Birth Stories

Jonathan's Birth

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Finally got the birth of my dreams and what an absolutely magical & healing experience it was!

Both previous babies were born vaginally in hospital. With my first I just               went  with a hospital birth as that’s what everyone does. With my second I           had planned on a homebirth, but his early arrival at 32 weeks meant that             that didn’t happen. It was really hard for me to process the loss of that.

This pregnancy I cautiously planned for a midwife led homebirth, but only           really allowed myself to get excited about the possibility when I hit 36           weeks.

This morning started with mild lower backache around 7:30. I initially                didn’t think much of it (even though my previous labours also started with backache) as I had experienced the same a week ago and it turned out to be nothing.

An hour later I noticed contractions starting and I started timing them around 8:45. They were 7 - 8 minutes apart at that point and I let my husband know around 9 that I was having some cramps and it was possibly baby day. By 9:30 they were 3 - 4 minutes apart and I told him to come home. We left for the midwife’s house just after 10, arriving there at 10:15.

The last contractions I timed were around 2 - 3 minutes apart in the car.

At this point I was feeling quite a lot of pressure in my pelvic area and immediately got down on my knees and knelt over a birth ball while my midwife started filling up the pool. She realized quite soon that I was not going to make it into the pool though and got me onto the bed instead where I started out again on hands & knees hanging over the ball. My water broke just before I could get into the bed (and before I could get my pants off 🤪). She then asked if I wanted to lie on my side which I proceeded to do. She held up a mirror for me so I could guide my pushing and I saw baby’s head crowning. Another first for me.

Our precious baby boy arrived around 10:45, weighing 3.1kg, measuring 50cm long and with a 33cm head (my biggest baby).

Getting to experience the golden hour (well it was more like quite a few glorious hours!) that I’d so sorely missed with my previous two was the best experience I’ve ever had.

While my labour was fast (just like my other two), I did not feel out of control like with my other births. This was a big fear of mine during this pregnancy. My mind & emotions were right there along with my body and I believe it was all thanks to my amazingly supportive midwife (Natasha Stadler) and the relaxing environment in which I was able to give birth.

We headed home just before 4pm to his 2 older siblings fighting over who gets to hold him next. He is so loved already!

My heart is full. 💚💚💚

Mufaro's Birth

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 My name is Yue Chingono (Mai Mufaro) aged 27. l fell pregnant at 26 and my baby Daddy wanted me to have an abortion, which l refused. I was         alone the whole pregnancy without someone to give me emotional               support. Months passed and as we all know, there are times you just need  that someone special around you, unfortunately for me, he wasn't there.  When going for check ups, most of mommies-to-be were there with their partners and , as l said, l was alone in this journey and somehow felt out of place. After scans and everything l was given my due date, which was on the 3rd of September, but my baby did not come as expected. l went for a check-up and was told to come back on the 11th of September and sleep at the clinic to get induced on the 12th - the following morning. Luckily enough, l woke up with some labour pains on the 11th, and spent the whole day at home. l did not want to go to the clinic right then and there. l spent the day at home and the pains got worse in the evening around 23:00 - that's when my cousins' sister (Sharon) requested an Uber for us to go to the hospital. When we arrived, we were told that there were no free beds and we had to walk up and down the whole night. My cousin went home around 3 am because she was working that morning and l was left alone with no one to give me support. l waited until past 10 in the morning and the pain was getting worse, the doctors took me in and gave me a bed. Past 2 in the afternoon l was at 5 cm and they said l could give birth around 5 pm. Luckily for me, Enita came along and she really helped me. l remember it was just after 10 in the morning when she came to my bed and asked if anyone was there with me. Then she became my God-sent angel, she gave me all the support l needed and the journey became more easy for me. Sho, she would rub my back, get me water to drink, give me sweets, clean my pee pot and talk to me. She gave me hope because l had started to give up when the doctors were saying l could be operated. Enita was supposed to finish work at 16:00 but promised not to leave me until l gave birth. Ooooooops, l was so relieved! She stayed with me until 19:10 when my baby came and even now l can not say how grateful l am for what she did for me. So to everyone out there, l say: No matter the situation, you can make it to the end.

