Birth Story – 3min read
OBB 1: “Words by OBB 2 who sneezed those suckers out.”
OBB2: “Shit, ja the longest, most painful sneeze of my life!”
I have always been a sucker for anything birth, babies and pregnancy related! From a small rat, my mother relayed that I was drawn to pregnant ladies, their baby boeps and babies. To date, I am that creep that loves to touch a preggy tummy (obviously I’ll suss out the vibe first and not just go in for the kill), and the one that wants to listen to every detail of your birth story down to the minute you thought you were in labour. I am also that person that can’t wait to give your baby a cuddle and that loves the challenge of settling your new born if it is fussing. So, when the time came for my own birth story, I was ready to rock and roll with a natural birth.
12 April 2015, I was re-enamelling our old-school bath, as you do at 35 weeks pregnant. Prior to starting the preparation for the bath, which took about 2 hours, my hubcap (husband) and I had just had a huge barney (fight) over the blady thing.
Me: “Bub, I have been putting this off for weeks. I just want to get this bath done before the baby arrives and I run out of steam.”
Hubcap: “I just want to relax and watch the Masters … please!”
Eventually, he felt bad, looking at my big boep, and offered to help but by that stage, my preggy rage had kicked in and I was sooooo stubborn and decided to do it myself. I slugged away at the bath and half way in, I stood up to mix more paint … my water broke! Not just a trickle, a movie-stylepuddle- at-my-feet kind of water breaking.
Hubby, who was having a nice little dos on the couch, woke up to me screaming down the passage “BUUUUUUUUB … I think my water has just broken!”. The look on his face when he saw me with a mask over my mouth, roller brush in hand and water at my feet was priceless and, I must admit, I quite enjoyed the “I told you so” feeling that came over me. I could see he felt really terrible for not helping me with the bath but smugness aside – we were both pretty shocked.
I could not stop worrying about my bath enamel drying out before I had a chance to finish it! So, I resumed my position in the bath and carried on painting. Hubcap came in with absolute disbelief and snatched the roller out of my hand. “Are you nuts my Best? Go and pack. I’ll do this”. I still claim my half of the bath looks much better then his.
Obviously we had no baby bags packed yet and I can confidently confirm that the advice of having a bag ready is a solid piece of info. The panic was absolutely nothing like in the movies. I bathed. Hubby made himself some coffee and watched the rest of the golf. As we calmly cruised around the house, got organised and left for PE, we had very little knowledge that in a few hours time the birthing reactment would be in full swing; swearing, weird animal noises and ugly tearless crying face.
1 cm dilated and I still wasn’t really feeling any pain. The sensation was ‘ants walking on my belly’. Settling into the labour ward, we waited in disbelief that we were going to potentially meet our baby in a few hours, a whopping 5 weeks before it was due. Ignorantly, we thought “BONUS”. There are obviously a few risks of having a prem baby and things got a bit real when they gave me a steroid injection to develop the babies lungs.
Hubster was taken on a tour of the NICU, just in case our prem baby needed to stay there for a few days. I slowly started to make peace with the increasingly pressing contractions which felt like the “period pain” sore (a definitely downgrade from the “walking ants”).
I looked over at Hubster, who was torn between the t.v, watching the last few holes to see who had won the Masters, and frantically reading the baby book I had been asking him to look at for months. I killed myself laughing: “Boet, I think it’s a bit late for that!”.
The contractions were now starting to let me know who was boss so I breathed through each one. The midwife checked again and I was 5 cms dilated. The pain, at this point, was sore but still manageable and I was offered an epi dural on a silver platter as if I was ordering a cuppaccino. On the back of the advice the midwife had given me, saying this was the tip of the ice berg and it was only going to get worse, I said bring on the epi!
By the time they had moved me to the birthing room- things started hotting up. The contractions were getting fiercly stronger and I was doing my best to get my head in the game. It is the strangest thing having no control over what your body is doing or the freaking strange, animal-like sounds and swear words that come out of your mouth.
Rolling like a mad woman on the pilates ball, I looked up at a shell shocked Hubcap and pleaded in a high pitched, goat-like voice “heeeeelp me … heeeelp me … kill meeee”. My one arm was stretched out towards him like Jack from Titanic on the floating door and my wide-eyed Hubster let out a very desperate “Oh my F*%k!”. Being a goat and sheep farmer, I could see for a minute he was thinking about doing the honourable thing; reaching for his leatherman and ‘slagging’ (Afrikaans accent) my throat rather than letting me suffer. The midwife entered timeously and the leatherman was returned to the holster.
The acceleration was ridiculous. Where the eff was the anthetist with the good shit?! Things were looking dire – I desperately needed to hit the toilet because I was seconds away from ‘parking a coil (poo)’ on the pilates ball. I had nightmares of taking a turd on the delivery bed. It just seemed like the final scrap of dignity being striped away. While I had previously expressed to my gynae that I REALLY, really, really was freaked out about the fact that I might poo on her, she laughed and calmly said “be cool with the poo”.
Through the panic, the bleating and wails of “I’m going to poo, I’m going to poo”, I could hear the midwives laughing but in agitated whispers to our gynae, “Where have you been? We’ve been trying to call you for half an hour?!”. Her casual response was, “ Oh was that you guys?”. She cruised in with a “Hop on the bed and have a poo”. I was already 10 cms dilated.
There was no turning back , no epidural and no relief from the urge to push. The baby’s head was coming down the birth canal and this is what causes the “pooing urge” feeling. Hubby at my side, midwife next to me and gynae down below, they were cheering me on. “Push my Best … Come on … Push!”. For a fleeting moment, I looked down at my gynae and blurted out “No ways I can’t do this”. “Too late,” she cried, “how do you think it’s going to come out?”.
At that point, the midwife thought she would give one last encouraging nudge and said, “Give me your hand and you can feel the head. It’s right there”. I snatched my hand back, “JUST GET IT OUT!”. So here is a little pointer for the soon-to-be natural birthers out there … The last stage, before you push your baby out, is one painful sensation! It is as though someone has taken a lighter and set fire to your koek (vagina). As if the pain wasn’t bad enough! In the medical world, this is colloquially termed “The Ring of Fire” – blady appropriate in my experience.
Last major push and straight through the Ring of Fire … hello world … my little 2,6kg healthy baby girl. One stitch inside the koek and I got up 15 mins later and had a shower.
I was ready to be a mom to this little thing I had miraculously grown in my tummy for 8 months and pushed out all by myself. I felt like Super Woman – it was honestly one of the most indescribable, phenomenal experiences I could have ever had.
The highlights package: Natural birth is the hardest but the best thing I have ever done in my life and I can compare it to nothing! Sometimes things don’t work out the way you had planned but, in my humble opinion, at least give yourself the chance to experience the absolute wonder of natural birth. However, birth is birth and there is always going to be pain. There is no easy way around it; natural brings pain before and during, and a Caesar, afterwards. So whichever way it goes for you just know this, the whole birthing process becomes rather insignificant when you hold your perfect little creation and your baba is in the world!