Last Friday (part 2) – Labor and pain

I haven’t experienced any labor pain yet, thank God! It’s seriously too early and too risky for baby and me to have any signs of pre-term labor since I’m only in the 25th week. Instead I learned about the signs of labor during the childbirth education (CBE) class on previous Friday, and the various pain relief available. On last Friday, we saw a video on the different births, natural, with epidural, with Entanox (milder pain relief) and C-section.

I didn’t think about having a birth plan, but during the latest email correspondence with my friend, she wondered if she could present her birth plan to Loh and if he would bother to follow through. One of her friends, who’s also a patient of Loh, isn’t going to prepare it as she doesn’t want to hinder Loh in what he has to do. I told her to go ahead with it; I think it’s perfectly alright to put down your preferences and leave room for necessary actions. I feel that many Singaporeans are too deference to their doctors. I don’t see anything wrong to bring up a differing view. Maybe the patients think they’re not qualified to challenge the doctors, but you can always get information online and discuss with them. Like I’ve told Loh I want to avoid C-section and episiotomy if possible. Of course he needled me on the episiotomy view, but we didn’t into a fight over it. So I’m going to prepare a birth plan to include some preferences which my friend brought up in her email.

After watching the video the previous Friday at CBE class, I’ve decided to avoid epidural if possible. I’m hoping that I can use the deep breathing technique and the milder drug, Entanox, to help me through labor pain. To be honest, I’ve heard so many stories of how damn painful labor can be. But I’ve no idea of the pain level? Is it worst than having a Brazilian waxing? I can take that, and also able to take the injection on the thigh muscles during the IVF fresh cycle, using breathing technique. But I guess labor pain is worst because it takes hours, whereas the waxing lasts only like 20 minutes. I’ve also heard from someone who said that compared to the labor pain, the stitching of the vaginal muscle tear (without painkiller) is no biggie. That sounds really freaking painful to me! So let’s see how high is my pain threshold. The instructor told me that I can still ask for the epidural when I’m 5 cm dilated, but the worst pain comes during 7cm dilation.

We were also told during class that we can start coming to the hospital when we experience contraction once every 5-10 mins, depending on how far we stay away from the hospital. There’re cases of women who couldn’t make it on time and had to have the childbirth at home with help from the husband. My husband blanched at the idea. During last Friday’s class, we were shown a video depicting natural childbirth without drug at home, childbirth using Entanox, water birth and C-section. The british video was filmed in the 80’s when women had scary big hair-do which would be considered a major beauty disaster now. Anyway besides the horrendous fashion faux pas, an interesting note is that the women freely removed their clothes/gowns during the childbirth process. According to the instructor, during childbirth the woman will feel really warm and sweat a lot. So the temperature in the delivery suite is set low. For comfort, she’s given a hospital gown at TMC which is also for the sake of modesty. Honestly, if there are only my husband and the midwives around, I wouldn’t mind removing my clothes too. But too bad, Loh will be there, and no way in hell am I going full Monty in front of him.

My husband noted that all the childbirth processes shown in the video looked rather routine and relatively smooth going. Other than the C-section, no doctor was noticeably present. Basically the women gave birth with only help from nurses/midwives. He asked the instructor if there could be anything that goes wrong. She replied that there could be complications such as baby getting distressed during childbirth, but these are rare cases and we shouldn’t worry about them. I seriously hope I will also have a smooth delivery with minimal drug. I did consider the option of water birth but I would have to engage a gynae who has experience with this or an experienced Doula. A colleague sent me the website of Four Trimesters founded by an Australia-based doula and operated by a Singapore doula and her team. I checked out the website and they offer a doula birth support package that starts at S$1850, which includes 2 sessions of pre-natal, doula birth support and 3 post-natal sessions. The team guides pregnant ladies in hypnobirthing and also assists during a water birth. I’m pretty enticed by the concept of hypnobirthing which supposedly helps to enable a natural birth in a calm and relaxed state. But my husband thinks it’s all psycho babble, much like traditional Chinese medicine. When I told him about the package fee, his reaction was, “what? It’s even more expensive than what Loh charges!” I suspect if I ask Loh about hypnobirthing, he’s likely to sneer at the idea. I’m not sure too if he’s able to handle a water birth. My husband doesn’t like the idea either, saying it’s best to have equipment around.

Anyway I’ll download the birth plan sheet first and indicate my preferences including avoiding episiotomy and epidural if possible, and I’ll be breast feeding my baby right from the beginning. I will discuss the plan with Loh at the next visit. Meanwhile my husband said to me and baby Alex, “no home birth, no water bag leaking at home.”

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