Lily's Birth

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To say that finding out I was pregnant came as a shock would be an              understatement. Due to health complications & multiple past surgeries         on my cervix as well as a previous endometriosis diagnosis in my teen          years, I had lived for almost 10 years with the belief ( and doctors advice)       that I would struggle to get pregnant if at all.

 

Nonetheless, this was the absolute most amazing news of my life, I had          always known I wanted kids and now it would be a reality (of course I              reserved my excitement till after it was confirmed and my gynae assured        me that I would be able to see the pregnancy through) I was told that due   to my shortened cervix I would most likely go into pre-term labour but it        was not anything to be concerned about.

 

And that’s when the adventure really began. At only 28 years old and              exactly 0 friends with kids this was a bit of a daunting experience led               mainly by advice from family, google & social media. I was very blessed in     my early months to only suffer minimal morning sickness but that was          made up for by a sheer exhaustion & some of the most intense food cravings I have ever felt in my life. I won’t lie the first 4 months were a bit of a blur of exhaustion, hunger, anxiousness and of course a very real fear that something could go wrong at any minute thus me having to reign myself in to buying anything just yet for our pending little bundle, then at my 15 week appointment… it happened… the doctor during a routine scan told me I was having a girl. I didn’t believe him at first as I had been dreaming each night that I was going to have a boy - I also felt very boy-esque in the emotions department but was ecstatic because I had always wanted a daughter. That’s when it all became very real, we started reading up more about babies, started buying all the essentials, multitudes of pink of course. The discussions about names began and it was all just sunshine and rainbows, we decided she would be called Lily.

 

This is also when we realized we had no idea how to really look after a baby, I was also terrified about the actual birth ( having fallen pregnant whilst switching medical aids my only choice was a government hospital - and we have all heard those horror stories) in my frantic panic to learn everything I could I started looking for antenatal classes ( do yourself a favor - DO NOT GOOGLE LIVE BIRTHS) I came upon a class hosted over a few weeks in the evenings at the local meedi clinic and we signed ourselves up. Third best decision about this whole process. We covered everything from early pregnancy, symptoms, exercises, diet, hormones, birth positions, coping mechanisms, interventions, baby care etc. This is also where we were first introduced to the concept of a doula. We knew doctors & midwives but the doula took some explaining, that night we drove away knowing, we wanted a doula, despite our tiny budget, the fact that I was going g to be giving birth in Vredenburg ( 180km away) we wanted a doula.

 

Enter Enita…. Second best decision about this process. We met her at our antenatal class she was sitting in for curiosity’s sake. In the tea break I ran over to her terrified that maybe everyone else had already asked her to be their doula… The first thing I noticed about her was just how warm and caring she was and how just talking to her made my nerves settle, this woman has been there done that, kids of her own, training, passion, this was the person ( apart from my partner) that I wanted at my side when thee time came, we spoke briefly and said we would arrange logistics and chat further.

 

Over months 5 to 9 many things happened, my bump started showing ( squeal) we had stocked up baby items, announced Lily’s name started receiving gifts throwing parties, the exhaustion eased up life was pretty beautiful, now and then there would be a quick chat to update Enita about a scan or doctors visit everything was going pretty smooth ( apart from my nightly dreams that I would not be able to breastfeed - a very real concern for me at that time)

 

I know this story is getting longwinded… but all this info forms part of a bigger story, I promise. At 8 months I started getting random belly pains, and a very strange leaking down there… convinced my water was breaking I immediately made a doctors appointment and got on the phone with Enita. Many panicked hours later turns out I had a bladder infection. Unring the alarm bell. However the nurse then told me I should probably start packing my things since my belly had dropped and this baby could be arriving within the next week. That week I started working from home as I packed up my things to move to my moms in Vredenburg for the next 2 to 3 weeks, I wanted to give birth there to be close to her, spend some bonding time together and also because Vredenburg had a fantastic reputation for being a great birth hospital ( in the government sector).

 

Once I got settled there it was time for my next & hopefully last scan with the gynae before baba’s arrival. Much to my excitement I was told that I would probably be going into labour within the next day or 2 (this was 2 weeks before my estimated due date) hubby came through the next day, everyone was ready & excited Enita and I had been talking pretty much daily by this point, bags were packed (and repacked) it was gonna happen any minute now.

