True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 374. I was given another chance – Benedek’s birth

Wednesday morning – around 11.15 CGT with Ági at the hospital. Julcsi, aged two and a half is stomping up the stairs to the obstetrics, where doctors, nurses, midwives are busy coming and going fast like the wind and a large family are looking forward to having their new member. We are at the door waiting for Ági. Julcsi is grouchy, but later everything gets sorted. Ági becomes free, and though there are a lot of people in the room where the CGT is done, there is some room for us too. Everybody is stressed, only Ági radiates calmness so I myself get calm immediately. We are watching the CGT and talking at the same time. Ági is telling a story, it is good to listen to her, Julcsi is asking questions about what is happening, we are having a great time.

For a while Ági leaves us alone, and that is the time I notice there is a man in the room, too. His wife is sighing, stands up and would like to open the window. I realise she is in labour! She is trying to turn inwards, breathing with her eyes shut; her husband is a bit embarrassed while massaging her back. She is surrounded by noise, closing doors and even Julcsi starts to whine. I feel ashamed. I would like everybody to shut up, to turn off the machines and start breathing together, meditating or anything. Anyhow, we should be present! But all I can do is to tell Julcsi to be silent and luckily she obeys. I am looking at them saying to myself: “Oh my God, how can anyone give birth amongst such circumstances? If I had to give birth like this I also would want it to end as soon as possible, no matter how, but let make the baby out. God, I pray, I won’t have to, I don’t want it, please I don’t want to be hospitalised!”

It is around noon when we are heading for home. I have just called Laca to tell him the water has broken and we are going into labour soon. I am four days overdue and I’m thinking about letting that baby go finally. I am not afraid of not being able to give birth in a normal way. I am expecting my second child, and my first birth was so natural, but… And as it has happened so many times before, I can see in my head Julcsi being born…

After a long search we chose a hospital that was well-known for its “alternative” methods and for not carrying out any interventions unless they were needed, and it was said that everything happened as the mother wished. I put so much trust in that hospital, my doctor and my midwife whom I had chosen. However, I was a bit disturbed by the sentence that I started to hear more and more often towards the end of my term: “Of course, if there is any kind of complication or the delivery won’t progress we will intervene immediately.” But I had a trust in myself and was in labour for one night alone, peacefully.

We went to the hospital next morning and we proved to be lucky because the alternative delivery room was vacant, and my doctor was on duty, so I was left alone. It’s true that from time to time I was offered some “accelerating” intervention, but fortunately we managed to turn all of them down. All the time until the water broke only the two of us, Laca and I were in the room, and he was a tireless masseuse. When the water broke we called for the doctor and the midwife. It was the time when everything changed.

Though I was allowed to change the position, which was sitting upright, from that point my labour was “commanded” – as it is typical in most hospitals, but we didn’t expect that right here. And me – half dead because of the pain – pushed without thinking. Then I was told there was no other chance but episiotomy. So I accepted it.

It took one hour to make the stitches on it because it had torn. Julcsi was given to me only for a sec, putting her on my tits was out of question. While in the hospital I was able to walk only bent. I lay in bed for weeks and it took about six months for me to recover. I mean completely by that time – hats off, that had been a nice job!

Six weeks after the labour, at the check-up I asked the doctor why that all had happened and how I can avoid it the next time. He said it had been my mistake because I hadn’t stood in with the midwife, and there is a greater risk of tear when you are in a sitting position. He also told me that I am bound to have episiotomy the next time as well. The midwife said I had been lucky. If there hadn’t been an episiotomy I would have torn more severely. And I believed every word they said without questioning them. However this little flaw caused not one physical and emotional crisis for me.

Julcsi was three months old when I spent eight days in hospital and four and a half when I couldn’t go on breastfeeding her. But I was sure that I – it seemed – was faulty by nature, and it doesn’t matter whatever Ági says about it, that there is no need for episiotomy I simply couldn’t believe it. They will see that I am the exceptional and only one who does need it.

Day 374. I was given another chance – Benedek’s birthJulcsi’s muscles were so stiff that we attended therapy sessions for one year to make her motions proper. For a long time we didn’t know what it might have been caused by and if it had been the lack of oxygen during labour, when it could have happened. During the therapy period we found out that it was likely that the placenta had detached too early (as it was born at the same time with Julcsi). The only problem was that no one had told us about it at that time. If they had it would have saved us a great deal of worries and doubtfulness.

