Monday, April 2, 2012

ABC Wednesday: L for Labor/labour

The fruit of my labour. Labor/Labour, not the labour about physical work, but Labour as in when you are giving birth or delivering a baby. Despite the pain, you forget and say all is worthwhile, and go on to have future pregnancies. In my case, 4 altogether.

As I am sitting at the computer, I half watching and half listening to the TV news. In Australia, The mother of a baby who died during an unassisted water birth said the newborn's umbilical cord was pulsing moments after she was delivered, a coronial inquest in Sydney has heard.

Roisin Fraser died during an unassisted "free birth" at the Sydney home of her parents, Janet Fraser and Trevor Stokes, in March 2009.

Following the labour, which took place in a purpose-built pool, the baby girl was red in the face, limp and unresponsive.

Ms Fraser had written and published articles in favour of free births since 2003 on a website called Joyous Birth.

She had given birth twice before, once via caesarean section and once by unassisted free birth.

Ms Rees said Ms Fraser found the experience of giving birth by caesarean section traumatic, describing it as "birth rape" on her website.


Out of my mum's 9 children, I was the first of four babies born in the hospital. I was born in Borneo. My mum was a great believer of hospital births. She said the doctors and nurses were experienced, and the hospital had facilities. Do you know how much work is involved in a home birth? Mum asked. Helen, the second baby of our set of twins would have died, if she wasn't born in the hospital without the quick thinking of the mid wife.

When it came to my turn to deliver my babies, I was in New Zealand. It was getting fashionable for natural childbirth in 1984. National Women's hospital modified a theatre to make it as much like home as possible. They called it The Pink Room. I wasn't offered this option, as it was my first birth, and I was 30, an old first birther. They played some music, and I don't think they had water births then.

After my first labour, I told my daughter, I wanted to kill her. Her 26 hours labouring almost killed me. Had I chosen to stay at home and have a free birth, both mother and baby would have died. I had a dry labour, my water broke a day early, and when she came, there was no water to provide the lubricant to help slide her out of me. Few hours prior to that, a nurse used a contraception to remove the water that remained, otherwise, according to her, labour won't begin and I risk infection. It was excruciating, and I can still feel the churning of the egg whisk inside me, and the sound cruck cruck. By the time, she was coming, I was too tired to push, she was too tired and looked like an old dry prune.

Of course, you all have read about Andrew's birth. If I had him at home, he would have died perhaps 1 hour after birth and not after 55 days. I had that 55 days to love and cherish him.

Last year, I met up with Andrew's peadrician, Dr Salim Aftimos. I asked him about the new system that midwives delivered babies. He said, if there was no complications, things would be fine. But who is to tell, many of the complications don't make a prior appointment. If it happens, it is too late. He has daughters, and he strongly advised them to go to the doctors.

I am an advocate of hospital births. I am a member of Sands. I meet with newly bereaved mothers.

Why these photos of the pink curtain? The pink room!!!! I teach ESOL at Mt Albert Baptist Church. The space I use is actually the Music room or Music storeroom. The pink drapes hide the paraphernalia of the musicians. When I am there, I think of the other Pink Room.



Ensurai said...

All of us relish Birth Stories (both happy and tragic)- after 9 months of carrying the babies mothers have to be prepared to look forward to a life long nurturing ..

Some mothers do better in bringup their kids some just can't ...life is full of challenges from day One!


Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my goodness, what an awful birthing story, I hope they do things differently now.

Jama said...

I was lucky to experience only about 4 hours of labour before giving birth at the hospital, for both sons. And all natural, no drugs!

Roger Owen Green said...

My wife and I had this birthing class, and though she was the oldest mom, she had the easiest delivery. Others had a much more difficult time, with C-sections after 24 hours, etc. They are all different, I'm convinced.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Lynn Wong: I had the same problem as you had for my first born and by the time Steph came my uterus was too tired to contract so I lost a lot of blood. I was lucky to be in the hospital and under a specialist and nurses care. I fainted once the baby came and was trembling terribly bad and the specialist said i've lost too much blood and needed a blood transfusion.

Ann Chin :so that trembling was due to loss of blood. I too had that. The Chinese said I caught the Confinement fever aka Feng. I still get it sometimes. I shiver so much. Now, even in summer, I have to sleep wearing thin long pants. The trembling is so terrible.