 

The next day came… no baby, that was fine what harm could another 24hours do. And then the next day.. and the next and the next.. eventually two weeks went by still no baby. Now by this point, heavily pregnant, uncomfortable and stuck in a house with my mother whose only life wish was to be with me in the delivery room with me despite my many many protestations as I wanted my partner there ( and we could only choose 1 person at my bedside ** side note Doulas are allowed in most hospitals on top of whomever you choose to be your birthing partner) so frustrations & tempers were running high. I started getting quite emotional, losing all my excitement and just becoming quite despondent about this little miracle, I just wanted it all over by now. Everyday was a cycle of going for walks, doing squats, repacking our hospital bags ( think this was my form of nesting since I was not at my own house) and trying nearly every single go-into-labour now hack that Youtube had to offer, throughout this process I would talk to Enita everyday: she was my new best friend, she kept me positive with the facts as well as just some comfort from someone who had been through literally the exact same thing it was these conversations that kept me sane. A full week after my estimated due date I went for a checkup at the hospital ( now by this point we were doing long walks on the beach and I was probably doing 100 squats a day to push that baby out faster) so in my head I was hoping they would take pity on me and just give me the induction by now… and thus they scheduled it… for the following week. But knowing that there was a specific day and it was happening no matter what I felt a bit better, despite being terrified and a bit sad as I really wanted an all natural labour and had heard the pain of induction was 100 times worse than natural contractions. At this point we realized that the due date that I was working on the whole time, was the one I got during my 6 week scan, which was 5 days earlier than the more correct one I got during my 8 week scan.

 

I was booked into the hospital at 4pm on Monday 3 December for my induction that would happen the next morning at 5am. 20h00 Monday night my contractions started. Now one thing I know for sure, there were many times in late pregnancy where I experienced Braxton hicks and let me just say… when the real deal came around there was no denying it, there was no “ah maybe it’s just cramps or wind” I knew it was happening, everything else in my life up until this point.. cake walk. Contractions not. But I had prepared for this and after many many false alarms I didn’t want to raise the alarms and have everyone run around for nothing. So I popped Enita a casual “ hey.. I think it may have started.. not too sure but like no rush” kind of message as it was 10pm now and she was 180km away and was going to be here by 5am the next day anyway so what could she have done for me anyway ( so I thought) and the hospital said hubby can only come when I am in confirmed active labour. She told me she had already packed and would get on the road right away, being the big, fat idiot that I was at that moment I insisted she not drive and that I would be fine and if anything drastic happened I would let her know and that other wise I would see her in the morning. I had my fancy little contraction timer app and together we would make it through the next 7 hours just fine, I was in a hospital after all. This moment right here, this is the ONLY thing I wish I could have gone back and changed I should have just told her I’m scared and hurting and yes please come now the sooner the better! Instead I spent the next 9 hours wandering the hospital corridors since lying on my bed was absolute torture, it felt better to walk ( plus I was hoping it would help me dilate faster) these hours we’re lonely and scary and yes.. very painful, but they happened in bursts I would be absolutely fine for half an hour then pain would strike momentarily and pass it was painful but bearable. The nurse came at 23h00 for my first check, they strapped me to a machine to monitor baby for 20 min at a time - this was not pleasant as I was confined to my bed when I wanted to be moving around, moving helped the painful contractions to pass quicker. She confirmed I was at a full wait for it….. 1 cm dilated. Not great but I’m sure within the hour it would be more. That was fine. After the machine was taken off this was the process every hour, get hooked up to the machine, cry the whole time it is on, walk around and repeat. Enita checking in every few hours and me ( still being stupid) insisting im fine and not to worry. Around 5am Tuesday morning, a very scary looking & feeling discharge of blood came out - no one had told me about this - I felt for sure I was going to die. The nurses told me they would get the doctor to take a look. by my 4th internal exam I was still only at 1 cm dilated ( by now it felt like I had been here for days and not hours) I had to have hubby meet me outside the hospital with a cup of coffee because I needed a hug and caffeine more than ever before. I felt like everything was going wrong I was pretty much alone with a stressed soon to be dad not allowed in my ward, bleeding, not dilating, the nurses walked around as if nothing was wrong and since I had made the VERY big mistake of telling people that I was in labour I was now also receiving contant messages like “ she here yet? “ what’s the news” “ send pictures”. Very demoralizing I promise you.