We are by the end of winter. There is a warm spell. Spring is arriving. I really would like to go into labour.

Thursday morning, around 5. – This is “it”. I watch my clock, the contractions hit every eight to ten minutes and they are about 30-40 sec long. Is it possible to be over it by noon? If it is so, we will have another midwife with us as Ági Geréb is having a team.Wednesday evening: I have predicting contractions from time to time. I don’t know what to think. Is it going to happen tonight? Or tomorrow? We are making phone calls, laughing.

Laca has woken up, and – typical of him – he would like to know immediately what will happen, how to organise his day. I don’t know!

After 8.00 am – The contractions have ceased. I call Ági. We decide that I will call her again at 1.00, unless I have had the baby by that time. Laca is a bit nervous, he wants me to tell him immediately what will happen as he is having a meeting at noon and at 3.00 he has to see the accountant. I become a bit hysterical; here am I, about to go into labour and no one has time for me. But the contractions are over, all right, my love, go, do your things and I’ll call you.

There is only the two of us with Julcsi. This baby is messing with me.

1.00 pm – Ági is calling. I complain that I don’t understand what the problem might be, why the baby won’t come. Ági’s answer: “You are not in control now, things are happening to you. If you don’t like it, you should go to the hospital and have it induced.” Oh gosh, how it is possible that she always knows what to say!

OK, carpe diem, we are going sledging with Julcsi. We take turns to pull the sledge. I sometimes stop to breathe and watch my daughter. I watch the people. They don’t know, nobody knows that somebody inside is getting ready. It is only me who is as happy as a clam.

4.00 in the afternoon – Julcsi is asleep. It was a hard job for me to put her to bed. I wish I could be with Laca, at peace. I am breathing heavily, leaning against the working surface in the kitchen and trying to make some cake. A midwife-cake. Damn it, I can’t find the baking powder. That makes me crazy. I call Laca, he is on his way home, trying to calm me down. He is to be at home soon. He has put the baking powder somewhere but can’t remember where.

6.00 in the evening – The cake is in the oven, and we are getting Julcsi ready for going to stay with my sister-in-law. “What are you doing? Are you having a party? Are you going to the cinema?” We are trying to evade the questions but I feel it is not right like this. Finally I tell her what is about to happen. She can’t really get it, but doesn’t say anything. They leave. I miss my daughter right at once. I call Ági that it is not urgent but they might as well come. The contractions become harder and harder – they hit about every eighth minute.

7.00 in the evening – Everything is prepared, I am about to have a bath when Laca brings the laptop and starts our favourite party music selection. We start to dance, together, we become happier and happier. We are listening to our favourite music we have been dancing to for years at every party. The last time was on New Year’s Eve. We had here a lot of people we love. And now there are the two of us and when the contractions hit we hold each other. “Stand up and fight for your right to party!” Well, we will. We will have a great party. Later Laca leaves the room and I go on dancing alone in the dark. I am at home. I am in the right place. I can’t understand why I should leave and where for.

8.00 in the evening – Ági and her helper have arrived. I have been examined and it turns out that my cervix is 3 cm dilated, but the dance has made me so relaxed that the contractions have disappeared. Ági doesn’t feel embarrassed about it at all but I do. We are chatting, having tea and I feel like a pupil who hasn’t done her homework. I know it is nonsense, and Ági says that they might leave any time, or go to sleep – I still feel it is awkward.

9.00 at night – Ági gets a call, somebody has gone into labour in Solymár. I get relieved, but Laca – as it turned out later – gets frightened. Ági assures me that this fellow woman of mine gives birth very fast, and they will be back soon. We quickly explain them how to get to Solymár the easiest way and they are gone.

Between 9 and 11 – I can’t sleep, every eight minute a contraction wakes me. I wake Lace to massage my lower back but by the time he could start it is too late. So I do some yoga exercise and go into the bath instead.

Meanwhile there is a text from Ági telling that the baby in Solymár has been born, and asking where they should go, home or to our place. I want to say to home, but Laca is worried. I start to be really worried about having to go to hospital because there must be something wrong with me. Is it possible that I am subconsciously afraid of going into labour at home? So there is another phone call to listen to Ági’s comforting words. It is difficult to believe that there is no need to hurry indeed.

