Archive | October, 2014

Vaka’s birth – part two

Tags: , , , , ,

Vaka’s birth – part two

Posted on 17 October 2014 by hulda

Sorry for the long wait.

Baby on the way

Moving the boat to the pier

My father is running around to find some kind of heating solution.  My husband moves the boat closer to a pier closer to the hospital so that the drive to there will be easier.  Soon, all the people in the Yacht Club are aware that a baby is about to be born in the Icelandic boat.  Helpers almost looking through the windows – quite funny.  My father runs off to Sai Kung to buy a gas cooker so that we can heat up water, but the rest of us all are in the boat relaxed and calm really.  The electrics are not getting sorted but the pool is up and a little bit of hot water. It is lunchtime on the 18th of April.  I call a midwife who I know and she is willing to come and cancel all her plans and help out a little bit, although of course a homebirth is not an option.

Slowly the labour moves into a little more stronger gear and my father and mother and law continue to boil water and pour into the pool, that I now am using.  It is such a great feeling, I just cannot imagine doing any birth without water myself.  Every time, it has been amazing.

Baby is kicking plenty, midwife is checking the heartbeat and I check my own dilation.  All normal, no change.  Soon, my 2 year old insists on jumping into the pool and we do some gymnastics in there for a while.  Such great pain relief to have the joy of a toddler, that finds all of this quite amazing.
Every now and again I get out of the pool and my oldest girl is massaging my back and putting a hot pack on there during the 5 min. apart contractions.  It is really nice to have them there.  Fruits and tea and pool and lying on the floor and comfort, great music and time passes and I feel that the dilation is not at all getting any more, although contractions are stronger.  At 7 pm I am still 3 cm dilated with bulging membranes and I can feel that they just need to break and then the baby will be born quickly.


Leaning forward during contractions

Leaning forward during contractions

Back Camera

One more dip in the pool, breathing and Saga (my 2 year old) climbing on my back in the water, AC/DC and Leonard Cohen mix of music and finally we decide to go to hospital.

Just in time, says my husband who has finished fixing the electronics on the boat, the water is now running and everyone has had their dinner at the back.

We do receive lots of greetings and bright smiles at 10 30 pm when we walk on the pier and every time I have a contraction I must lay down on my side for a minute.  I am wearing my bikinis and a wrap, and the group consists of me, my husband, two children, father, father in law, mother in law and the midwife.

After around 15 minutes of slowly making it to the car (my father in law quite embarrassed as he finds me, very pregnant in a bathing suit amongst other people, lying on the side on the concrete, not appropriate) we leave Sai Kung and drive to Queen Mary Hospital.


Kids helping out with the contractions in QMH

Kids helping out with the contractions in QMH

Labour slows down, like usual when you go to the hospital but we make it in 30 minutes and check in.  Very warm greetings and nice staff allows my kids and husband to stay with me for a while while all is checked and I tell them that I really want to break my waters myself as I did not want to do this at home but I know the baby will be born soon if that happens.  Freyja, my daughter massages my back and Starri tells me funny stories.  Holding my hands across the bed was like an anchor to me that I really did not want to let go of.

Finally I am moved across the hall to the delivery ward and was again greeted with the most amazing team.  As soon as I come in, they dim the lights, put on the music from Titanic (I have to smile a little) and offer me a massage, which I accept.  They are very good but then try to get my husband to do it and I know he would be better doing plenty of other things, so they just continue.

After about an hour of slowly moving into more active labour, I ask them to break my waters and in comes a very unfriendly doctor who tells me she will do nothing to help me if I am going to lie down, stop eating and have IV drip.  A little discussion and we agree on breaking the waters.

Soon after that I feel the urge to push.  And what a good feeling.

I know my kids are waiting in the waiting room and really wish they could be there but me and my husband have a lovely quiet time and he is in control of the TENS machine every contraction.  Each time he misses it, I  jerk and remind him and it is quite a funny thing when he in return jumps up from his half-asleep condition and presses the button.

Finally, the urge is so strong that I can not resist it and lying on my side, feeling the head with my hands, she is very very slowly, born.  The two midwives hardly said a word and just sat there in the corner, completely respecting my birth wishes.
She is born around 1 am on the 19th of April, perfect and beautiful, although her face takes hours to become normal color (her head was born in 3 contractions, so she was all very purple), she is of course the most beautiful thing.  We lift her to my chest and she straight away breastfeeds.

Still in this quiet room and no lights, middle of night, we are given an hour or so, until we go to the postnatal ward, and then home in the morning.

Just born in QMH

I manage to SMS my friend who lives nearby to instruct for her famous brownies to be made, and she manages to make them and my sister brings food and when I made it home to the boat, everything was just perfect.  Like at my previous births, the sight of the other kids when they saw their little sister was absolutely amazing.


4 kg

Coming home to the boat, the family and the joy was also something I never forget.

This time will never come back but I remember it like it was yesterday.  And the days after, and the weeks after, in a haze, feeding, cuddling and smelling this absolutely tiny thing that I wanted never never to stop being small.   So I just kept her in my arms all the time although I soon had to go to work, I took her with me and atnight she slept between me and my husband.

2 days old

2 days old


Every now and again we look at each other and think, well, should we put her in her own bed.  And we even did it a few times.  After an hour or two, he always goes to fetch her.

I am a busy mum, I work full time and I travel and do sports.  I give my kids far less time than most mums.  I try to make it a nice time.  I also hold onto them as hard as I can when they are little and cherish the moments.  I am so grateful for that time, and all the moments I have with them.   Every now and again, I think of the births and I miss them.  It was hard, long and tiring, this birth.

But it was absolutely worth it and every time I think of it I smile.

