ddmm: Back-up plan on D-day

One of the first questions that came into our minds when we first discovered about ddmm’s presence was, what do we do with E when I go into labour? If you have a good family support system, that’s probably taken care of already. Our families are supportive too but unfortunately, they are based in another state.

Why not my hometown, Malacca?
Giving birth in Malacca is out of the question as nine out 10 obstetricians there will end up cutting open their patients for quick money or unsubstantiated reasons. At least that’s what I have heard and observed among my friends and relatives who gave birth in private hospitals there.

One of my cousins wanted to try for a vaginal birth after C-sec for her second child but by week 36, she was intimidated by her doctor into believing that the umbilical cord was ‘choking’ her baby and she had to be taken out immediately. Note: It’s normal and not life-threatening for umbilical cord to wrap around baby’s neck at birth. One just needs to gently unloop the cord as soon as the newborn’s head is out and before the entire body is born She sought a second opinion and was told that nothing like that had happened. She ended up being cut open, nonetheless.

The same goes to both my sisters. Eldest sister gave birth to her first son naturally in Malacca and was traumatised ever since. Apparently, her placenta refused to come out and the doctor had to insert his entire hand into her body to remove it. She has since opted for elective C-secs for her subsequent kids, including the one who’s arriving in July. No words from me could convince her that C-sec is a major surgery that should only be performed on mums who have emergency health conditions and that it IS possible to have a gentle birth.

A first-time mum-to-be, my youngest sister is already brainwashed into the mentality that “vaginal birth will change your sex life” (not true), “it will hurt so much it’s impossible for someone as petite as you to push the baby out” (not true), “C-sec is easy, fast and convenient” (it’s a major abdominal surgery and meant for mums with emergency health conditions only! Every woman’s body is designed to birth naturally) and so on. She is going for an elective C-sec this August too. *Sigh*

Plus, I can’t foresee myself undergoing confinement period at my parents’ house. From my experience with E, Hubby’s support and presence is very crucial during the first few weeks. I don’t want Hubby and E to rush up and down from KL every weekend to visit us here. Additionally, I do not want to feed my “lovely” sister-in-law’s favourite past-time and be the reason behind more of her concocted dramas.

KL, for sure…and the possibilities
I have sisters here but one will have a newborn to juggle by July while another – well, I’ll just have to ask. Our main concern is, with E being E, he doesn’t warm up to people easily.

Hubby and I have been bouncing ideas for two weeks now. If my labour begins in the daytime on a weekday and baby comes quickly after that, then all is well because E would be at the daycare. But if it happens at night, that’s when the problem begins. We thought of…

#1 Make advance arrangement with the daycare operator and drop him off at his daycare when it happens. I can already imagine him looking all confused and wailing as we drive off without him. No can do.

#2 Get help from people he can get along with such as my father-in-law and aunt-in-law. Based on prior experience, FIL can only handle him for a maximum of one hour before he gets tired too while AIL won’t be able to take time off from work plus have to care for her aging mother in hometown.

#3 Hubby suggested that maybe we can get one of E’s favourite Kakaks at the daycare to come over to our house and babysit him. Leave E alone at home? A stranger in our house? No no no.

#4 Get a friend to be my birth companion and join me in all my Hypnobirthing classes. When my labour begins, she will be with me in the labour room while S handles E. The person I’m comfortable with and have in mind is not married/a mum yet, and I certainly do not want to leave a bad taste about childbirth in her by letting her see what’s labour like.

A or B?
We finally concluded that we have two practical options:

OPTION A
Hire a doula to accompany me and keep me focused during labour/birth while Hubby takes care of E. A doula is a labour coach and non-medical person who assists a woman before, during or after childbirth, as well as her partner and/or family by providing information, physical assistance and emotional support.

However, the services don’t come cheap at RM1,800 but if it means labouring in peace and knowing E is in good hands, I don’t mind saving RM200 a month from now onwards. We have to make our decision soon as there’s only one certified doula in Malaysia and it’s Dragon year.

