True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 381. Is he going to come out today? (Ábel)

Day 381. Is he going to come out today? (Ábel)

The beginnings

So, I’ll start from the very beginning. I had been longing for a baby for a very long time as I always had had strong maternal feelings as such. After having worked on in for ten months, finally our Little One conceived. We couldn’t be happier. At that time I wasn’t aware that I would have home labour. I didn’t even know an obstetrician, so I started to ask friends to recommend a good one. Though I couldn’t be sure the one that had been good for a friend would be the good choice for me, too.

Then a friend who was working in the local medical offices suggested that I should visit them. One of the gynaecologists undertook my prenatal care but as he wasn’t an obstetrician I still had the job of finding a hospital and an obstetrician, but I couldn’t care less at the time. I went to the compulsory check-ups. Luckily the doc didn’t really care about me; he only did the compulsory ultra sound exams but nothing else, because I didn’t complain about anything.

But I have to say, I was happy about that.

Meanwhile I heard about a friend who had had her daughter at home and another girl told me about a so called information week that is worth visiting even if I would decide on getting hospitalised. After she had her baby at home I thought more and more about this option and finally I and Darling decided to go and see that information week.

At the beginning when it was only a thought that I might avoid the hospital, I had my doubts, I wasn’t sure of myself. But during the information week we learnt more and more, and my doubts started to fade away. Darling hadn’t had any doubts originally either, so in the end we reached the decision that home birth would be the best possible option for us. And from that point we opened up even more, and we gathered even more information and during my pregnancy we consciously prepared for the forthcoming event. We read books, watched videos and talked to others.

My pregnancy was completely free of any problems, what is more it was one of the most extraordinary periods in my life. It was risk-free, that is not the endangered category. I enjoyed listening to the changes in and of my body. It was such a great feeling to know that I have new life inside me growing.

I wasn’t afraid of the birth – as I’m not afraid of the unknown – on the contrary: I was looking forward to experiencing it. I considered it as initiation to womanhood. I thought about it: never in my life had I been in hospital with the exception of my own birth. I had never been ill, why would I go there now, when I was healthy and my baby was healthy (because I knew he was healthy – and I knew it not from the examinations)? Of course I knew all the objections, but I was convinced that the best option for us was to stay at home peacefully, as peacefully as the previous nine months had been.

I was a bit worried so that Ábel wouldn’t feel like coming out of his rental in my abdomen before week 37, because that would’ve meant that we couldn’t have homebirth. But nothing of the kind happened. I was talking to him, and said to him not to come out, and he – instead of the due date – was born on week 42, 12 days after the due date healthy, in his right time. (Anyway, I suppose the calculations were not correct, because my menstrual cycles were not 28 but 33-35 days long. Next time I’m going to calculate it differently.) Naturally everyone around me was very impatient by the time, but I knew that my baby would be born when it is the best for him.

Well, after meeting the midwives on week 37 I could say I was accepted, because I had fulfilled all the criteria – of course there are conditions when they can’t take the responsibility, of which can have many reasons, anyway I was over the moon that my dreams seemed to come true and I was really looking forward to the BIG DAY. Meanwhile I prepared everything that might be needed in such a situation – especially my soul. I imagined my labour in every different way but I knew whatever I had fantasised about, it would happen in a totally different way. I didn’t know how it would start, and what would be better – to have the pains of contractions, or get the water broken…

From the due date my days started to become more and more exciting. Every night I went to bed with the idea that by the morning I might see Ábel. Meanwhile I had some predicting ones, menstrual-like cramping, which I was experiencing especially at night and early in the morning but they were usually gone by the next day.

At Easter I felt them a bit during the day, too, and I saw a little part of the mucus plug. I hoped it meant that the labour was about to start, though I knew it didn’t really mean too much. Meanwhile I had my ctg test every second day – luckily I had the CTG machine of the Labour Centre in my home and I made the procedure a lot easier as I didn’t have to go anywhere. Though during the last days I was hanging around a lot. True, it was more and more difficult because Ábel pulled down my abdomen and his head was so stuck that I was able to walk with my legs slightly apart and waggling from side to side just like a duckling, very slowly – but I didn’t have any problems.

 

The labour

So Easter came and that special Monday arrived, too. That day I hovered our place, mopped the floor, I was getting ready…

And in the evening we started to watch the film Patch Adams. At around half past eight I felt something warm leaking from inside. We knew it was the water! We knew it had begun…

We didn’t panic, though I felt my heart beat a bit stronger – the long-awaited minute had arrived! I brought a towel and checked the colour and scent of the water, and I took my temperature. Everything was perfect; the water was clear and without any smell. First I saw the bigger part of the mucus plug, then I felt the water coming out in bigger and bigger doses, they even reached the parquets. We went on watching the film – I didn’t want to miss it – but it seemed as if something had changed. I couldn’t concentrate on the film anymore, other things kept creeping into my mind. When the film ended I called Ági to tell her about the situation, and then we went to bed after her comforting words. I even texted my friend and doula that she should come in the morning as it had started.

