True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 370. She is so… (Emma)

She is so…, isn’t she? I made her! (With a little help of course.)

(Do you mean me? – Comments in italics are from Tamás.)

Wow, you want something impossible when you are asking me to write down everything, because there are so many things that they are impossible to be drawn up… But, let’s start from the beginning.

We finished using the skype and I was in a very good mood – in the best for days. I had written to Dalma how crazy I was and how much I was longing for the delivery and how hard it was to wait. Secretly I hoped the full moon would take an effect on me…

(The cold front on the previous day hadn’t.)

Then Tamás came home from work, and I told him I felt like going for a walk and just going out anyway. He said that he would take his camera; he might see some inspirational scenes. So we had a great walk (plenty of pictures were taken, including the one of me peeping out from behind the tree), we had some ice-cream and got home at around 7. Both of us were a bit tired so at half past eight we were making the beds and making jokes about going to bed so early.

During the walk I had had some light contractions but during the previous days it had become an everyday occurrence. It was like PMS, a bit of a back pain and my abdomen hurt a little and so on.

We started to watch a film and Tamás was massaging my lower back because it didn’t stop hurting. Then at the finish of the film I had a strong feeling that I really needed to pee. I went to the loo, but I couldn’t pee, I could see only something light pink down there.

Then I went back to watch the film, but I had the same feeling again. When I was going to the toilet, I had a pain in my abdomen… In the toilet it was the same again.

I said to Tamás that something strange was happening. There was either something bad with the piss or I was leaking from somewhere else. (I started to smell it – it is said to have a sweet smell comparable to nothing if it is the water…) But this one didn’t have any special scent. So I quickly put a tampon inside to see where I was leaking from.

I had some pains in my belly, the signs started to become promising, but I thought it was too early to make an alert because I wasn’t sure of myself. Ten minutes passed and I recognised that it must have been the water and it was a bit worrying that there were some little bloody pieces in it. I was a bit frightened so I called Ági Geréb’s number. First another midwife answered the phone and she said that blood is never a good sign and I was to call Ági Geréb (she sent me the secret number), and she added funnily that I should wait with the labour as she had to go to another delivery then.

Ági’s voice was really sleepy when she answered the phone and she asked me how much it hurt. (By this time we had measured that I had contractions about five minutes apart) “Have you taken your temperature?” she asked. I said no. If it is only a little bloody that is normal before giving birth – no need to worry. We were to go on measuring the time and look out for the signs and get in touch in need. And to try to relax, because she was doing the same, but if there would be any kind of problem we were to call.

(Thinking back of that it sounds funny to try to relax. It is easier said than done when you are ahead of the greatest event of your life and adrenaline starts growing… Maybe with the sixth child…)

In the next half an hour we started to watch a Friends DVD and measured the time between contractions. Suddenly Ági rang to ask about the situation. I said my temperature was 36,5 C, the waves of contraction hit in 5-7 minutes. She said it was alright and that she had collected our papers to see whom we wanted but neither X nor Y was free, so Éva would come to me. I said of course.

So I got out of bed and I started to labour officially.

(Adrenaline at its peak.)

It all happened at 12. We were in two minds about calling the parents… – as they had made us promise to call. Naturally Tamás wanted to spare them, but I thought differently. They were grown up people, and they had asked for it, and things like this don’t happen every day… So finally we texted them…

(My parents read the message only next morning. It might have been better like this…)

Then we started to think about how to survive the next wave of contraction… Let’s start with the ball. But the ball was dirty and as I was likely to leak during contractions we washed it. I put the ball into the tub, I was washing it but it wouldn’t become clean enough. I took the Domestos out and Tamás was dying of laughter because of this. (I had had Domestos as my best friend for a while; I had washed everything with it…)

(It is funny to see a pregnant woman scrubbing a rubber ball stopping sometimes because of a contraction and then going on scrubbing.)

Ball finished, hot water bottle to my lower back and we were making jokes if the next wave would hit or there would not be another one and this all was a false alarm. Tamás had a watch with a timer and we started to measure not only the time between two waves but the length of them (they were about 40-sec long.)

(At that time I felt awfully important with my watch around my wrist and I was angry with Eszter when she didn’t tell me in time when the next contraction hit, because the timing couldn’t be accurate. There might have been differences of several seconds! How stupid I was!)

During every wave it could be seen that my abdomen became hard and then it became lax again when it was over. The hardness came, the wave hit, and the pain was sometimes from my lower back, sometimes from my abdomen. I sat on the ball; the hot water bottle was at my back, but it wasn’t good anyway. Tamás was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding my hand, caressing me and suddenly he said that it might have been the last half an hour only the two of us was spending together– and he was right.

After two other waves of contraction the ball wasn’t good anymore. I started to walk, searched for a good position. Then I realised that one of the best ones is on all fours. So I went down on all fours with all the waves. By that time instead of Friends Barber’s violin performance had been playing.

