Juhan André Smit – born 15 April 2012 @ 08:55
My EDD was 5 April, so we were already so excited and on edge for the arrival of our baby boy. On Friday 13 April, I had my “show”, whilst shopping. My mom had a good feeling about this day. I didn’t tell anybody about the start of things, because I knew it could still be a while, and didn’t want to cause unnecessary excitement.
I did lots of walking and exercises on my Pilates ball with the hope to keep things moving. On Saturday night I suggested to my husband that we go out for supper. I had a feeling that it might be the last time we go out for supper in a while! We got back at home at around 21:30 and neither of us felt like going to bed. I suddenly had the biggest rush of energy. We watched TV till about 01:00 that night and then eventually went to bed.
At 04:30 I got woken up by the releasing of my membranes. I woke up my husband and we both knew that this was it! We will be meeting our baby soon! My husband grabbed the stopwatch and started timing. My surges at this point were about 5 – 6 minutes apart. We informed our midwife, Esti, that my labour has started.
I took a nice, hot bath, as suggested by Esti. Whilst in the bath, I realised that my surges were becoming closer apart. They were just over 3 minutes apart at this stage. I then decided that it is a wise choice to shave my legs! Looking back, that seems totally foolish now!
I got out of the bath, with surges closer than 3 minutes apart. As soon as I felt a surge approaching, I got onto my pilates ball and breathed through them. It was rather difficult to get dressed between all the breathing and movements on the ball! My husband ensured that everything was in the car and we finally left for the hospital at 06:30.
We arrived at a very quiet hospital and was welcomed at the entrance by Esti. At this stage the surges were so close together, that I could no longer walk. I was taken into the hospital with a wheelchair, feeling very silly, as I wasn’t sick and thought I would be able to walk in myself!
We arrived at the temporary birthing unit, situated inside the labour ward. The room was dimly lit and once inside, felt nothing like the cold and sterile atmosphere associated with a hospital. A normal bed instead of a hospital bed is used and the room is filled with colour, creating a very relaxed and cheerful vibe.
An internal examination was then done which established that I was already dilated 6 cm. I quickly went to the bathroom and then got into the bath at around 07:15. There were candles placed around the bath and the room felt very relaxed and cosy. The hot water felt incredible.
Esti applied pressure on my back during surges and kept talking to me, while my husband went to fetch the bags in the car. I felt relaxed and confident. After he got back, Esti left us to go finish some of the admin. She said that when she gets back, I should get out of the bath and back onto the pilates ball, to ensure that the labour keeps progressing.
Juhan obviously wasn’t too keen on this suggestion, because when she got back I was fully dilated and he was ready to be born! At this stage, the back-up midwife Christel, also arrived.
They instructed me to change too different positions in the bath. I think we tried every position thinkable. I couldn’t find a position to get comfortable in because I kept slipping in the bath. I asked for some towels and we placed this below me. I eventually positioned myself in the width of the bath, in a semi-reclined position. A few minutes later Juhan’s head was out, and when the next surge came, the rest of his little body was born. He was born at 08:55.
My husband and Esti handed him to me and I immediately put him on my chest, ensuring the first skin-to-skin contact. He was so incredibly peaceful and didn’t cry once. The midwives then left the room to give our new little family time to bond. I had such a rush of emotions and couldn’t stop staring at our beautiful little boy. I still can’t believe that something so perfect came out of my body!
After about 20 minutes of bonding, the midwives came back and helped my husband to cut the umbilical cord. My husband then put our baby on his chest, also administering skin-to-skin bonding.
Esti helped me out of the bath and did a post exam. Christel then tended to Juhan. She did numerous tests on him and also took his measurements and weighed him. (all while he was still in the room with us) He weighed a healthy 3.8 kg. She then dressed him and handed him back to me.
By this stage I was dressed and comfortable in the bed. Esti then helped me to get Juhan to breastfeed for the very first time.
We had regular check-ups by our midwives in the comfort of our home. They checked Juhan and me to ensure that we are healthy and there are no complications. After the home visits, we went for check-ups at their home-based office, conveniently situated only 3 kms from our home.
Being a first-time mother can be very overwhelming, but Esti helped me to stay calm and confident. She was a great help and I knew that I could contact her any time if I had a problem or needed advice.
We had a wonderful birthing experience and I felt incredible after the birth. It felt like I was on a natural high which lasted for weeks after his birth. I look forward to baby number 2, and will most definitely use the same group of midwives for support prior to, during and after birth.