Thursday, 3 January 2013

Belated Birth Story: My Firstborn

Did you know my husband delivered our first child? No, he's not a doctor, or a nurse, or even medically trained at all. But I shudder to think of what could have happened had God not blessed me with a strong, smart and brave hubby who, in that very crucial moment, knew just how to help me deliver our son...

Let's go back a bit, considering my firstborn is turning 4 today. I never really wrote down my birth story and I know it's something I'll love to look back on.

2008: Hubby and I had been married almost three years and I had baby fever. Bad. We were working as missionaries in Bangladesh with an international church, serving as youth and worship leaders. The time was right. In March of 2008 we conceived.

After a very easy pregnancy, we were getting close to the due date, and no signs of anything. I knew that a lot of first pregnancies are often late, so I wasn't worried. I was hoping for a natural birth, and my doctor would let me go until 41 weeks before inducing me. So 39 and 40 weeks passed. We were enjoying the cool season in Bangladesh, celebrating Christmas with our friends and cherishing the moments, just the two of us. The "due date" was Dec 28, 2008. On New Year's Eve we attended a party - still nothing. It would be a 2009 baby for us.

January 2nd, 2009: Friday, and usually a church day for us. Our church met on Friday afternoons in another church's building and the sanctuary was 4 floors up - tall floors and no elevators. So we decided to skip church that day and instead headed out for a leisurely evening of dinner out and card games at the American Club (Recreation center provided for embassy members, American expats and other International guests). Not sure it was the best idea to go waddling around, riding rickshaws and whatnot at this stage of a pregnancy, but I guess it worked - right after we ordered our food I went to the bathroom and my water broke. I had not had any signs of labor until that point.

We texted our friends who were just finishing up the church service and asked them to pick us up. (We had no car.) They thought we were joking as just minutes earlier David had texted to see if they wanted to join us for dinner. I sat in the bar, starting to feel contractions, as we waited for our ride.

We also called our midwife, Diane, and she and her husband drove us to our home to pick up our bags, and then on to the hospital. Contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and about 30 seconds long by this point. We were fortunate to make the trip across town to our hospital at a good time of the week, not too much traffic (which can sometimes be at a standstill for hours).

Upon arriving at the hospital, about an hour after my water broke, we asked for a wheelchair and made our way up to the maternity ward. We had done no pre-registering or anything, but soon I had my nice hospital gown (top and skirt) and my own labor/delivery room with my own bathroom. David later had to go back down to the emergency desk to officially register me.
Getting settled for a LONG night ahead. 
I was well stocked up with snacks, juices and lots of water. Before giving birth in a foreign country and hospital, I had asked another missionary woman about her experiences giving birth in this hospital and what advice she had for me. The biggest thing she said was to know what I wanted and not let the doctors walk all over me. So when they asked to put an IV of antibiotics in as soon as I got there I said no. There was no way I was going to be chained to the bed by an IV line when my water had just broke and there was no chance of infection.

Being in a third world country, we had no birthing classes or anything like that. So all I knew was what I had read and a few pieces of advice from other new moms. I didn't really want an epidural, and it's a good thing because the hospital was only equipped to provide one during office hours, when their anesthesiologist was on duty (7am - 7pm or something like that). I arrived at about 7:30pm. So I dealt with my labor pains by walking a lot, squatting, swaying, and taking baths. I was monitored every few hours and basically left alone for most of the night. I didn't have music, candles or anything else, just used my imagination to take me away to a calm and peaceful beach scene through each contraction.

I was allowed to have one person accompanying me, so my hubby, David and our friend who is a midwife (not connected to the hospital or recognized by them), Diane, took turns staying with me and resting.

January 3, 2009: This is where it starts to get blurry. I am not a night person, so to be in labor throughout the night was definitely not fun. It got to a point at the end where I was falling asleep in between contractions! David was faithfully timing them on his phone and keeping our parents and family (in Brazil and Canada) up to date on my progress through Facebook.

Finally, at about 5:30am, I was at 10cm dilated and ready to go. Soon I had the whole team of nurses and my doctor there with David. Since I was only allowed one person with me, Diane was waiting outside. I felt like I pushed forever. And nothing was happening. My feet were up and I had those handy handles for my arms. And there was the problem. I was pushing with my arms, not my stomach. I was pushing on those handles, and actually closing my hips instead of opening them up. By this point I had asked the doctor how many more pushes and she had given up and went to sit in the corner, convinced it would just take more time.

But somehow David sensed there was something amiss, and he noticed what I was doing wrong. He told me the next time to pull with my hands and push with my hips. Sure enough, after two more pushes Lucas came flying out, the nurses barely had time to grab him and fling him on my belly. If he had been stuck in the birth canal any longer, who knows what kind of oxygen loss he could have suffered.

That, is how my husband delivered our first son. Lucas was born at 6:45am, after almost exactly 12 hours of labor.

Lucas was whisked away to get checked out and I was stitched up (had an episiotomy). We were told Lucas had some signs of distress and was looking "a little pale". They wanted to take him to the NICU for observation. We called my parents and my dad encouraged David to go with Lucas to the NICU to make sure they didn't try anything funny. Sure enough, they wanted to give him antibiotics and put him on oxygen. He would not stand to have the oxygen mask around his face and kept swiping at it.

Even though we were told Lucas might have to stay in the NICU for up to 48 hours, at about 10:00am, after I had been taken to my recovery room, Lucas was brought to us there. Exhausted, and still in pain from the worst post-delivery stitching ever, it was such a surreal experience to hold our little son.
Holding Lucas for the first time. 
We spent only one night in the hospital before taking Lucas home.

And now, here we are in 2013, celebrating this little boy's 4th birthday! My, how time flies.


  1. Aww little squishy newborn pics always make me almost want another.
    Check out my birth story if you want.

  2. My sister's boy was born January 3, 2011. Good date for boys.=)

  3. wow, what a birth story

    new follower

  4. Oh, I love his newborn pictures - how precious! Thank goodness your husband was there to help you know what was going wrong!

  5. precious! bonus points for your hubby!


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