Kelly's childbirth story
It’s Saturday night. We just ate dinner, Faber (oldest son) is in bed and we are on the couch. After several days of mild pre contractions, I now notice that I have to close my eyes every now and then when another one comes. For a moment, the world closed.
Suddenly I feel something and jump up. “What are you doing!” asks Kevin (partner). “My water breaks!” I yell, and as soon as I stand next to the couch, a huge splash of clear amniotic fluid falls to the floor. Kevin is the second to jump up. He wants to run out of the room to get towels, but slips and is suddenly sprawled in the room. We giggle. Because of the fall, but also because of nerves – now it’s really starting.
We cover the couch with towels and I lie down again. The baby had not descended earlier that week, so I call my midwife Dominique right away. 20 minutes later she is there. We talk a little. We still want to time my contractions, but already notice during the conversation that they are coming faster and faster.
We agree that Dominique will leave us alone for a while and that she will return at 00:00 to go to the hospital together. At 10:25 p.m. she leaves. She has barely left the door or the contractions suddenly follow each other at lightning speed. Gone is the peace in between. Woe follows woe follows woe. For a moment, I feel panic. How fast this is going… “You have to call Dominique!” I call out, “she has to come back NOW!
As Kevin calls, I once again surrender to my body. I feel I want to turn on my hands and knees and follow intuitively. Immediately I feel an urge that I have not had before, but immediately recognize. ‘F*ck, I think I have to push already…’ Not much later, Dominique comes in and pronounces what I already knew. ‘We’re going to do it here.’
The press phase
On the couch, I fiddle on. The push contractions feel new and uncomfortable. I catch them and squeeze along, as best I can. Around me, everything is being prepared for birth. Maternity care and photographer are called. I only half get it. Suddenly Dominique says, ‘Everyone is here. I don’t know if you were waiting for that, but now you can go.’ She feels internally to make sure nothing is in the way and guides me to the birthing stool. Kevin sits behind me and supports me. Still, I can’t really find my bearings on the stool.
I know it has been going on for a while and don’t feel any progress. Doubt strikes. “Can I do this?” I ask myself aloud. “What are you afraid of?” asks Dominique. ‘It helps to speak it out.’ Shooting through my mind is a comment I received several days earlier. Another who wondered aloud if I could have a baby in a normal way.
However, I myself do not feel fear anywhere and I realize – this doubt is not mine. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I repeat inside and I regroup.
Go on, press on, through the pain!
I stand up. Immediately I feel the pressure increase. SO intense. I experience the ferocity and am simultaneously relieved – finally feeling where I need to push. To push, I drop to my squat and occasionally stand up again. Dominique addresses me. ‘Feel how far along you are. The head is really deep already and you did that all by yourself.’
This and the increasing pressure I feel is boosting my confidence. I’m really almost there. Slowly but surely it begins to burn. The feeling I was waiting for, but that I curse now that it’s there. ‘Go on, press, through the pain!’ I give everything I have. From my squats, I once again intuitively move to hands and knees. A few more contractions and then it happens. The head shoots through and the body immediately follows. Dominique catches the baby. “Get your little one!” and I get my baby shoved between my legs. I look down and then I see it….
“Honey, it’s a girl!
A difficult start with ventilation
‘She really needs to recover a bit,’ Dominique says. Our girl is stimulated, but remains weak. She does not move or cry. “Just grab her. I get her in my arms and together we are taken to the couch. ‘Maybe that will help her.’ She lies on my chest and doesn’t respond to anything. ‘We’re going to help her anyway.’ As Dominique puts a clamp on the umbilical cord, she lets out a groan.
However, this is where it stops. ‘Mommy is here, mommy is here’ I say to her and deep inside I feel – this is going to be okay. With this sense of confidence, I remain on the couch as she is taken to the dinner table. Kevin joins in and holds her little hand while she is ventilated. It takes almost too long. But suddenly she comes to and starts crying. Our Frida.
She is brought back to me and I burst into tears. Discharge, love, relief, pure wonder. ‘I can’t believe what I just did,’ I tell Kevin. ‘I’m so f*cking proud of you,’ he whispers. For the first hour, we stay close together. Frida on my chest and my hand in Kevin’s.
At the checks, everything is okay with Frida and I appear to be severely torn out. We discuss whether and how to go to the hospital and Dominique calls an ambulance. Faber will still be picked up. During the ride, the paramedic asks if I don’t mind this ending. I am on a high and feel the adrenaline flowing. It’s okay.
At the hospital, the rupture can be sutured in the delivery room and pretty soon we are back in a cab home. Kevin, Frida and me. Faber may meet his sister tomorrow. Our life with the four of us can begin.