Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to write a guide to natural birth for Sassy Mama Singapore. It was a fantastic chance to pass on the knowledge I had painstakingly gathered over the years pursuing a better way to birth for myself. Whether you want to have a natural birth (in any country) or are interested in learning more about birthing in Singapore, this article is for you.
When I got pregnant, I was ECSTATIC. Then… I thought about the fact that the baby would eventually need to come out of me. Part of me was hoping I’d get a magical hook up from a lovely stork. Netflix intervened on my behalf. My husband and I watched Babies (2010), a gorgeous documentary following the early life of four babies from around the world. Netflix suggested I watch The Business of Being Born (2007). And so I did. Embarrassingly, I had no idea midwives were still a thing. And a doula? Do-what? So I started learning.
I read about relaxation and breathing techniques. I tried holding an ice cube in my hand. I made a cheat sheet with all the recommended birthing positions. I learned about the benefits of a drug-free vaginal delivery, such as a shorter and easier labour, a faster recovery time, a lack of needles, and how the baby’s gut gets populated with beneficial bacteria. I read about women describing a feeling of empowerment, as if they’d run a sort of uterine marathon. It seemed incredibly powerful to feel connected to the women across the world and throughout history who delivered sans intervention.
When my 15 hours of labor arrived…
Read the rest of the article here on Sassy Mama Singapore.
I am now more convinced than ever that all women need to be educated about how our bodies are prepared to birth gently, without all the drama you see in the movies. Until that can happen, women sharing their positive birth stories with one another is important. I interviewed 7 mamas about their experiences pursuing a kinder, gentler birth experience, all very different in nature.
In part 1 on natural birth, we gave you the lowdown for getting baby down low naturally. Now we bring you the true stories of seven women (and one hubby!) who pursued a drug-free birth. “Dou-lah!” Ginny Phang recognises women have a lot of information at their fingertips; her goal is to help them understand how to “labour smart.” While things didn’t always go according to plan, these women all prepared for birth (both mentally and physically), and came out the other side feeling happy and empowered.
VBAC Victory: Long Li Yann, 34
Mama to Aidan, born in 2012 at 2.5 kg, and Zac, born in 2014 at 2.8 kg
In her first pregnancy, Yann took a hypnobirthing class at Four Trimesters and hoped to labour and deliver naturally, but her baby’s cord was short and around his neck, resulting in a stress-filled experience that culminated with an emergency C-section. Her second labour began with intermittent contractions that lasted a full day and intensified that night, and by 4am she felt she NEEDED an epidural. At 7 am she arrived at the hospital to find she was already 8cm along! She considered an epidural but eventually refused, feeling she’d already come this far without one. A nurse showed her how to begin pushing effectively to get the baby down lower, but she had no energy left at the end, thinking “He’s going to be stuck between my legs forever. I need a coffee.” She focused all her energy once more, and in three more pushes, the baby was out. You can read a full account of both births on her blog.
Tips? “I kept telling myself that every contraction is helping me to dilate and move baby down.”
Potty Queen: Samantha Van Norman, 37
Mama to Shaiya, born in 2005 at 3.5 kg, Tyler, born in 2009 at 4.8 kg, and Keira, born in 2011 at 4 kg
Samantha initially wanted all the drugs modern medicine affords us, but changed her mind after reading some articles from her husband (a chiropractor). She signed up for a Bradley Method class and eventually decided on a home birth. For the first two she had the support of a midwife and doula, but her most recent baby came so quickly, she delivered it herself…