More information about doula services in Malaysia here.

OPTION B
Send E to my sister’s. It’s a good arrangement considering that all three of her kids are rather independent already and they get along well with E. Plus an environment with kids and toys will keep him distracted and occupied. As we will be attending Hypnobirthing lessons in June, it will be timely to send E to my sister’s for acclimatisation during the five Saturdays when the classes will be conducted. So when the big day arrives, he would already be comfortable there.

Our task now is to discuss this with my sister and find out if she’s comfortable with babysitting E overnight. I will still love her regardless of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, as this sister is special in a way that she appreciates order and system in her daily life.

Well, if Option 2 doesn’t work, we will go for Option 1 and play by ear when the time comes. Who knows, maybe a better option will immerse as we move along.

Update: Option 2 is a no go. Sister has turned down my request for fear of not being able to settle E. We are also KIV-ing Option A as the doula may not be available in November and can’t confirm her schedule until the next few months. So we are back to square one.

Alas, maybe I will end up giving birth at home, or maybe birthing alone in the hospital. Anyone wants to be my cheerleaders? We can have a birth party! I promise to serve brownies. Any takers? 🙂

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5 thoughts on “ddmm: Back-up plan on D-day

  1. melanie

    My suggestion, do consider hypnobirthing at home 🙂 After reading some of birthing stories from the website you gave in previous post, I was amazed that labour can actually be a calm & wonderful experience, not to mention in own comfort place. As oppose to the usual hospital-scene shown on television where it is chaotic & loud. Maybe you can arrange for hypnobirth sifu to help you out (for the extra confidence) since I read that she went to accompany & help a few mothers during labour.

    1. joeyllhow

      Aww Melanie! I’m very impressed with your initiative of checking out the Hypnobirthing site in preparation for your pregnancy 🙂 It is really good and beneficial for you to have this knowledge way earlier. As a matter of fact, we are considering doing it at home. Plus the sifu has volunteered to be there for us, even before I could ask! For now, we are focusing on reading up more about gentle birthing and preparing our minds for this. Let’s see if we have the courage by the end of Hypnobirthing class. Otherwise, I’m very very certain my obstetrician will be able to grant me a gentle, unintervened and calm birth as well.

      1. melanie

        Ahem ahem, it’s more of kepo-ness and curiosity that led me to check out hypnobirthing. Fingers crossed that you will be able to decide on the best way to prepare for D-day.

  2. I am very shocked with the statement on birthing options in Melaka. Seriously, how true is this? I wish to have hypnobirthing if I plan for another baby but with my health condition, I would opt for natural birth in the hospital. I hope my gynae would be supportive of me in future. Mind sharing which doctor did your sister go to?

    1. joeyllhow

      It’s nothing personal, Tracy. What’s said is true as far as I have known and observed. Please correct me if I’m wrong. So far, I have not come across or heard of any obgyn in Malacca who is educated about gentle birthing (birthing in various positions, can eat and drink during labour, allows the labouring mom to take her time and not be strapped for fetal monitoring at all times, respects and follows through a birth plan and doesn’t suggest interventions unless necessary). Please do let me know if you know of a doctor like that. I would persuade my relatives to consult him/her instead.

      My eldest sister was under the care of Dr Liew (he has a clinic opposite Pantai but serves in MMC). I am not sure about my cousin’s obgyn but she gave birth at Pantai Air Keroh. My youngest sister is seeing Dr Tan at MMC.

      Another most recent case is my cousin’s wife who gave birth on 2nd May (not sure which doc in MMC). It was her first pregnancy and she quickly resorted to elective C-sec. Her reason? “No energy to push”. There’s actually no physical pushing required in the first place. Our body will do the work; the contractions will bring our baby down naturally if time is given in a proper environment. The thing is, her doctor didn’t object to her choice of elective C-sec or at least, take the initiative to educate her about the pros and cons.

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