I had imagined my baby’s dream birth. I watched dozens of videos of births on YouTube when I was pregnant and I started to believe in these orgasmic births or at least I wanted to believe there was an alternative to biblical pain
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
and artificial painkillers. I had read testimonials of women and I knew what I wanted.
I aimed at directing my child’s birth, not being the passive actress of that magical moment and even less a puppet on drugs who is just following a nulliparous midwife’s instructions.
So I enrolled for that “Stork Nest” section of the Maternity dedicated to natural birth. I went there for parental training at first with my little-boyfriend-future-daddy Toby and my huge belly. I’m not telling my boyfriend is short. I only mean that at that time he came back to me eight months after he broke up with me so he felt little compared with my baby. In other words, I was so happy that he came back that I didn’t realise it. A miracle happened and it seemed too beautiful to be true. I underestimated my feelings not to be hurt again I guess.
Anyway, I had planned my journey there and met a wonderful midwife involved in her job and in women and babies wellbeing here in Europe but also in Africa where this white mamma called Johanna has an adoptive family and culture. She is a Sun with a smile between the beams. And more than comfy: A Sun that speaks my own language!
They had my records and all the information they needed. They knew that ideally I wanted to avoid drugs and tried natural pain relieves such as birth singing, bouncing ball, African hips moves or bathtub. Actually I secretly dreamt of giving birth in the bathtub…
Johanna explained me how this room would become ours and she mentioned we could personalize it with pictures, music, etc. I really liked this idea of birth and I was very confident towards that first birth. I knew that I would know how to do, I had 100% trust in my mammal, maternal, womanly and human instinct. Yes, I was confident. Maybe too much.
My boy’s arrival on that sick but wonderful blue planet was due on the 11th of March. I had received the Maternity package offered to each family before their child’s birth, some very nice clothes and accessories to be used from birth until the baby is one year old. I had been offered some baby clothes, baby bottles and a babycook robot from my family, some baby socks from my Toby’s family, and lent some basic baby material such as a bathtub, a crib, a baby carrier, some breastfeeding pads, etc from young mummies friends of mine.
We were only missing a pram but I wasn’t too much concerned since Toby decided he would come and live with us in our minuscule flat in the “Nordic Everglades” from the first of March. I was glad and relieved to know that we would have time, even a little, to prepare the final details for our newborn boy.
On the 27th of February, I had left my language studies (remember I am supposed to study the local tongue) for my maternity leave two weeks before and Toby was going to school and working as a freelance for a web design company at the same time. He was quite busy but sweet enough to spend all his evening with my belly and myself instead of heading to the gym although he was worried his own belly started to follow mine’s trend.
On this evening of the 27th of February we decided to buy a second-hand pram we saw on the net for 110€. It was cheap and probably old and slightly broken but it was better than nothing and we didn’t have much choice being broke.
Once the shopping done we came back home by bus with that empty pram eating this delicious mix of nuts, chocolate and raisins by Den Lille Nøtte Fabrikken as we were starving.
I could feel my baby’s head pressing my cervix but it wasn’t the first time and it was less painful than strange as a sensation.
Finally home Toby cooked simple eggs as it was the last delicacy left in the fridge. It suited me well. While I was explaining a recipe made of eggs called Mimosa to Toby I suddenly felt very wet. I told him with a naive and excited smile on my blushing face. I went to the toilets for a closer look and further examination of the present substance. It wasn’t urine, blood nor discharge. It could only be amniotic fluid so I called the Nest. Johanna asked me if my water broke. I said “I think so. But it’s more of the shy leak rather than the Niagara Falls, if you see what I mean.” And my mission then was to keep her informed and especially go there with my luggage as soon as the contractions would start. No need to say that this never happened.
After spending a wet night at home without contractions we called the Nest a last time and we headed to the Maternity for some exams and monitoring.
I spent the night of the 28th there, in the classical Maternity Yard, excited and anxious. Toby was sent home.
In the morning of the 29th of February, a midwife that I had never met before, barely polite and who doesn’t speak very much, even less in English and nothing at all in my mother tongue as expected.
And there she comes with her rubber gloves and she pierces my sack like if it was a supermarket plastic bag. As a back up she mumbled: “it might hurt a bit but we have to do it to make the contractions come”. I kept quiet, just thinking “well, I guess I don’t have choice”.
