True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 387: A mother is born (Eszter’s birth)

I was awoken by a pain at quarter past midnight but then it stopped. And then the pain started again and it was kind of natural.

We had felt it the night before too, but even though we didn’t say it aloud we both felt it. I had found the show in my palm whilst in the shower and we became a little excited. This was excited in a nice way. We sat joyfully watching the moon from the window of the living room. It was special ritual for us, moon-watching on weekdays.

Gábor was sleeping besides me. I watched the clock to see how far apart my contractions are but all I managed to do was staring at my watch, I was unable to read anything from it. It was as if I had forgotten how to tell the time. My wriggling woke Gábor. He asked: “Are you OK?” “Yes.” – I answered – “I’m just having contractions and they hurt.”. I encourage him to go back to sleep, and said that I would try to sleep also as we would both need the energy.

We soon gave up as, sleeping was hopeless. I had a craving for cashew nuts, but we had none in the house. Would a walnut do instead? Just about, I thought. Gábor gets dressed and leaves. There are walnuts in the attic but the way through is locked, so has to forage in the garden for the nuts. I’m on my own in the meantime, in the nice, quiet, peace and the contractions.

I spend time breaking the nuts and eat them on the bed. When we run out of nuts, the contractions are stronger, I get out of bed. I’m hungry. There is some leftover pasta in the fridge, so we go out to the kitchen and Gábor warms up the food. I try to eat, but it’s not easy. I’m hungry in between the contractions, quickly a bite but when the contraction arrives I can’t even think about eating so it is best to have eaten my food by then. Then I think maybe I shouldn’t eat. But then I’m hungry again. I clean a small plate and I am OK for now.

In the meantime Gábor watches the clock and reports that the contractions have been regular from the beginning, but they are getting more frequent. I now realize that I enjoy it when he’s massaging my lower back. Do I want to call Ági? No, it’s not necessary. I feel that I don’t need her at the moment but it would take time for her to travel to the house. How do I know, I may need her in half an hour! Gábor says I shouldn’t think about what happens in half an hour, only about what I feel right now. And that I should call her now because I may not be able to do it later. OK, I call her. It is half past two in the morning and I have obviously woken Ági up. I tell her that I’m just calling but she doesn’t need to come. I feel stupid but that’s the truth. Fine, then she’s not coming, but It felt good to call her anyway.

I decided to take a shower. Lovely! I love taking showers and it feels amazing. I lean on the wall and the water washes me. Sounds begin to accompany the contractions. And eventually they create a tune. I find myself “singing” with every contraction. Everything comes naturally, the sounds, the contractions and I sink and rise. It hurts but it’s nice. I am happy that that Gábor is with me. Everything feels good.

I get out of the bath and then walk up and down in the dining room, singing, Gabor is massaging me. The phone rings. It’s Ági asking what’s the current situation. I tell her. She asks how many rooms have we have got? I reply that “We’ve got a few, why?” She says that she can’t get back to sleep after my last phone call and she could come over and sleep in one of the spare rooms. This cheers me up. What a good idea! This rids me of the need for making decisions that keeps bothering me. She’ll is on her way over now.

Everything is becoming more and more intense but there is no change. I go to toilet and defecated twice. In this time Ági now arrived, Gábor says, can he go down to greet her. I go into our bedroom. The thought that Ági is here bothers me even though she hasn’t even made it upstairs. I go to the cot bed, with my back to the door. Ági and Gábor come in and put their stuff down. Why is she coming in? We haven’t agreed to this! I don’t even look at her. She asks if I want an examination before she goes to bed. I shake my head shortly, defiantly. What about the heartbeat, can she listen to that? What, listening to the heart – get lost instead! That’s how I feel. That’s my answer. Finally she leaves the room. While she was here the contractions stopped. Soon I get back to the rhythm.

