So today is almost 1 month since our new baby's arrival. I wanted to write sooner but...you know how it is. We're settling into a routine of sorts now so am grabbing a quick moment to write whilst C is at work, K is at kindergarten and our little one sleeps. Just a warning, I will be writing details of the birth...
So 21st September was my 31st birthday, it was quite a quiet one being so very pregnant. It was half term so K was off school and him and me went for ice cream in the morning. Then we all went for lunch with C's mum and partner followed by a rest at home before me and K went to a friend's house for a swim. C made a delicious casserole and roast potatoes for dinner which is such a treat. You can't get gravy granules here - I actually brought some back with me from the UK but once it's gone, it's gone!
On the 23rd I invited a number of girl friends out for lunch partly for my birthday and partly since the baby was due at anytime. It was so nice to get out the house and as always when I've not see anyone for a while, I felt nourished by the company of so many beautiful smiling faces. My due date was the following day and we all knew that the next time I saw then, my baby would be here.
The evening of the 23rd at around 10.30pm I felt a shift downwards in my belly and upon visiting the loo, found that my waters had broken. As this was exactly what happened with K's birth (even the same time of day) I wasn't afraid but rather excited that it was starting. I called my midwives and told them that it was only just beginning and that we'd call when we needed them. Then I called C's mum and told her that C would bring K over when we needed to but that he was fine to stay sleeping for the time being.
C and I watched a TV show and at 11pm my contractions started. By midnight we decided to try and get some sleep as we both thought the labour was likely to be long since K's labour had gone on for over 25 hours. So C fell asleep but I found it too difficult to as the contractions were coming every 10 minutes and they were more painful when I was lying down. I had read a book called Active Birth which had helped me realise that I needed to stay upright and walking around as this was the best way to help baby come whilst being less painful. Since we were planning to stay at home for the birth and had no access to pain relief I kept on my feet and remembered the breathing techniques for the contractions. The next 3 hours were spent walking up and down the stairs to the toilet, breathing through the contractions and trying to rest a little in between (haha).
By 3.30am things were getting painful and I was feeling the urge to push so I woke C and told him that he needed to call the midwives. He called them both and they said they'd come within half an hour. Then he called his mum and let her know that he'd be bringing K to her hours soon.
At 4am the midwives arrived to find me naked except for my underpants, covered in sweat and losing my ability to stay in control of the situation (a perfect time for them to be there). Whilst they got me dried, C woke K and took him to his mum's house. I'll never forget his excited little face when he heard the baby was coming. The midwives got the bed ready (we used K's bed as he sleeps downstairs) and they checked to see how dialated I was. I was so surprised to learn that I was 7 centimetres already (10 is when you can start pushing). We realised that this baby was coming much faster than K did. This next stage of the labour was the hardest, when you feel the urge to push but you have to stop yourself and breath through those urges. I was sat on the bed and my midwives helped me by breathing with me and keeping me focused. Since I had been meeting with them since the start of the pregnancy I felt a great deal of trust in them which of course, you need in such a vulnerable state.
This next hour and a half seemed to pass quickly, C made everyone tea and I was regularly made to drink tea or water depending on how I felt at the time. When I was at 10 centimetres and was allowed to push, I could feel the baby making its way out. It hurts so much but I was determined not to lose myself to the pain and a few strong pushes with the next few contractions got its head out. The next push got the body out and we met our second son. He was born at 5.43am on his due date, less than 7 hours after my waters broke. The sun was just coming up and music from a nearby temple had just started playing.
|Just minutes after his birth|
|C's first hold of his new son|
|My angels, the most amazing midwives|
The next few hours passed in an adrenaline fueled daze, he was cleaned and dressed after we had had some quality skin to skin time, the placenta was birthed and stored in a bucket to be buried in our garden with a hibiscus bush planted on top of it. I showered and we all had another cup of tea. The midwives stayed until around 9am making sure we were alright. It was so amazing to see that a straightforward birth like ours used only the barest minimum of equipment. They made me some makeshift post partum pads out of cotton wool wads and gauze which I used with an Eco Femme night pad underneath. Baby was put straight into a cloth nappy. It felt good to still uphold our eco conscious values even in such a situation.
|His first feed|
|Then time for a nap|
Once we were all settled, the midwives left with one arranging to return later in the day to see how we were getting on. Then me and C tried to doze a little, something neither of us quite managed. At 2pm C's mum and partner came bringing K to meet his new brother and an enormous carrier bag of chrysanthemums and roses. It was so lovely to see K and to introduce him to his little brother. They stayed for an hour of so before heading home taking K with them for a sleepover to give us time to settle with our new son.
|The brothers meet for the first time|
|Celebratory flowers for our gorgeous second son|
We spent the rest of the day resting and enjoying this new being who had come into our lives. There were quite a few moments of us both gazing in silence and wonder at him.
We named him Ari (long 'aa' pronunciation) which has many meanings, my favourites being 'rain bringer' in Arabic and 'we have seen/found someone to care for' in Yoruba. I like short names, K's name is Kai and I love how the names compliment each other.
I'll have to sign off now as he is stirring. This is our birth story for A and I am still in a state of shock at just how wonderful the birthing experience can be with the right frame of mind and with midwives who are with you from the start. I feel proud to have had no drugs and to have enjoyed the luxury of being in my own home. I wish more women had that chance.
I'll be back soon to catch up on this past month.
With love, Laura.