“Feel your baby”
Tertia’s story of Anton’s Birth
The 1st November 2008. It was my due date according to my calculations…
At my 20 year matric reunion that evening we sat and had dinner. I started feeling a sensation a bit stronger than braxton-hicks contractions. I thought that if it came again, then surely it must be time… It came again after 20 min. Even after standing up and walking a bit, it came again. Yes, it was time. So we left to go home. I felt very excited while saying good buy to everybody. I knew that the baby would come tonight, by did not tell anybody. For the first few hours of the start of my contractions it would be my secret! It was around 20h00.
Twiggy, my best friend, who was to take the photos of the birth, was also at the reunion so they just came with to our house and we sent her husband and two older sons home. She stayed behind with her 9 month old baby. We had tea and coffee on the stoep and the mild contractions were still coming on.
I phoned my sister Elsabe and told her that I am having braxton-hicks contractions that feel a bit different. She said I must phone here when I feel that it is contractions. Twiggy and I chatted for a while and by 21:30, I phoned my sister again to tell her to come.
When she arrived I also phoned my midwife Sharon to be on standby and gave her a rundown of the progress.
We took a walk back to Elsabe’s home to fetch the waterfall photograph to hang on the wall in the birth room. As we walked I had another 2 contractions. I also tried to get hold of Marijke, my older sister to join us for the birth. I eventually got hold of her husband and asked him to let her know. When we arrived at Elsabe’s home I went for a sit on the loo and after that I had a stronger contraction. I sent Twiggy back to start filling the birth pool. As we walked back I felt a bit anxious as the contractions now stopped me in my tracks. But I still walked calmly back to my house but with a purpose in my stride!
Tessa, one of my neighbours and a very good friend also had to be contacted to join us for the birth. I left a message on her voicemail and hoped she will get it in time. I also phoned my parents house to ask my father to bring my mother to be with us.
Back home I went out on the stoep. There I started working through my contractions one at a time, by swaying from side to side and back and forth while holding onto the balustrades. This I did while hearing the storm approaching and smelling the rain. The night sounds had a calming effect on me. As the contractions become more intense I asked Elsabe to phone Sharon, the midwife, to come.
I then instructed Elsabe to place a mattress on the living room floor, in case Sharon would want to examine me. Little knowing then what God had planned for me!
Our house turned into a very busy place and my team was working real hard to get everything ready.
Let’s not forget my poor husband Jan, who actually did not want to be present at the birth, but found himself caught amongst all these women. He helped were he could.
By now I lost track of time and nothing else mattered but getting through the next contraction. How long a contraction took or how long break I had in between was irrelevant.
Time did not matter.
My parents arrived and my father stayed on. Both my parents sat on the stoep chatting away with me as if this was an everyday visit. My dad was blissfully unaware when I was working through a contraction.
Every time a contraction started I went to “my world” and as it stopped I was back helping organising the women to get the birth pool ready. By now Twiggy and Tessa, (who arrived in the mean time), went to my next door neighbour to connect another hosepipe in order the get more hot water from their geyser. I could feel the adrenalin pumping around me!
It made me very happy to see my midwife Sharon arrive, because it meant that she will give the go ahead to enter the birth pool! Yeah! That was what I was looking forward to so much!
Just then my older sister, Marijke and my nephew Michael also arrived and immediately they were also put to work to help Sharon get all her stuff out of her car.
I was still on the stoep working through my contractions, one at a time! But I was ready to go to the birth room and enter the pool when I got the go ahead.
When Sharon said I could go, I almost ran to the pool! She first checked the baby’s heart beat and then allowed me to enter the pool. As I entered it relaxed me immediately and it was comfortable to be in place where body feels light. I had two more strong contractions. The water temp was not warm enough and so Sharon started preparing me to think about getting out and delivering my baby in the living room. It made my heart sink a bit, but all my trust is in Sharon and she knows best. Then my waters broke. It felt like a small balloon popping. Sharon made me feel my baby’s fontanel at the opening of the cervix. Now I knew that our baby will be in my arms soon!
Knowing that I would have to move to the living room, I instructed that the men go upstairs. My husband, dad and nephew were happy to oblige.
After another contraction, I made my way to the living room with the help of Elsabe and Sharon. I was cold getting out of the warm pool and had a fleece blanket over me. On my hands and knees I started working through my contractions. With Elsabe looking in my eyes and coaching me through it and Sharon at my tail-end attending to my perineum and monitoring the baby’s progress, I had a formidable team!
By now I felt the pressure right in my bum and every contraction become more intense. I do not think it would have been so easy, if I did not had the help of my sister telling me to smile and breathe.
Although I knew of everybody around me, it did not bother me a bit, because I felt such goodness in the air!
Sharon asked me to move my right leg forward to enable me to open up more. It felt more comfortable.
It was bliss when Sharon said I could push when I felt like it! The next contraction almost broke my rhythm, but Elsabe was there to bring me back and help me move with it again.
After a few pushes Sharon said: “Feel your baby”. As my hand went to my tail end, our baby slipped out. Our baby was born into my hands! I immediately kissed and greeted him. He quickly stopped crying and calmed down. He had such a peaceful look! I was so happy and yelled for Jan to join me, all the while hugging him against me. Only after Tessa asked whether it is a boy or a girl, did I actually look! It’s a boy alright!
Nothing in the world can give you greater pleasure than the birth of your child! My sister Elsabe cut the cord and Anton was handed to Jan to hold against his bare chest, skin-to-skin.. Pushing the placenta out after that took almost no effort at all.
What an empowering experience!
Anton was born on the stroke of midnight.