True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 382. I can do it (Zsuzsika’s birth)


Right from the beginning we had been planning to have a big family with my husband. For me it wasn’t a quiestion if I would be able to give birth, or if I was mature enough to have a child. Expecting and having a baby and being a mother seemed all so natural to me that I didn’t have any doubts if I would be able or not.

My first pregnancy was peaceful but hectic at the same time. I was healthy and my growing abdomen didn’t prevent me from doing anything that I wanted. I was going to college and swimming, we were looking for a flat, later redoing the flat. My friend told me about a gynaecologist who had looked after her during her labour, and she was really contented with him. I didn’t think it was an important issue to have a gynaecologist (it was me who gave birth, not him) but anyway, that’s how it’s done…

When the baby didn’t show any sign of willingness to be born even on week 40 I had to go to hospital. Neither of us had any health problems, however I really hated hospitals. Five days later something seemed to start, I was over the moon that soon I could be “set free”. I thought the water had broken and I had contractions two minutes apart. The process went on, but at a slow pace. Both of us were fine. They tried to make it faster with oxytocin, but I ended up with a caesarean because according to the protocoll too much time had passed. On the following two days I continoued having contractions two minutes apart and I felt extremely disappointed. My doctor said that the baby’s head had not been in the right position probably because the cord had been around its head and all in all it was the best possible solution because it wouldn’t have been able to be born. Oh, and one more thing: it was too big: 3250 grams. Never mind, maybe next time!

Next time the birth hadn’t started by the due date again, so I had to go to hospital and we waited. I had been promised that if everything went well we would wait for the baby to come out naturally at its own pace. We waited and waited then suddenly it became very urgent to make my daughter to be born, though there weren’t any changes in our states. I was even more disappointed if it was possible. Meanwhile I had bad feelings about making a fuss about trivial problems such as how my babies are born, while there are women who can’t have children or have ill babies.

I spent my days in the hospital with a mother who had worked in the gynaecological operating theatre as an assistant before her babies were born. I got the answer from her why my operation became so urgent. “There are a lot of caesareans this time, because there is a conference starting tomorrow…” This sentence stayed with me and later started many important things.

My two daughters developed beautifully, I enjoyed being with them, watching them discover the world. I was happy, but somewhere deep inside I felt sorry that they couldn’t have been born the way that they could have. It was less and less sure that we can realise our plan of having a lot of children. After two caesareans you can’t have a baby in the natural way, and it is also risky to have too many caesareans. I didn’t want to accept that. I read into the topic: birth stories, medical literature, study books about gynaecology.

I was looking for a doctor, who was willing to have me and my need for natural-birth after two caesareans. Well, I couldn’t find any, but eventually I found Ági and her helpers. On the information evening I realised that I wanted homebirth, I had always had, only I hadn’t realised it. Some days later our third baby got conceived.

I got all the answers on the information evening and during the course and I could experience the attitude I needed. The more information I had the more convinced I became of being on the right track.

Zsuzsika’s birth

We were on week 41 when one evening it seemed to me that the hardenings of my womb became more regular than before. We watched a film, had a lot of laughs and went to bed.

Early in the morning I woke up and smelt something that was typical of antenatal wards. I slowly realised that it was the scent of colostrums. My abdomen was hard in every second minute and I thought the water had broken. I learnt only later that it was the mucus plug.

I called Ági and they left immediately, because we lived far. They got there in the morning when the kids were about to wake up. They helped Dad to dress the girls, and my family headed for the grandparents’. I got a bit disrupted from my rhythm.

In spite of having contractions that were only two minutes apart, we were really at the beginning and I felt we were very slow. It wasn’t painful; I could just feel it working. I enjoyed the work of my womb. My only worry was that I might have called Ági a bit too early and they were wasting their time. And that the process might stop.

It was great that they didn’t disturb me, they went out to the kitchen to get unpacked, but it was good to have them around. Sometimes the heartbeat was listened to, or I was asked if I wanted anything.

I was sitting around on my daughters’ jumping ball, walking up and down, then I was offered a hot bath. That was relieving. I can’t imagine how to give birth without hot water, hot poultice and clary sage. The contractions became more and more intense but they weren’t painful. Though I could feel that without the hot poultice they would be different.

During the afternoon I was still thinking about the contractions coming too sparsely and that it might take even two days to have the baby. I completely lost my sense of time, and Ági could see it. After one contraction I went to pee. I had a contraction sitting on the loo, and I had another one while washing my hands… Actually they hit quite often… After a couple of really intense ones the amniotic sac ruptured. (And I learnt the difference between the amount of water and mucus plug.)

What happened afterwards was challenging for both body and soul. Zsuzsi was about coming out, but the cervix hadn’t thinned out properly and – as it turned out – it became a bit oedematous as it got stuck between her head and my pelvis. Ági suggested that I should lie for about five contractions on my right side, on my back and then on my left side. Well, those 15 contractions were extremely painful. I realised that labour in a lying posture must be terrible…

The cervix effaced, Zsuzsi was about to come out, but I got frightened because of the tension I was feeling, and I didn’t let her. I was literally blocking her way out. Actually I didn’t believe I was able to give birth to her. My husband noticed this and he was worried. He told me to do it. Then he left the room. (I learnt only later that it was because of a glimpse from Ági.)

Also, Ági could see that it was me who didn’t let the baby out. She said that the baby wanted to come out and she was able to come out, and I was able to do it. This worked! Women are needed at a birth. My husband had also seen what the problem was, but the way Ági told me about it was supportive and it helped. (Anyway, it quite often happens when giving birth in the natural way after a caesarean that there is a mental block, which must be erased to be able to let the baby out.)

When this had happened I soon found the right posture leaning forward on the labouring chair. I was leaning against Ági and my husband’s back, and Zsuzsika was coming out. I had the feeling of being torn apart, but it didn’t worry me anymore. I didn’t have to push, I just let my womb work and only at the end did I help a bit.

When my baby was finally out I wanted to hug her and I did hug her. I think that was the moment when I became a “real” mother, and the mother of all my three children was born then. After this had happened I didn’t feel hurt anymore about having deprived of my two other first hugs. It was made up for.

Ági helped me to go to the bed, the baby was wrapped and we were happy. My little Zsuzsi was watching me and the world she had just arrived at with her big black eyes. She started to breath. She didn’t cry. The bells of the nearby church started to ring. It was six o’clock.

It took almost a day for her to be born. Ági and her helper waited all this time for her. That day me and my family were the most important for them, they put everything else aside, and were there for us to help, support and love. I can’t be thankful enough. I might be able to pay it forward to my kids, at least part of it. I can teach them about loving in a caring way, about wise patience and loving help – all the things I experienced that day.

If all the babies in Hungary could be born surrounded by this loving watch, patient caring and respectful help, I’m sure we wouldn’t need to worry about the size of our population.

Since that we have had another daughter born with Ági and her helpers…

V. E.

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

This post is also available in: Hungarian