From carrying us in their bellies for nine months to raising us, our mums have sacrificed a huge chunk of their lives just for our sake.
Whether you choose caesarean or natural birth, there’s no denying that one of the most physically taxing parts of being a mother is giving birth.
To celebrate the miracle of childbirth this Mother’s Day, we got four mums to recall their labour experience and they certainly spared no detail. Read on for their birth stories — the good, the bad and the ugly.
‘I had to clear my bowels on the bed itself’: Kar Peng, 44
Kar Peng and her family celebrate their son’s birthday across four days as he was a late baby. | Image source: Kwok Kar Peng
Every year, I celebrate my son’s birthday over four days (May 14 to 17) because my due date was on May 14 but he was late and the doctor scheduled me to go to the hospital for induced labour on May 16 instead. However, I was in the hospital — mostly bedridden — for around 36 hours, 16 of which was spent in different stages of labour pain, so he was born on May 17.
They induced me for labour around three times and while I was in bed, I didn’t have any food and water for practically the entire 36 hours.
I was advised not to leave the bed and at some point — I think close to delivery — I had to clear my bowels on the bed itself. Apparently, it’s necessary prior to birth.
The nurse inserted something into the anus and immediately, I felt the urge to poop. But I had to hold it in for 20 minutes to properly clear the bowels — imagine having extreme diarrhoea and being forced to hold it in.
Finally, the nurse placed a bedpan under my a** and I let it all go in bed. The nurse then cleaned me up. I, of course, apologised to her for the s****y job but she was so very gracious and even smiled about it. That’s why I love KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
I had told the husband to leave the delivery room during this period and when he came back, he asked, “Why so smelly?” I believe I cussed at him.
Kar Peng with her newborn son. | Image source: Kwok Kar Peng
Additionally, as my son was in the birth canal for so long and because babies’ heads are very soft, he came out with an elongated head, which remained like this for one to two days.
It was a very weird experience but the lesson learnt is that if you can poop in front of a stranger and have her wipe your a**, you grow a thicker hide.
‘I now tell people that giving birth is easy’: Angel, 44
I had wanted to go for a natural birth because my friend who is a naturopathy doctor told me that the body recovers much faster with natural birth.
Also, I was giving birth at Gleneagles Hospital because it was part of my prize as the winner of the Most Beautiful Mum-To-Be contest that year, and my prize only covered natural birth.
However, my water bag burst in the middle of the night when I had just returned home from a late-night supper with my friends. We quickly drove to the hospital and thus began our long wait to meet our baby.
I ended up in labour for 12 hours and dilating only 3cm and so my gynaecologist suggested that I do an emergency caesarean. And because we were told there was not much oxygen left for the baby, we decided to go ahead with the suggestion.
Prior to giving birth, I always walked away if someone tried to tell me about their horrendous birth experience and only stayed around people who always told me, “Giving birth is as easy as ABC.” I believe that one’s beliefs and mindset can really affect one’s experience.
True enough, my efforts paid off. I now tell people that giving birth is easy.
I remember being wheeled into the operating theatre and people poking me with needles. When I regained consciousness, viola! The baby was already out!
As I was pushed out of the operating theatre and the lights overhead flashed past me, I thought to myself: “Wow, this really looks and feels exactly like what I saw on TV.”
Then, I heard a familiar voice — the excited daddy shouting, “Our baby has double eyelids! Our baby has double eyelids!” I remember wondering why in the world that was important to him.
It was a huge relief and huge joy to finally meet baby Ace. As I looked at him, I couldn’t help but tell my sister, “Am I biased or what? I think my son is so handsome! I can’t believe I gave birth to someone so good looking!”
The only downside was that from this process, I discovered that I am actually allergic to Voltaren — a drug used to treat pain and inflammation — so my face was swollen like a pig’s head for the next two days.
‘Christmas will never be the same again’: Priscillia, 29
This story is about my second labour which is absolutely different from my first birth. The first birth was induced and I had to get an epidural as the pain came too quickly and intensely without any breaks in between.
Priscillia and her husband with their Christmas baby. | Image source: Priscillia Wu
My second baby was born on Christmas Day 2020. On Christmas Eve at around 11pm, my water bag leaked. The contractions were mild and I spent the night cooking and eating to prepare for labour as I couldn’t fall asleep. My body also started to have more frequent bowel movements to get ready for the baby’s arrival.
The doula came over to my house at 12pm on Christmas Day to ease the pain and encourage my husband and me. She told me that the human body is able to handle this and also said that every contraction is the baby making his way down, so I pressed on.
I was made to stand up with each contraction to let gravity help the baby move down. The pain started to get intense at 2pm on Christmas Day and eventually, we went to the hospital.
The unbearable pain started at 3.30pm and all I could think was: “Get me out of this pain”. Eventually, I felt a strong pooping sensation and before I knew it, the nurses had begun to prepare me to give birth.
My legs were lifted up sideways and interestingly, my body naturally had the urge to push. The baby was out after a few pushes! Baby Luke arrived at 4.39pm on Christmas.
Indeed, Christmas will never be the same again. I’m glad I had a chance to experience how our body is able to naturally wait for the baby to be ready.
‘I was deliriously high on laughing gas’: Teresa, 33
When I had my first child, the plan was to manage my pain using laughing gas and only request for an epidural if it becomes intolerable. I requested an epidural in the end.
As the anaesthesiologist only arrived two hours after I requested an epidural, I enjoyed the effects of the laughing gas for two hours and I was deliriously high on it. In total, the process took 10 hours.
I gave birth again recently and this time around, I requested an epidural much earlier.
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Lead image source from Kwok Kar Peng and Priscillia Wu.
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