I couldn’t sleep, though I didn’t feel the contractions. Ádám decided to sleep as long as he could. I started to watch some TV. By the end of the first film, around midnight I felt my womb working, and I had stronger and stronger contractions… By the time of the second film I wasn’t able to concentrate when the waves hit – then I learnt what “waves” actually were.

I lit the big thick white candle that I had bought especially for this event. The light of the candle put me at ease and I let myself be overwhelmed by the arriving waves in the still of the night. I couldn’t really sleep, though I wanted to, I only dozed off between two contractions, then I went on my knees, sat up, stood up, walked around the room depending on what seemed more relieving. It was good to be ‘alone’, and it was good that my Darling was sleeping by my side. I was sighing and whimpering and sighing when a stronger one hit. I was preparing in my soul and my thoughts for the approaching encounter. I was timing the contractions but they were quite irregular: sometimes 4, then 8, or 10 minutes were between them.

At half past one I sat into the bathtub. Darling woke up and started timing when the contractions hit. The hot water was a great feeling around my body, but the pains didn’t seem less intense. On the contrary! Darling measured the waves to be two minutes apart regularly, but when I got out of the water they became irregular again. He went back to sleep, and I carried on dozing off and jumping up from time to time. When the contractions hit I couldn’t stay laid…

At half past three I called the given number and asked the midwife to come. She got there by half past four, she looked around to see what the situation was and examined me. I was a bit disappointed, because I was only one cm dilated. As she didn’t have anything else to do, we decided that she left and I went on ‘working’. She suggested that I should sleep and eat and drink… but I wasn’t able to. I had a bit of a cranberries-palinka because I thought it would help me to go to sleep but the only result of it was that I felt sick so I couldn’t sleep anyway.

And the waves hit again, then a break, some waves, a break, and I gave up timing, just waited for the next one to hit, and between them, I put my head on the pillow and slept, and dreamt, looked at inner pictures – whatever. It was dream-like, I wasn’t either awake or asleep.

In the meantime morning had arrived, the birds on the tree in front of the house woke up. The dawn was beautiful, so was the morning. I called the midwife again at half past eight. I was worried about calling her too early again, but I felt I needed her. They got there by half past nine and work began. They took out their things, started to heat water, she listened to the heart of the baby and all the other stuff I can’t remember, and also it was my and my baby’s work. By that time the contractions were strong enough… The hot poultice was a great feeling, and also it was good to look into my Darling’s eyes while gripping his hands. I didn’t say much. Sometimes, in clearer moments I had some words about where they could find different things and similar. Then my friend-doula arrived, it was good to have her there, she knew where things could be found in the flat, and helped around. And also it was supportive to look at her because she had already given birth, the baby had come out of her just like mine was on his way out of me.

Then we got stuck for a while, the cervix just wouldn’t thin out totally and the baby couldn’t come, so I had to go on “working” for another 90 minutes and when it was about to be iced, it was gone after an intense contraction. Hurray, it was just liberating! The way for the baby got unblocked and I could feel him coming further down. It all happened around a quarter past one in the afternoon. The baby was slowly making his way downwards. Soon his hair could be seen. It was so long, that it was already out before him.

Meanwhile the gasman rang the bell twice (he was lost), and it might have disrupted the events a wee bit…

So Ábel was down quite soon, but it was difficult for him to come out. Around one hour or more had passed and he kept slipping back. Then the midwife suggested that I should try different postures and keeping him back. Basically I was on my all fours on the bed, leaning over a pillow during the labour, because that seemed the less painful. It was 25 C in the room and I was sweating or feeling cold in my short white terry bathrobe. Sometimes I pulled it up (by the end it became blood-stained) but I was a great feeling on me because it kept me warm from time to time when I was shivering even in the heated room…. My Darling massaged my back, and my lower back, the touches were comforting, it was good to have all of them there caring for me, for us. I was in labour.

At times I stood up, stepped from side to side, even danced for a while… Then we gave it a try on the makeshift labour chair, which was formed by me sitting on my Darling’s knees with my back leaning against his chest. But Ábel wouldn’t come out.

