I should probably write this now, before I forget all the detail. I can remember asking my husband if we can please adopt from now on, while in pain, but by the next day, I was ready for a whole rugby team of children, all to be delivered naturally. How selective the memory is!

I had a dream pregnancy, apart from being a bit tired in the beginning and swollen feet at the end, the rest was a quite manageable. I assumed that the birth would fit right into this picture I had of myself as the little mother-of-plenty. On visiting the gynecologist and midwife a few weeks before the due date, both mentioned that the little one’s head was firmly above the pelvis, causing a step, but most woman are still able to deliver normally.

Two days before the baby was due, I realized that I was becoming more and more uncomfortable. Slowly I started to realize that I was experiencing labour pain- this was Tuesday night at about 20:00. I alerted my husband, and he slept in his clothes, ready for the hospital rush. By 02:00 Wednesday morning the contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart, though very short. I send an SMS to Heather, she suggested I take a bath. This was a very wise suggestion, since it saved me the effort of going in and then having to come all the way back home. The warm water relaxed me, and the pain subsided to the point that I fell asleep. I had a scheduled appointment for the next morning, and went to see Heather while the pain was very slowly mounting again. I was 2cm dilated, so this was not the end of the road yet.

Through the day the contractions intensified again- I was trying to relax and take it one contraction at a time. When the contractions were once again 5-7 minutes apart, I decided to repeat the warm bath. Once again, everything relaxed and the pain eased off, I was starting to wish that things would progress faster now.

Slowly through the night things were becoming less bearable, this was the second night of very little rest. Thursday morning I went back to the birth unit, I was 4-5cm dilated. Once again I went home and tried to relax. By the evening 20:00 I was in a lot of pain. The pain was not the contractions I expected – this was short stabs, maybe 30 seconds every three minutes. I was getting to the end of my strength. I phoned Heather and we agreed to meet at the birth unit.

On arrival, I was 6-7cm dilated, but still the baby’s head was high. Slowly the pain intensified, but still these short stabs. My husband was great- calm, strong, and patient. I was struggling more and more to see the end of the road, feeling desperate for it all to end. The warm water helped but when I got out of the bath the pain was still worse. Any movement would bring on a next spasm. Between 23:00 and 24:00, the internal examination showed no further progress. This really broke my courage. If I could just know we were going somewhere. The internal also revealed that the baby was still high and starting to show ‘swelling’ on the head. The CTG showed that she too was becoming tired. We had come to a cross road – we couldn’t keep on going like this.

This was my greatest fear – having to ‘give up’ and end up in a caesarian section anyway. But this was not about what I wanted – this was about the precious life inside of me, she was the first priority. At midnight the decision was made to get the doctors for a caesarian. By 01:00 I was wheeled into the theatre. My greatest challenge was sitting still long enough for the anesthetist to administer the spinal. Throughout my pregnancy I said that I just wanted my husband and the midwife to be with me when the baby was born, and here we were surrounded by people all woken in the middle of the night. At 01:25 a little girl came into the world, and it all faded. All my fears, expectations, pain, it was all gone and I was shaking like a leaf when the little one was placed in my arms. Rashelle was born.

Do things always have to work out as we expect them too? They don’t, that’s reality. It is our reaction that determines the outcome. I am on the other side, hoping that there will be many more beautiful babies in our family, with peace in my heart. I can look back and smile. I was treated with so much professional and wise advice, support and tenderness. In the end it was not a failure, it was a step in character building by a God that knows me so well.