T H A T   F I R S T   B R E A T H
-  X I N   Y U A N  ( P A R T  1 )

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The world welcomes baby Yau Xin Yuan (translation: "1st / Prime Fragrance") on January 29th, 2009 at 6.18pm, weighing 3.43kg... third child and first daughter of Hoi Yan Yap and Yau Wai Leong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


This "special delivery" was not done in a private specialist or a government hospital. It was done at home. It was also done without a midwife, medical personnel, or a doctor. The delivery was through hypnobirthing, done DIY with just the mother, father, and of course, myself, present (gasp!). Hypnobirthing can only be done through specific strict regime of self-calming and the entire series documented the whole process as clearly as the daylight outside your window. The set here couldn't be compared to any others you may have witnessed, and being in the presence of such miracle is not only mindblowing, it was breathtaking. Word has it that hypnobirthing is now catching on after this series was first posted onto Facebook and DeviantART in 2009.


All photographs taken using Canon EOS 1N with Ilford HP5+ B/W Film. Processing by Morpheuse Esquire Click on the images below to expand with further details.


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January 29th, 2009
January 29th, 2009

I was called to be on standby at 3pm when Hoi Yan went into her contractions signaling that it's at any moment now the baby will be coming. Both mom and dad had a long discussion prior to their decision to have this delivery at home with their doctor. After much research, they came to know of hypnobirthing and decided to give it a try. Easier said than done. On arrival, Wai Leong was in the kitchen preparing some drinks in case it'll be one long evening. © Evan Hwong Photographs

One of the rooms upstairs was converted into their delivery room with Hoi Yan waiting for us to come up. Outside, a yoga mat and a bucket await us. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Wai Leong came up and joined us. Hypnobirthing includes a strict process of listening to some zen music that also has vocal instructions on breathing techniques and how to zone out the outside world - their home was almost close to a busy street outside with motorbikes and cars passing by ever so often even I myself could get edgy. Note the iPod. © Evan Hwong Photographs

The waiting game begins. © Evan Hwong Photographs

The wait was like any other nerve wrecking wait, and as the hour passed by, both mom and dad decided to take a nap. My iPod Touch games kept me company. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Sleeping sideways with a pillow to hug gives much comfort as the contraction came and go. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Waking up, they did some additional read up on hypnobirthing online. © Evan Hwong Photographs

As the contractions became closer between each interval, Wai Leong prepped the room up to get ready for the next phase. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, encourage. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Devoted and loving, Wai Leong massages Hoi Yan's foot. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Wai Leong did everything he could think of to keep Hoi Yan comfortable. © Evan Hwong Photographs

As Hoi Yan sits in pain, Wai Leong messages friends and relatives that it is almost time. © Evan Hwong Photographs

It wasn't until about 6.30 when Hoi Yan's water broke. Note the puddle under the chair. © Evan Hwong Photographs

That's when the entire process became clearer to me: the delivery was not going to be what we all have heard/read/seen. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Most deliveries we were made to think humans have to lay on their back with legs raised, etc... © Evan Hwong Photographs

But for this case, prepped into position on all fours, Hoi Yan began to push while Wai Leong was behind ready to catch baby Xin Yuan when she comes out. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Wai Leong applying olive oil for a smoother delivery. © Evan Hwong Photographs

A much needed soothing massage as her contractions became closer and closer. © Evan Hwong Photographs

6.18am, baby Xin Yuan came out in within seconds that my nervous fingers could not capture the entire scene in its sharpness and clarity as I was shooting on film. © Evan Hwong Photographs

© Evan Hwong Photographs

© Evan Hwong Photographs

© Evan Hwong Photographs

And there she is. © Evan Hwong Photographs

I was even told to put down my gears to hold the baby for a couple of seconds so Wai Leong could grab a towel and wrap her. (My hands smelled like baby smell for almost 3 days even after washing - I'm pretty glad I was somewhat sanitized prior to the whole thing). © Evan Hwong Photographs

Using the towel, Wai Leong wiped baby Xin Yuan. Click below to be redirected to Part 2. © Evan Hwong Photographs

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