11.30 – By the time Ági and her helper arrive there is no doubt if they should stay. I am shivering with cold and I demand that somebody massage me. I can’t see even today how they solved to arrange everything in seconds: the mattress is made, the hot poultice is ready, and the heater is on. I felt beforehand that Ági and Laca would be able to cooperate, but he and Edina, my doula also understand each other. A few words are enough for her to find and arrange everything.

Friday just after quarter past twelve – I have had the contractions for about an hour now without stop. I am whining a bit but I am still conscious. Edina is wonderful. One look is enough for her to give me the hot poultice, which is pressed on my belly with Ági’s help. Laca realises that he will have less work to do now than during my previous labour so he sits down to my head on a little chair.

Then with a huge wave of contraction the water breaks and I am happy, because from now on I will only have to push.

Ten minutes later – Oh, my God, I hate this so much. I am a fool… stupid… crazy! Why am I not having the caesarean or… with anaesthetics?

… As if I was the toy of devilish powers at each wave of contractions and I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t resist, go away or get away from it all.

… I am letting my baby out slowly. I know I feel I cannot hurry now. I don’t dare to straighten so I stay on my all fours and rise on my knees only for a short while from time to time. Meanwhile I rage and swear why this baby isn’t coming. Ági says:”Right at once am I coming!” Of course, he is coming immediately. He is coming.

For a couple of seconds I think only of Julcsi, and the morning that she will come fresh and joyful and she will see her little brother and get a bit awkward and then she will understand what has happened.

… As if through a curtain I can hear, it turns out that during contractions I keep biting Laca’s hand. Ági suggests that I should take a wooden spoon and use that instead. I have to smile imagining myself with a wooden spoon in my mouth and fight as a kind of puppy. Luckily Laca doesn’t support the idea and I give up biting his hand. Win-win.

… I can’t take it anymore. I am not aware of but I feel that I am afraid of pushing, pushing bravely, let him go, let him out. I get some globules, the flavour is familiar, and the treatment is familiar so it puts me at ease. Then Ági recommends that something should be changed so I fight myself to my feet, and then there is another hit that I survive in Laca’s arms, after that I am said to crouch in front of the bed. That’s when I understand that now I can let him out, the baby can come.

Day 374. I was given another chanceHalf past one – I can feel some terrible, terrible heat, I scream – yes, it is just like in films – but it doesn’t hurt anymore and he is coming, and there is another desperate sentence “Somebody should take this child out of me, please!”…but now I can feel his small wet body slipping out… how far he is now, but he is coming, closer, he is put on my belly, he cries a bit then just whimpers. Here he is, here he is. I can’t understand anything and I think of Julcsi again and my first words are “What will your sister say?”

From half past one to four – I heave, we heave and relax. Ági sits down there, by our side and Edina too for a while, but Benedek is more communicative than me I just tend to whimper. Then I look at Laca standing by the head of the bed speechless. He doesn’t say anything and I don’t say anything, just nods his head slightly – I can hardly notice. He is like this – I have never seen him crying, it seems I won’t now. Still I can understand: here we are, we’ve done it, we have managed – it is more than words can say.

The things that are left to be arranged are being silently arranged and Ági finally succeeds in making Benedek start eating. I can’t even move, I am saying goodbye to them half-sleeping and before falling to sleep I can hear Lace tidying.

Six in the morning – Benedek cries out, I put him on my breast. He is by my side, naked. It is dawning. There are strange, out-of-this-world lights and some kind of silent peace surrounds us. Laca is lying on a mattress but he can’t be sound asleep because he wakes up immediately. We have some words, get the baby dressed and then Laca helps me to the bathroom to have a shower. The baby is crying and we try to comfort him. Slowly we start to comprehend, yes, it has happened. Yes, here we are, alive. We can start making the phone calls.

And then it was followed by a three-week happiness that our little family experienced. I recovered quickly, we became attuned to each other, my baby boy was as healthy as can be – these all helped me to finally get over the terrible experience of my first childbirth.

E. K.

Benedek’ birth – the story from a bit outer point of view > > >

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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