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Well first let me give some background information. Iím an American living in China with my husband who is from Nigeria. We are English teachers here in a province called Shandong. We live in a small city near some very famous mountains in China. We have a one and a half year old son who was born by emergency c-section in the States. We were going to have him at a birth center but had to transfer quickly to a hospital because of a prolapsed cord.
So now I found out I was pregnant again, here in China. My first plan was to go to Beijing like most foreigners and use a Chinese hospital for foreigners there, but the hospital I planned on using was not a good option for me. They wanted me to come every two weeks for an appointment and considered me a high risk pregnancy. I live 8 hours from Beijing and work full-time so that was not something I could do. I then thought about using one of the international hospitals there but the price range was way out of our budget. So we finally settled on using a local Chinese hospital here in the city where I live. When we asked questions they told us everything we wanted to hear. For example, that my husband could be in the delivery room with me, which is usually never allowed here in China. And that they would allow me to do a vbac, which also is not common here in China. Iíd have a private room and all the likes. So we settled. I soon found out they were not honest with me. Right before us in Chinese they were saying that they would do a c-section and my husband couldnít be there. They wouldnít take a chance on a vbac. I thought they were saying this but I didnít believe it, till I brought a Chinese friend who interpreted clearly what they were saying. As far as they knew we didnít know any Chinese. To be honest we only know very little Chinese but I could tell from the bits and pieces of Chinese that I know what they were discussing.
So once it was near my birth they went ahead and told me that they couldnít allow me to do a vbac. They said Iíd need an operation and they couldnít allow my husband to be there with me. I was 38 weeks by that time. My husband and I prayed and decided to do an unassisted natural birth at home then go to the hospital as soon as the baby was born and say ďwups, she came so fast.Ē It was just God that led us to do this. During this time, I found some natural childbirth sites and forums and also some unassisted childbirth forums. Our internet here in China went down for a while because of the Taiwan Earthquake and the only sites I could get were the sites on unassisted childbirth, all the other foreign sites wouldnít come. Isnít that interesting? So I read a lot and was encouraged a lot through other woman on the unassisted childbirth forum and the birth stories I read.
The day I went into labor:
It was Tuesday Feb 6 and my due date was Feb 1st. I woke up in the morning with very bad Diarrhea from something I ate the night before. I had been having false labors for the past 3 weeks, where contractions would start and go for a couple hours then stop and not come back. So when I felt contractions every so often, I considered it was just another false call or that it was part of the Diarrhea cramps. I noticed they were coming about every 15 minutes. I had also known that the baby was posterior position. I had been praying she would turn but as far as I knew she hadnít turned yet. Iíd also been getting on all fours and sleeping on my left side and the likes, but nothing had worked. So through out Tuesday I had contractions every 15 minutes. In the night they became a little stronger. I couldnít sleep so I got up to walk through some of the contractions but I clearly heard the Lordís voice speak to my heart. He told me to lie down and get rest because I would need it for the next day. I could sense His presence with me in a sweet way. It was special but I donít know how to explain what I felt.
The next morning I hadnít really slept, just rested because I couldnít sleep through the contractions. I got up and told my husband Iíd had contractions all night and thought this might be the real thing. He had a friend who was supposed to come over so I told him to call and cancel the appointment. I didnít want anyone there but us. We were on our semester holiday so neither of us were working at the time. All morning and afternoon the contractions continued to come every 15 minutes. I emailed my mother in the States and let her know what was happening. I also got on some pregnancy and birth forums and started reading unassisted birth stories. I continued to stay in a prayerful mood through out the day and just prayed.
About 4 pm the contractions got stronger and a little more painful. They were coming about every 10 minutes. I put on praise and worship music and began to dance and sing. Soon my husband and one year old son joined me. It was so much fun. We got lost in worship for a couple hours. The worship was so sweet. A peaceful and loving presence filled the room and we knew the Lord was telling us He was there and everything would be ok. I didnít feel like wearing clothes so I didnít. We just danced and worshiped and had a good time. About 33336:30pm a bloody glob fell from me onto the floor. Yuk! That was my mucus plug. We cleaned it up and continued to dance. Contractions were now coming every 5 minutes. About 6:45 my water broke. It was just a little water, not a whole lot like with my son. I kept thinking more water would come but only a little more water came. We continued to dance and worship after cleaning up the water then around 7:30pm contractions got intense and very painful. They were about every 3 to 4 minutes. I felt like pushing with them. In fact, I tried not to push but it was impossible. My husband continued to pray while my son ran about the house laughing and playing and from time to time, bending beside his Mommy. As the contractions got more intense I got on my knees and leaned over the sofa with each contraction. I had to cry out during some of the intense contractions which made my son a little nervous. Heíd come and rub my back with his Daddy. Surprisingly, it was not back labor which is common with posterior babies, but it was butt labor. Man, my butt was killing me with each contraction.
My husband continued to pray and began to read some Scriptures to me during the contractions. We kept the praise and worship music playing and from time to time in between contractions I would dance and worship or pray. During contractions I would either stand or get on my knees and lean over the couch and push. I found it extremely painful to sit or lie down during contractions. I had to stand or kneel in an upright position. Sometimes Iíd stand and bend over something and push with the contractions.
