|Waiting in the delivery room|
My first birth experience did not go the way I planned. I had planned for a natural delivery with minimal medical intervention. I was relatively young, healthy, my pregnancy was smooth, and my mom was able to deliver all her four babies naturally, so I was sure I could do it. Long story short, I was 41.5 weeks along with no signs of labor, I was induced but baby's heart rate dropped, and after a long day of waiting at the delivery room (nothing happened and there wasn't any contractions), I went into an emergency cesarean under epidural. My daughter was born healthy and I was well, but I was negatively affected by my less-than-ideal birth experience and I questioned in my mind what went wrong. My heart was not set right before God and He taught me a lesson, more on this below.
|First picture with my daughter after cesarean|
I truly desire to have a natural delivery. When I knew I was pregnant again mid last year, I started researching for doctors who favor natural birth, reading on tips to prepare for a natural delivery, exercises to do, food to eat and avoid, and things like that. Most important of all, I fasted and prayed that 1) God willing, I could have a natural birth, if not, that I would feel peace about it all. 2) that whatever the end result will be, let His name be glorified.
My previous gyne had advised me against VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) from the beginning due to my height and cesarean experience. I went to a few doctors whom were referred to me as 'pro-natural,' but they cost an arm and a leg. I ended up going to another gyne who is not well-known as 'pro-natural' but was kind and willing to work with me on my requests.
This second pregnancy was a bit more complicated. I normally have low blood pressure, but this pregnancy made it worse. I fainted a few times in my first trimester. I had a few eye infections and swelling. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. And I was group strep B positive. Knowing all the complications I was having, my doctor warned me many times that her priority is a healthy baby, and only then a natural delivery. I agreed. And I was at peace.
|A healthy baby|
Starting my last trimester, when I started to feel more back pain and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GB) and group strep B positive, I regularly went to see a chiropractor to help relief my back pain and correct misalignments in the pelvic and lower back area to relax the uterus, thus allowing the baby to get in the right position. I also strictly controlled my diet, eating very minimal added sugar (the main issue of having GB is that the baby will be too big if I don't control my diet, which means a higher chance for cesarean), and adding a lot of protein because I read it helps to keep the water bag strong (being a group strep B positive means that if my water breaks, I have to immediately go to the hospital to get injected with antibiotics and I did not want that, especially if I am not yet in labor. It will set me up for many medical interventions and a much higher chance for another cesarean). I also started drinking red raspberry leaf teas, pineapples, food that supposedly help induce labor naturally, walked a lot, did curb walking, climbed stairs, did pelvic exercises and stretches, and 'spent time' with my husband. Basically trying my best to prepare myself for a natural delivery. My husband kept reminding me that we have to do our part the best we can, and if God grants us our request, then we can be physically and mentally prepared, if not, at least we know we have tried our best and there will be no regret. So we did. And we enjoyed many long walks, chats, and good quality time together especially towards the end of my pregnancy.
|Enjoying the last few days before giving birth - |
picking her up from school and spending
precious time with her, just the two of us.
|Elin being my pillow while I do pelvic stretches|
Forty and a half weeks along, I felt my first contraction, which continued for fifteen hours, then off we went to the hospital. After another some fifteen hours in the hospital, with the help of epidural and a forcep, I was able to deliver my baby boy naturally. It wasn't the smoothest delivery. My baby's heart rate was closely monitored because his heart rate dropped below normal a few times, I was having fever and very low blood pressure. My doctor came back a few times saying that I might have to go for cesarean if my condition didn't stabilize. I also had a really painful infection that lasted more than two weeks post birth, and hemorrhoids, but with all that happened, God still granted my heart's desire for a successful VBAC and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. It is a lesson I learned from my first pregnancy to always set my heart right before God and that in everything we do, in all our accomplishments, that we may not boast and that God's name be glorified.
"And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8b-9
Having experienced both ways, I still can't decide which way is better or worse for me personally, but I know God's way is best.
In retrospect, having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes was probably a blessing in disguise because anymore than my baby's birth weight would have been impossible for a natural delivery. According to the doctor, my 3 kg baby was the maximum that my body could handle.
Note: This post is not intended to make anyone feel inferior or superior about delivery methods. Whether we give birth naturally or via cesarean do not affect our relationships with our children and their health. We have options in this modern time and we can choose whichever delivery method we prefer. The end goal is the same - to deliver the baby safely and that mama is well. I'm always thankful for doctors and medical knowledge whenever they are needed. If you are one who would like to try VBAC in Singapore, I hope you find this post encouraging. It is possible to have VBAC even though it is not common here. My advise is find a good doctor who are willing to work with you, do your part the best you can, and pray for peace to guard your heart whatever the outcome will be. God's ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
Introducing our son, John Sidarto:
|Fist photo after delivery|
|When Elin first met her baby brother|
|First family picture|
|Two weeks old John|
|My sweet angel|
|First proper family picture|