The baby’s heartbeat was checked continuously, and he was doing all right (my little hero) and so was I, thought practically I was arm wrestling with Darling because of the pain. It was not only me who had sore muscles afterwards, but him too, and even the midwife… I felt the urge to pee, but I couldn’t. I didn’t succeed. I pushed, and pushed and then kept it back…. Ábel didn’t come out.

I could feel his little head and his hair, and when standing upright it was really weird with the baby in between my legs… Then I asked “Is he going to come out today?” It made us smile. I pushed fiercely when I felt the stimulus, I needed to poop, the baby’s head pushed me, it was almost out, but I couldn’t push him out. I had terrible pushing pains. I was whining, and whimpering and groaning and crying “Oh, my God!”. I wasn’t silent. But who is when in labour? There might be some…

We tried homeopathy. Finally Ági Geréb was called if she could come. She arrived and solved the problem after three contractions.

Before that a lot of things had crossed my mind when I saw the scissors in the midwife’s hand from the corner of my eyes. She was disinfected them with Betadine and I had the crazy thought that she was about cutting the perineum. What a stupid idea! They had been protecting my perineum by massaging and in other ways! I was about to lose my heart. I wondered why the baby wouldn’t come out. Wasn’t I doing well? But by the time the idea had been formed in my mind I got praises that I was doing all right and that I could do it. And yes, I was able to do it! I pushed like never before when finally he was coming. Probably I shouldn’t have pushed so much, and I should have breathed a bit more slowly, and “exhale”, but at the time I couldn’t remember this. I did the way I could. I was visualising myself being an opening rose-blossom.

First Ági put some oil on my abdomen, which made the contractions more intense, but I couldn’t push, then she made me lay on my back, and by that time everything was happening at the same time, there was no break, and she helped the baby, I don’t know what exactly she was doing, I think she helped him (with two fingers) when he was coming, and the body was immediately out. Darling says he was like a small Inca statue, he wasn’t covered in vernix, but his wonderful soft skin could be seen. Unfortunately I couldn’t see it, because when he was born I was lying on my back not being really aware what was happening around me.

He cried out, and he was put on me – it was incredibly good, we were there together resting after the tiring job of labour. Soon, he was sucking and my doula was crying with happiness over us, and I was just smiling. About half an hour later, the last ‘contraction’ brought the placenta intact. We examined the amniotic sac, it was only lightly calcificated. Thus the labour was over.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating then Darling cut it. There wasn’t a tear on the perineum, only a really light injury. My vagina was more affected by the repeated out and in movements of the baby, but it didn’t hurt, at least I didn’t feel. But baby Ábel had a head circumference of 36 cm, and he weighed 4370 g. My helpers tided up, changed the bedclothes, I stood up a bit dizzy, but had a shower, and called my parents. Meanwhile Ábel was sleeping on Darling’s chest.

I went to the fresh and clean bed with my baby. My doula brought me some food. It was a unique afternoon. When, to my pleasure, my parents arrived everything was peaceful and silent. And we just watched and watched and admired Ábel.

 

Epilogue

In retrospective I am convinced that choosing home birth was the best choice for me, though where we lived was only a crappy apartment. However that was not the point, the peaceful birthing – that was important, now I know. At the time it was strange to imagine giving birth in an apartment. Nonsense. I had to do this, I’m happy that I had listened to my inner voice, because with a baby of that size I was bound to get oxytocin, maybe manual dilating, episiotomy and other medical equipment I suppose. I might have ended up with a caesarean – who knows. But I’m sure they wouldn’t have waited for me to dilate completely. 17 hours passed after the first contraction… In the last three I had pushing pains. I’m convinced that my body needed this long period to let this huge little baby out peacefully.

It wasn’t easy. Childbirth is a tough job. I’m happy about this experience and the initiation. I wasn’t afraid, and I didn’t know why I should have been, but I believe I won’t be afraid in the future either. Especially after THIS ONE. Nothing happened to me during the labour that was against me. Everything was good, and everything happened as they had to… And Ábel was alright, too. I was talking to him meanwhile, said to him to see him soon outside and encouraged him and myself as well. I never occurred to me that I couldn’t take it and I knew that my suffering was a so called productive one, which brought me my son.

It is like the formation of a pearl, when the shell is injured by a tiny piece of dust and it is formed into a pearl by the pains of the shell. My helpers were more than wonderful and I’m really grateful for all their help, for being with us. I totally trusted them… and myself.

My Darling was holding my hands all the way through, he was there for me, he didn’t even think of fainting and he encouraged me with his warm brown eyes. It was great to look into his eyes and get strength from them, though he said that I was so strong that he couldn’t ever be like.

That is how our little Miracle was born!

V. K.

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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