That day I had eaten oatmeal for breakfast and a cheese sandwich for lunch at about 11:30am, but that was it. By 10:00pm I was getting exhausted and discouraged. It didnít feel like the baby was moving and I didnít know how much more I could take. I was sweating, even though I was wearing nothing. I decided to get in a hot shower. The contractions would last about 40-50 seconds but were extremely painful. I thought they should be lasting one to two minutes, but were glad they werenít. I took a hot shower and contemplated transferring to the hospital even if it meant getting another c-section, but then I remembered that most birth stories said that just when you feel like you canít take any more is usually when the baby is just about to come. My husband encouraged me with prayer and scripture. Warrior my son, fell asleep about this time.
When I came out the bathroom, I started to dance and sway my hips thinking that if the baby is stuck this might help get her past my pelvis bones or wherever she was. Also as we danced and praised the Lord, I felt peace and strength come. It seemed this worked. The next contraction I dropped into a squat automatically and my husband grabbed me under my arms and supported my weight. I felt her move down a lot, and then I felt the burning sensation as her head was coming. I think it was her head. We never saw exactly how she came out. I remember feeling it and oh how it scared me. It didnít feel like a head. It felt like my fingers went into something. The doctor who came to help us after the birth said it was probably her nose. Looking at her and hearing me describe the birth; he felt she came out face first. So anyway, when I felt her head or whatever coming, I got on my hands and knees and asked my husband to look but she went back in. He didnít see anything. I got up again and did a supported squat with the next contractions and felt the burning sensation again like her head was coming. I did short pushes as the burning sensation increased, pushing her little by little. Then I did one huge push that I couldnít control and out she flew onto the blanket we had underneath me; her whole body. I said, ďWhat was that!Ē My husband said, ďSheís out and on the floor.Ē Quickly, I sat down and lifter her. She was so slimy and slippery. I was afraid Iíd drop her. I put her over my knees and she sneezed and cried right away, then we laid her on my stomach and waited for the placenta to come.
Once I delivered the placenta, my husband put it in a bowl and we let the baby nurse from me. I was totally exhausted and could barely walk so my husband fixed up the bed and helped me get to the bed. At that point my husband boiled scissors and string in water and cut the cord. I didnít want to go to the hospital though my husband strongly advised me that we should go that night. I persuaded him to wait till morning. However, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. So I gave the baby to my husband and tried to go to the bathroom. After going to the bathroom, I fainted on my way back to the room. The next thing I remember was my husband standing over me with the baby calling my name. At that time we both decided it was best to get to a hospital right away. I called the American Doctor who lived right next door to us. Heís an American that use to be a doctor in America, but now teaches English and medical English here at the university. He came over immediately, in less than two minutes. When he examined the situation, he said I didnít faint from blood loss; there wasnít too much blood loss. He delivered over 300 babies in the States. He said I probably fainted from dehydration and lack of food.
The after birth story (My trip to the hospital)
We called a doctor at the hospital that speaks a little English and told her we needed an Ambulance right away. The American Doctor checked me and the baby and the placenta while we waited for the Ambulance. The Ambulance people came but, we and the American doctor couldnít speak Chinese and they didnít know any English so they didnít quite understand what had happened. I was still laying on the floor where I had fainted because every time I tried to get up I felt very dizzy. They took me downstairs (We live on the third floor in an apartment building) and put me in the Ambulance but didnít know that my husband, the baby whoíd just been born, the American Doctor and my son were all supposed to come with me. Off they went with me in the Ambulance with out my husband, the baby, my son or the American Doctor. The American doctor helped them take me out to the Ambulance and went back to get my son, my husband and the baby and while they were preparing to come, the Ambulance had already left with me in it.
When we got to the hospital they started asking me for money in Chinese. Here, they donít do anything till you pay first. Well, I didnít even have on my shoes or anything. My husband had quickly dressed me before the ambulance people came so I just had on a shirt and jeans. I didnít bring my cell phone cause I thought my husband was coming with me. And they couldnít understand a word I was saying. Finally they rolled me upstairs to a room with a desk in it and left me there. A doctor came in and took my blood pressure, then left me on the stretcher for a long time. After about 20 minutes and no one around and having no idea where I was, I thought about getting up and walking out and taking a taxi back home, but physically I felt dizzy and didnít think I could make it on my own. I thought Iíd be there all night like that.
Finally a doctor and nurse came in and in Chinese were asking me what was wrong. I kept saying in English ďI just had a baby!Ē They couldnít understand me, so we repeated that a couple times then they left to look for someone who knew a little English. Finally they returned with a man. ďHe asked me what was wrong in English. I told him I just had a baby. He asked me whereís the baby and I said with my husband, but he didnít understand the word husband. I tried to act it out but it was no use. Finally he said is the baby dead or alive. I told him, ďalive, of course, Alive and healthy.Ē Then he asked again, where is the baby. I uselessly tried to explain he was with my husband and they were on their way to the hospital but he didnít know English well enough to fully understand what I was saying.
