Tag Archive | "labour"

Birth – gratitude – love

Tags: ,

Birth – gratitude – love

Posted on 03 July 2015 by hulda

I will never let you go

I will never let you go

Today is the day, that 18 years ago, I gave birth to my first baby.

I remember every little detail of that day.

It was more important to me that any other day in my life, although others were to follow when my other little babies were born.

But it was such a special day -  filled with kindness, hardship, patience, pain, unpredictability, sunshine, music, pressure, excitement, anticipation, warmth, love and relief.

It was a long day that started two days earlier actually, by me being induced after being more than 2 weeks past the 40 weeks of pregnancy.  I had no real expectations and did not know that induction meant anything different than a normal start of labour.  Except for the lack of candlelight on the bathtub and an exciting 100km drive to the hospital.

But apart from that, I was not concerned – I was in a very nice hospital with very nice people around.  My family were coming and going while the induction was starting, I was walking around in the park outside the hospital, food and drinks were served and finally, waters broke and the real work started.

I never forget that feeling, the waters breaking.  A flood of warm liquid everywhere, over me, on the bed, floor, everywhere.  A slight feeling of, not shame, but some strange sensation that I was looking ridiculous to the people around me, the midwives.

But they seemed happy and things were progressing.

Stumbling to the toilet where I sat on a birth ball, vomited into the sink and someone had the shower-head with warm water on my back.

Mess, pain and desperation for an hour or so.

Does it really have to be this way?  Would a C-section not just be better?

A warm smile from the midwives.

Sun shining through the glass of the windows.  Enya singing.

Pethidine.  Calm, sleep, smiles.

Sit up on the bed, husband behind, pressure, hands on the baby’s head, enormous pressure, hair between my fingers, midwife sat on a stool on the floor as I was standing with my butt resting on the side of the bed. Finally head out – what a relief after two days of labour.

The music gently in the background, shoulders out and the most beautiful feeling in the whole world when the 4 kilo boy scrambled into my hands and onto my chest.

Smiles, kindness, relief and an enormous feeling of something I had never felt before.

Waking up the next day, remembering that something absolutely amazing, amazing, amazing had happened, but not sure what? Like the day after Christmas when you had your very favourite gift, except 100 times stronger.

Looking to the side and seeing the little bundle in the cradle next to me, remembering what it was that had happened.

Such love I never felt in my life before.

Since then, never wanting to let go of him.  Kept him in my arms, fed him, had him next to me in the bed for as long as I possibly could do.  And he was always happy.

Now, 18 years later, trying to let my baby fly on his own wings into this world, but the love is no less.

I remember every detail of that day.  The smell, the touches, the sounds, the feeling.  Still brings tears to my eyes.

Thank you everyone that made it that way.

Family, midwives, friends, and Starri, my baby, thank you all.


Comments Off

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

Medical Induction of labour

Tags: , , ,

Medical Induction of labour

Posted on 08 August 2014 by Kristrun

How is induction done?

Labour induction can be performed medically (artificially and drug induced) and non-medically. We will discuss how it can be performed medically first and try to set out some of the disadvantages and advantages of each method.

Prostaglandin gels or tablets

These are used more frequently when the cervix is not favorable, meaning that it is dilated less than 3 cm, hard, posterior, not effaced, or barely effaced, or any combination of the above. By using the Bishop’s score your midwife or obstetrician will decide if this is the best place to start. This can be used alone, or more frequently will be done 12 or more hours prior to the use of oxytocin. Frequently it will be given more than once over the course of an evening/night. A pessary or tampon like substance will be placed in or near your cervix during a vaginal examination.

Benefits: The more favorable your cervix, the less likely the induction is to “fail”. Sometimes this is all that is needed, other times oxytocin is also used. Can be done as an outpatient procedure.

Disadvantages: Takes longer to get into active labour, can be frustrating if your hospital policy is that you have to stay at the hospital during the waiting period. Sometimes the mother becomes nauseated or has headaches. This cannot be quite as controlled as oxytocin.

Breaking the bag of water (amniotic sac)

Using an instrument which looks rather like a crochet hook, your doctor or midwife will make a tiny tear in the bag of water. This will cause the water to begin leaking out. Since the bag does not have nerves, this should be no more painful than your average vaginal examination. The thought is that once the bag is ruptured, contractions will usually begin. In addition, the downward pressure of the presenting part e.g. the baby’s head, encourages the contractions to start.

Benefits: No drugs may be needed, you maintain more mobility than if you were required to have an intravenous drip or infusion.