I will never let you go

I will never let you go


So does my father in law, and the whole of Hebe Haven Yacht club, I think.

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

Comments Off

A good birth

Tags: , ,

A good birth

Posted on 15 October 2014 by Kristrun

Epidural during labour can give good pain relief but requires monitoring throughoutEver since I came to Hong Kong, now 14 years ago, I have been helping women to go through the journey of pregnancy and birth in such a way that they, their partner and their baby may have the potential of the best possible outcome, physically and emotionally.  What has become obvious to me is that somehow the whole birth event – when preparing – is often something that people look at in a black-and-white way, so when it comes to actually going through the process, most are surprised and are not well prepared at all.

So what is a good birth?
My opinion is that a good birth is a birth where you and your partner feel you have had your baby safely, where your wishes were treated genuinely well and you feel that you were supported to enjoy the experience in a respectful way.   This is usually achieved when you are in charge of your own birth i.e. allowed to do what you want while you go through labour, whilst professional staff also ensure that you and your baby are safe.  When I was at the very first birth in my midwifery training, my mentor at the time told me that my role in that room was to make sure that the woman and her baby were safe and they needed to be monitored and helped to continue to be so, but I was not allowed to order that woman to do anything.  If she wanted to crawl on the floor, sit in the corner, leave the room, take a bath etc., she was allowed all that, but I just had to chase her with my equipment, should I need to do any medical tests or checks on her.  I was not allowed to tell her to change whatever she was doing to make herself comfortable.

The reason for this is that when women go through labour, they gradually find ways to cope with it in a manageable way, as long as they are left to it and perhaps helped a little bit every now and again.  Similar to animals, if disturbed, they will often feel scared and anxious and lose the focus to cope and help themselves to have an easier birth.  Adrenaline takes over and the birth feels more painful and also is often described as “out of control” by the women.

Factors that may contribute to  making the birth easier for women are  things like:  moving about, eating and drinking, changing the environment in any way that feels best (lights, the setup of furniture is very important and you can learn more on Reclinercize about how to make it idea with cushions, birth balls etc), using toilet and shower, having the people around you that you want, having privacy (believe it or not but in many hospitals, staff just wander in and out of the labour room as they wish, without even knocking -  and often there is a half naked labouring woman in there).  Many women also complain that they are treated as if they are expected to just “do as they are told”  and “behave”  -  for example not to make any noise, or to lie down when it does not feel comfortable but the staff feels they should and so on, and this puts stress on them.

A good birth = natural birth?  
Perhaps, but it depends on how you define natural.  There is a common belief amongst women that a good birth is a natural birth only.  Anything not natural means that the birth has gone wrong.  Other women define a good birth as a pain-free one, and many define it as a birth where they feel in control.  I would say that if your expectations for a good birth are as rigid as this, it may be hard to meet them.

A birth where you are mostly in control is usually the birth that is remembered afterwards as a good one.  Control can mean so many different things,  but in labour if it means that at all times, explanations are given to you, you are supported to make decisions on your own, within safe limits, and regardless of the TIME the labour and birth takes and the INTENSITIY of the labour,  there is support available to you.  Much effort has been put into researching this and it is generally the view of labouring mothers that non-support in labour equals non-control AND a less positive birth experience. Similarly, good support through labour and birth, equals control and a good birth experience.  Take note that this is more or less regardless of pain, length of labour, or medical interventions.

Different types of labour
Many mothers are unaware of some factors in our modern world greatly affect the outcome of the birth.  In Hong Kong, one of the biggest factors is how labour starts.  A labour that starts at home, on its own, with contractions gradually building up, membranes intact and a normal, full length pregnancy and the woman can stay at home for most of her early labour, has a very good chance of a normal vaginal birth, with almost no medical intervention or unexpected surprises.  It is likely to be similar to most of the births that preparation books and classes have portrayed.  Where the onset of labour is more complicated, the rest of the labour is likely to be more complicated.  So you are to conclude that this will mean that you will not be able to have a good birth, you are in trouble!  Thinking out of the box is very necessary here and it is very important to focus on making the birth a good one – given the circumstances you are in.  So you have to ask yourself, what is REALLY important to you, apart from a healthy baby?

Birth is a journey that can be long, rough and totally different to what you expected it to be.  Still, it can be a very good one, as long as you have solutions and help available when you meet your challenges.  And fewer challenges do not always mean a better trip.

Given this, I would suggest, before the birth to ask yourself the following:

1.    What kind of birth do you want and WHY?
2.    What are the circumstances that have been proven to maximize the chances of that kind of a birth?
3.    What is your view of pregnancy and birth in general?
4.    Why did you pick your doctor/midwife/hospital?  Have they been supportive during the pregnancy?
5.    Have you realized the difference between the labouring stage and birthing stage?
6.    What about the subject of pain?   Should it be there or not?  How to avoid it?  What are your opinions based on?
7.    Control.  How would you define this?
8.    Your partner & support people.  Will they be supportive?  How do you know?  Have you discussed your ideas?
9.    If you want a totally natural, non-intervention birth, have you prepared this way? How?

Safety and Comfort
Birth is an event that happens very differently to different people.  If you are going to have a good one, it is important to remember that doctors and midwives care very much about safety.  If you have picked your doctor and hospital, trust that they will genuinely do the best for you in this regard.  You are the one to take care of your comfort – and to make the birth a good one.  This you do by self exploring, preparing realistically and looking at all the different options you have regarding the birth, not only before, but also during the labour.  This means that despite the length or strength of labour and the hard work, at all times you keep matters in your own hands, get help when needed and make sure that the team around you is one to be genuinely devoted to what you want.


(Slightly edited from first publication in the Parents Journal, Hong Kong)

Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

Comments Off