Meanwhile, my husband, son, daughter whoíd just been born and the American doctor were all trying to find a way to the hospital since the Ambulance had left them behind. They searched for a Taxi and couldnít find one cause by then it was almost 2am. They decided to walk to the hospital since it was only 10 minutes from the house. That was crazy. Baby just born, wrapped in a towel, still sticky and with blood on her, being carried to the hospital in Febuary weather, cold and winter about 2 hours after sheís born. My husband, the Doctor, our one year old son Warrior and The baby all walked to the hospital at almost 2am. Well, the kids being carried, of course. What a crazy thing. They get to the hospital and canít find me. They went to the emergency room and the people there didnít know where they had taken me. They found the English speaking Chinese doctor who had called the Ambulance for me and she was looking all over for me and couldnít find me. She started calling every department in the hospital and finally located the place where they had taken me. She yelled at the people in that department for them to bring me down to her. And so finally they brought me down to the labor and delivery department where I saw my husband, son and the American Doctor. So of course, I was like whereís the baby, ready to have a fit. ďThe doctors are checking her,Ē my husband said and the nurse quickly took me to her when she saw the look on my face. They knew momma wanted that baby close to her. So from then on they kept the baby within my seeing distance while they checked her. Everything was good. They took me to a hospital room with about four other Chinese women in it all waiting to have c-sections. They told me they were sorry but they didnít have any private rooms. All eyes were on us because we were foreigners. And people kept coming and staring at me and the baby. They would just stand there over us and stare. It was likeÖ really annoying after a while.
My husband left about 4am to find someone to look after our son. The American Doctor stayed with me and boy was I glad. He knew the English and Chinese med. names for most things and shots and medications so he was able to explain everything they wanted to do to me or give me. He was an advocate for me too. If I said, ďNo,Ē to something for me or the baby, Heíd make sure they didnít give it. They did give me pitocin to help control the bleeding and a few shots, I forget what they were and an IV but that was it. The IV was because I was majorly dehydrated and thatís why I felt so dizzy.
My husband came back about 8am and had cooked me a nice breakfast. No offense but I was use to my American style breakfast, not the Chinese style breakfast the hospital offered. So I was so glad to see my husband with that wonderful breakfast. He had gone home and cleaned the house and prepared the breakfast and dropped my son off with a friend. Then we demanded that the hospital release me and the baby so we could go home and rest. They made us wait till noon but then they let us go. All the Chinese were totally amazed. They usually stay in the hospital 6-8 days for a natural birth and 8-10 days for a C-section. They couldnít believe that I was walking out the hospital less then 12 hours after coming. They kept staring at us as if they were shocked.
A few days later we went back for a check up and also got the birth certificate for the baby with no problems. Now we can apply for her American Passport. The baby was 8.9 pounds at birth. However they miss-interpreted the birth weight when translating grams to pounds and told me she was less then 6 pounds. For the whole first week, I believed it. Till I looked up the grams weight on her birth cert and translated it to pounds. Then I confirmed it with the hospital on my next appointment.
So thatís the story of my Daughterís birth. Her name is Precious Angel Ijoama Ndaguba. When she gets older Iíll have a really fun birth story to tell her about. She was born here in China, with a Nigerian Father and American Mother. What an international Child. Sheís such an easy and sweet baby. She sleeps a lot and is growing heavier and fatter each day. Sheís on breast milk only, but I do pump a lot and my husband feeds her my milk with a bottle sometimes. Right now she is two weeks old and I have to start back to work, one month after her birth so Iíve got to use the bottle anyway. Also itís hard to get her to latch the right way. She makes my breast so soar sometimes. Well thatís all. I believe she will do great things in life and her brother loves her so much. Now we have two kids under two years old and itís a lot of work but we feel very blessed and privileged to be their parents. We are one big, growing, happy family. My husband and I plan to have as many children as God gives us. We are not using birth control. So thatís all.
Had "Precious Angel on Feb 7th 2007
Mother of Warrior, born May 15 2005 and Angel born Feb 7, 2007 and Joseph, Born 8/8/08
We are blessed to be blessings- children are a gift from God
Wife to Brian since October 2004, Mama too:
Jakob (May 12th 2004- Feb. 24th 2009 Had Joubert Syndrome RIP)
2 Baby beans lost
Ava Sept 14th 2007, Beaux Oct 3rd 2012
* Tubal reversal December 17th 2010
thanks for sharing your amazing and enlightening story with us! Its amazing to hear what health care systems are like in other countries. I love your kids names too, especially your son. they are gorgeous.
I was laughing so hard when I read the hospital stuff. I am sure it was scary as heck at the time, glad it all worked out. I am a traveling wife right now we are in Zhoushan, China....so i know how it works in China. I also plan on doing a pregnancy/birth overseas. I LOVED reading your story it made me feel more confident in my story...and gave me a heads up on things that i could take for granite. Congrats on your new little one.
Amazing birth story!! I was going to move to China a few years ago, to teach English, but that's when DF and I got together, and I just couldn't leave him!! It's still something we've talked about doing, in the future!
Anyways, you went through alot to get the birth you wanted! I find it amazing!!