True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 756. Good progress (Benedek)

Day 756. Good progress (Benedek)

I first learned about homebirth when I was 19 and ran a volunteer camp for foreigners in the town of Szeged, where we organized different events for children. One of the mothers told me about her childbirth and I felt so touched. She was glowing, her kids were glowing, I can still see them in front of my eyes.

I conceived my son ten years later and it took me a while to dig out this experience from my memory. I started with an OB who was recommended by someone and decided not to see him anymore after the second visit because I did not feel that he would listen to me, inform me and care about me. The second gynaecologist was better in that sense, so I investigated what kind of care Hungarian hospitals offer, especially his hospital. Lots of reading, research, visits and visualisations – but it just did not work for me. I couldn’t picture myself relaxing and giving birth in institutions like that (I have to admit that I have a very bad experience regarding a hospital stay from my childhood. I had to spend a month there when I was three years old, without my parents, my first memories are also from the hospital. Since then, hospital means loneliness and pain for me).

During the information evening I felt that we arrived, we are at the right place and this feeling just got stronger during the one-week course. But those long conversations with my husband regarding the topics of the week gave me the most. He was there the whole time, actively participating in the discussions; he was partner in this as well. What if our baby is sick? (They suggested a genetic screening after finding some irregularity in my son’s heart.) We agreed that they cannot tell us anything, not even a 1:1 chance for a disease would make us abort him, so why should we do any screening? (He was born perfectly healthy). What if one of us or both of us gets injured or dies during childbirth? It gave me strength that we went through all these possibilities and prepared ourselves for these unwanted situations. It dissolved my fear of the unknown. We agreed that we are responsible for this new life and we will do everything to always make the best decision.

We made all the preparations with my OB regarding a possible ambulant hospital birth (it means we can leave after the childbirth if there are no complications. We got the paper from a paediatrician who agreed to take care of the newborn) and we discussed with her and my midwife this possibility. Since it is the first birth – who knows – maybe I will choose the hospital and it is good to have this backup option, too.

One day before the birth, I had to visit the hospital for a last lab test and after that – what I have experienced there still makes my stomach cramp – I knew I would only go to the hospital if Ági specifically tells me so.

On Sunday, we went to a design market where I bought two bags and joked around with the merchant that maybe it was my last walk for a while. And I was right.

During the night I had contractions, but I still could sleep. Monday morning they were still irregular and not very intense. I told Zoli not to worry and let him go to work (he was a bit worried though).

Around noon, I met my yoga instructor and we had lunch. While I was walking there I was thinking about cancelling it, but at the end both the walk and the lunch felt good. I felt the contractions continuously, but infrequently. After the lunch we went back to our place and she left after a while which I was really looking forward to since I wanted to take off my clothes – on this day a 40 ºC hot spell just started, my father later commented: “You brought quite a heat wave with you.”

I called Zoli to come home; I did not want to be alone anymore. He ran home in 20 minutes and even brought some fruits (I wanted to celebrate the birth with ice-cold watermelons). In the meantime, I called Ági Geréb who asked me to measure the contractions – three minutes apart and they are 50 seconds long. She arrived at four o’clock and examined me, I was only 1 cm open. She left and asked me to call her every hour.

Zoli and I started watching Love Actually – I was sitting on the fittball, he was massaging my back. At the second check-up call we told her to come, since the contractions became more and more intense.

They arrived around seven p.m., but then I had no sense of time anymore. I was labouring standing and holding the kitchen worktop, and sitting on the fitball between two contractions. They immediately started helping me – Éva, the doula, put hot clary sage compressions on my abdomen during contractions (she could not make them warm enough for me, while Zoli was worried that she will burn me), Zoli put cold clothes on my forehead and Ági massaged my lower back. Zoli reminded me of the correct breathing because I did not always have the energy to concentrate on that as well. It hurt, but not so badly, I just started getting tired. An intense pain started in my cervix, so Ági suggested to change position because your little head was pressuring it at a certain spot and I should change it.

I took a shower with the help of Zoli but I did not feel safe in the bathtube. We went into the bed instead and Ági recommended to endure a couple of contractions while lying on my side and on my back. Lying on my back was the worst so I stood up. We continued on the bed while I was kneeling.

Later Ági was called to another, more complicated childbirth, so she asked if she could leave. It was nice that she asked for my permission and I was a bit glad that I am not that more complicated case, but I was not able to answer. Zoli asked her to send someone else who we know, for example the other Ági. They could not reach her at first, but soon she was there to fill in for Ági Geréb.

Zoli asked me as we agreed before – he was wonderful the whole time, I could not have done it without him – if I want to go to the hospital. It was interesting that I had a clear mind the whole time, even though everyone was talking about the altered mental state during childbirth. I was able to think through this question rationally: probably they cannot do anything for me there, it is too late for anesthesia, I had to fight it there by myself as well, but in a foreign environment. I did not want to be apart from you for even a moment, I did not want the interventions so I said no to the hospital. I started concentrating on the fact that we will meet you soon. Previously I put my focus on light, but from that moment you were my focus.

Ági examined me before she left and she said everything was fine, I have done two thirds of it, I was 6 cm open. I was a bit disappointed since I felt to run out of my strength. I was constantly looking for signs telling me in which phase I am – they took the cotton wool, I felt your head pressuring the cervix, I got nausea before pushing etc. Ági didn’t say anything, maybe this was bothering me – only that we are getting there. Maybe I would have put my hopes too high or got disappointed if she had said more, which would have been worse. For me this was the most difficult, to handle the uncertainty – when will it be over?

I was kneeling on the bed (and mauling Zoli’s leg and hair, so he was also in pain) and Ági told me not to push yet – to be honest I had no control over my body, the body did everything on its own, but it felt like I had to do number two. I said that I don’t think I was pushing, at least not deliberately and already felt your head at my pubic bone. Ági had a look and said (I dont remember it, Zoli told me later): “I have to believe now that we are really there.”

Then I got a huge gift – I was allowed to lie down a bit, have a couple of minutes rest, maybe even sleep. Afterwards we changed position, without talking, in the fullest harmony: Zoli sat at the edge of the bed and I was squating in front of him holding onto his legs and hands. During the pushing he lifted me to make it easier.

From that moment on, everything went quicker. One push – the caul was pushing out, second push, Ági opened it, some water leaked, it was a relief, third push the top of your little head appeared in the door of Life. Ági told me to touch it, I did but I could not feel anything even though they said my hand was holding your head. Fourth push – you slipped out after the head with lots of water, surprising even Ági, you were sliding out and took a shower at the same time. I was most afraid of the pushing phase, but except the streching feeling I did not feel anything, it was so quick!

Finally you were there, we lay down on the bed with Zoli, you cried a bit, announcing your arrival, then looked around and pooped on five blankets. We had to clean you only because of that, otherwise you had no blood or glaye on you. You started nursing after an hour, till then you were lying peacefully on my belly (and helped the birth of the placenta with your little kicks). I got melon and we ate chocolate with the midwives. I had only one minor tear which healed in a couple of days.

The midwives left and we stayed there alone with a beautiful, healthy and smooth child, whom we love a lot and we enjoy the life with you. You are a true gift Benedek, my little son!

I thank Ágnes Geréb, the other Ági and Éva for giving me the freedom of choice and accompanying me with love during this unknow journey. I know that the harmonic relationship with my son started with this birth and I will be thankful for that till the end of my life – they gave me the most you can give a mother.

H. O.

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Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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