True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 731. Online (Janka)

We were not planning to have any more kids; our family was perfectly complete with three boys. However, I had difficulties accepting that I can only have a baby girl as a granddaughter.

When our smallest son, Artúr, was seven and we found out that I am expecting a child I got a bit scared. It was strange to surrender ourselves to fate, since this time it was not us who made the decision, but the baby who had chosen to arrive. It was a strange feeling to start over with something that I thought I had finished with. Everyone was sure that I will have a daughter, but I could not believe it.

Ági was under house arrest and although homebirth was legalized in the meantime, the legislation was so rigorous that midwives did not get their licences. If the police arrive with the ambulance and your helpers are getting arrested, it is not an undisturbed birth. Therefore we planned to give birth in a birth centre in Vienna. Later we decided to move to England. I wanted to give birth there, since homebirth is allowed in England. This is my story I would like to share with you:

On Thursday (week 42), the boys came home and Ádám suggested they should not sleep at home in case anything happens. And it happened, since I slept only 1,5 hours from the casual and infrequent but strong contractions.

The next morning, I called Ági, who from these and other symptoms established that I am in labour and said that I will have my baby soon. Ádám was sleeping in and I tried not to wake him since we will need his alertness and supporting strength later on.

During the night, I emptied, re-inflated and refilled the birthing pool so later, when we would be in a hurry, I would only have to adjust the water temperature by adding hot water. Then he woke up and everything I felt before stopped.

Then he decided to leave so I can be alone, because during the last days it seemed that things are going a bit better when he is not around. Really, I had a feeling like I was shy, better at labour when being alone but I was not longing for this loneliness at all. I never longed for being alone; it was very strange to be in this situation now.

Ági texted me that she is with me, unfortunately only in her thoughts. As a consolation I answered that this seems to be a lonely labour anyways. She said maybe she could be with me unnoticed. And then, all of the sudden, I remembered my previous births, where she was present but still was invisible. Her presence was never too much; sometimes she knew what I needed before I did. When I was thirsty, for example, she realised that my lips were dry before I could formulate my need to drink. It popped into my mind that she was also there when my mother-in-low, Panni was dying and I could observe the attention she was giving her. These pictures were so touching, I started crying and crying and crying and felt that something started again: I was on the path, which brought me closer to Janka.

The day seemed to be endless: at 11 am. I was already very tired. I tried to rest, but couldn’t. I was talking to Ági, who said I could rest if I was only trying to sleep between two contractions. I knew that it is crucial since I hadn’t slept properly for two nights and the most difficult part lay just ahead of me. The problem was that in the lying position the pain was unbearable, a high price for a couple of minutes dozing. In the pool, on the ball or by walking it was much better, but then I could not rest. I was really longing for the clary sage oil compress, but I knew it is not good to use it too early, because it will not help later, when it is much more needed. I asked Ági, when I should start, and she replied that as long as I can write emails, I shouldn`t. I should wait till the contractions are regular.

I don’t know how much time passed; it was unbearable for me without the clary sage oil. Ádám, who came back in the meantime, was checking whether the contractions are regular. I had strong pains every 10-12 minutes. I called the midwife to tell her that I had been in labour for two days but that it stopped twice. I told her that now the contractions were irregular but I had pain about every 10 minutes and would like her to come and examine me. She said it does not sound like labour and that the next day I am scheduled for a CTG anyhow, where I would be examined and birth could be induced by membrane-sweeping, if I requested it. Then I explained to her what I had just learned from Ági: that during my previous births contractions were also irregular and then things all of the sudden sped up. The midwife asked if I had painkillers at home, maybe I should take some. I said we have none and I don’t want to take anything. Finally, she said I should call if things speed up. Later I figured out that she thought it does not really hurt if I don’t want to take anything, Ági came to the same conclusion.

Finally we started with the clary sage oil and the contractions got more frequent immediately, about 4 minutes apart. Of course they were not regular, so I called Ági on Skype while sitting in the birth pool (it was an inflammable pool specifically for home birth) and asked how long it would go on like this, because I couldn’t endure it much longer. She encouraged me that I am already over the two-third mark and that it will go faster from here. She advised me to call the midwife.

OK, I will call them, but we just talked and I have to poop anyhow. Ági asked if I am sure it is the pooping. I did not believe that the baby is coming since the midwives just told me this is not labour. But on the toilet I was afraid to push in case Ági was right and it is a different urge, not number two.

I went back to the pool. Ági asked me to examine myself and tell her what I feel. There was no question I felt a very hard ball halfway. I called the midwife and told her it was already the pushing stage! She said in this case I have to call the ambulance, because she will not make it in time. I answered that I rather don’t push, but she should come immediately. She was on her way, she said. I asked when she would be here, but she said she doesn’t know and I should call the ambulance in case I start pushing or the water had broken.

I hung up and a contraction just started, so strong, that I refused the clary sage compress because it did not feel good anymore, I heard myself yelling NO! (when a woman is refusing the clary sage compress, it means that the dilation is over, as we learned from a home birth doula a week ago) and then I heard that animal roar erupting from me and felt the unstoppable urge to push. I reached out to check what is happening and I was sure, even though I knew that many women gave birth before me and I gave birth myself three times, that it is physically impossible that this baby will come out there. I felt her head descending.

Between two pushes, Ági told me in case the baby is born under the water and doesn’t get any air, not even for a second, we don’t have to take her out quickly. However, in case she gets a little air, she will start breathing and needs to get out from the water immediately. She could not see through the camera how much water we had in the pool, but we assured her that it is a lot and she will definitely be born under water.

During the next push it still seemed to be impossible, that she gets through. I reached out and felt warmth. The water broke, I said. The fact that the midwife won’t make it in time had a different effect on us. I was just happy that it will be over soon and I only concentrated on that. Ádám was however scared, since he had to solve this situation alone.

Ági asked whether the water is clear. Ádám said it is not, but I knew he meant the water in the pool and Ági meant whether there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. After we cleared this, he said he cannot see the fluid, which means it was clear. I asked Ági what to do if the umbilical cord is around her neck when she is born. She wanted to answer, but in that moment I started the next push, and while I was protecting my perineum the head just came out, right into my hands.

I touched her and felt that the cord is around her neck. I asked Ági again, since she hadn’t had a chance to explain what to do. She said the baby is coming so quickly, with the next push she will be out and we can take care of it afterwards. With the next one she really was out and I just got very calm, finally it wouldn’t hurt anymore, it was over.

Ági on the other hand became worried and started giving us loads of orders. “What is she doing? Check what she is doing!” (Nothing, the whole baby was blue) “Take her out immediately, rub her back! Rub her dry! Suck out the nose” (Ádám did it, because I could not reach her from the cord, so I was just calmly rubbing her back. I was sure everything would be fine).”What is she doing?” (Nothing) “Dry her head, rub the back! Suck it out! SUCK IT OUT! WHAT IS SHE DOING?” And then she snorted and started groaning. “Cover her!” – It was only a couple of very long moments.

I left the pool and sat down next to her and we removed the cord from her neck. The first midwife just arrived and praised us. I introduced her to Ági. Everything was fine, the placenta, the cord etc.

We called my mother to tell her she can book her flight ticket, and then Balazs to bring the boys home. We tried to inform everyone who was worried about us. The boys arrived, admired Janka and since then we are a family of six. Ádám and I are very proud of each other.

Thank you Ági!

P. N.

Onlány [on-laːɲ]: “Lány” means girl in Hungarian, the pronounciation is slightly similar to the English word “line”.


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This post is also available in: Hungarian