It really is true, no two births are the same. Divya Butani of The Veggie Wifey shares her unique experience of delivering her baby in Hong Kong the second time around.
On 29 November, 2021, my baby girl decided to spontaneously enter the world by challenging every single cell of strength in my body. Never would I have ever imagined me being capable of delivering our baby standing up, with people we have never met before, with no pain relief.
Birth Stories In Hong Kong: A Fast Unexpected Labour
It was a Monday morning. I went to my clinic for a regular checkup. I was 40 weeks pregnant and with the lack of sleep, and a very active toddler at home, I suggested getting a membrane sweep to get things moving. My doctor said it would take a good day or so for the labour to start and to monitor it.
So off I went home, made my favourite recipe and midway through devouring my lunch, the contractions started. The contractions got very intense and after just 15 minutes I was crying in distress. I rang the hospital to inform my doctor but couldn’t communicate clearly. I then called my husband to pick me up. I thought I had more time. Little did I know I was in full labour.
My husband rushed from work. I couldn’t sit in the car, so I sat on all fours in the passenger seat, with my face against the headrest and my rear towards the windshield. If anyone saw us that day, they would have thought we were out of our minds!
“Speeding up the rocky meandering path up to Matilda Hospital, facing backwards in a moving vehicle while dilating was not part of my birth plan.”
I still wonder how my amazing husband focused on the road. With me screaming at the top of my lungs and asking him to stop every 2 minutes, he didn’t even get a chance to park, so he left the car outside the outpatient entrance. I yelled through the entrance in agony. I don’t remember how many people were in the lobby, but they were truly in for a surprise.
One of the outpatient nurses handed me a wheelchair, and I shouted “No!”
Outpatient Entrance: My Maternal Instinct Immediately Took Over
Suddenly, I had a final powerful contraction, and an intense gush of water burst through my pants. My water broke. I knew my baby wasn’t waiting for anyone. That’s when my maternal instinct immediately took over, and in front of everyone in the lobby that day, I ripped off my pants to hold my baby’s head in my hands. All that was running through my head was “please don’t suffocate!”. I had no idea what I was doing, or how I would get my baby out safely. My husband was right beside me the whole time, trying his best to get anyone he could to help.
A Fast But Empowering Delivery
The midwives from the maternity ward rushed in along with the resident OBGYN and paediatrician. They surrounded me for support, but my body couldn’t wait any longer, I felt another urge to push again and my baby was almost out of me, in my arms. I was bending over, holding her with my umbilical cord.
“I couldn’t hear any sound from her. I started to panic, and so did everyone else.”
With all the strength from everyone around me, I was carried onto a gurney and as soon as I touched down, my baby’s full body came out with her cord tugging at my placenta. She was all purple. I was praying for her loud cry. The cord was finally cut and she was taken away from me. I was roaring for an answer, to see if she was ok. A minute later, I finally heard her cry for air and sighed in relief. My husband repeatedly yelled back to me across the long corridor “She is okay, she is okay”. It was very emotional.
I was rolled away to deliver my placenta and get a few stitches. Despite what had happened, I felt so much stronger than my previous pregnancy. Neither my designated OBGYN nor paediatrician made it in time. I was so grateful for all the midwives who stepped in, and the resident doctors who were there to help me and my baby that day.
For most of my second pregnancy, I tried to manifest a better birthing experience than my first. I have experienced two miscarriages and was pregnant during the protests and the peak of COVID. My first pregnancy was a medicated vaginal delivery. When the medication was first injected, it numbed the left side of my body and I was in a very uncomfortable birthing position. Then, when it came to active labour, the epidural wore off. Many hours later, after lots of pushing, my son’s heartbeat dropped. I had a fever from dehydration and exhaustion.
“After 24 hours of labour, my baby was torn out of me. I felt everything.”
My first postpartum experience was difficult. There was a lot of physical and mental healing, alongside being so overwhelmed as a first-time mum. It took me a long time to recover and feel somewhat “me” again. I’ve previously written about postpartum depression, and how much goes unnoticed. This time, I promised myself I would do everything in my power to give birth in a much better mindset.
Mindfulness, Health And Wellness During A Second Pregnancy And Delivery
I was a lot more positive and active in my second pregnancy. I went to see Reiki specialist, to help me release any negative and draining emotional energy. I worked out with prenatal trainer and pregnancy guru Ziggy Makant. She made me feel so strong, both mentally and physically. I also went to a traditional Chinese medical clinic where they helped with acupuncture and moxibustion to get my baby in the correct position. I kept on manifesting and visualising an easier birth experience with energy crystals from Angel Illuminate.
“For all the soon-to-be mothers out there, all I can say is throw out the birth plan and focus on learning how to be extremely brave, positive and strong in the face of adversity.”
Birth is out of our control, and whatever situation we are given, we have to learn how to make the most out of it. Delivering a healthy baby, and making sure you are safe is all that truly matters.