Dancing, singing, massage. I stroke the cot bed all around, the woollen blanket in it; I stroke my face with the woollen angels. Everything is good. It’s good to know that Ági is right here in the next room and I can call her anytime. I look at her stuff. There is quite a lot. A woollen stork is hanging on the window handle. We heard of this one at the course. I really like it! A stork, the stork has arrived! And it’s woollen! Can I have it? I would like to hold it! I reach for it but I feel I’m too small, I won’t reach it, I can’t take it down however much I’d like to hold it. I look at Gábor. Please! He takes it down, gives it to me. I’ve got it! So good! I cuddle it; I dance and sing with it. Images and feelings are coming. Something elemental and good is embracing me. I feel like I am a small child, with no responsibilities. I only have wishes. Things just grow around me. Someone is looking after me, someone who is big and strong. I enjoy it. This lasts for a long time. I find that I am calling the baby while stroking the bed. I enjoy the touch of the wool. I’m a child.

From the very beginning I’ve been expecting the unbearable pain that I experienced during my previous birth. When things were still bearable I have still had so far to go with my labour. So I’ve been waiting to progress. I am curious by now. Have I progressed, how dilated can I possibly be? I can call Ági anytime, she would examine me. No, it’s good like this. But how dilated am I? OK, I decide to let’s Ági. I’d like to know how far I am and, if anything has happened at all. Gábor goes and wakes Ági up. She comes in and I feel a little embarrassed. She sees me with the stork and I feel that her smile is a surprised one and that makes me feel good.

She puts on her surgical gloves. I take off my dressing gown: I won’t be needing that. I lay down on the bed. I’m a little scared. I have horrific memories of examinations during labour. They don’t come in exactly; I just feel the fear a little bit. Ági asks me to tell her is anything is unpleasant. This and Ági’s voice calms me down a little. I feel nothing of the examination. Ági is gentle. She says that I’ve got nearly no cervix at all. What? I’m fully dilated? Me? Like this? Wow! That’s great! Is this really so great? If I want Éva, my doula to be here she needs to be called now. Should Ági call her? How do I know if I want it? Do I really have to make decisions all the time??! I shrug my shoulder. Fine, says Ági in a determined voice, she will call her. Phew! I’m so glad she decided!

I sink and rise again holding the stork I dance and sing, Gábor continues to massage me. Éva arrives. Where can she wash her hands? I’m thinking how to explain it even though I know I don’t have to answer. As I’m thinking how to explain where the bathroom is Ági explains quietly, besides us. I’m shocked. How concise, correct and to the point, something I have always admired that in Ági.

Éva comes through the door at just the right time. I’m an close the door and currently in between two contractions. I tell her that there is a teddy bear on the window sill in the other room. She asks if she should bring it into the room? I am glad that she asks. I thought it was obvious after telling her this, but then I realize that it isn’t as I haven’t said it yet. I just wave, yes and she brings my bear. I cuddle it together with the stork. I’m a little girl. I feel all my desires, joys, disappointments and sadnesses at the same time. These are the things that fill me. Sometimes the good feelings dominate, then I smile and hold the bear tighter. Other times the sadness wins, I cry and I cuddle the bear even tighter. I am happy that I have the bear with me. I could always count on the bear – I cry and I hold it tight. I feel that I don’t need the stork any more. I hang it to the side of the cot bed by its beak. That’s where we want the baby! I dance with the bear and I travel with my feelings. They get weaker and then stronger again. Then weaker and I feel I am over them. They are my feelings but they don’t carry me away any more. I can be happy, I can have desires, I am allowed to be sad or disappointed. The feelings won’t overtake me uncontrollably any more. I have grown up; I am a big girl now. But I can still be a little girl if I want to. I can return to this state, the bear will always be here for me if I need it.

Ági and Éva are there in the meantime. They prepare the hot water and the poultices. It feels extremely good. Ági has been with us since the examination, she immediately started to prepare the poultices and unpacked her equipment in complete silence. She only bothered me a little. Maybe she didn’t even bother me, she was just so alien. But she was already there. And then on an occasion when Éva hasn’t been there yet and Gábor left for something – perhaps he was letting Éva through the gate – I really missed the massage. Ági was there, unpacking bits and bobs. I collected my courage and asked her quietly if she would massage my back. Of course – was the quiet, gentle and loving answer. It was such a relief; suddenly it was so good that she was there. And her massage! Gábor comes back and asks if he can leave, I don’t know where yet. Sure, I wave easily, signing that I am in the best hands. I laugh at myself, a minute ago she bothered me and now how close she has become and how good it is to be with her. It was very hard to let her in.

