Labour is a brilliant design. Just when you’re about to give up, just when you think you’ve given all that you can, something incredible happens: it ends. That glorious head finally emerges, then a little body slides out easily and the room erupts.
Just like that.
My baby is here. Xandrea Chua is born.
Steve received our baby. It was around 8:10 p.m. He lifted her out of the water. I turned around from the kneeling position and cradled her.
It felt surreal to finally hold her in my arms. For months, I have wondered what she would look like. She’s beautiful, just like what I have always imagined.
Hello my baby girl. Happy birthday. We did it, darling girl! Mommy love you so much. You’re such a good baby.
Christina and Tian joined in the crying camaraderie. Xan opened her eyes, let out two short cries, and went back to sleep. Shortly after that, she began to nurse. Steve referred to the APGAR score chart and cross-checked her vital signs. All good.
Just to be sure, I looked in between her legs and called out, “It’s a girl!”
Best evening ever!
We spent around 30 minutes in the pool before moving to the bed. Steve then called Teri, a friend and a mum who has homebirthed her two children, to ask what should be done to birth the placenta. After four surges – around an hour after birth – my placenta came out, just like that. The art of doing nothing.
He then contacted Dr Siva and gave him a run-through of the birth and both mummy’s and baby’s condition.
Having missed the opportunity to cut our firstborn’s umbilical cord, Steve proudly snipped off Xan’s after it stopped pulsating.
You’re now on your own, baby.
My mum had a hard time believing me when I called and told her that I have just given birth. According to her, I sounded “too normal and energetic for a person who has just given birth”. I had to MMS her a proof of photo.
That night, I took a nice hot shower, blow-dried my hair, had dinner, cleared up the mess and stayed up late to chat with Steve and Christina. We talked about what happened over and over again. Best evening ever.
The aftermath’s euphoria
I had heard and read over and over that the moment you see your baby, the pain of labour disappears. While I was in labour, I had some insane thoughts. We will stop at two children, I will never do this again. I will totally get an epidural IF there’s really a baby #3. My friends kept saying that an all-natural birth is worth it but how the craze will this ever be worth it?
But it does disappear. It is worth it. And I don’t mind doing it again.
Most of all, I got my birth dreams: a smooth and easy labour of around five hours at 38 weeks 6 days. Xan is a better planner than me; she revised the proposed timing from 3:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., to 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., so that all the logistical details we have been worrying about would be well taken care of. How clever! And I was calm, the birth was gentle. Xan is safe and contented, and my tear is minimal with no stitching required.
The next day, we bought two slices of cake and sang the ‘Happy Birthday’ song to Xan.
Friday, 16 November 2012:
The day we took a leap of faith and conquered our fears;
The day my body did what it’s created to do;
The day I followed my instincts and gave my daughter and I a gentle birth.
No doubt the toughest work I’ve ever done in my life;
No doubt the most life-changing effort I’ve ever put in my life;
Yet worth every, every moment;
Which couldn’t have unraveled any more perfectly.
We had a beautiful birth.
I am healed.
There you have it, Xan. The day you were born.
~ Ends ~