Disadvantages: Contractions may not start, which means you may need other interventions such as the use of the hormone oxytocin (Syntocinon®). It may create an infection of the sac. The cushion for the baby is now removed. Rarely, but possibly, the prolapse of the cord (when the umbilical cord falls below the baby and is delivered before the baby, affecting blood supply to the baby), which means an immediate caesarean section is necessary.


This is an artificial version of the body’s hormone oxytocin. It is given by way of an IV infusion (via a drip or a pump) and is used to cause contractions. The amount of oxytocin used will depend on how your body accepts it. Generally, the amount is increased every 15-30 minutes until a good contraction pattern is achieved. Sometimes this is done in combination with breaking the water bag.

Benefits: A bit easier to control than say breaking the water, because the drug can be stopped by closing off the IV line. It can be turned off or stopped to allow you to rest or even go home.

Disadvantages: Can cause distress to the baby such as an increase or decrease in its heart rate. May not cause contractions. May cause too many contractions or contractions that last too long.

Where will I be induced?

It is usual for most medically assisted inductions to be performed in hospital. This allows both you and your baby to be easily monitored. Your midwife will need to monitor your baby’s heart constantly if you have an oxytocin (Syntocinon®) drip or infusion, or any prostaglandin drugs are given, but intermittent monitoring should be fine if your waters have broken. Stethoscopes buying guide is the thing you may need prior to the procedure.

Remember you don’t always have to be lying down to be monitored. Ask to be monitored while you are sitting in a chair, or even kneeling on the floor.

Will an induction be more painful than natural labour?

Not necessarily. It really depends more on your reasons for induction, the type of induction and whether or not your mobility is limited. Many women are able to be induced and still follow through with their plans for an unmedicated birth, though they can expect certain changes in their birth plans. If induction is suggested, gather facts and information, and ask questions. Why is it being suggested? How would it be attempted? What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if you do nothing?

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 (0)


Tags: , ,

Stand, sit or squat – Hulda talks about positions

Posted on 27 May 2014 by Kristrun

Common delivery scene: Woman, lying on her back, screaming, swearing and sweating profusely as she pushes her baby into the Untitledworld less common, but more pleasant scene: Woman, sitting up, silent, serene and sweating profusely as she breathes her baby into the world. Less pleasant than the second – the more common one, the one always pictured in movies and TV shows? After all, there is more than one way to give birth, ways that are far more comfortable and relaxing for mother and baby. Lying on your back in labour may seem like the most obvious position; however, taking this position can cause contractions to slow down and become more painful, and, as your body is working against gravity, to make your labour a lot longer than necessary. Assuming your personal choice
and circumstances allow for a natural you might consider.