 

Then as I was balling my eyes out due to all these things, my salvation turned the corner and I saw Enita’s smiling face. It was all gonna be ok. A big hug made everything I had just gone through fall into the past then we sat on the bed chatting like old friends catching up rather than preparing to bring a whole person in this world. She brought with her such a sense of calm and tranquility like the feeling you get when you sit under a blanket on the couch, drinking a cup of tea when it’s raining outside. Mid chat I started tensing up and she immediately knew what was happening and had the foresight to just easily guide see through and then help me with - the life saver - hip squeezes, through the contractions.

 

I won’t lie, the next few hours were a bit hazy, there was chatting and hand holding, crying and laughing, trying different scented oils, and even the most amazing of bean bags in Enita’s bag of comforting tricks. The hospital even had a bath to soak in - water is your friend… take a bath when in labour and you will wish water birth was your choice instead. I was so grateful that she was here keeping me strong and getting me through this cause I was pretty damn tired by now it feels like those hours whizzed past because the next thing I remember was us discussing that it’s time for hubby to come now, I was exhausted but luckily we had made it to the 4cm mark - a triumph. See now here is where I think the party really started, cause now contractions were rolling in hot and heavy the nice big leisurely gaps I had before were few and far between, I was so thirsty but even little sips of water caused me to vomit. My hubby, Chris then arrived and Enita very graciously gave us some time alone to catch up and just embrace each other and the momentous happenings of the day. Chris brought me renewed strength and love and tenderness, he reminded me constantly that this was what we had been wanting for so long and soon we would be meeting our daughter. I was so grateful for his strength because by then contractions were happening every 5 minutes, jokes we’re not as funny and I was starting to lose chunks of time in a haze of pain and nausea, we would get in and out of the bathtub every hour by then all I wanted was a cup of coffee and for a longer gap between contractions. The doctor (as in the actual doctor not a nurse) came and did another check I was now about 7cm dilated and out of nowhere she asked, did I still want to give a natural birth? I had had no idea that in a government facility you do have a choice of some medical pain relief, Chris looked at me and smiled as he shook his head. In this moment I hated him and his stupid smiling, contraction free face. He had no idea how hard this was, but I agreed we were doing this meds free, the second that next contraction hit, I immediately regretted that decision. We made our way back over to the bath and after a few minutes Enita came in, with the most beautiful cup of coffee I had tasted in my life, I only managed a few sips but just the thought of knowing that she had gone through all the trouble of getting me that cup of coffee (not as easy as your typical mediclinic) was such a beautiful little moment as I lay there butt naked, writhing in pain but I had that cup of coffee as I listened to them telling stories as if it were just another day, I knew with these 2 by my side I would be ok. These are all lovely times till the next contraction hits and you forget about everything else, all you know in that moment is pain, and those moments were now taking over.

 

The big moment came when upon my next internal exam I was now at 9cm. This news felt like I had just climbed Everest. We we’re now moving from the normal room to the birthing room next door. I don’t really remember the move itself, I just remember this new room had a whole bunch of surgical instruments laid out and I was tired, starving hungry, I felt like a train had run over me, somewhere during contractions I had started pulling my hair out so my incredibly stylish messy bun ( kidding on the stylish part) I felt like there were moments I couldn’t even breathe, that’s when the screaming started, I told them to cut my baby out, that I didn’t care just give me the C section. I just wanted it over all rationality left my mind, everyone stepped out for a moment and I even eyed that surgical tray thinking I knew enough about human anatomy to give myself a c section, luckily everyone returned before that thought could end.

