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I was just relieved she is out of my womb, safely ... Joey Kwa

My Birth Story
I am still ever curious how each woman experience and approach their pregnancy and birth.  To me, it’s such a miracle, to this day, I am still humbled and thankful for my 2 children, and hopefully growing up well.  Reading and hearing many fellow women’s birth stories have helped me shape my attitude towards birthing.  Here’s another story for you and my after thoughts, and I hope that it will help you shape your own attitude and approach to this amazingly bitter sweet experience, call Birth.    
I never go beyond really understanding what’s pregnancy and birth about till, when I found myself pregnant soon after marriage.  Lucky as I was (appreciating how easy it had been for me to fall pregnant, as compared to some of the dearest people around me), I was thrown into an unknown realm of motherhood.  I did what most people would have done - Google, and much of the resources I found online then told me how about how I should think and write a birth plan.  Much of the articles I came across promotes natural delivery (preferably without intervention i.e. no epidural).  So, I started to visualise myself bearing birthing pains heroically, and feeling triumph at the birth, without pain management, and crying for joy at the first sight of her.    
Nope, it didn’t happen that way. 
At the beginning of my 37th week of pregnancy, I started leaking amnio fluid late at night.  A pretty uncommon way to start, having read so many cases of first signs of birth being having contraction pains, water bag bursting, or a show.  I called the hospital and I was told I need to birth within 16 hrs due to risk of infection, and diminishing amnio fluid level.  I checked into the hospital the next morning as advised, and I was induced for birth. My gynae broken my water bag, and let contraction set in faster.  Soon, I was in so much pain, I found myself questioning why women were made to through so much pain just to give birth, in between my contractions. I was angry at trying to rationalise the BIG question, and was losing energy from trying to fight the pain.
After about nearly 4 hrs of gritting my teeth through contraction pain, I thought I could be about to deliver, and to just end my misery in the finale, and I can still be triumph at surviving birth without epidural.
But no again. The nurse told me I was only 4cm dilated, I need to be fully dilated at 10cm to go into second stage of labour.  My progress had been 1hr = 1cm.  Fear gripped me when the thought of having to “survive” through another 6 hrs of intense pain.  I made up my mind then to take epidural, which was one of the best decisions I have made medically in my life.   Right after I was administered epidural, I fell asleep, mentally tired and physically weak from fighting the pain.
When it’s time to push baby out, I woke up in a semi daze, and in a hazy state of mind, and did whatever I was told. My baby was out with some hard pushes, but I was still exhausted, and as a result, even when I saw my baby, I didn’t register much emotions, as if birthing was a separate distant event.  
So, nope, neither didnt cry for joy, at the birth of my first born.  I was just relieved she is out of my womb, safely.    
               
I felt rather short changed by being not “present” and in my best state of mind during the birthing process.  With my second birth 2 years later, I reflected from the experience I had of my first birth, and decided to opt for epidural even before the pain sets in.  This time round, I was fully “present”, clear headed, and I thoroughly enjoyed birthing my son.  The moment he popped, I was holding him and we locked eyes, I just wanted to keep him in my arms longer.  
Joey Kwa
Previous article My tears kept trickling down but for the sake of my baby, I had to stay strong ... Hafidah A. Hamid

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