It’s interesting that I know what is happening around me even though I am in a completely different place. I can see what is happening around me. Do the others around me see what is happening with me? This interests me for a while then I drop it. I continue my journey.

I am a big girl. Calm and more mature. I am dancing, singing, stroking the bed. I am being massaged by everyone, they are taking it in turns. The poultice is heavenly, but It is never hot enough. Not even when it’s fresh and it cools far too quickly. But it is still very nice. Sometimes I adjust it so it’s where it feels the best.

I open my eyes. It’s dawn – wow! The time passes so quickly, which surprises me. Bence wakes up. He is talking straight away, as usual. He bothers me. Why is he here? I am the child right now; I can’t look after anyone else or even think about it. “Someone take this child away” I say and I hold my head his voice bothers me so much. Gábor flies and takes care of him. I can hear Bence’s muffled voice as they leave. Good!

Gábor returns and whispers into my ears, Bence says it’s going to be fine! I smile. This child is so sweet, I love him very much. And he’s so funny, where did he learn it? I sink a little again, then I remember a small technical detail around Bence. I ask about it, Gábor reassures me. Finally I forget about Bence… I am only a girl now!

I hold onto Gábor. I hear his tummy rumbling. I look at him and we smile at each other. I send him to eat and he responds. The three of us stay. Ági holds the poultice on my belly, Éva rubs my back. Two women around me. I can see myself as a bride. I feel everything I felt on that day. I am happy. Expectant, pretty, hopeful, clean. Women are surrounding me. I feel that they are leading me somewhere, they lead me amongst them. Just like a bride is being dressed and prepared they are changing the poultices and massaging me. Do they know what is happening to me? Maybe not, but they are part of the happenings. I feel it would be good to say it out loud. Words have power. “I was a happy bride.” – I say. As soon as I said it the feeling becomes more complete, I was right that it had to be articulated. I feel it. The feeling soaks me. It is good to be amongst women, I feel this too.

Gábor comes back. I ask him not to come in yet. He silently sits in front of the door and smiles at me. He is waiting for me. I love this boy so much. Such an indescribable feeling. I feel that he is the one who makes me a women, I feel that it’s so good for me and I feel that it’s so good for us. I sink. I stroke Ági’s arm as she holds the poultice. She returns the stroking and then changes the poultice. It feels so good the way she caresses me. I feel that it will be good to be a woman. I feel that I am getting into a community with the other women. I feel that it is often hard but that also makes it nice. I feel, I take it, happily. “Snow white.” – I say because these words express my feelings the best. I call Gábor in. I am a woman now.

I few more poultices feel good but then I don’t want them anymore. A power straightens my back. Something else is coming, something new. They turn the heaters on, sort the bed sheets, and then prepare some sort of red oily liquid. Ági tells me not to worry, this is not blood, this is the colour this liquid has. Fine, I think. There are expectations around me. Something is changing inside me. What is coming? What hurt so far disappeared from one moment to the other. My legs are tired. What shall I do? The contractions or whatever they are are coming. “This is new.” – I say. It surprises me, I can’t handle it. Ági suggests that I find a comfortable position. A what??? Comfort?? I haven’t considered that so far. I am trying though. Sitting, half lying on the bed, beside the bed, Gábor holds me from here and there. It’s better for my legs, they are resting, as I have been standing from the very beginning they are very tired now, I feel it only now. But I find no good or comfortable positions.

I can tell that the baby has to come now, but I just don’t really understand what is happening. “Is it not a problem that I got stuck like this.” – I ask Ági. “No.” – she says. She doesn’t reassure me though. I worry that they will want to hurry me now because of the delay, this is in my head. Ági says that as long as baby and mum are both fine everything can go at its own pace, all is fine. OK, I try to relax now that they don’t hurry me. Maybe I can. I am happy that that after my request, Ági is listening to the heartbeat of the baby in a way that I can’t hear it. It would really bother me, I don’t want to listen to the tam-tam. It’s enough for me to know that she checks it. Ági asks “Is it so hard to cross the border?” “‘Apparently…” – I reply and think. I talk about the amniotic sac and that it hasn’t broken yet, when will it be and how. Ági explains. This reassures me greatly. I don’t know what worried me, I just couldn’t imagine how and what will happen.