(For me it was a bit disturbing and for Eszter it became disturbing too after a while so we switched off all the sources of noise.)

Meanwhile Tamás called my attention to the beautiful full moon outside and that the cats were bucking – not only one, but a whole horde of them were having an orgy out there giving an amazing concert. I had just looked and listened to them when then next wave hit and I knelt down on the sofa in the living room and I suddenly felt a pop and then a splash and the water literally catapulted. Not a huge amount but quite some. It was at a quarter past one. So we are witches – we give birth and are born at full moon.

After the water had broken Tamás didn’t wait any longer but called Ági to tell her what had happened and that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and they should come.

(The fact that I phoned shows Eszter’s state.)

Well, from this point the contractions became different, they were extremely hard and I could hardly concentrate on the outer world. What had been good so far – that I leant against Tamás or he was massaging my back – became irritating. Poor thing, he kept asking me what to do, how to do, if it was good or not, but I couldn’t pay attention any more.

(For me it was the hardest phase. It took about 45 minutes for the assistance to come and during this time I couldn’t do anything. I was pacing up and down the room, looking at Eszter and I felt totally hopeless for not being able to help. If I had had longer hair or a beard I must have torn them out.)

I spent this time mostly in the bathroom so that I could wipe the water coming out with each contraction and put the paper into the toilet right at once. Sometimes I grasped the washing machine, other times the edge of the tub, then the basin, but most commonly I was on all fours.

(She was writhing and bent – I think these words suit the situation better.)

 And Tamás kept looking at his watch when someone would arrive and what on earth he could have done. … Basically he couldn’t have done anything. (it was the first time he panicked). I think the contractions came without a stop – I can’t remember clearly, as from this point I could only concentrate on surviving the contraction, which weren’t similar to the ones during a period but much more intensive and sharp and I couldn’t localize where they came from.

I don’t know how to give birth silently… I had an increasing urge to shout, it came with the contractions and it helped. Definitely helped.

Then I first felt the urge to push, because I wouldn’t call it a contraction, which is painful, but a feeling at the end of a contraction. It is a feeling coming from the cervical when I don’t have to push but as when pooping, it is a natural stimulus. Only a bit more painful. It was the time when Ági arrived (around 2 o’clock). By that time I was able to exist only on all fours. When she entered I was on the floor in front of the bathtub, she said hello with a faint smile on her face, she sized up the situation and Tamás immediately had some things to do. And I became completely relaxed that now it “was allowed” to give birth, the one who counted had arrived.

Ági immediately asked if I felt like going into the room, because it might have been more comfortable there… I tried to rise from the floor, but I couldn’t move as if my hands were cemented there. I said no, I couldn’t go. So Ági tucked herself in the tiny area between the toilet, the radiator, the tub and my bottom.

(Actually it took a bit longer time, she changed her clothes, and got prepared but for Eszter it must have been invisible.)

I think I tried to move a bit further to give her some more room.

(The guest’s comfort is the most important.)

She tried to put towels under my knees and hands between two waves of contraction so that I didn’t kneel on the floor but at that time I couldn’t think it might be tiring or painful. I had pains somewhere else, and they were much more intense…

Then Ági massaged my perineum, which was really relieving. During the time between two contractions she listened to the heart sounds of the baby (twice, or three times) with some little white thing… Meanwhile she kept saying to me how clever I was and that everything was alright and that the cervical had disappeared, and that her head had started coming down, and then her head was there and I could touch it… I touched it, but to be honest I felt only something mucous, it didn’t remind me of a head at all…

I think later some time she asked me again about going into the room but I really wasn’t there at the time. Because somehow all I could perceive was the pain, I was looking forward to the next one in the interval so that it would bring the baby. Then it hit and I was praying for survival and then the next one would bring the baby.

I don’t know how many waves of pushing back pain I had but it was likely to be more than the average because Emma’s cord was shorter and she always came only a bit further and then she slipped back to the womb. Of course I learnt about it only later because at that time I didn’t feel anything about it… I wasn’t looking at my belly…

(Well, I was, and it really could be seen that she started and as the contraction ended, she went back.)

Ági once asked me if Tamás could give me any help. (I think she wanted to give him some job to do.) By that time they had worried so much about my wrists and knees that I said I would put my hand on him. It happened only once as I didn’t need him indeed, but it was good that he hugged me and started to say how clever I was, and that things were going alright… or something like that. The doula might have arrived at this time (she came from the countryside.)

(No, it happened later, I will tell you when.)

