The Home Birth of Anna Joy: Doctor’s Report

We have been giving glory to God for the miraculous home birth of our daughter, Anna Joy.  The scene still plays vividly in each of our minds.  Today, I received the report from Dr Ong Eng Keow – the paediatrician for all of our children – and I stand in awe again of the mighty God I serve!


As with any doctor, we are trained to always think of the worse case scenario.  Therefore when I was presented with a call on 12th March 2009 from the nurse from the hospital informing me of a CBBA (complete birth before arrival), horror thoughts raced through my mind especially when I realized that it was Henson and Serene’s baby.  CBBA means that the baby is born with the expulsion of the placenta.

I was kind of expecting something like this as Serene is considered a grand-multip ie. Grand-multipara – 7th pregnancy.  Delivery would be quick and rapid; may happen in minutes.  In my heart, I was praying, when Henson posted on Facebook that Serene was already postdated, that they will not deliver in the car or something.  I did not even consider the baby delivering at home.

I immediately rushed over to the hospital to find Henson, grinning from ear to ear, wielding his digital camera, cooing at Anna in the baby nursery.  I quickly congratulated him and set to check on Anna.  She was alert, active, well, eyes wide looking like nothing in the world has happened.

Many things can happen to a baby who is delivered at home what more with the placenta, the whole lot. Infection is the first and foremost consideration.  The sterility of the surroundings is always in question and contamination to the baby may lead to serious problems.  Once the baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is usually clamped once the pulsations have stopped and this usually occurs 1 to 2 minutes after delivery.  If the umbilical cord is not clamped in time, 2 things can happen.  The first will be that the blood will continue to flow into the baby leading to excessive blood in the baby and the second will be that the baby will lose blood from the bleeding placenta leading to anemia, lack of blood.

As a good responsible doctor, I ordered for blood tests to be done for Anna to exclude any infection and also to make sure that the blood is not too thick (polycythemia) or too thin (anemia).  I was glad that she appeared well on clinical examination but was still concerned about the potential complications even though I had prayed for Anna’s safety.

You should have seen my face when I received Anna’s blood results.  Fist pumping and with a big smile on my face, I looked up and praised our God in heaven.  Not only were the results normal, they were perfect.  Every single reading was as perfect as it could be.  Not a ‘hair’ was out of place. It was as if by divine intervention, God has brought Anna out with His own hands, stopped the cord from bleeding either way and wrapped her up in His love, grace and mercy.

I thought of all the prayer warriors who have been praying for Henson, Serene and the baby to come.  Such wonderful prayers and what a beautiful answer from our God.  God is great and greatly to be praised!

Dr Ong Eng Keow


The Home Birth of Anna Joy: FAQs

When people find out that Anna Joy was born at home, they usually respond in amazement … followed by the same questions.  I thought that it might be a good idea to list some of these in this post.

Did the both of you plan to birth at home?
No, we didn’t.  We did, however, prepare ourselves in case we had to.  See Serene’s post “Diary of Baby #7: My Homebirthing Journey” for a better understanding.

Did Serene wait too long before leaving for the hospital?
No.  The contractions remains 5mins apart unlike previous births where they got closer and more intense.

Did you prepare the gynae and the hospital?

Was there a midwife present?

Who delivered the baby?
Serene delivered the baby.  I caught the baby.

How did you know what to do?
I didn’t.  But I’ve witnessed 6 births before and seen the gynae in action.  Anyway, when it’s just you in the room and your wife is pushing, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Did you panic?
No, although there was a slight moment of concern when baby’s head took a while to come out.

Did you cut the umbilical cord?
No.  The placenta was birthed soon after.  Baby was carried into hospital with umbilical cord and placenta attached.

Did Serene go to the hospital in an ambulance?
No.  We went in our own car.  I dropped her off, went to park, then joined her later.

Did you save on hospital fees?
No.  In fact, we ended up paying more a la carte since the Package Rate did not apply to us.

Did the gynae charge you?
We don’t know … yet.  Still waiting for his bill, if any.

The Home Birth of Anna Joy: Serene’s Version

If you want to read Serene’s version of the birth of baby #7, visit her blog.  Part I is already published.  She is writing it in parts, as and when she is able to, in between nursing and caring for little Anna Joy, of course.  Definitely more details from the mother’s perspective.

Here are the updated links:
My Homebirthing Journey
Diary of Pregnancy #7 – Birth Announcement Part 1
Birth Story #7 -Birth Announcement Part 2
Diary of Pregnancy #7 – What Did I Learn

The Birth of Baby #7

Yes, our little girl arrived today … 12 March 2009.  After making us wait so long, she finally made her grand entrance into our family and into this world.

In “The Waiting Game“, I shared about how I was somewhere between anxiety and impatience.  I was anxious because I didn’t feel right leaving Serene to labor all alone upstairs in the room.  Here I was, with 6 children downstairs, and not particularly in any mood to play with nor entertain them.  I mean, my wife is in labor!  Every 10 minutes or so, I would run upstairs to check on Serene, only to find that there was little I could do.  So, down again I went.  It got tougher and tougher to occupy myself.  Everything I did seemed so frivilous and unimportant – check email, check Facebook, fold paper aeroplanes, fix lunch for kids, blog ?!  Don’t think I need to explain why I was impatient.