Gábor suggests that I let it hurt. I try to “do” what I’ve been doing so far: just let things happen. The pain grabs me, it drives me crazy. I ask whether I will go insane. Ági says that they are here and looking after me, I won’t go insane. OK, I’ll try it but it doesn’t seem to work either. I’m trying: in the breaks I sit on a seat, during the contractions I hold onto Gábor. It works for a while but it’s not good. Ági asks whether they should leave us for a while so we can be just the two of us. I look at Gábor and I feel that it would be good so they leave the room.

I pay attention to inside and what we have done so far. I am thinking of the border that I should cross. I feel alone. “Will you come with me?” – I ask Gábor. “I will go with you.” “Will you come with me?” “I will go with you.” “Will you come with me?” “I will go with you.” We repeat this for a long time. It’s better now. “Will you stay with me?” “I will stay with you.” “Will you stay with me?” “I will stay with you.” I repeat this for a long time. Once Gábor says “I will stay with you foreve.” I don’t like it, it bothers me. “Not forever. “– I tell him. “The staying with you means I’m staying with you. You don’t have to add forever.” And then alternating “Will you come with me?” “I will go with you.” “Will you stay with me?” “I will stay with you.” – I feel better. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

Now I feel uncertainty. I worry for the little Noodle. How will it be for them? I’m close to being desperate because of this. “Will it be good for them?” – I ask. “It will be good for them.“ – the answer arrives. I feel that the answer is honest, just as it’s been so far. It reassures me. Now we are repeating this one endlessly. Then we mix the three in a set order. “Will you come with me?” “I will go with you.” “Will you stay with me?” “I will stay with you.” “And will it be good for them?” “It will be good for them.” Once I ask back: “Are you sure?”. He says, not sure but it will be good for them. That means it will be good for them. I am perfectly satisfied with the answer. I am calm and I am fine.

We call Ági and Éva and they massage my perineum, it feels very nice. “How will it fit through there?” – I suddenly doubt. I ask Ági. She says that my perineum is perfectly suitable for letting my baby out. It was very good to hear that. My baby! My perineum! My baby! I want to feel that I am not alone, that it will be good for them and that they will fit through. All of them together. “Will you come with me?” – I ask Gábor. “I will go with you.” “Will you stay with me?” “I will stay with you.” “And will it fit?” “It will fit.” – Ági replies. Oh, that’s great. I want to hear this lots, I have to hear this again! I ask lots. They answer lots. I don’t always ask Ági, she sometimes adds without question “It will fit!”. This especially reassures me. I am calm, it’s good now, it’s enough. But somehow the thing doesn’t progress.

Then I should rest, they suggest. Like at night, I should lie down in bed. Ági and Éva leave the room, Gábor and I go to bed. This is good, my legs are resting. I fall asleep. I am woken up by a brutal contraction. It angers me and I nearly cry! Precisely now when I was sleeping so well. This is outrageous! So it is like this? Fine, then let’s do it! I get up. Éva asks if I need help and she holds out her hand. No!!! I’ll do it. It’s harder this way but who cares! I can do this! I stand up. I go to the bathroom, into the bathtub. I run the shower, pull the curtain, plug the bath and take a shower standing. I shout at everyone in the bathroom – clear out! We are standing alone in the bathroom: the baby and I. I feel that no one can help any more. It’s the two of us now. Only I can give birth to this child.

The bathtub fills up. I lay down. The contraction comes. Come! Just come! You can hurt, here I am, I’m not hiding away. And it comes, it doesn’t need saying it twice. I feel that I should push. But I feel that if I pushed it would hurt even more. Fine, than that’s the way. I push. It hurts even more. The pain passes then a new one comes. I am lying on my side, I lift my leg and I push. I feel that I should turn to my other side but I can tell that it would hurt even more. I consider staying in this position, the pain is weakening now. But no! I’ve got to do what’s worst! Come on! Turn! Push!. And this goes on for a while.

