"I gave birth in the toilet!"

"I gave birth in the toilet!"

A mother of two delivered Baby no.3 unexpectedly at home. She shares the dramatic account with Adora Tan.

My husband had just stepped out of the house. I needed him to pick up his mum - quickly - so she could watch over our two children while we rushed to the hospital. Earlier, while reading bedtime stories to the kids, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. I ignored it and continued to tuck them in. After all, the intervals of the cramps weren't consistent, so I didn't think anything more of it.

I was into my 37th week of pregnancy - and, yes, Baby no. 3 was due anytime. But I'm an experienced mum, so I knew what labour pains were like.

I carried on with housework and even went on the computer. But the contractions got worse and more frequent, even after I rested in bed.

Then I felt a strong urge to pass motion. But when I sat on the toilet, I realised that something wasn't right. The continued urge to push despite the lack of results triggered warning bells.

I had two normal deliveries without epidural and could clearly remember the feeling of having to push a baby out. I suspected that it was going to happen soon, and that prompted me to squat to reach below. True enough, I felt something hairy and knew at once that it was the baby's head.

I screamed for my husband - but he had already left.

BABY'S OUT

The urge to push was already quite intense, and I instinctively got on all fours. It felt like only a few seconds had passed from the time I felt his head… and baby was out. In fact, he slipped out and landed on the floor. I didn't manage to catch him because things were developing so quickly.

Thankfully, he wasn't hurt, probably because the water bag was protecting him - it hurts when Baby landed.

There was blood all around the toilet but my attention was on the Baby. He looked purplish and lay on the cold floor quietly. I panicked. Why wasn't he crying? Then I realised the umbilical cord was coiled around his neck - twice - so I quickly untangled him. Right away, he wailed and became pinkish. I felt such a wave of calm and relief.

Holding him close, with the umbilical cord and placenta still on me, I hobbled over to the bedroom to call my husband. He was in shock.

Surprisingly, I remained composed throughout. I guess I had no time to panic because there was so much going on at once. I quickly grabbed a towel to swaddle my little one and kept him warm.

While waiting for my Hubby and the ambulance to arrive, I tried to breastfeed Baby. He suckled, although he didn't latch on well. All this time, the other two children were sound asleep in their room. It felt like there was just him and me. It was such a peaceful, surreal moment.

I didn't feel tired, maybe because the whole process was so short. Neither did I feel as much pain as in the previous two deliveries.

WE'RE ALL OKAY

The paramedics arrived in about 20 minutes after my husband called. They helped to deliver the placenta at home and cut the umbilical cord. They then put Baby and me on a stretcher and sent us to KK Women's hospital and Children's Hospital (KKH), where I was supposed to give birth.

When I arrived there, I was quickly sent to the delivery suite for check-ups. I was greeted by a whole team of nurses and a gynaecologist on duty.

The gynae told me there was a small tear on the vaginal area. I requested not to have it stitched, but he advised against it, so as to allow it to heal faster, the stitching was more painful than the birth itself.

Meanwhile, Baby was attended to by a paediatrician. He weighed 2.02kg and was 41cm tall. Because he has heart problems, which were detected during pregnancy routine check-up, he had to stay in the neo-natal intensive care unit for observation for more than two months before he was given the all-clear to go home.

Today, he's an easy-going and happy child. He loves to smile. His siblings dote on him and watch over him when I'm busy with housework.

The gynae couldn't pinpoint why Baby arrived so quickly but said my frequent walks during pregnancy - I had to take the kids to school and for their extra classes - could have contributed.

I never imagined I'd have a home birth. It was a scene straight out of a TV drama and nothing short of an amazing experience!

Luah Wan Yee, 37 a part-time accountant, is mum to Xin, six; Zhe, 4, and Kang, who is now 9 months old.

CAN'T GET TO THE HOSPITAL IN TIME?

Wan Yee's quick thinking and calm demeanour helped her deliver her baby safely. But what if you and your husband are put in that situation?

Dr Lim May Li, head and consultant, Peripartum Unit from the Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine at KKH, shares that deliveries that happen out of the hospital are very rare in Singapore. But here's what you can do in an emergency.

CALL FOR AN AMBULANCE...

...if you can feel Baby's head near the vagina.

Meanwhile, find a place to lie or sit, so that he doesn't slip out of your vagina and onto the floor. This helps prevent any traumatic injury. Try to hold off on pushing.

IF BABY IS OUT

Before paramedics arrive, dry him with a towel and wrap him in another clean one to keep warm. Don't attempt to pull or cut the umbilical cord. All this time, daddy can stay on the line with the ambulance personnel, who will guide him on what to do.

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