This wonderful photo was taken one lovely afternoon with our family and our 2 very talented friends Chris and Em Allen just 3 weeks before our precious son arrived. Here is how it all went down…
I was due on Fri 17th May. As my daughters had arrived at 38 and 39 weeks respectively, reaching full term was a real test of patience. I went for a check up with my gynae on my due date to find that I was 2 cm dilated and baby’s head was very low… my gynae was convinced I would go into labour that weekend, and if not, she wanted to induce me on Monday evening 😦 NOTHING happened all weekend, and I was feeling pretty glum about being induced as I had had a rather traumatic failed induction with my 2nd daughter. I called my doc on Mon morning and asked for her to give me a few more days as I really wanted God to choose the date of my baby’s birth day and not science. She was wonderful and agreed, but asked that I come in the next day to assess my placenta and water levels.
I woke up on Tues 21st May with a dull period like pain, but had felt it before, so wasn’t too concerned, but something in me decided to pack my hospital bags as I headed out to see my gynae. I went in for my check up to find that I was 4 cm dilated with my membranes bulging – I was in active labour! I was admitted at 2pm.
The maternity ward at Alberlito hospital is AMAZING! Friendly and attentive staff; quiet; large labour wards with birth balls, couches, stools of all sizes and a shower – a huge change from the hospital I’d previously birthed in. And most wonderfully, I had a wonderful midwife assigned to me for the duration of my labour.
Nicole (midwife) hooked me up to the foetal monitor and informed me that if I wished to have an epidural, I would have to have one immediately… I politely declined to raised eyebrows. I didn’t want to be a hero, I just wanted to experience this birth in the manner God intended it and reap the incredible sense of empowerment and achievement a mother can be blessed with after delivering her baby naturally.
Dr. Mthethwa came in to rupture my membranes to get labour going. My husband and my doula, Taryn Turner, arrived around 4pm. I was still not in any real pain – I was having contractions, but felt them more as tightening sensations. At 4:50, Dr. Mthethwa came in to assess me again – I was 7 cm dilated (woohoo!) but she said my waters hadn’t broken properly – so she had to re-break them. Wowee – this certainly got the labour train going – the bullet train!
My contractions got very intense very quickly and I had to focus completely on my breathing techniques, visualisations and readily accepted the wonderful massage from my husband, Taryn and Nicole – all of whom did the most amazing job and whom I could not have done without. I had my favourite worship music playing allowing me to focus on God and allowing Him to be with me during my hardest contractions.
After an hour and 20 mins of very intense contractions, sometimes 3 on top of eachother… I began to feel the unmistakable urge to push our baby out. Excuse the overshare, but it feels like needing to do a number 2 VERY badly! 😉 Nicole called Dr. Mthethwa and I was ready to push. Taryn was an amazing labour coach – she got me on to all 4’s to help the baby descend easily, this position saved me a whole lot of time and was probably the sole reason why I didn’t require an episiotomy or tear. Utilizing gravity to assist the baby down the birth canal seems like a no-brainer, but it is seldom an option with epidural dominant births.
Oh my goodness… the ring of fire. I have never felt anything like it. I thought my baby’s head was the worst, I even remember saying in desperation “Can’t you just take it out of me!”, boy was I wrong, I literally felt as though I was going to split in 2 when his shoulders came out… but then… as intense as the pain was, it completely disappeared as his warm little body passed through the birth canal and Dr. Mthethwa passed him to me. I will never forget that moment, as we hadn’t found out his sex, as I saw my son for the first time. I cried with joy and my body shook uncontrollably from the massive surge of adrenalin racing round my veins. I held our son in my arms as my husband and I thanked God for our beautiful boy.
it is seldom known to happen, but the wishes I wrote out in my birth plan a few weeks prior to my birth were all realized. I truly had the most amazing birth with all the right people in place. I could never have achieved my dream of a completely natural labour if it was not for the support of my husband, my wonderful doula Taryn, the cool-as-a-cucumber Dr. Nombuso Mthethwa and midwife Nicole. Mostly I thank God for His tangible presence during my labour and the gift of not only a fantastic birth, but also the blessing of our precious son Damian to our family.