I stayed alone in my room, tired of boredom, and after I tried all the positions and features of the bed I decided to call my double agent stayed in the Nest: Johanna. She said she would visit me as soon as she can. It was out of her courtesy and kindness. She didn’t have to. So waiting for her I watched TV shows whose language was alien to me until a nurse entered the bedroom. Remember that there you have no privacy. They knock at the door and come in just after without waiting any sign of agreement. So that nurse came to tell me that I could get ready to enter the birth room. I asked her to wait for Toby to be here around noon and she gave her approval. So I asked again: “Where am I going? Is there any chance I can join the Nest?” And she answered: “I am not aware of that. I have only be asked to tell you to get ready. By the way, a midwife student is coming to introduce you a new birth chair so you can sign and use it if you are interested.”
So the student came and actually didn’t make any presentation but gave me a prospectus of the revolutionary “RelaxBirth”, this kind of modern medieval torture device. Well, not exactly, let’s say a mechanical swedish stool but with comfortable arms.
I was speechless but it didn’t feel awkward since the student wasn’t the most talkative. She asked me to think about it, I said yes but I had already made my decision. My initial plan was a natural birth, although I couldn’t join the Nest, I didn’t need R2D2 to give birth to my little boy. I would do it myself with the power of my pelvic and love, like a big girl so “thanks but no thanks”.
Later I called someone to ask why I wouldn’t go to the Nest. I was starting to get annoyed with that lack of communication they finally called “language gap”. A nurse came and said that I couldn’t go to the Nest because that birth wasn’t simple anymore and that they feared I had an infection I could transmit to the baby during the birth. And she tried to comfort me saying that at this floor they had professionals as good as there in the Nest.
I still hadn’t have any contraction or any painful one. I didn’t know anymore. I felt like my baby’s birth was slipping out of my “hands”.
Johanna came and gave me a session of acupuncture. I can visualize it: the small needles in my feet, the sun warming up and lighting them, like if they were a sanctuary of birth power. The snow started to melt outside and the fire to burn in me!
My dream birth vanished but I will live a new dream!
So we went to the room and they were going to inject me oxytocin when out of lucidity Toby asked: “don’t you examine her or check the contractions first?” They looked at him like “we know what we are doing and we don’t have any advice to receive from you” and they said “we can do it if you feel more comfortable but we don’t have to” and I heard “we can do it to please you, motherfuckers, but we follow the same matrice, the same plan for each
client patient so please don’t mess with our program, usually clients patients shut up so you’d better do the same.”
So we confirmed we wanted to know how open was the cervix and if the contractions were strong enough.
The midwife had a look at me, said I was 4cm open and that if it didn’t hurt it meant I had no clear contractions. After that they followed their plan and the student installed a catheter on my hand. She failed at first and a little geyser of blood sprayed out the room. It gave a touch of colour to that clinically sad and clean white room.
And everything got faster and faster. It started to hurt a little. And big time. Toby became my best ally and he started to sing with me. The pain became harder so I requested the mask. It helped in the beginning. After that and as my bubble was broken I decided to try the hot water injections in the back. It felt good but didn’t last. After a few visits of the toilets (the baby’s head was pressing and emptying each single inch of my guts) I felt like an anal implosion or explosion maybe. I wasn’t sure, I was confused. The only thing I knew: it was a pain in the ass! And they asked if I wanted the epidural and I said yes because I didn’t know how long it would last. Toby said that the baby was coming but I felt so miserable and especially when they didn’t leave me the choice of the position and forced me to stay on my back, that I yielded. I should have trusted him.
They told me that each contraction stopped the baby’s heartbeat so we had to give him birth now.
So I was on my back, handy for them, I had the epidural running in my body, I didn’t feel the pain nor any other feeling, they sprayed some anesthetic lotion on my perineum explaining that if they had to cut and make an episiotomy it wouldn’t hurt. But I wasn’t naive: it was part of their plan. I was tired and I hated them. I just wanted to hold my boy!
So they cut and I pushed and I pushed and I… “Don’t push, I saiiid!”
Have you recognized the angelic voice of the midwife?
The baby is there!! And it’s a boy. Still a boy. We knew it.
So after that they took some scissors and I told them off because first I didn’t know their intention and Toby was the only one allowed to cut the cord. Also because the scissors so close to his penis was a scary view and I was afraid they would take the penis for the cord and I know it sounds ridiculous but who knows exactly what drugs they injected me.
So while the boy was scaled and measured, the midwife was pressing on my belly to expulse the placenta. I tried to breathe out each time she pushed but she didn’t get it. She was just pressing like a lunatic.
The boy was brought on my chest when they were sawing my perineum. It was stinging and I didn’t care.
My baby was so beautiful! Oh boy! We could finally touch him. He was so small and shy, like a little animal. He found refuge in my breast, cute little frog. He had marvellous big eyes. I was in love with him and his dad too. Awww…Our leap year baby!