We’ve always wondered exactly how a home birth goes down, so Sean Kuan shares with us how hers went
When we received an email from a reader asking if she could share her home birth experience with all the Sassy Mamas out there, we jumped up with a resounding yes. Sean Kuan shares her awesome experience and tells us her top 10 tips for a home birth too!
We recently welcomed our second child, Max. His arrival was an absolute surprise because he came almost three weeks early and was delivered at home by my husband, Dean.
It was busy as usual at the clinic with another two weeks more to go. Just the night before, Dean and I attended the Victoria Beckham closing show for Singapore Fashion Week with my budding fashionista daughter, Faye, in tow. Thinking we still had time, my hospital bag was only half packed and we hadn’t even shortlisted any names yet.
So in the middle of the night, I felt some tummy discomfort. I thought it was Braxton hicks or blamed it on the canapés we had at the event the night before. I was silently praying and thinking “nah…it can’t be the baby and moreover I have a patient who flew into town to get some treatment done” and went back to sleep. The “contractions” were more than 40 minutes apart. I didn’t think much about it and tried to sleep.
But when the last “contraction” came, it was intense and I instinctively jumped off the bed. This was when my waters broke. With that, the pain came on massively. I called out to Dean that the baby was coming. He quickly alerted our helper, Rose, to bring the hospital bag to the car because we had to rush to the hospital, even though we literally lived just behind the hospital. I took a few steps around the bed and told him “I don’t think I can make it to hospital. The baby is coming now. I need to lie down.”
Dean was amazingly steadfast, he called for our other helper, Marichu, to quickly place two towels on the bed. Soon after I laid down, the baby came. No huffing and puffing or time to apply stuff I learnt at pre-natal classes. It all happened within minutes and was surreal.
Once the baby was out, Dean made sure the cord wasn’t around the baby’s neck and was able to cry. We got a fresh swaddle to wrap the baby in to keep warm. Thank God that everything was well! Dean initially thought we had a baby girl in the frenzy – we did not find out about the gender of the baby beforehand – but it was really a baby boy!
He then googled “what to do in a home birth” and it was important that we clamped the cord. At this point, I was feeling fine so I suggested we use a clothes peg. Even though it wasn’t sterile, we had to improvise.
It was then we called the gynaecologist to inform her what happened and called for the ambulance, which took a while before the paramedics came to properly clamp the cord and cut it before being taking us to the hospital.
After everything, we noticed some parallels with the births of both Max and Faye. With Faye, there were also no real symptoms of labour until the water bag burst. Thereafter, everything was fast and furious. At least for Faye, we managed to rush to the hospital and she was delivered within minutes after we got there with no epidural or doctor present.
In 20/20 hindsight, my top 10 tips should any Sassy Mama have an unplanned home birth would be to:
- Google can be a useful resource if you can’t get hold of a doctor
- Never underestimate contractions no matter how slight or far apart they may be. Check yourself into hospital early if you think you can’t cope with the unexpected at home
- Pack your hospital bag in advance (at 35 weeks) so that you have everything you need when you get transferred to the hospital
- Prep your significant other or make sure you have help should the unexpected happen anytime, anywhere
- Have your gynaecologist on speed dial or even FaceTime
- Ensure that no cord is around the baby’s neck, check vitals and stimulate the baby to cry at birth
- Have muslin towels or swaddles on hand to wrap the baby after birth
- Get your fridge stocked or confinement food organised beforehand
- Have your maternity photographs done (at 33 weeks) and newborn photography pre-booked
- Stay calm and improvise
So there you have it mamas, a real-life home birth story and some fantastic top tips too! If you have a birthing, motherhood or baby story you think we should know about please get in touch with us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you!