? Elijah's Birth Story - Giving Birth Naturally

Elijah's Birth Story


Janine: Mom
Darryl: Dad
Josiah: Big brother
Elijah: Birthday boy
Ouma Lorraine: Janine's Mom
Granny Rose: Darryl's Mom
Anneline: Janine's sister
Marianne: Midwife
Ginny: Doula
Leigh: Photographer

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.
Reading through early labour, kneeling on the bed.
Darryl and I woke up at around 07h00 and enjoyed each other for the last time in some time to come. When I got out of bed I experienced a heavy downward pressure, which would later cause me to go to the toilet three times within the hour that followed. Contractions started at around 08h00 and were about 10 - 12 minutes apart, but irregular. They were so mild that I was able to walk through most of them.

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
Doula Ginny doing what doulas do
We got back at 10h30 and had a little snack. I felt envigorated so we decided to go for another walk at around 11h30. This time Darryl joined us. We walked for an hour and returned home to have lunch. When we arrived home, we realised that Darryl's cellphone must have fallen somewhere on the side of the road. This really upset me as we have all of Josiah's video clips and photos from in the womb to now on that phone. I was heartbroken. Darryl decided to go looking for it, but came back unsuccessful.

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!

Mamma Pre-pool
Just about to get into the water.
The contractions became steadily more intense, but were very manageable. I made my way to the bedroom where I either squatted or held against the window sill through a contraction. Darryl and I were going through the homebirth preparation list at the time, setting up the bed and bath and ensuring that everything was in order by the time Marianne and Ginny arrived.

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
In Labour Land...
Both Darryl and I got into the bath at around 17h30. Marianne's words were, "We are going to leave you alone for awhile, just enjoy each other." My mind was too active though, as I wanted to ensure that sms's were sent and moments were captured on camera, so I was a little distracted at first. After all, the contractions weren't that bad at the time.

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
Side-lying in the bath

When contractions came, I would give his legs a squeeze and then groan my way through the pain. When the contraction was very intense, I either moved my head from side to side, or my head would involuntarily shake up and down from the pain. On one or two occasions I accidently breathed in some water through my nose.

Kneeling in the water
Kneeling in the water
It was not long after that my waters broke. What an amazing experience! The contraction was a particularly long one, and as it peaked, my legs jerked upwards, and my body pushed automatically. There was a strange sensation, as if a balloon was being blown from within and then there was this warm and sudden surge of water. I lay amazed at how my body was doing what it needed to throughout the process. God has created the female body with such precision.

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
Supported squat - almost there!
I knew the time was approaching for us all to meet the little man. At 20h13 Elijah's head was born and I felt that little head with my hand, it felt smooth and slimey. Even now, when I wash his hair and stroke my hand over his head it immediately takes me back to this moment. My sister Anneline had the privilege of feeling his little head too, but when Darryl asked I said no. Not because I didnt want him to feel his son's head, but at that moment, I needed the support of his arms more as I knew that with the next push Elijah would be born.

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.

First meeting...
First meeting
With the next push at 20h15, Elijah Jesse Noah Naicker entered the world into Marianne's arms. She gave him to me immediately. I lifted my precious baby onto my chest and loved him at first sight! What a special moment. After holding him a few moments Marianne lowered him back into the water so that he was lower than me in order to ensure that the blood, from the still attached placenta, would flow through the umbilical cord into him. After checking his little body and doing a quick Apgar check she again handed him to me to love and cuddle.

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!

Happy Family
Happy Family!
After a few more moments of soaking up our new family, Marianne asked me if I was ready to deliver the placenta. I said to her that I had felt a few contractions in the last few moments, and was ready to go ahead and do so. It only took one push and the placenta was delivered at 20h35. Marianne said that this was called a Lotus birth, meaning that the umbilical cord was still attached to the baby when the placenta was birthed. You learn something new every day!

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
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.

Marianne's Website: http://www.spiritualbirth.net/

Ginny's Website: http://www.passionatebirths.co.za/

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