Funny how my first-born’s birth story is only coming up now, but after last week of celebrating my two boys birthdays, literally 5 days apart I couldn’t help getting super nostalgic about my first born and my first birthing experience. I was like any first time mother, excited and nervous, and had absolutely no idea what to expect.
(When reading this, try to picture yourself at 22. Also keep in mind this was in 2010-2011)
I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant. I find that the 22 year old’s of today are way more educated and clued up about pregnancy and birthing than I ever felt like I was. All I knew back then was that I have an intense fear of hospitals, needles and there was no way I was going to have a caesarean.
A Natural Contraceptive that didn’t work… for us.
Let’s start from the beginning. We married for 8 months, 3 months prior to finding out we were expecting, we decided it would be better to go off of contraceptives as it had serious side effects on me. I had heard a few of my friends do the calendar method (a natural family planning method where you track your fertile days) it is very effective if you do it right… we did not do it right. Hence this post, haha. F.Y.I. I would not recommend this if you do not have a regular cycle.
Finding Out we were expecting.
I remember feeling a bit strange a few days before, my breasts felt extremely tender, and I felt queasy all the time. Oh, and I was 2 days late, that was super unusual as I was exactly every 28 days… anyways I thought I would buy a pregnancy test. I did the test the next morning, I think I woke up at like 4 am and I just saw 1 and 1/2 lines. so I thought it was negative. The second line was so faint it was almost invisible. My husband was at work all day so I didn’t want to say anything yet, because, hello, we weren’t trying, and I was supposed to be tracking days remember. I messaged my friend who was pregnant at the time with her first-born and told her what I saw on my test and she freaked, screaming congratulations. Her pregnancy test looked exactly the same. I was shocked, it couldn’t be! I rushed to the gynaecologist consultation rooms and had some blood tests done. I got the phone call the next morning and it was confirmed, I was 2-3 weeks pregnant.
I immediately called my mother crying! The conversation went something like this: “Mom I just did a test and it’s positive” “Positive for what?” “I am pregnant” “Congratulations, why are you crying?” I was in shock to say the least. I remember just buying a pacifier and that afternoon I played a guess-which-hand game, my husband chose the hand I opened it with the pacifier, “I am Pregnant!”
We felt like we were still kids, and now we are going to raise a baby! We were ecstatic never the less, because it felt like the natural next season after marriage.
My dream birthing option.
Fast Forward 4 months, my friend and I went to a baby expo that was held in Bloemfontein, at Mimosa Mall, and we met a midwife that specialised in home births. I was shocked to hear that I could possibly give birth in the privacy of my own house. So if I wanted to scream I wouldn’t feel embarrassed and I wouldn’t need to have 3 or 5 strangers around me when giving birth. I was sold on this idea.
At my next gynaecologist appointment I asked my Dr a few questions, with my new-found information, and one answer convinced me that this Dr was possibly going to do a caesarean and not give me a chance to give birth naturally. I asked her has she ever had a patient that tried to give birth naturally but it didn’t happen? And she said yes, the patient only dilated up to 9cm and then she stopped, and then they were “forced” to do a c-section. Now there could be other factors that the Dr had to consider that I didn’t know about but I learnt that if you can go up to 9cm you will probably be able to go up to 10cm. So I told the Dr I decided to have a home birth, but she was not supportive at all. She told me my baby was too big, and If I have an emergency C-section they better call her that day.
A loving midwife.
My midwife was amazing! First of all she loved Jesus, which made it so much easier to share my faith. And she had the most beautiful caring heart. She made me feel safe, and I literally hung onto every word she spoke. She was like a mother and best friend in a time that I felt very unsure and afraid and alone. (My only friend that was pregnant at the same time moved away a few months before we gave birth, and my other friends were finishing their studies or still finding love.)
Leading up to the birth.
At 35-36 weeks my ankles were so swollen it looked like I had elephant legs, I was tested for preeclampsia but it was negative. I was so swollen and had the worst heartburn, I was walking around with 300 ml bottle of Gaviscon in my handbag, yes it was that bad!
When I was 37 weeks, I was visiting my family in Johannesburg, and went for a check up at my Gynaecologist in Johannesburg, he was my mothers gynaecologist and now my sisters as well. He also had no faith in me giving birth at home, he played out all the worst case scenarios. “What if I need to rush to the hospital and there aren’t any ambulances available?” What if you get to the hospital and it’s full?” “You know if you have a cut at the top or the bottom, what’s the difference?” “Why do you want to do that to your husband? He doesn’t have to see you like that” To say my choice of a home birth was frowned upon is an understatement. For about a week I was so freaked out and I actually considered just giving in to my fears and finding a gynaecologist to take me on as a patient at 37 weeks. It was impossible.
By 38 weeks I was going to bed prepared and ready for anything to happen at night. Why is it that we always think our water is going to break at night and we are going to have to rush to hospital?! I was huge! People asked me if I was carrying twins, to give you an idea of my size.
Even though I planned a home birth I still “packed” a hospital bag and had all the things for me and my baby on the day of his birth. My list looked a bit different that the normal hospital list, I will share it in another post.
The book that helped me birth.
My midwife gave me this book Supernatural Childbirth, and it was the best pre-birth book that I could read. I used this book before all 3 of my births and it was a fantastic tool to stir my faith and create a positive expectancy of birth. In the book Jackie talks about scripture that you can declare over yourself, and I took those scriptures and wrote them out on paper and stuck them to my cupboard doors.
After 38 weeks and 5 days we decide to do an induction at home. I was done. I was large and in charge and so ready to have my baby.
Check back onto my blog for the follow-up on this post… Labor Day!