The word is spasm, this awful trembling is so bad that you can't even open your mouth to say to your husband, I am freezing.put more blankets on me, or hold me tight. I wonder if anyone gets it.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Megan Lee:
I had that when I lost the twins last year. Nobody understands. I still, even now, shiver so bad sometimes. I don't think it's something that is ever going to go away. I suffered massive bloodloss losing the twins, because the doctors didn't clear everything out, and left a large piece of blood clot there, holding everything open. I just bled and bled, and they kept telling me it was normal, but it wasn't. I could have died, and they would have said THAT was normal. :(

Ann Chin :Thanks Megan, you probably is right about it not going away. My 1st baby is 27. nI just make sure I keep warm when I go to bed. I remember that first time I had the shivers at National Women's that night. I told the young nurse the next day, nobody was alarmed.

Reader Wil said...

How terrible to lose a child!
Giving birth seems so natural. I never thought about it. My eldest child was born in a maternity clinic, the other two at home, which was a lot nicer for all of us. I had a midwife and a nurse for a week.It was a very nice time.

Hootin Anni said...

"birth rape"?!!! I'm not so sure. In my opinion, if a C section birth is needed to save both baby and mother, it is indeed a necessity. Sad that the child died in the interim of nature of a 'water birth'. And labor...in your terms, is nothing after it's all over...the child that is in your arms and grows with you to become an adult ----the labor is worth every ounce of pain, and work.

Your children are so, so beautiful Ann.

Kim, USA said...

This is the "thing" that I might not be able to experience. You are blessed to have four in your life. Nice post Ann.

Dhemz said...

wow! 4, you are very blessed!

thanks for dropping by!

EG CameraGirl said...

Very disturbing!

magiceye said...

interesting post...
i suppose it is always better to make use of technology when available...

The Poet said...

My mom had 10 children (2 stillborn). All of us were born at home except for the last one. Back in the day, my mom had local women to help her who also doubled as midwives. I am not a parent, but if I were, I would want to make the best choice for safe delivery not only of baby, but safety for my wife too. Nice photos & post too. Thanks for sharing & visiting. I have responded to the question you posed over at my blog.

Like A Lotus

Rune Eide said...

I totally agree - we have four too.

Chubskulit Rose said...

We almost lost our first born when her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and caused her to stop breathing, that's why I was ruched to a C-Section.

Littlest Petshop
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

Melbourne Australia Photos said...

Hi Ann. Giving birth must be one of the most traumatic but also one of the most uplifting and fulfilling experiences. Although modern medicine, obstetrics and midwifery have come a long way, there may be so many things that can go wrong in labour that it is a surprise that we don't hear of more tragic childbirth stories than we do.

PS: The white flowers you asked about in my blog are three-cornered wild leeks. All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers can be added to salads, and the bulbs can be substituted for garlic.

Martha said...

My husband would say, "Let's have this baby at home." And I would say, "No way!" Not only did I feel safer in the hospital, but I had people to take care of me. :)

We have seven children.

Jama said...

I'm not sure about the bum thingy for I never believe in them. I'm petite and have an easy delivery while friends with big bums do have difficult labour. It's not about the bum...kekekkeke

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your children are beautiful. When ours were born, I never even considered anything but the hospital..nobody did. Home births weren't even thought of except in reading about pioneer times. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have done anything different even if I'd known about options.

Jaime Clark said...

How adorable! You must be very proud.

Suzy said...

I am also an advocate of hospital births. My second baby (my son) was an emergency C section - he would have been strangled by the umbilical cord if I had not been in hospital.
My first labour (my daughter) was a piece of cake - and they say second labours are the easy ones. Not for me.
A very thought provoking post Ann and I'm very sorry for your loss.

MERYL JAFFE, PhD - parent, psychologist, teacher, author... said...

What a traumatic birthing...

I was lucky. My labors were relatively short (my first was 6 hours, the two others were 2 hours). My babies almost fell out. I wish every woman birthing like mine.

And yet I still am an advocate for hospital births, because you just never know and even given my relative ease (and I still mean relative), I would not do it any other way.