 

I think we spent about 2 hours in that room, at first just me and Chris and Enita, many pep talks, back massages and Im pretty sure I passed out a few times or at least just had little micro naps. When I had booked in the day before I remember the nurse telling me the most important thing to do is only push when they tell you to push not just when you feel like it. And dammit, I was ready to push. It was definitely not like in the movies, being on my back was pure agony, instead I was half curled over the top of the bed, kicking thee foot end almost to pieces - hospital beds are much stronger than they look- tested & proven. This whole scenario is remembered like Vietnam style flashbacks you see in war movies just these flashing images and screams, quick snippets of something remembered and then a blank spot. All I knew was I was now completely broken, my body gave in, I had nothing left inside, with every push I gave it felt like I lost energy, like my hips were locking into place and couldn’t possibly open enough to push this baby out, I broke down crying, frustrated between pushes. Everyone kept saying just one more push, just one more, but we had done like 17 pushes already. Someone shouted she has hair! I was giving up.

 

Then Chris gripped my hand and Enita was in my face, like a drill sergeant team I was hearing no, you are gonna do this, you need to be strong and push this baby out, she needs you now, you have to pull it together and do this. Whether it was this commanding presence or if I did it just as my final act before inevitably passing out, I gave that push.

 

You will hear about the “ring of fire” , this is not a joke thats what it is no jokes no exaggerations, you feel like your being ripped in half and will never ever recover but it’s temporary this probably lasted a full 2 minutes, with this room full of people cheering me on that was the last push I gave. I had read somewhere that in those final moments , a women actually dies in a way because she needs to be completely reborn in that moment to become ready to be a mother. And in that moment I did.

 

I just felt all the pain stop, it was like everything went quiet, nothing that had happened till now was real, this was the only real moment. Then we saw our beautiful Lily for the first time.

 

Theres a lot more that I can tell you that happened medically after that, but none of it matters, literally nothing, here were the things that mattered in that moment. Our daughter was placed in my arms. She locked eyes with her dad and smiled. She lifted her head for a second and looked me in the eye. And our lives were changed forever. Having done this and being able to know that for the rest of my life I would have these cherished memories, untainted by any medicinal drugs, that was the best decision we had made, number 1.

Chris and I were blessed with Enita to guide us, during the pregnancy with facts and research but so much more, she became a friend, a confidant, a pillar of strength and our hearts will always treasure the most beautiful first moments she captured of our new family - truly priceless and without her there we would never have had them. I feel a bond with her that is unparalleled, she is a part of our family and I can’t wait for Lily to meet the woman who helped bring her into our lives.

Dankie, Enita, die titel van Doula het beslis n baie dieper betekenis as wat mense van bewus is

Ané's Birth

I started having contractions off and on from about 36 weeks, but strong           and regular enough to time them. They would sometimes go on for about 3      hours, then go away again. At 36.5 weeks I thought my water was leaking,         and had a bit of clear blood come out, so I went to Genesis to do a Non               Stress Test (NST) and test for amniotic fluid. It was nothing. 39.5 weeks I           woke up, and I couldn’t feel my baby move in the way she normally does.          Having lost a baby previously, I immediately freaked out. Even when I would    move her around in my tummy, she would respond. My midwife again                  suggested going for the NST, as it was the only way to know for certain everything is okay. Baby was fine, no contractions. I was still very pregnant and ready for this baby to come. I was also now 3 days more pregnant than ever before. The midwife on duty mentioned my abdomen and baby seems small. At 40 weeks, almost 41, I started taking Caulophyllum, as it is said to increase contractions, and it should work quickly. No such luck. I was uncomfortable, sore and over being pregnant. 41weeks and 2 days was my next midwife appointment. Before the appointment I decided I will ask her to do a stretch and sweep, as I felt it was the less medicinal option. She talked about the options we have, as the back-up gynaes for Genesis don’t want you to go further than 10 days overdue. We opted for the stretch and sweep, and if it doesn’t work, I have to come back the next day for gel behind the cervix, every 6 hours if the first time shouldn’t work, but the first time should, as she could feel her head, and my waters bulging. After the S&S, I immediately had another contraction, and she advised that I go for a walk and squat very low during contractions. We went to walk around Zoo lake, and I had a “look at the interesting sticks” every few minutes. My kids were bringing me all kind of sticks the rest of the time there! We went to get lunch, and after about 3 hours from the S&S, contractions were every 2-3 minutes. My midwife was still in the vicinity of Genesis, so she asked that I come back and check contractions. Some were irritations, some were true, so I was advised to go take a bath at home to calm the irritations down. Took the bath round about 5ish, and contractions were there, but hardly noticeable. MIL has since arrived, and we sat with her in the living room chatting, even through contractions. Went to bed just before 11, contractions were 4:30 minutes apart for about a minute each. My midwife advised me to get some rest if I can. Went to bed and slept till 2am when contractions woke me. They were now 2:30 minutes apart, still about a minute long. I stayed in bed, timing them, not yet wanting to wake anyone. 2:30am I felt either a very strong kick to my cervix, or my waters breaking. I tried to feel, but couldn't feel any liquid, so thought it was maybe baby again, as she did it once, letting me think it was my waters breaking. I figured if it was my waters, if I got up, gravitation will let me know soon enough. Sure enough, as I got up, it came streaming out. My contractions were now about 2 minutes apart, and it started to hurt, where I couldn’t move or talk through them. I woke hubby up, and got everything together to leave. We were in the car when it started getting so intense that I moaned when they hit. Hubby heard the first moan, said very worried “uh-uh” and floored it (later I learned he went about 200kms/h). We had to stop to get fuel, as I was tempting Murphy in any way I could to get this baby out. Luckily we had cash, and could pay and go.

