We had a cup of tea with Shamala Hinrichsen to find out more about her journey during the birth of her first baby, little Jan (now 1).
Luxmama: What preparation have you done for the birth of your baby?
Luxmama: In which hospital did you give birth and what was your impression of the facilities and the help from staff?
Sham: I gave birth at the Maternité G.-D. Charlotte at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg. The staff were very good and I had a brilliant birthing process. The hospital is rather old, hence things are rather run down and the rooms are small but I had a birthing room all to myself the entire time and did not have to go back and forth.
Luxmama: Did you have any issue to communicate with the staff in the hospital?
Sham: Not really. (Shamala speaks English, German, Tamil, Malay, French and a little Cantonese!) But I did find it a bother that there is no coherence on what is ‘correct’ by all the staff – each one says something different and under the duress of hormones that is enough to drive one nuts!
Luxmama: What type of birth did you have in mind and why did you choose that?
Sham: I envisioned a pain killer free natural birth. Simply to keep it simple.
Luxmama: Did you feel anxious about birth and did you try any methods to reduce your anxiety?
Sham: HypnoBirthing classes really really helped and I still use the methods I learned until today.
Luxmama: How did your labour start?
Sham: I was on a conference call to China, and I felt the first waves of Jan wanting to come out!
Luxmama: That’s hilarious! What did you do to stay comfortable?
Sham: I worked for half a day, then had friends over for tea and later for dinner! I stayed comfortable by getting everyone to join my labour!
Luxmama: Great story! What happened then?
Sham: I had a great great time and I would not do anything differently. I spent a lovely time with Carl, my husband and dear friends who came over with food. I spent a quiet night with the waves on my own so that Carl could get some rest and then headed over to the hospital.
The midwife that I remember most was Nathalie who was just a pillar of support – working with me to avoid painkillers and just keeping me comfortable and encouraging me on. Carl was just phenomenal remembering the exercises from HypnoBirthing.
Also we had a playlist called “Plautze Bear’s Birth” and I kept listening to all the songs I had played for Jan all the while. It took 21 hours, but Jan arrived happily eventually!
I was not really upset when at the 20th hour of labour, my doctor discovered that the top of my cervix would not dilate (an anatomical anomaly) and while I had dilated 9 cm below, I would not be able to birth Jan vaginally. I had really tried and as much as at that time given all the pain, I wished I had known about my cervix earlier, on hindsight, I am glad that Carl and I had the chance to go through what we did for Jan.
Luxmama: And did you experience love at first sight when your baby was in your arms finally?
Sham: Both Carl and I were in tears the moment we heard him. It was magical and I will never forget it! We called out to Jan and whispered his name in his ear…
Luxmama: What was your breastfeeding experience like?
Sham: I must say that while the Gods of labour had forsaken me, the Gods of breastfeeding stayed close to my side. Jan nursed within the first 30 minutes and nursed all night!!! In fact, trying to wean him off now at 12 months is the problem!!!!
All I can say is, go with the flow – your baby and you will thrive – whether you breastfeed, whether you do something else – just do what feels right instead of what everyone says is right.
Luxmama: Was there anything you forgot to pack in your hospital suitcase and what would you say are the top 5 items to remember to pack?
Sham: Music, a book to read, moisturizer, slippers and a towel. I actually did not bring along disposable underwear that fit! But the hospital was happy to provide!
Luxmama: How long after birth did it take before you “recovered”
Sham: Sometimes I feel as if I am still recovering (chuckle). But since I had surgery, I would say it took about six weeks before I felt somewhat okay.
Luxmama: What would you do differently next time?
Sham: I know now that I cannot give birth vaginally, so will be an altogether different experience.
Luxmama What is your top tips for first time mamas giving birth her in Luxembourg?
- Become friends with other moms and moms-to-be
- Have faith that you are giving birth in a nation with the highest per capita expenditure on healthcare – so you have access to everything
- Be informed on what to expect
- File your paperwork correctly
Luxmama: What did you learn or experience that you never expected?
Sham: A joy I have never known. I have been born as a parent now. And also the amazing group that I now belong to – parents!
Shamala is a Malaysian of Indian descent and a geneticist by training who is now being outsmarted daily by a one-year old. She published her collection of short stories in 2012 and a series of bilingual books in 2014 along with her husband. She is currently working on her novel. However motherhood is a grand excuse to not do anything else!
Like many among us, she came to Luxembourg almost three years ago for work reasons.
You can check out her work here:
Carl and Sham go to Luxembourg (Carl and Sham are best friends – Book 3)
Would you like to tell us your birth story? Click here!
More about Luxmama
As mother of two, Certified International Maternity Institute Baby Planner Consultant and Maternity & Child Sleep Consultant student, Luxmama provides personalised baby planning consultation services (maternity coaching) for future/new parents & parents-to-be – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence! Also on offer is a variety of social and educational events through the Luxmama Club designed so you can make the most of becoming and being a new parent in the modern world today.