When I had been “pushing” for about 40 minutes Ági told me to change my position if I wanted to have her more quickly. But if I didn’t, she would be able to be born like this as well I think I must have said “Come on, come on!” or something of the kind quite a few times…

It seems I said yes because Tamás and Ági changed places, but they didn’t lift me yet, then at the next contraction Ági asked “What should happen now?”. Personally I thought that I couldn’t stop the contraction anyway, so Tamás would catch her if she was to come out then… (That was the time when Tamás panicked –second time that day), but I was trying to keep her back, I think…

(Well, this was an interesting part, actually it happened like this: I was standing at the back, where the midwife is supposed to stand, and Eszter said she had this pushing pain, so there was no lifting. My feet rooted, but actually I didn’t panic, but I was trying to size up the situation what to do if I could see the head of the baby. All these, of course, in a second. Human mind is capable of doing unbelievable things.., but by the time I would have sunk into the catching position, the pain had gone.)

In the end she wasn’t born even with this contraction, but Tamás lifted me from behind…

(Well, that was the time when the doula arrived. It has just occurred to me what she could have seen: the bathroom is right opposite the entrance door.)

So her head appeared with a tear and a pain equivalent of three ones. And I looked down surprised that “Oh, my God, here it is her head… A child is coming out of me, it is happening, my child is coming out of me, indeed!”

Then suddenly the whole pinkish-purple mucous, here-and-there blood covered, huge baby was out. And I was looking: all this from me? She wasn’t a small, but a huge baby. And now, finally it is her. And how does she look like? I wanted to hold her. Emma snorted and cried out once, but then she stopped. I think she was snuffing.

(And she was admiring the world, too.)

I put her on my breast a bit awkwardly, I guess, Ági and Tamás helped me, and yes it is true what mothers usually say: at that moment all pains leave, and the world around you stops existing for you, and the only thing you do is to try to open your eyes as wide as you can so that you can see the baby. I think I kept saying how beautiful she was, and how big. It was an unbelievably good feeling to hold that warm, slippery little big body. And feeling her all around, I can remember looking at her ears first in details, how small it was and it had a pointed top… she had fairy ears. Then I went on to looking at her legs, and when I reached her heels they were familiar. Yes I knew them. I had been playing with these tiny pointed heels for months day by day. Yes, she was the same baby as the one inside.

During my whole pregnancy I had thought that I would cry at this point so much that I would not able to see my baby. I had imagined I would be so touched. But I didn’t. Crying didn’t come, instead a kind of great contentment because of having her, and she was beautiful and everything was alright. I was relieved. I was just holding and feeling and looking at my baby.

(I cried a bit, in a way that men do.)

Then slowly I started to realise that the tiles were uncomfortable under my bottom and that I still had to get rid of the placenta and then Ági and Éva came. (They had just prepared my bed in the room and got everything ready for the treatment of the perineum.)

Ági was holding the scissors to cut the cord because it had become blue, and white in some parts and wasn’t pulsating anymore. She tied it with two strings, then Tamás cut it.

(This thing of a father’s cutting the cord is given too big importance. It is only good for being able to boast with it in case you are asked about. To dig the placenta at the end of the garden. Well, that was a job to do for a man!)

Ági checked the placenta but actually it had been born with the baby, all she had to do is to take it out from me. The placenta was surprisingly small. The part that connects to the wall of the womb – according to Ági’s analyse – was exactly the right size, but the caul was rather small, just like the cord was too short. But they were just the perfect size for the baby because in spite of being 3.5 kg she looked perfectly catered for – she added quickly.

I was stripped off the bloody-watered- dirty clothes and paper. I was escorted to my bed very slowly, carefully. I had to put my two feet up to two chairs and I was told to try to breastfeed the baby because that helps the womb to contract (so that I would bleed less), and also Emma had been gaping persistently for a while – had been looking for the tits. Well, we were quite awkward, Emma was squelching on my breast, but you can take it for sure that she wasn’t able to suck properly (for about three more days…)

After examining me Ági said that though I had a tear, muscles weren’t involved, so it would heal nicely… At this point I started to ask her that what would be seen from it, and how long it would take to heal…. Well, I am a bit vain where that region is concerned. Then she told her verdict, which I didn’t really want to hear… Anyway she would make a stitch… The question was if I wanted a painkiller or not… I don’t know why I said yes… Maybe I didn’t want any more pains, but looking back it was a stupid idea. The injection hurt, and in spite of the medicine the stitch hurt too… As much as it would have hurt without medicine, I suppose.

Then Emma was examined, her heartbeat and lungs were checked, Ági looked at her in between her legs (that was when she recognised she was a girl – typical of Ági, she doesn’t like to bother about details) and it was stated that everything was alright about the baby. And Ági kept saying that I should go on trying the breastfeed, because that lessens the bleeding and helped me to put the baby on my breast in the right position, but we were complete beginners so we couldn’t do it properly. Then I was told to keep on trying as many times I could and I would succeed.

Then finally they packed their things, cleaned up the “telling sings” and said goodbye. I hugged Ági and said thank you for arriving exactly at the right time and all she said was that I had been clever (for her it is like a eulogy – so I nearly melted).

Well, that is all I can remember. Having read it, it is not so little, but I am quite unable to describe the feelings – they are for being experienced

(So they are, indeed.)


E (now alone)

(You are not alone.)

M. E.

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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