Daniel’s Birth Story
My due date was the 26th of June 2009. But Maya was born 4 days before her due date, so nobody expected this pregnancy to last until the due date, let alone go over.
My mother, who also witnessed Maya’s birth, arrived when I was 38 1/2 weeks along. She was staying for 6 weeks to help out.
With Maya I had a beautiful natural waterbirth at the local birth centre and I was planning for a similar birth this time around. I had beautiful images in my mind of Maya sitting in the tub with me while I was labouring and her getting very excited when seeing her little sibling.
But it wasn’t supposed to happen like that.
My due date came and went. When I was a week over I started to wonder whether this child was ever going to come out. We distracted ourselves by doing up the garden and I tried to walk as much as I could with a toddler. Dion had to go away for work for a couple of days around my due date. It was unavoidable. We had the choice of him going the week before the due date or 10 days after. We had chosen 10 days after as we anticipated this baby to come early. But it wasn’t.
When I was 9 days over, I had an internal exam and my Midwife didn’t think my cervix was ready yet. So I decided to have a stretch and sweep (a simple procedure that often gets labour started) 3 days later (on Wednesday) as that was the day Dion was supposed to be back. The next day I also booked an accupuncture appointment for late Tuesday afternoon.
For a couple of weeks I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks (practice) contractions and pre-labour niggles. But nothing to show any progress. DH left early on Monday morning and was supposed to come back Tuesday late afternoon. On Monday morning, shortly after he left, I found a bloody show (a little bit of blood that is usually a sign that labour is going to start soon). But no contractions for the whole day. I went to bed at midnight and woke at quarter to 2 on Tuesday morning to my first, very subtle contractions. I told my mum that I thought that things were starting to happen and installed the baby capsule (I suddenly remembered that we had taken it out of the car a couple of days earlier to transport some landscaping materials). At this stage, contractions came every 5-8 minutes but weren’t regular. Then I went back to bed and tried to sleep between contractions.
All night I kept waking for the contractions and to use the toilet multiple times as I had the runs (sorry for TMI). By 5am contractions had become much stronger and I could no longer bear them while lying down. So I got up and walked through them. They were bearable that way. they came every 4 minutes by then and were regular. I told my mum that we should get ready to go and had a nice hot shower.
By 6am, Maya woke and we got her ready. Contractions had really picked up in intensity and I let my Midwife know. I said to my mum that we really should get going soon. At quarter to 7 we were about to hop in the car and I quickly called my Midwife to let her know that we were leaving NOW. She heard that I was really out of breath and asked whether I felt the urge to push yet. I said no. I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my mum to put DD in the car when a strong contraction hit me and I had to lean over a footstool. My mum came in the room and I said to her: “We’re not going anywhere, I have to push, call Tracy (the midwife)!” She was a bit shocked by that and tried to call her, but my mobile, which I had used minutes before, all of a sudden had no service. She managed to call from the home phone. Tracy called an ambulance for us as my mum’s English is not the best, when it comes to labour specific terms.
The 000 operator called us back to confirm and to assist us until the paramedics arrived. All the while I was on hands and knees in the loungeroom and pushing hard. There was nothing I could do to stop it. Maya just watched on. I consciously smiled at her whenever she looked at me to reassure her that mummy was fine although she was making weird noises. She had watched some birth videos with me, so the process wasn’t completely foreign to her.
The operator told my mum to get me to lie on my back so the baby wouldn’t fall on the floor. I told him to get lost 😉 Then he ordered her to get towels. I had already gotten her to place a towel beneath my knees. While she got towels, Maya tried to climb on my back to play horsey. Although I was in serious pain by then, I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. I asked her to come around to my front and she passed me my glass to drink, which was very sweet. When my mum came back, I could feel the baby’s head crowning. The operator asked her to get safety pins (for whatever reason) but when she heard me saying that the head was coming, she barked at him: “I have no time to talk to you now.” and placed the phone on the floor. I yelled at her to pull my pants down. Yes, this whole time, I had my pants on. She pulled them down to my knees and could see the head straight away. She asked me what she should do and i just said: “You don’t need to do anything. When the baby comes, just catch it.” Only then did my waters break. Another push and most of the head was out. One more and the whole head was out. She asked whether she should pull the baby out, but I just said that it will come out all by itself. Which it did. With the next push my son was born at 7:06. She caught her own grandchild and we could hear the baby grizzle straight away. The umbilical cord was around the neck, but not tight and after she had entangled it, I asked her to pass the baby through my legs. But that was a little difficult as I still had my pants around my knees. We somehow managed and I brought my baby to my chest. I saw straight away that it was a little boy. He cried and when Maya heard that, she yelled “baby” and came over to pat him. She was so excited. She had been watching from the couch the whole time. He turned pink really quickly. I was never worried about him. I just knew he was alright. And now that I saw him, I could see that he was just perfect. My little son!
Only then did we remember the 000 operator and checked if he was still on the line. He was and he congratulated us on the birth of my son. The ambulance arrived 10 minutes later and they took me and Daniel to the hospital, (wrapped in my bathrobe and some towels). My mum followed in my car with Maya (who was not impressed that mummy left with the baby but without her). I told the driver to drive slowly so my mum could follow as she didn’t know the way. I thought it was lovely that they did that. At one point, my mum got stuck at a red light and they even pulled over and waited for her to catch up. They were a little anxious about the cord still being intact and the placenta not being born yet, but I told them to leave these things alone until we got to the hospital. I kept gazing at my son as he was happily breastfeeding.
At the hospital, I got a couple more contractions and birthed the placenta. Then I got to cut the cord myself. I had asked my mum whether she wanted to do it, but she declined. Maya cuddled with Daniel and me on the bed for a while. Then I called Dion, who sadly missed the whole thing. He was ecstatic that he now had a son.
I had a labial tear which needed a few stitches (same spot as last time). But apart from that, my body handled the speedy birth really well. By my own memory, the whole of labour was only 5 hours with active labour and transition about 45 minutes. The pushing stage lasted only 15-20 minutes.
I was surprised how calm and in control I felt the whole time. I was never scared or worried. Not even stressed.
It was very very intense. And because it was so fast, it felt surreal. But I can’t say that it was more painful than Maya’s longer labour. I do believe moving through contractions helped a whole lot. But once I was in transition, I couldn’t move anymore. I couldn’t hold my own weight as all my energy was being used to get this baby out.
A few hours after getting to the birth centre, we were on our way home again. Barefoot (but not pregnant anymore lol), as I hadn’t even grabbed shoes in the mad rush to the hospital. Luckily my mum had taken my hospital bag which had some pants and a shirt in it. We put both kids to sleep and talked a lot about what had just happened. Daniel is now 2 weeks old, but we still haven’t quite digested everything. It just seems like it’s something that only happens in the movies.
On the way home from the hospital, my mum said: “Who would have thought 10 years ago that we’d pull ourselves together and become such a good team. And who would have thought that I would be delivering your children.” Well, I couldn’t think of a better person to be welcoming my child into the world (apart from Dion of course. It’s such a shame that he missed his son’s birth).