Actress Carole Lin gives birth at 42, recalls C-section trauma
Actress Carole Lin recalls feeling traumatised after caesarean birth of first child
She is one of those lucky mums who had a problem-free pregnancy even though she is in her 40s.
However, there is one thing that local actress Carole Lin is still upset about.
The 42-year-old had wanted to give birth to her daughter, Brooklyn, naturally and without the use of pain relief drugs.
But in August, she was denied a natural delivery when complications forced her to put her baby's safety first.
Lin had to undergo a caesarean section as her amniotic fluid had dipped to a worryingly-low level just a few days before her delivery date.
Amniotic fluid fills the sac surrounding the baby and has several important functions, including cushioning the baby from trauma, maintaining a constant temperature in the womb, protecting the baby against infection and preventing the umbilical cord from becoming compressed, which would reduce the baby's oxygen supply.
The experience traumatised her.
She told The New Paper: "Due to the anaesthetic given to me, I panicked when, the day after, I still could not feel my legs.
"I was really scared, worried that I had become paralysed.
"I started to shiver and tremble, and it felt like I was out of breath.
"It was only after a day that I regained feeling in the lower half of my body. Should I try for a second child next time, I definitely would opt for a natural delivery."
She also experienced postpartum blues.
Lin said that she could not have made it through if not for her husband, businessman David Lim, and support and encouragement from friends.
Fellow celebrity mums also gave her sound advice.
Fann Wong calmed her down by telling her that when this difficult period passes, she would definitely want a second child in eight months' time - the length of time Fann said she took to forget the exhaustion of childbirth.
Wong, who gave birth in August last year, also gave her a hip seat carrier after Lin complained that her wrists had become sore from carrying Brooklyn.
Joanne Peh, who gave birth to a girl two weeks before Lin delivered, became Lin's "trusty adviser".
She would update Lin on her own daughter's progress so that Lin could learn from her experience.
One problem Lin faced was that Brooklyn was not latching on during breastfeeding.
Yvonne Lim, who is currently based in Taiwan, texted Lin to assure her that most mothers go through this.
Zoe Tay, Lina Ng and Joey Swee also chipped in with tips on what to look for in a nanny, how to breastfeed properly and identifying the baby's sleeping and waking patterns.
Said Lin: "My friends would Google solutions to my problems and send me the screenshots.
"They have no idea how much they have done for me in my time of need.
"I will admit, I am quite spoilt and I appreciate their help a lot."
Brooklyn, she said, was feisty from the moment she was born.
She cried loudly on arriving into the world and kept sucking her fist, which the gynaecologist said was a sign that she wanted to be fed immediately.
Lin said: "I see her strong personality and think 'Why are you so much like mummy?'.
"The funny thing is that people keep mistaking her for a boy and telling me that I have such a 'handsome son'.
"The other day, we put Brooklyn in a dress and she was so cute. We laughed because she looked like a boy in a dress!"
Having a supportive spouse helps
Is it safer these days for women over 40 to have babies?
Besides Carole Lin, local actress Fann Wong also became a first-time mum at 43.
Surprisingly, Lin's gynaecologist, Dr Ann Tan from the Women & Fetal Centre, said one thing that greatly helped Lin have a successful pregnancy was a partner who was with her every step of the way.
Dr Tan told The New Paper: "Carole handled her pregnancy very well and indeed, was very fortunate to have a totally supportive and lovely husband, one who understood everything about how to make his wife more comfortable throughout the pregnancy."
In general, older women, Dr Tan said, are at a higher risk of having a chromosomally abnormal child than women who give birth in their 20s and should undergo screenings for such abnormalities in their first trimester.
Older women also have a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids or adenomyosis, which may lead to preterm births and hence a higher possibility of caesarean births.
Adenomyosis is a condition that involves the movement of the tissue that lines the uterus in the muscles of the uterus.
Older women may generally not be in as good health or be as toned as Lin, who walks and hikes regularly, added Dr Tan. Thus, carrying the weight of the pregnancy itself may be physically more difficult.
She added: "Nonetheless, if one is 40 and fit, there is no reason why one should not attempt to give birth naturally.
"Technology allows the labour process to be monitored better but is not able to assist the woman to deliver normally.
"However, being more conscious of one's posture and putting efforts into maintaining one's fitness will enable the mother to sail through the pregnancy."