Josiah: Big brother
Elijah: Birthday boy
Ouma Lorraine: Janine's Mom
Granny Rose: Darryl's Mom
Anneline: Janine's sister
6 February 2012 arrived - the initial EDD from the first two scans and according to my calculations, the expected date of arrival of our beloved little Elijah. Thank goodness it was a significantly cooler day than the days that preceded it!
Elijah was a real little gentleman; he waited for his Ouma and Tannie Anneline to come all the way from the UK before making his grand entrance. They arrived at 14h00 on Sunday the 5th and Elijah was born the next day. What was even more amazing is that Marianne needed to go to the Cape for some births there and was aiming to leave on 7th February, so my little prince chose a great day to come into the world.
When I got out of bed I experienced a heavy downward pressure...
|Reading through early labour, kneeling on the bed.|
My mom, Anneline, Darryl, Josiah and I had breakfast. We left Darryl at home while we went for a nice long walk, chilled raspberry leaf tea in hand, to speed things up a bit, if this was the real thing of course! Initally it was a little uncomfortable because of the pressure and awkard pelvic sensation, as if baby had moved down into position, which also caused for some sensations of nerves being pinched.
I had no contractions for the last 30-40 minutes of our brisk walk.
As we walked we chatted and admired peoples' homes and pets, and enjoyed the birdlife around us, pausing every now and again for a contraction. Nearing the last stretch, Josiah wanted me to pick him up, so I carried him for the last 50m or so on my back. I had no contractions for the last 30-40 minutes of our brisk walk.
|Doula Ginny doing what doulas do|
Within 5 minutes of relaxing, I had a contraction, then another one and another one...
I messaged Marianne and asked her if walking can slow down labour, because since I got home from our second walk I had no contractions at all. She responded by saying that I was probably upset by the phone that was lost and that I simply needed to relax, as baby would not come if I was tense. Within 5 minutes of relaxing, I had a contraction, then another one and another one... they were 3-5minutes apart. I notified Marianne who let me know she was leaving her home in Mooi River. I got very excited!
|Just about to get into the water.|
I got onto the bed and started reading my Bible. I would soak up the truth found therein between contractions. When Darryl was done, he started reading to me. I was so excited that the time had come and marvelled at how my body was preparing itself for the journey that awaited.
Leigh arrived at around 16h45. Shortly thereafter Ginny and Marianne arrived at 17h00. They laid out all their equipment for the pending birth and did an internal examination at 17h20 to ascertain just how far I was. I was surprized to hear that I was halfway and that my cervix was completely ripe and ready for labour. Marianne said that I could get into the bath as labour was sufficiently established.
Janine's first birth included a 3-day long induction, failed epidural, episiotomy and terrible spinal headache due to leaking spinal fluid which required readmittance for a blood patch.
We had set up the bath with a duvet and sleeping bag, covered with a layer of plastic which was held down by bricks all around. This was to provide some much needed padding. The light was switched off and there were some candles lit that created a lovely ambiance and also assisted in me later being able to relax. This is obviously significantly different to the unnatural bright lights and clinical hospital environment which made me feel completely exposed and vulnerable with my first.
|In Labour Land...|
Shortly thereafter, at around 18h00 the contractions got significantly more intense and required my full attention. I went from squatting in between Darryl's legs to being on all fours, to lying on my side in the bath. I lay in this position for a long while. Ginny sat nearby to time the contractions and said that they were exactly 2 minutes apart lasting anything from 40 - 60 seconds each.
At this stage I started talking to God through every contraction, asking Him to give me the strength to endure and to finish strong. My head was half in the water, which drowned out sound and so it seemed as if it was just Him and I and my beloved husband. Darryl's legs provided the physical support that I needed and with his hands he massaged my lower back, bottom and thighs tirelessly with the most amazing concoction of Marianne's miracle working oil.
|Side-lying in the bath|
|Kneeling in the water|
My body from that moment onwards pushed automatically. I physically didn't push once. My body knew exactly what to do and when to do it in order to assist our little prince to come into the world. What was amazing to me was that the pushing part. I had always thought it was the most painful part of labour, but it was not painful at all. Even the contractions weren't painful. Instead I felt how our little Elijah moved down the birth canal slowly with each contraction. Amazing!
|Supported squat - almost there!|
I then experienced the strange feeling, as if his whole body was moving and turning inside of me.
I then experienced the strange feeling, as if his whole body was moving and turning inside of me. I learnt later that this is exactly what happens during birth. First the head turns into position to be birthed, and once the head is born, the body then turns into position from shoulders being in a horizontal position into a vertical poistion to exit my body - Wow! At that moment I said, "Don't move baby", not because it was hurting, but just because it was such a strange feeling and of course, like I said above, I was unaware that this was what needed to happen.
It was then that Granny Rose brought Josiah in to meet his little brother for the first time. Josiah Daniel Naicker joined us in the bath and his first moment with his brother will be treasured in the hearts of everyone who was there. Josiah leant over, stroked his baby brother's head and kissed him softly on his head. It was then that Darryl burst into tears. What an introduction to brotherhood for life!
I was helped out of the bath and assisted to my bed. Little Elijah was given to his dad to do the honours of cutting the umbilical cord (20h45). Elijah weighed an unexpected 4.25kg, measured 55cm in length and had a larger than average head circumference of 41cm. He joined me in the bed directly thereafter, and his precious big brother came and lay next to us, admiring his baby brother along with everyone else in the room.
|Skin to skin and eye to eye|
What a special moment to have shared with loved ones in the comfort of our own home! Marianne then checked me to see if I needed any stitches. To my surprize I tore a little (I didn't feel a thing) and I only needed 3 stitches (which is a little considering the size of our bouncing baby boy). The stitching was an uncomfortable few moments of burning and stinging, but this was over soon.
...I lay in bed reliving the special moments of the birth and thanking the Lord for His faithfulness...
Though I went to bed that night in a fair amount of pain as the after contractions were very strong, and continued to be for the next 3 days, I lay in bed reliving the special moments of the birth and thanking the Lord for His faithfulness, for knitting little Elijah fearfully and wonderfully in my womb, for creating the woman's body to give birth (which is just such a miracle) and for having given me the strength I needed to endure every stage of this birth.