Baby wouldn’t wait, so mum needed just two ‘hard pushes’
During delivery at home, her pain intensity shot from one to 10 while hubby admits to being 'super scared'
While many pregnant women endure labour for hours before giving birth, Ms Lee Yin Jie took just four minutes and two "hard pushes" to deliver her second child.
The downside of such a fast delivery was having to do it on the bathroom floor of her flat in Fernvale, Sengkang.
The upside of working from home was having her husband there to help her through the arrival of little Lin Zhi Rong, who was 2½ weeks early.
Though due on April 30, he arrived on Monday at 10.14am, weighing a healthy 3.3kg.
At around 8am, Ms Lee, a 35-year-old civil servant, started experiencing spaced-out contractions, which she described as "light cramps".
After her husband, Mr Lin Jiahong, dropped off their two-year-old son at the childcare centre, the couple monitored the contractions.
Ms Lee told The New Paper: "Our previous experience (with their firstborn) was a gradual escalation of pain and contraction time, which took seven hours, so I wanted to monitor the contractions further to be sure."
At 10.05am, the contractions "escalated suddenly" and Ms Lee's water broke - the rupturing of the amniotic sac.
Mr Lin said: "She was writing a work e-mail at the time, and I helped save the draft after her water bag burst."
He then called 995 and informed the SCDF Emergency Medical Services his wife was about to give birth .
Paramedics directed him over the phone to get Ms Lee to lie on the floor to deliver the baby. By the time she got into position in the bathroom, the baby was crowning.
Mr Lin, a 38-year-old cyber security professional, was "super scared" during the process and acted on "instinct".
He added: "I was shouting to her, 'You have to push. I will catch him.' Fortunately, after two hard pushes, the baby popped out. I cannot imagine if there had been complications."
The baby started crying on his own and was breathing normally, which was a huge relief for the couple as they waited for the paramedics.
The ambulance arrived 10 minutes later, and the paramedics cut the umbilical cord. The mother and baby were taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) for check-ups. They were discharged two days later.
Mr Lin said: "I have to praise the SCDF. They gave me the instructions during the crucial four minutes and the paramedics were professional."
Ms Lee regrets not going to the hospital earlier, adding: "I was monitoring my contractions. But the moment my water bag burst and the pain intensity shot up from one to 10, I knew we had no chance to make it to the hospital on our own.
"The pain was so intense, I shouted and screamed. But once I heard my son's first cry, I was immediately relieved."
Asked if the experience had traumatised them, the couple replied together: "We are just glad it was a happy ending."
According to data collected by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority from 2016 to last year, an average of 194 babies were born out of hospitals a year, or roughly 0.48 per cent of 40,000 babies born each year.
Associate Professor Tan Lay Kok, head and senior consultant of the department of maternal foetal medicine at KKH, told TNP that having an unplanned delivery out of hospital can be very "distressing".
He said: "Some women may feel a sense of loss of control of what is taking place. Women in these situations usually report feeling intense and strong contractions immediately without the usual warning build-up of irregular contractions first."
Dr Tan said some dangers include a higher risk of bleeding in the mother, either because of tears in the vagina from the uncontrolled delivery or the placenta remaining in the womb.
"There is also the risk of infection to the baby and mother as the birth has taken place in an unsterilised environment.
"Lastly, there is a risk of injury to both baby and mother if the delivery took place in an unsafe or crowded place."
How to deliver a baby safely at home if you can't reach the hospital
KK Women's and Children's Hospital's associate professor Tan Lay Kok, head and senior consultant of the department of maternal foetal medicine, and Dr Kong Juin Yee, consultant at the department of neonatology, on what to do if an unplanned out-of-hospital birth cannot be avoided:
- Do not panic. Call 995 and tell them the baby is coming out. Ensure the front door is unlocked to give access to ambulance personnel.
- Find a clean and safe place. Lay clean sheets, towels and blankets on the floor underneath the woman. Keep some nearby to cover her and her baby immediately after delivery.
- Have her lie on the left side as it is better for blood flow to the baby. Alternatively, prop her up against a wall.
- After the baby is born, make sure the umbilical cord is slack and not taut. If it is around the baby's neck, ease it over the head slowly or loosen it. Do not pull, tie or cut the cord. Wait until medical help arrives.
- Position the baby so that his head is slightly lower than his feet until he starts breathing.
- If the baby is not breathing on his own, try to stimulate him by rubbing the back up and down or flick the soles of his feet.
- Use a clean dry cloth to gently wipe away any secretions that drain out of the mouth.
- If the baby is still not breathing, try to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with quick gentle puffs of air into the mouth and nose.
- Keep the baby warm while waiting for help to arrive. Make sure he is dried thoroughly and wet linens are removed before wrapping him with two layers of dry clean towels/blankets. Rest him on the mother's abdomen, skin to skin, so the body heat can warm up the baby.