Then There Were Four

Guys, I had another baby! And my heart is so full – I have two beautiful little girls. I am so happy, that amazing, peaceful, contented kind of happy.

If you don’t like birth stories, look away now. I promise to try not to make it too graphic.

On Wednesday morning, we visited the midwife for a check up, and ended up having a Stretch and Sweep. For 3 weeks now, the fundus (basically my baby-carrying sack) hadn’t grown, and Karen was worried that baby was running out of room. So, stretch and sweep time (and let’s-move-baby’s-arm-from-its-head-internally time – that was comfortable!).

We went home for the rest of the day to wait for (hopefully) labour to kick in. Poor Pete – he was so impatient to meet his child, he couldn’t sit still. In hindsight, I should’ve sent him to the pub.

My mum also came straight back from my sister’s on hearing about the ‘sweep’ – I really needed this baby to come today, otherwise everyone’s hopes would be up high for nothing!

Thankfully, like clockwork, my labour started as I fed Stevie her bedtime booby (nipple stimulation, especially towards the end, I known for releasing oxytocin – the labour hormone. Interestingly, oxytocin is released 3 times naturally in a woman – during orgasm, during labour, and during breastfeeding. The human body is fascinating – it’s all connected to making babies!). Quarter past 8, I was feeling intense pressure and let Karen know.

Luckily for me, my doula was Karen’s daughter-in-law, Bianca – I have a history of short labour, and this meant they could get to me, together, nice and quickly.

And of course, my history of fast labour repeated itself. Karen and Bianca got to the house (and assisted Pete with the birthing pool) just in time for my contractions to start with a real bang – I was told the day after, that on my first check after arrival I was between 5 and 6cm dilated already.

When watching period dramas involving labour, I always wondered about the towels and pots of boiling water that they ask the husband for every time – it turns out, keeping a birthing pool hot is hard work! I don’t think Pete has boiled so much water in his life – because of course the geyser ran out after a while!

Anyway – the pool was run in perfect time and in I hopped (I did not hop anywhere, of course – hopping whilst 39 weeks pregnant and in labour is not an option). Water birth was the best decision I ever made. I went from 5-6cm to the full 10cm in about 40 minutes, so I have very intense labours and the water really helped with supporting me. It was still bloody sore, but I didn’t worry so much about finding the perfect position, as the water balanced my body.

Active labour started at round about 9pm. Karen kept me informed all the way through that my waters still hadn’t broken, and that she was reluctant to break them for me while I was progressing nicely – which I was thankful for. En caul births are rare – so of course I wanted one!

In the end, my water sack actually broke shortly after contact with the water. I got to feel it though, which was different. It felt like a very rough, papery water balloon. Then came the head, and a strange, primal moment where I tuned out everybody in the room and pushed – Karen said she even saw the change. My body, knowing what to do from last time, took over of its own accord. I tilted my pelvis, let out some kind of weird noise and the biggest push I have ever known had her out, pretty much in one fluid movement.

Looking down into the pool and seeing this little, tiny creature floating in the water will go down as one of the most surreal, and amazing, moments of my life.

But wait – what I haven’t even mentioned yet is that Stevie was in the room for half of the process, and got to physically see her little sister being born! My mum brought her through and talked her through the entire thing, and she thought it was fascinating. As I lifted our new baby onto my chest, Karen called Stevie over and asked her to to be the first to see what sex her new sibling was. It was such a special moment.

I know, I my new-mum, baby-brain muddle I will have missed something out of this birth story – probably something really vital, like how Pete was with me in the pool the whole time, or how important perineal massage is. But this is just how I remember it now, 3 days after the event. Birth is beautiful, and painful, and overwhelming, and the best thing I have ever done now – twice! Even if there was a small moment on the last contraction before her head crowned where I wondered why I’d ever put myself through this again.

Home birth isn’t for everyone – as stated, I have a history of quick labour, I had a textbook, complication-free pregnancy, and I don’t like hospitals, so home birth with a midwife was ideal for me. If you feel as though this sounds like you, and something you’d like to do, then I highly recommend it. I got to labour and birth in the comfort of my own home – I got to use my own towels, tandem feed my kids for the first time in my own bed, and wash off in my own bathtub. Plus, I now know how to clean off a murder scene – always handy, no?

My midwife was Karen van der Merwe, who also works as a private midwife at Genesis Clinic in Rosebank, if the whole home birth thing seems a bit much. To contact her re a home birth: karenvdm61@gmail.com

0823357731

My doula was Bianca van der Merwe. A doula is a birth assistant, who can be hired for both natural and assisted births, and also c-section. Bianca also offers pregnancy massage and reflexology.

https://www.facebook.com/SimplyBinx/

binxycastle@gmail.com

0615467020

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7 thoughts on “Then There Were Four

  1. How my daughter explained it was true and thorough. What she didn’t know was the pure terror I experienced when her 2.5 yr old daughter woke up mid contractions whom I had to collect from her bedroom coz I think she heard Mummy’s ‘moans’ which woke her. I just picked her up, took her to the lounge and explained Mummy was in the bedroom with Daddy and was going to give her a baby soon. Then Karen the Midwife came to me and said “Nanna we’re close, come into The bedroom and bring Stevie, let’s involve her!” I nearly shat myself and asked if she was serious. She said “yes, she’s old enough as long as we’re calm”. I took my granddaughter into the bedroom where her Mummy and Daddy were in the pool and I explained Daddy was helping Mummy with the new baby and Mummy was pushing the baby out of her vagina (Stevie knows what a vagina is) and it hurts for a bit that’s why Mummy is making noises but Mummy is going to be fine soon. And I talked her through everything and she just rolled with everything and was calm and we both watched as Mummy pushed her sister out into the water and brought her sister from under the water to her chest, no pain meds, nothing. Mummy even said “Hi Stevie “ and all was so relaxed and ‘zen’ like. Stevie watched ALL of it and was so chilled. Karen the midwife promised Stevie she could tell us if the baba was a girl or a boy which she did. Shortly after Stevie said. “ Can I go and watch football on the tv?!”
    To me as Sophie’s Mum I’ve never seen anything like this in my life before and feel so privileged to be part of this amazing delivery which I shared not only with my daughter and her husband but my granddaughter who will probably forget everything however a part of me will always remember that special moment with my granddaughter whom I hold dearly to my heart and to welcome into this world the life of her sister. Nature and the birth of a life is a beautiful thing. I’m beyond proud of my daughter and her efforts and sheer doggedness to stand by her convictions of a purely natural delivery also her husband and his undoubted and never ending support for her. Truly blessed. Still on a cloud of love and respect ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was an honour to have been chosen to share your pregnancy & birth journey with you. U r an amazing family & two very special parents blessed with 2 beautiful daughters. The power & inherent strength you showed throughout your labour was wonderful to see & to share. You made important choices for both of your children & have given them both the best start in life…..they are blessed to have you both as their parents 🙏😇😉🙂😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I started following you on Instagram when i was pregnant and you were pregnant- but i was a bit further along – i am very excited to see we had the same midwife and doula! Whom both i would recommend to everyone 😊 Congratulations!

    Like

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