We arrived at Genesis at 3:20, and got issued a room. The staff midwife wanted to let me lie on the bed to test the contractions with the NST and I let her know there is no way that is going to happen. They were now less than two minutes apart for a minute each. Hubby immediately opened the water to the bath, so it can be ready for me to get in as soon as possible. I wanted to use the toilet, but the staff midwife insisted that she needs to check if it is baby. I was 8cms dilated. I changed into a sports bra and my labour skirt (I am very shy) and got into the bath. My doula and photographer arrived about 5 minutes later, and I was so relieved to see friendly faces. I immediately felt better and like I can do it. About 5 minutes later my midwife arrived, and I felt so much joy that she will be there. Not long after I started feeling the need to push. I remember somewhere asking if it will be long still, to which my midwife said I should feel her head in the birth canal. The relieve when the contractions stopped and the pushing started was immense! I felt with each push how my perineum would stretch, and then how she would go back a bit again. My pushes came in waves of three, then a breather. My midwife was so awesome through the whole labour! She kept assuring me that I was doing a great job (said matter-of-factly, not like an empty platitude), and that I should just trust my body to do what it wants. At some point she want to check the progress, and I just said no, as I was in so much pain then, the idea of someone sticking something in me felt so horrible and violating and she was so respecting of that. Afterwards hubby told me it was just 5 pushes and she was out. At some point I felt myself tearing, but it wasn't painful, it was just an awareness, like being aware you picked up your arm. I can't remember how many pushes. I also can't remember if I screamed like a banshee, or just moaned. But I do remember the relieve when I finally had her on my chest. She had this little quivering lip when she cried. She was also almost white with the vernix, and a little chubby bubby. She was estimated at 35 weeks gestation that she will be around 3.1-3.5kgs when born. I birthed the placenta on the bed, and got 4 internal stitches and 2 external, as little madam decided to come out with her hand next to her face. She was also in that position during her two sonars. Brother, who is now 3, also came out with his hand in front of his face. Interestingly enough, the placenta showed no signs of her being overdue. The amount of vernix was also a lot for an “overdue” baby. Little Ané was born 3:49, just 29 minutes after arriving at Genesis, weighing 4kgs on the dot, and 53cms tall.