Gábor comes in sometimes and peaks behind the curtain. Why does he come here? He bothers me! I want to be on my own! I chase him away. Sometimes Ági comes in – can she listen to the heart? I appreciate that it has to be done so I let her do it. She asks if I want to hear it. Sure, I need nothing else but the tam-tam! No, I don’t want it! Still, when she’s listening I’m a bit tense, when she leaves without a word I know that everything is fine, I am relaxed again.

I am running out of energy. I need fuel. I shout for Gábor for yesterday’s chocolate. Dark chocolate bonbon with cognac in them. I order him to give me some but without the alcohol. He gives it to me, I eat wildly. A new contraction comes, then a break and then chocolate. I eat quite a few. He puts the last one into my mouth without question. I spit it out and give it back. I didn’t ask for it!!! Enough, I shove him out. I know that I am safe, I can be rude. I feel that this is important now. I couldn’t do it any other way!

I feel that it’s better now than it was in the room but I don’t know if it’s good, whether things are progressing. And I know that I can keep up for now but not endlessly. Very hard. Very painful. I am tired and using the last of my strength. On an occasion of listening to the baby’s heart I ask Ági “No one really knows whether things are progressing, do they?” I thought about how they could possibly know, there was no examination or anything. Ági firmly, shortly answers: “Everyone knows that they are progressing! Do you?” How can she always know what to say?? I am very relieved. I feel if things are progressing then I’ll be able to hold on. “Then I know it too.” – I answer. They ask if I want a cold poultice. I do. Shall they help? No! Someone slams a wet diaper to the corner of the bathtub. This gesture feels really good! This is exactly what I needed. I hold it to my forehead in between two contractions. It helps to give me strength.

Suddenly I feel dizzy. I tell this to them. Ági suggests that I hold my breath in. I try for a while but it doesn’t help. It’s horrible to be dizzy in the hot steam. I get out of the bathtub, leaning on the changing table. This is how I push during the contractions. It hurts awfully, indescribable. I defecate but it doesn’t bother me, it’s natural. It goes on for a while and then it hurts much more and a little different than before. I know that it’s the head. I pull myself together. I have to do it or else I’ll collapse and can’t do it any longer. I push, it comes, burns, tears like if I had fire underneath me and I fell into pieces.

Ági is with me, I don’t know when she came in but she is doing something with my perineum and I think that it hurts so much because of whatever she is doing. I yell at her “What are you doing?!” “Just holding it.” – she answers calmly. I feel there is no way around this. I have to push even if I die but this has to come out! If I draw back I still have to do it but then I’ve been suffering in vain so far. So I go, even if I die. This contraction lasts forever and I roar all through it, very loud, unarticulated, in an animal like way. It bothers me a little that anyone can shout like this but I couldn’t do it any other way, I have to!

And the contraction is over. The head it out. And I’m alive. It doesn’t hurt now.

Ági says that the umbilical cord is around the neck, I have to push so it comes out completely. Gábor instructs me to push as well. Right, I push, I say and I happily do it. I know it’s the last one! And indeed. It’s born. Ági instructs me to sit on the toilet. I see the baby now: it’s legs, it’s bottom. So it’s a girl. Ági quickly sucks the baby’s mouth and nose and spits. I like the method and it reassures me. Ági says that we should go to the bed. So we go, through the corridor, besides the rug so it doesn’t get bloody. I am tied to the baby, Ági brings her after me. Gábor sits behind me and supports me this way. I am watching the baby and panting. I don’t feel anything, I’m empty, I’m just looking at her.

Suddenly I feel that I really want her. “Please!” – I reach for her. Ági asks: “Would you like me to put her on your belly?” Why is she asking this now?! Haven’t I said that I wanted her? Give her already! Finally she puts her on me.

Here you are! I became a mother.

Ó. Á.

Bence > > >
Eszter’s birth from another angle > > >
Rebeka > > >

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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