Comments Off

Testimonial from Regina

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Testimonial from Regina

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Kristrun

I just wanted to let you know how supportive the staff at Annerley have been during my pregnancy & now in caring for my daughter. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was a bit daunting to be pregnant in a foreign country where I wasn’t familiar with the medical system and had limited social support. From the start, through Belly to Belly Workshops and antenatal classes, the staff at Annerley provided me with opportunities to learn about the maternity system in Hong Kong, gave me the tools hlep me to advocate for myself within the system, and provided me with all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In working with Sofie during Belly to Belly workshops, one to one meetings, and the positioning class, I had a very fast labor and was able to have the non medicalized, drug-free birth I wanted. Given my history as brain tumor survivor, it would have been easy for the highly medicalized physicians in Hong Kong to convince me that I needed a scheduled c-section. However, the staff at Annerley taught me what questions to ask the physicians, how to express my wishes, and how I would know if and when medical interventions would be necessary. It was very useful when Sofie taught me about the importance of posture during pregnancy to help with the baby’s position. I was thrilled with my labor and birth, being able to labor in the different positions Sofie taught and even deliver standing up.
The midwife visits after returning home from the hospital with my daughter helped my husband and me feel more comfortable caring for our daughter and more confident in our parenting. The night we arrived home, my daughter was having some difficulty eating and it was very comforting to know that Rowena would be visiting the next morning to help sort us out. During those early weeks, having Rowena and Conchita visit helped us get through difficult days and nights. Breastfeeding was difficult for me due to my medical history and without the support of Annerley and the visiting midwives, I would not have been able to breastfeed at all. With proper planning before my daughter’s birth and support afterwards, I was able to provide breast milk to my daughter for 10 weeks. While that might seem like a short time for many mothers, for me, it was a major accomplishment. During those 10 weeks, when things got difficult & I wasn’t sure I could continue, support from Conchita helped very much. Her family centered and strengths based approach helped me to think through what the goal was for me, my baby and my family and what was going to make for a happy mom and happy baby, without any pressure to continue breastfeeding. Since giving birth, I have come to clinic, had home visits, and one to one meetings with Conchita. I appreciate that I can ask any parenting, childcare or medical question, no matter how big or small. And unlike visits with pediatricians, Conchita focuses on our entire family’s wellness and happiness, not just our baby’s. It is very comforting to know that Conchita and the staff at Annerley are available through all the stages of my daughters development. I am looking forward to discussing the next milestone with Conchita, starting solids. Conchita has been able to provide the medical support and emotional support that all new parents need.
My helper took Conchita’s course, “Caring for 0-12 month old babies” in the spring. My helper has over 20 years raising Western children but my husband and I felt strongly that she take a course from the same professionals who were teaching our antenatal and childcare classes. When my helper came home from the course each day, she was energized and shared with me the different things that she learned. It was fantastic that Conchita taught her new things and sent her home with “homework assignments”. It encouraged her to have conversations with me about what she was learning. Some of the highlights for both of us included baby proofing the house, how to encourage language development, and starting solids. It was wonderful that Conchita could make this information exciting to such a seasoned child care provider. Additionally, Conchita stressed to helpers in the class the importance of communication with employers. This ended up being a helpful reinforcement for both my helper and myself when after the baby arrived we realized we needed to communicate differently than we had before. I would highly recommend the course to all helpers who will be working with infants regardless of how much experience they have.
The services at Annerley fill the gap many of us feel without local family and give new parents the opportunity to get support on childcare and parenting, which is something the medical system does not routinely provide.
Thank you for all that you do,

Regina Karchner September 2013

Comments Off

The marathon of birth – and other marathons

Tags: , , , , , ,

The marathon of birth – and other marathons

Posted on 25 August 2013 by hulda

Many say that birth has nothing in common with a marathon.  While I appreciate that births are a very different experience from one person to the next, I feel that there are many things that marathons and births do have in common.  Without debating this – as I can actually go and dig into the research and find lots and lots to support my thoughts, but I will not – I am just going to share a few of my recent marathon feelings.

I prepared for Racing the Planet 250 km walk/run in Iceland in Hong Kong for 4–5 months before the race.  I was not in the best physical condition to take on such a race and had never run/walked anything beyond 25 km in my life. Most people around me were not convinced that this was a good idea, and few had done anything like it.  Those that had, however, found it not all that difficult and somehow seemed to be moving onto their next projects easily – usually an even longer run.  Some found it absolutely amazing and following these people was the thing that inspired me. Plus, I was curious to know whether I actually could do it?  Why not?  And then when supported and encouraged by two amazing ladies who also were inspired to do it, I had no more reasons to say no.  It was a fantastic way to “find inner strength” (is this not what we all try at some point), get fit and have lots of fun, plus do something new and hopefully inspire others in the way that others had done for me.

I knew it would be very stupid to do this without preparation — both physical and emotional.  I also knew, according to experts, that I was on the borderline of meeting the criteria. I was overweight, very busy, had one knee that was really in bad condition after four surgeries, although strong I was not generally fit, had little endurance and had never ran fast nor far.  And it was expensive as hell!

How was I to fit this into a schedule where four children (I admit that helpers run my home way more than I do, and husband is very patient and often works from home, so with help, yes),  very busy with work — busier than usual as we had a sudden decrease in our employees due to retirements etc. — and just generally trying to stay afloat in a life where there was already plenty to do in.  And why?  I did not have to do it after all.  Most people just run normal trail runs here in Hong Kong, or do a short version of the Hong Kong Marathon.

In any case, I signed up.

So many doubts go through your head when you are training and when it does not go well, you have to stay focused, or do as I did and NIKE says we all should, “just do it”.  Don’t think too much, just go ahead, one step at a time, and remind yourself that the easy way is to quit and in fact, you have that option. But you can also have a drink of water and an energy bar, and remind yourself to enjoy the view and the company.

When the time finally comes, you are sure that you have not trained enough. No matter how much fun and enthusiasm, pure joy over this newfound health and happiness is all around you, all of a sudden, you realize that this actually WILL HAPPEN.  Like — possibly — tomorrow!