Reuben's Birth

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As a first time mom I was so excited about the eminent birth of my boy! I read, just generally, skimming along, not wanting TOO much info, as I didn't want to be freaked out or get scared. I knew the physiology and how it would happen, but not more beyond that. I wanted a water birth, but sadly the hospital didn't offer them, and I knew I didn't want an epidural. My primary caregiver was a gynae, because that is just how you do it. My boy measured ahead during his sonars, in the end his due date moved ahead with 16 days. Luckily I had a very pro-natural gynae, whom assured me that even though he measured ahead in growth, his organs still developed at the same pace, so don't bargain on an early baby.      During the last couple of appointments she did an internal every time, and I measure 1cm dilated at 36 week, 2cm at 38 week, and 3cms at 39 weeks. I thought, being a first time mom, that when I started dilating, baby will sommer  just fall out where I am, so I stayed in a 10 minute vicinity of the hospital. 39 weeks, during my check-up, baby measured 3,8kgs and the gynae did a stretch and sweep (She did so without my consent, and without consulting me beforehand. At the time, I wasn't really informed, or too bothered, as I wanted this baby born. Looking back, it makes my blood boil.). He was in the right position, it was now only a waiting game. She explained that because I was already 3/10ths of the way dilated, labour would likely be shorter. Two days later at 3pm I started getting light contractions, and I new immediately what it was, yeah!! It was every 10 minutes, not too long, not too strong, but getting progressively stronger and closer together. By 7pm it was 5 minutes apart, and we made our way to the hospital. I arrived, explained I was in labour, and was met with very skeptical nurses. I was taken to the labour room, and was asked a plethora of questions and given paperwork to fill out, while being hooked up on the monitor. It showed, after 20 minutes, that I was having regular contractions, and they decided to do an internal examination, and I was 4cms dilated.

I was on the bed, mostly, with hubby by my side. I remember taking a long shower at some stage, until the water drops on my tummy became too painful. The nurse kept on asking if I didn't want an epidural, which I declined every time. I was lying on the bed at one time, and I started to tremble in-between contractions and I got offered something that will help me relax. They gave me an injection (I suspect it was Pethidine) and I was high like a kite after that. Everything was a blur and I had my eyes closed the whole time. I remember the clock reading 10pm. I remember hubby feeding me some ice-chips. I remember using gas during contractions, but it didn't help that much. Halfway through a contraction the canister was empty, and they had to change canisters (canisters were on little wheely trolley thinghies). I remember sitting on the toilet at this stage, and my toes were curling in from the pain. I also remember the intense relieve I felt when I laboured on the toilet, compared to on the bed, and how it felt like I was making progress. I was rocking on the toilet praying that God would just let this be over quickly, and that it wouldn't hurt that much. I remember the nurses wanted to break my water at some point, as the gynae prefers that the waters be broken before she arrives, don't know exactly when, but I didn't want it to rupture artificially. I had to go to the toilet, and as I sat down to urinate, I broke into the toilet (how convenient?). I think this was before I started using the gas, but again, my memories are very hazy.

I had to get on the bed again, and the nurses checked me, and then phoned the doctor. They then cleaned me up, and I recall vividly how the mentioned the gynae wants her patients to be clean before she arrives.

When she arrived, she checked, had my one leg, had the one nurse hold the other, and was just waiting on contractions. I remember apologizing for the patch of leg hair I missed when I shaved, that was right at the gynae's hand. She instructed me to pull myself up with my hands around my thighs, and push for 10 seconds, then lie down again and wait for the next one. I remember the ring of fire, and how it burned!! She offered and injection for the pain, and I gladly accepted. I also remember baby going out and in, and out and in, for what felt like an eternity. She asked if she could help, and she used a vacuum to pull him out. It became apparent then that the reason he was struggling to come out was because his hand was next to his face. Reuben was born 12:25am, 15 June 2014, weighing 3.3kgs. I had to wait for a contraction to birth the placenta, but it was taking too long for my liking and I just pushed it out. I had to get two stitches. I remember apologizing to the doctor for making such a noise, to which she laughed and said I was quite quiet. I has handed my baby, and my first reaction was, well, not much. I was still so out of it, and I looked at him with disbelief that he was born. That he was here. It was weird. I felt very detached. I can't recall if I breastfed him then, or only later. I don't think we did skin-to-skin. I really can't recall much. I struggled to form an attachment with him. I stood next to his crib sometimes and couldn't really believe he was here, and he was my baby. Not in the lovey-dovey way, but in a detached, out-of-body way. I only started to form a bond with him when he first smiled at me, and boy did it form! Sometimes that bond doesn't come immediately, sometimes it takes a while. Just because you don't love your baby immediately, doesn't mean you won't, and it doesn't make you a bad mom, it just makes it different than what is always portrayed. He is now a strapping 6 year old boy, and my heart still swells with love every time I see him!