be speed up?” He replied that he will proceed with a c-section if my baby doesn’t come out by evening.
I refused to accept his advice as I knew that I had no risk of infection as I was tested negative for group strep infection at the 37th week of my pregnancy. Moreover, if there are no repeated unnecessary checks by nurses during labour, there will not be any risks of infections. To my disappointment, the gynaecologist had totally disregarded my birth plan (which he had insisted not to sign) and threatened not to take my case if I didn’t follow his instructions (blindly). Luckily I had my research done and I knew where to find a pro-natural gynaecologist (Dr Paul Tseng), which at that time I had some regrets not having transferred to one earlier on. During this period of time, I was also fortunate to have Yen supporting me and also a friend who had gone through a natural birth process, which played a huge role in affirming my decision to rush to seek a second opinion from a pro-natural gynaecologist.
Getting confirmation from Dr Paul Tseng’s clinic took more than an hour. It was such great relief that they could take my case, but I was referred to Dr Pamela Tan instead as Dr Paul Tseng had been fully booked. By the time we saw Dr Pamela Tan at Thomson Medical, it was 11:45 am. She checked me and I had dilated by 4cm. She also confirmed that my water bag burst was no threat to my baby as our body replenishes the ammonitic fluid three times a day (we just need to keep ourselves hydrated). Also, Dr Pamela Tan was very professional and went through every item in my birth plan. She ensured a natural birth and would only advise for any medical intervention if necessary (that is life and death situation). I checked into the labour ward immediately and nurses were surprised by my bold decision as such last-minute transfers had never happened before.
During the period of time when I was in the labour ward, I was allowed to move freely with a mobile heart rate monitor. I used techniques learned at the course to help me gain comfortable positions to manage the sensations that I was experiencing. No nurses came in to disrupt and there were no vaginal checks conducted. Yen came shortly after and that was when I start to feel stronger surges at closer intervals. I began to experiment different birthing positions and I found squatting on the floor with half of my body lying on the bed as the most comfortable. I breathed and followed the surges, and sync with my child to help him out of the birth passage. At 2:50 pm, my baby arrived.
Thinking back, I am still in awe at what had happened. Without having met Yen from the course, I would not have the faith that I am making the right decisions to make natural birth possible. Also, from this experience, I came to realized having a pro-natural gynaecologist (advice from Yen which I should have taken seriously on the onset) makes a lot of difference. Thank you Yen once again for your efforts!