You buy all the best gadgets, employ the best experts for information, training and gear, speak to all your friends who have done something similar, and you over-educate yourself on blogs and books regarding nutrition, training, philosophies, best strategies for each section, what to do if…

And many, many people come to you and tell you horror stories of their or their friends’ experiences.

Some tell you success stories, because this is how they are — either SUCCESS or NOT  (finish or not).  They don´t all realize that success is not only there when you cross the finish line in a race;  there are many other ways to enjoy success and in any case, this is a very wrong word to use.

Finally, you wake up on the day.  You do all the right things that you remember, but realize that you have also forgotten a lot of the advice you were given and you learned in the books. And there is no time to pull your notes and books out again,  or call your friends. It is the middle of the night anyway.   Your very own worry all along was right to be there. After all your planning, you realize that you have woken up after only four hours of sleep, you feel tired and half nauseous, you’re not really in the mood to eat, you remember that you were washing the trousers that you are going to wear and they are still wet, your other half is absolutely NOT in the mood to cheer you on at 5am, and you start to worry about all the things that will happen next.

But, you go ahead, drive to the start line, look around and realize that it is actually a beautiful day. Although all the other runners seem fitter and better equipped than you, you realize that you have prepared well in many ways, at least you are color coordinated (which was the case in my preparation, the team I was in made all the effort to keep a happy spirit and full color coordination and war paint!).

And you choose to go ahead.  Why not try?  Happy faces all around and anticipation is there, the drugs ha552967_10150814581217743_1193151073_nve not yet been pulled out and everyone is ready. You start to feel a little happy too. Your team partners, that you so very carefully selected, knowing their reputation for keeping up a good mood, for endurance, support, knowledge, experience…. are joining you in happiness.

If you are pregnant and about to give birth, please read the above and apply it to yourself.  Or if you have already had a baby, I am sure you understand.

More to come.

Comments Off

Government maternity wards and positions during labour

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Government maternity wards and positions during labour

Posted on 19 February 2012 by hulda

Hello all, thanks again for reading.  Exciting things happening and I wanted to share them.  Some of you may be aware of the fact that Franklen and Miranda shared their homebirth story in the Ming Pao newspaper earlier this week and it has raised endless response.  Poor Franklen has had little time to anything else but to keep the home running and take phone calls/emails, and the response is not all good!   Of course, such a controversial topic as a homebirth will always raise more questions and people have strong feelings about this.  To me, this is simply an option in addition to many other good options that Hong Kong has to offer, – it is not a statement to say that other services are not good.

Franklen´s blog: http://continuum-fathering.blogspot.com/

In any case, as a result of demand for more birthing options,  our Annerley Birth Centre will hopefully open not too long from now. Preparations are in full swing and we have felt so much support, thank you all very much.  Any comments, suggestions and birth stories are very helpful to us as we use these to help us make sure the birthing options in the centre will include pretty much EVERYTHING that a woman and family can ask for.  So keep your comments coming, we are listening.

birth options in Hong KongAnother really great thing that I wanted to share with you is that this week I am conducting a midwive’s workshop at the Queen Elisabeth Hospital, where around 30 midwives from the government hospital wards will come and learn how to assist women in giving birth in various different positions, other than semi-upright.  We will cover the squatting position, standing, kneeling, lying on your side, and on all fours.

They are all very excited and I am too. I truly hope that this will help the midwives to continue the great work that they have already started, i.e. to offer more options within the maternity wards.  For women to be able to give birth in a position that they choose is an absolute right in my mind, so if we can equip the midwives to feel comfortable in assisting, then there is nothing holding us back any more!

So this Thursday, the workshop will be on and hopefully all of you going to QMH, POW, QEH, PMH, PYH, KWH, TMH will have access to midwives in the future who will happily assist you in whatever position you would like.

Additionally, together with Katrin — the Icelandic doctor who has been with me for the last 3 weeks in her internship here in Hong Kong — we did a workshop at the Prince of Wales last week for all the midwifery students that are graduating this spring, covering the same topic – positions during labour.  They were very inspired and the class this year was big, 43 students, so this means that the wards will now be filled with students and new midwives that are eager to promote these new positions.

So that this development will continue, it is however, of uttermost importance that all of you, dear pregnant mums, further express your needs during labour, rather than relying on the options that are offered to you.  You must initiate what you are after, and be confident in trying various things.  Then this will inspire the midwives, who will work with you at an advanced level.

So to conclude, more and more birthing options in Hong Kong, positive developments and many great things happening in hospitals and in the community.

I welcome any discussion, please join in!

Comments (1)