38+3 Weeks – My Birth Story

Finally, I have unloaded.

The calm before the storm

The two weeks before my delivery was quite difficult. My belly was growing very rapidly, which caused a lot of lower back ache and limited my day-to-day movements. It was hard to find a comfortable position to sleep and once I hit 37 weeks, I was telling baby A to come out quickly.

My belly felt like a balloon that was about to explode

I went for my weekly checkup when I was in my 38+2weeks and jokingly asked my doctor if there was any possibility of me delivering on the same day. Doctor said nope! Meanwhile, baby A was in a good position with no expected complications, so we even discussed possible plans in the event I was overdue, so as not to additionally worry over anything. 

I had mixed feelings. As much as I wanted baby A to come out now to relieve all my bodily discomforts, I was also happy that she was healthy and (potentially) happy inside. 

Then D-Day eventually hit.

The next day (38+3weeks), mild contractions started at about 6am. It felt exactly like waves of period cramps. I didn’t want to jump into any conclusions first, so I waited and noted down the intervals. After about an hour and a half, I was more certain that this was considered actual labour contractions. 

I woke my husband up at 7.30am. We were both excited. Following our doctor’s advice, I ordered us breakfast delivery and took a shower (it’s very important to wash hair at this point, because following old school confinement rules, we typically can’t wash our hair throughout the one-month confinement period). We slowly ate our breakfast and were planning to take our time to do some final packing before leaving the house at around 12pm. As this was my first pregnancy, the prediction was that it normally takes about 10-12 hours (if not longer) from the first contraction to the moment baby is born. We wanted to be in a space that we felt the most comfortable (our home) for as long as possible.

My recorded contraction times

By 9.30am, the intensity of my contractions increased to the point that I had to take deep breaths and found it difficult to talk during contractions. Because of that, we decided to leave the house earlier, after our final packing. 

We reached the hospital around 10.30am. By the time we checked in and ran through the tocodynamometer (a pressure-sensitive device placed on the mother’s abdomen over the area of strongest contractions to measure the length, frequency, and strength of uterine contractions) and carried out a vaginal examination (assesses cervical dilation), I was 3cm dilated at 11.30am. 

Unexpectedly, but also fortunately and thankfully, the intensity of my contractions gradually increased to the point that I had chills. At one point I considered taking pain relief, but the thought was quickly brushed away as I intended to have a natural delivery without any drugs. In an hour’s time, I felt my water bag break and quickly informed the nurse. The nurse initially did not really believe that I could dilate quickly, so it felt like she took her own sweet time to check. Eventually she informed me that I was 6cm dilated. Super fast!

Suddenly I noticed quicker footsteps and sensed more urgency in the nurses’ behaviour in calling the doctor and preparing for labour. In the next 15-30mins, I felt the peak of my contractions and once again informed the nurses that my baby is coming out. The nurse checked and I was 9cm dilated! Once again in disbelief, I could now hear their movements turn into brisk walks/slow jogs.

Since the doctor was not in the hospital yet, I had to wait. This probably took most of my energy – resisting the strong contractions. Once the doctor arrived, with 6-8 pushes, baby A came into the world~

Baby A’s first moment

All in all, it took me not more than three hours to deliver baby A from the moment I stepped into the hospital. No epidural, no episiotomy. Although there was a slight tear, I am blessed to be able to claim my labour as a really smooth and quick one. 

I give credits to myself (HAHA), for keeping an active lifestyle before and during my pregnancy; to baby A, for listening to me and coming out really quickly; to my chiropractor Dr Sarah, for making sure that my body is in its best position for the labour (I had my final adjustment the day BEFORE my labour); to my husband, for being my best mental support. 

I did not experience any birth trauma. In fact, I enjoyed experiencing this part of the journey in my life. Right now it’s been three to four weeks postpartum and I am recovering well, and enjoying this new journey in my life – motherhood. 

The love of my life