I was due 2 weeks before or after my EDD, which was October 30. In my mind, I was actually expecting it to be later rather than earlier. By Late August, we have decided to do a home water birth.
It was a Friday late afternoon, October 17 at around 5:17 pm when my first-born came out. It was a very surreal feeling. I was overwhelmed seeing him for the first time, he was tiny and he seemed so fragile. There was definitely a gush of relief having labored for 17 hours.
Early Signs: Mucus Plug discharge/ Bloody show
I have a full-time corporate job in Marketing. I was launching a new program during that week in October, so it was quite busy and I had to attend events. Three days prior to October 17, I already had my mucus plug discharge. I did not have any contractions or pain, but I still texted my midwife, Deborah already because I know that a mucus plug discharge indicates that I’m nearing my son’s birth day. My question was SHOULD I STILL GO TO WORK DESPITE MY MUCUS PLUG DISCHARGE? She said she would but it is up to me. She said it is all okay and sex is still fine. So I still went to my work and even attended an event.
At 1:45 am on October 17, I woke up with with contractions and some blood. I texted my midwife and gave another heads up at 3:02 am. Deborah replied at 5:37am and told me to get some sleep. This time my contraction intervals last around 5 minutes apart with 30 seconds length per contraction. She said if contraction lasts 30 sec, it means rest is important. Eat, drink and pee.
I also texted my office that morning that I won’t be coming to work anymore. My husband also texted our friends that I am already in Labor. I gave him a list of the food I like and the last minute purchases that needs to be made, so they can assist us.
Deborah and ate Lorni arrived around 9 or 10 in the morning. I was still okay and can talk in between contractions. They went to check me. Our friends Judy and Kok came shortly after. Alan gave instructions to Judy regarding the camera, while Kok stayed in our patio/garage to wait and assist the midwives.
I would try to use the pilates ball to ease my pain. By 11 am, I felt that contractions were stronger and with shorter interval. This time, I thought I was about to give birth. It was so painful that I requested to stay in the pool already.
I stopped timing my contractions by this time. The midwives would try to feed me from time to time and hydrate with coconut water. It was challenging, and I do not have an appetite to eat. But I knew in my mind that it was necessary. So I requested to eat banana and rocky road ice cream instead which was a little appealing at that time. I don’t remember if I finished a cup.
In the midst of active labor, I had an urge to Poop. At first, I had a little anxiety that maybe the “urge” was the baby coming out.
As painful as it was, I listened to my body and relieved myself even if I had to get out of the pool. I did not want to contaminate the pool water, so I mustered all strength to do it in the toilet and thoroughly clean myself in between contractions.
I was trying to imagine my baby’s face to get me more motivated. This is what some birth classes teach you, but honestly, I couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine how exactly he would look like.
In our Television, verses and baby photos were playing in a slide show. There was a background music in the beginning that I requested to be changed to “cricket sounds”. This was more relaxing for me. I played the cricket sounds even prior to birth before bed time, so I’m quite conditioned to it.
Our house was not too bright also, a little cozy as my husband covered some of the windows.
Nearing the birth
I tried not to go back to the pool yet, but by 2PM, the pain seemed unbearable. Again, I felt I was giving birth already. But my midwives were still happily chatting in the patio, drinking their afternoon coffee. At the back of my mind, I could not understand. But my husband was by my side the whole time, so that helped a lot.
The pool was with warm water, but beside it was a pail with water heater. Ate Lorni eventually started to pour warm water on my back.
When pain further heightened, I had to be given oxygen because despite the coaching, I was not breathing properly. I was exhaling and not inhaling enough, which may cause fetal distress. I was so grateful for my very competent midwives.
Another challenge was I was also having cramps on my arms. Deborah asked if we had Epsom Salt at home, and luckily we do. So she put some in the pool water.
I was on fours wiggling my hips, moving around. The warmth of the water on my back helped regulate the pain a lot. I didn’t realize this until the pouring temporarily stopped and I was longing for it. By this time, the midwives were repeatedly saying “you can do it” (“kaya mo”). Those words helped a lot. I thought it was so cliché, but when you’re in the situation, it really is very helpful.
By the time my son was crowning, I was already praying loudly. I recall trying to breathe him out of me. That was several times and with no avail. I recall asking Deborah if she could just pull him out. She encouraged me and told me not to hesitate, otherwise it will take longer, so I gave 2 to 3 more push, and he finally came out!
Deborah caught him and placed him on my chest.
He was tiny and full of vernix. I felt so relieved. I felt so strong. I felt the hunger.
I wanted to eat rice. But I bonded with my baby first. Alan was able to cut his cord after 3 hours. We decided not to do lotus birth as I did not know what to expect with breastfeeding, so we wanted to lessen the things that we have to think about.
We had Chinese Dried Noodles as I requested it along with hot and sour soup, salt and pepper squid and fried rice. We sang him a “Happy Birthday!” song.
I am blessed. I was and am in awe of the Lord’s goodness.