Updated: Aug 5
I admire VBAC mums especially in Singapore. In this highly medicalised society, they are determined to get the birth they want, never to repeat any mistakes and they do not leave any stone unturned. In the case of Shikin, she really turned over every single stone to have a scrutiny. Every first time mum would benefit from a chat with a VBAC mum to save themselves the hassle of all the research. VBAC mums are wise and rise from the ashes of their usually traumatic first birth, blossoming into an empowered, loving and instinctive mother.
Not only that, Shikin is now an advocate for empowered births because she does not want any more mums to have traumatic births or post partum depression. Her story is so amazing, She has even been asked to share on podcasts. A true Social Crusader who want the best for all the moms around her. An angel. Sending you my love.
Read on for her story AND tips.
I had an induction at 40 weeks that lead me to a cesarean birth. My son was healthy and strong with no complications, born weighing at 3.47kg. I dived into being a mother, being grateful for my healthy baby and being thankful for my birth. Little did I know, with the birth of my son, it was a birth of a whole new me.
A me that didn’t understand why I was feeling incomplete and felt insufficient. My caesarean, which I didn’t understand much then, was what caused me so much unhappiness.
An unhappiness that took months to overcome and one I was determined to avoid when I was pregnant again.
After interviewing 11 doulas, Doula Lorraine was more than just having all of the requirements I needed but she had the warmth and comfort in her voice and wore her birth knowledge with confidence like no other. I knew immediately, I wanted her in my birth space.
In her classes, I finally understood why I had the cesarean and with the knowledge she shared and guidance she gave me & my husband, it’s something I will forever be grateful for.
7 July 2022, 41+1 weeks, I submitted my birth completely to my body.
I was having strong surges lasting for about 65 seconds with intervals of about 3 minutes apart from 4am and left for the hospital only at 7am. I was truly in labour. The hospital was full and so I went to the observation ward for an examination. I was checked at 830am (1cm dilated, -2 station, high & hard cervix). I knew this was established labour though.
I soldiered on with the surges and waves till my next check at 1030am. Yet I was still1cm dilated, -2 station, soft cervix).
I felt so defeated and I felt like I was going to be there forever. I begged, cried, pleaded for an epidural but my doula and my husband kept me on path with Hypnobirthing methods and keeping me comfortable. Essential oils, warm shower, resting on fours with my yoga ball, lying on my side, letting me scold the nurses for being too loud and excited etc. My space was protected and I allowed myself to be.
I did ask for gas by then and even though I felt every surge, I could rest easier between them.
At 1230pm, my doula checked between my legs and she saw hair. She ran out of the room and called the nurse. However no rush happened because it was only an hour ago that I was checked and still 1cm dilated and baby was still 'very high'.
My doula came back in and soon saw an emergence of my baby's head. She ran out again to grab a nurse and it was barely minutes that the chaos started. A nurse hurriedly placed a few pieces of goss on my perineal and I was told not to push. I didn’t know how to push when I was only breathing. The next thing I knew, my baby slid out. I had breathed out my baby.
My doula shouted to my husband, “Take your baby. Take her!”. My husband took the biggest gift by welcoming our daughter into his arms and straight onto my chest. He was the first to hold her.
I welcomed my VBAC baby without any epidural, without being induced, unassisted (no episiotomy, no vacuum, no forceps), no purple pushing birth of both my daughter.
Did the gas work then? It turned out it was not attached properly and no gas entered the mask. haha. How did I find so much relief from deep breathing?
We had delayed cord clamping and we got close to 2 hours of uninterrupted skin to skin.
The doctor came in and left me to wait for the birth of my placenta.
I was pressured by the nurses to have an oxytocin jab however I stood firm asking for more time. They are worried about me bleeding too much. When I finally relented after 30 minutes, the placenta was at 'the door' already detached and healthy. The doctor came in and found I was healthy with no excess bleeding. He stitched me up...It was barely a second degree tear with only 5 stitches.
My voice which was taken away, I took it back.
I took back my power. I had the birth I wanted and needed. And this time, I rebirth in to a stronger person. A person who isn’t afraid to advocate for myself and her offspring. I learned to let go of things that I had no control over but at the same time take control for things I have the right to.
Coming to a year after my Vbac, I am not the person I was before it. My birth opened a whole new me, which I didn’t know existed, and embarking onto a new healing journey for me.
This has been, by far, the hardest thing I have done in my entire life. With the unwavering support of my husband, incredible guidance from my doula who helped me every step of the way with hypnobirthing and remarkable mommy support from all my momma friends (you know who you are), I am insanely grateful for the endless encouragement throughout my pregnancy journey.
I would never trade for anything in this world for this experience. I hold this birth dearly to my heart
Doula : Lorraine Jay Sanghani Doctor : Dr Paul Tseng (was on leave during the birth of my baby, Dr TC Chang was the attending) Birthing method : Hypnobirthing
My advice to all mommas trying for VBAC :
1) Work hard as much as you are fighting hard to have your VBAC.
2) Do the research and make well informed decisions (this helped me when I was begging for epidural and my brain went with gas knowing it is not invasive nor harmful to me or my baby)
3) Talk to as many doulas (they know so much, and they will offer you sound advice and real facts)
I spoke to 11 other doulas before making my final decision on my birthing team.
4) Talk to as many mommas and hear their birth stories and make as many expecting momma friends. No one can quite understand your struggles like another momma who might be going through the same thing as you.
5) Get the right doctor & hospital that will truly respect your birth plan.
I met with 2 other doctors before making my final decision. Also, not one single nurse offered me epidural or spoke about it. It was clearly stated in my birth plan. they actually do read the the plan and try their very best to follow it.
Most important of all.
I entered this journey towards my VBAC not to prove to anyone what my body is capable of. I choose this because I needed this to be my birth that’s paved by my own decisions without anyone conditioning or convincing me to make decisions that’s convenient to them.
I had really bad post partum depression with my first birth due to the caesarean and accepting my first birth was difficult and I didn’t want that for my second.
I hope to all mommas here that you get the birth you want!