The odd thing was that the contractions never got closer.  From the time Serene told me in the morning that they were 5 mins apart, it remained that way.  At times, the contractions were longer, but not closer.  I just prayed and asked the Lord to help us, commanding the cervix, body, baby, whatever!, to co-operate fully with the Holy Spirit.

At 1:45pm, I went up again.  Little did I know this would be it!  Serene was on all fours.  I could tell that the contractions had gotten stronger.  I knelt down behind her and was praying hard in the Spirit.  With each subsequent push, I then realised that she would be birthing the baby soon.  Boy, did I pray.  Suddenly, the baby crowned!  Remaining as calm as I could, I reported what I saw to encourage Serene.  With the next contraction, her forehead came through … and it seemed to be stuck.  At the next contraction, she slid out and stopped at her eyelids.  Oh man!  I was feeling so uncomfortable for my little girl!  Now, not only was I encouraging Serene, I was also encouraging my daughter.  The next stop was at her nose, and then at her lips.  She stayed there for what seemed to be the longest time!

So many questions ran through my head as I watched my tired wife and my wedged baby … “What if she stays stuck?  How are we going to the hospital like that?  What if we have a complication?”  I began to pray again, rebuking those careless thoughts and refusing the fear that crept into my heart.  I spoke to my little girl and told her she could do it.  “C’mon, darling, a little more; work with the Holy Spirit,” I said to her.  Then one more contraction and she moved ever so slightly exposing her shoulder.  That’s it, Henson, get ready.  I’ve seen and heard enough about how when the shoulders come through, the baby will quickly slip out.  I was all ready to catch my little baby.  And catch her I did when she whooshed out at 2:10pm.

What an experience!  What a privilege and an honour!  When Serene began talking about a possible homebirth some months back, I thought she was crazy.  In fact, I thought she was being a little extreme, perhaps trying to better the previous birth experiences.  After delivering my own daughter, I have even more to thank Serene for.  Serene worked so hard to bring forth our 7th child and 5th daughter.  She later told me contractions had actually started last night (10 mins apart) at about 6pm when we went for our anniversary dinner.  Yet, she didn’t say anything in case I might be distracted from having a good meal and celebration with her and the children.  Today, virtually all by herself, she labored, God being her Helper and Guide.  I marvel at how calm she stayed all through the labor process, always having a presence of mind – even instructing me what to fix for lunch and when the young ones had to go in for their naps.  I give thanks to God for Serene.

Above all, God deserves all glory and praise!!!  Once again, by His grace, we experienced another supernatural childbirth.  After the baby was birthed, we didn’t have to wait very long before the placenta was also birthed totally intact and complete.  Glory to God!  Later, when Serene was checked in the hospital, she didn’t tear at all!  This is great news, considering she had just birthed a 4.3kg baby!  Praise the Lord!

We give God all glory and praise for all that has happened.  We know this is only possible because of what Jesus did at the Cross.  By His stripes we are healed!  The curse of sin has been broken!

Oh yes!  The name of our little girl? … Anna Joy Lim Yi En 🙂

The Waiting Game

You would think that I would have gotten used to it by now. But no-oooooo …

Even before EDD on 6 Mar, we were ready to have baby join us earlier, if the Lord would permit.  Well, the week went by quietly.  Then came Friday, EDD, and still no sign of baby.  Then the weekend, still nothing.  Just lots of well-meaning questions and smses.

Wait, wait, wait and wait.

Yesterday was our 14th Wedding Anniversary.  The day began with a visit to the gynae for what we hope would be the final check-up.  Through the ultra-sound scan, we saw her little face and nose 🙂  Oh, when, little one, when will you come?  After that, a quiet afternoon spent updating my blog.  The whole tribe went to Peach Garden at Thomson Plaza for a nice Chinese dinner – Peking Duck, yum!

Wait, wait, wait and wait.

All through the night, no sign of the little one’s arrival.  So, off the bed we went.

Wait, wait, wait and wait.

This morning at 7:20am, I was stirred from my sleep when Serene woke up before me.  In my dazed state, I sensed something was different.  Yes, I believe it is TIME!  When I checked with Serene, she said that contractions began at 3am.  Yes, it will be soon.  How soon, I don’t know, but definitely today.  In the meantime, …

Wait, wait, wait and wait.

It’s nearly 12noon and time to prepare lunch for the children.  Serene is still upstairs.  I am still downstairs … yes … waiting!  You would think I would be Mr Cool, after 6 births!  Not exactly!  Well, I’m somewhere between anxious and impatient.  I am praying.  I know others are praying.  I wish I would just go upstairs, lay hands, and call baby forth NOW – in Jesus’ Name – hahahahaha!  No, no, I am reminded – God’s perfect time 🙂

So how?

Wait, wait, wait and wait.