18 May 2013
I found out we were pregnant in September 2012, after having left my job in February of the same year. Obviously, the idea of all the costs involved in bringing a new life into the world was cause for much worry, especially since I hadn’t been on medical aid for a few months. After trying and trying to get medical cover and being told of 1-year waiting periods by all providers, we started panicking. One day I watched a show on tv and they were talking about home births and after a few days, I decided that’s the path I’d take. My husband, and everyone around me was very sceptical, which didn’t make it too easy for me to warm up to the idea, at least not until I met my midwife for the first time.
Fast-forward to May 17th 2013…I was asleep and at around 11pm I had the sharpest, most painful contraction ever. I knew it was different from all the rest because they had never woken me up from deep sleep before! They kept coming at regular intervals and I woke up to tell my husband, only to find him sleeping in front of the tele. I decided to not overreact, afterall, I had a hair appointment the next morning and wasn’t going to let a small thing like labour get in the way!
Contractions stopped around 4am and I got some sleep. At 6 I woke up to bath and get ready to go to the salon, keeping mum about my situation. At the salon, the contractions came back. I insisted on finishing what I started, AND going to visit my mom since I was in the area. We got there and I couldn’t hide the pain from her, she nervously chased us out of her house saying she doesn’t want to be caught up in the drama. On our way home, I still couldn’t bring myself to tell my husband that I thought I was in labour, he was going to come down very hard on me for my poor choices of that morning. Instead, I listened to him talk about how hungry he is and how he needed to go buy a kota (bunny chow). We pulled up at the spaza shop and I watched him stand in line for an agonizing 30 minutes waiting for the thing to get ready. Then finally we went home, and I could finally let my secret out when we got there. Of course he didn’t take me too seriously, I had after all had a normal day so far according to him. I decided to call my midwife, who confirmed that the time had probably come, saying she would see me within an hour. The house was in no state for visitors! So there I was, in labour, washing the dishes and clearing up. At around 3pm, she showed up, did the exam and said by midnight I would be holding my bundle of joy in my arms! I was excited that it would soon be over, but so scared of what was to come. The birthing pool lay folded and packaged on our floor in the lounge, and since we hadn’t tested it (as advised by midwife), we didn’t realize the lining was missing. To my horror, the midwife said she’d need to drive to her house to fetch one, and drive back! I was terrified of something happening in her absence, but she assured me I still had time, that I should just lie flat to slow down the process. Instead, I decided to take my razer and shaving cream and get started with my beauty regime. Yes. No way was I going to lie in the tub with hairy legs and hairy armpits. And my husband? Frantically assembling the cot which he was supposed to have done weeks before! Shaving done, I decided to go do the #2, couldn’t leave to chance the possibility of having a “floatie” form part of my experience, oh no! And thankfully I got that out of the way…and finally I could rest and wait for my baby.
By 5pm the midwife was back, my mother in-law had arrived to distract our 4 year old daughter, my husband was, again frantically, trying to fill the pool with bucketfuls of hot water because there was some issue with the hose, and I was lying dead-still on the couch and had gone half blind from the pain.
Eventually there was enough water in the pool and I could go in, somehow I dragged myself in.
And within 2 minutes I was pushing! I pushed really hard, mouth closed, no sound, and out popped the head (or thorn covered bowling ball). As I was getting ready to take a break, she shouted for me to keep pushing, and in no time I heard: “Ok, baby’s born! What time is it? The baby’s born!”
All I could say was “Thank you Jesus” over and over and over again! And ofcourse “Thank goodness the worst is over!”. It was exactly 7pm on the 18th May 2013. She put him in my arms, face down, and for about 2 seconds he didn’t move or make a sound! The longest 2 seconds of my life! Then his little hand made the tiniest movement, and I rejoiced. My husband came to cut the cord, making a science of it, as he does with everything! And they took my baby and wrapped him up. They must have been doing Apgar tests when I asked, so guys, what is it? Is it a girl? Only then did they say it’s a boy! I was shocked, regretting the tantrum I threw in the store for us to buy the pink cot because it just “looked better!”. Oops! Then they put him in my arms, he was the darkest, ugliest old-looking baby I’d ever seen! It was all so beautiful!
Not being woken up at 5am for blood pressure checks by nurses was the best part! With everything happening so fast, and us not being the most organized bunch, not much was caught on camera unfortunately, but trust me, nothing was more amazing.