updated 15 Sep 2010, 03:44
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Sun, Sep 12, 2010
The New Paper
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Meet our void deck baby
by Amanda Yong

SHE was experiencing heavy contractions and was being rushed to hospital. But the child she was carrying could not wait.

Before she could even get to the road, Mrs Jessie Peh, 33, delivered the baby, her second child.

On Wednesday night, the boy came into the world as she lay on the floor of an HDB void deck, right next to the rubbish chute.

That was not how Mrs Peh, an accounts assistant, and her husband, Mr Jans Peh, 36, a senior sales representative, had pictured the arrival of their son, she said.

The baby, whom they have named Jaden, was due on Sept 27. The couple had arranged for the delivery to take place at Thomson Medical Centre.

Two weeks ago, when she started experiencing contractions, her gynaecologist prescribed her with medication to stop the contractions as it would have been too early for the baby's delivery.

At around 5pm on Wednesday, she took the last of the prescribed pills.

"I was supposed to take the pills for two weeks. I didn't expect that just a few hours after I had taken the pills, I would start having contractions again," Mrs Peh told The New Paper over the phone from her bed at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) on Thursday.

The pain began at around 6.30pm.

"But I could still endure it," she said.

But she didn't know then that she was having contractions.

Mr Peh said in Mandarin: "She could even call me at around 7.15pm to joke that if the baby came that day, it would share my Chinese birth date because it was my Chinese birthday that day." Half an hour later, it was no longer a joke.

The pain had grown so intense that she could do nothing but lie on her bed. She was staying with Mr Peh's eldest sister at that time as her first-born, a three-year-old boy, was down with hand, foot and mouth disease.

Seeing Mrs Peh in such a state, Mr Peh's eldest sister called him to tell him that his wife had to go to the hospital immediately.

Mr Peh was home at that time, just a few blocks away from his elder sister's flat on the 12th storey of Block 917, Hougang Avenue 9.

He grabbed some of his wife's belongings, threw them into a bag and rushed to pick up his wife.

But while in the lift, and halfway down the block of flats, Mrs Peh felt the baby's head emerging.

Those in the lift with her - her elder sister, who had also gone to the flat, Mr Peh and his elder sister - panicked.

"She leant against the lift wall shouting because of the pain, and we didn't know what to do because none of us have experienced such a situation," Mr Peh said.

At the void deck, she stumbled out of the lift with their help. But she did not get far.

In pain

"I was in so much pain. The contractions just kept coming," she said in Mandarin.

She lay on the floor and started screaming as the pain became increasingly unbearable.

Meanwhile, Mr Peh called for an ambulance. But before it arrived, the baby emerged.

Fortunately, they had a towel in the overnight bag Mr Peh had hastily packed.

Said Mrs Peh: "My elder sister received the baby in the towel and carried him until the paramedics arrived and cut the umblical cord."

Her husband said: "Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long for the ambulance, which arrived about five minutes later."

After that, mother, child and husband were rushed to the hospital in the ambulance.

The experience has left them slightly shaken but the group is thankful that both mother and child are in the pink of health.

"I didn't expect the baby to arrive so fast. I'm just glad that Jaden was safely delivered," Mrs Peh said.

When baby arrives too soon

BELEVE it or not, there are women who don't realise that they are about to give birth.

Gynaecologist Lee Keen Whye recalled a patient, doubtful that she was going to deliver her child that soon, who continued talking with him over the phone. He recalled her asking: "'Doctor, are you sure I'm in labour?' "

Dr Lee replied: "You're in so much pain, of course you're in labour. You had better come to the hospital now."

But before the conversation could continue, the baby decided to make an entrance.

"Her husband took over the phone and I gave him instructions on what to do," said Dr Lee, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at KW Lee Clinic and Surgery for Women at Gleneagles Medical Centre.

Here are some dos and don'ts from Dr Lee in case of sudden delivery:


Make sure that the mother is lying on the floor in a comfortable position. Usually, the water and mucous in the baby's nose and mouth will be expelled when it cries. If that doesn't happen, hold the baby upside down and give it a few gentle smacks on the buttock.

Or, use a drinking straw to suck the mucous out of the baby's nose and mouth. Lie him on his side so that even if he regurgitates the mucous,he will not choke.

Use a soft towel or tissue paper to clean the baby's face.

Wrap baby in a towel to keep him warm.

Make sure to keep mother warm too and that she remains lying down. Her body is in a state of shock immediately after delivery and she may faint if she tries to stand up.

Call for an ambulance and wait for paramedics.


Cut the umbilical cord. Leave it to the medical professionals to do so.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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