Two years ago, today.
My little girl, the youngest of my three children, is two years old today. As the day progresses my thoughts wander and I remember the events of that day that led up to her sweet birth in my attic surrounded by my husband, sons and dear midwives/friends.
I knew I would give birth at home just as I had already done two times. I hoped I would have time to make it into the birthing pool which I just barely made during the birth of my second son. And my eldest son, 8 and a half years old at the time absolutely wanted to be there during the birth.
Of course, every birth is different and unique. Would it be a slow build up like my first birth? Or would it be an intense short storm of a birth like with my second son? Well as it turned out, it was a little bit of both – so familiar yet once again different. My baby – still a surprise if it would be a boy or a girl – was 40 weeks and 4 days old. I had spent every day so busy having to drive my sons to and from school and the routine just kept on going. I was longing for a break to have the space for the birth to come. Well on a Saturday morning that space presented itself and as I awoke the mucus plug had detached letting me know birth would come soon, followed shortly by the tiniest little wave of activity in my womb. I was happy for the sign so I could prepare.
First I had to disappoint my son who was hoping that we would drive to school to the spring fair. When I told him it was because baby was going to come he accepted although it was still a far off concept to him. As the day progressed we had time to try out the water hose going from the bathroom on the 2nd floor to the birthing pool in the attic on the third floor. We reorganized the kitchen with the new mega fridge which had been delivered the evening before, ready to hold enough food for our growing family. We prepared the house and made the shopping list. As early afternoon came and I had planned to go out shopping to fill the fridge, the waves coming through me 3 to 5 times an hour started to ask for me to gently circle my hips and vocalize as they came. So I sent my husband and the boys shopping with a list as I stayed home.
The boys were very wild, sensing that something big was about to happen. I wondered to myself how I would ever give birth amidst the jolly family chaos. So I asked for back up and called my step-mother who lives in Amsterdam asking if she could come over to care for the boys as the birth seemed to be coming closer and I needed a little space.
I had been in contact with Jolien, my friend and midwife, and although she kept assuring me she could come anytime it still felt quite far away so I assured her I would call when things got serious.
As afternoon came to an end, my husband and I started making dinner. My step mother would arrive any minute now. I also decided to tell Jolien that she could slowly start heading over. As we cooked I occasionally had to lean over the counter to move my hips and moan through a contraction. Around 6.30 PM with my Step-mother there, we sat down for dinner. As I sat down, things went into a different gear. After every few bites of soup I needed to get up to lean over the counter for a contraction. They were coming faster and stronger. I managed to finish my bowl of soup and told my husband we needed to go fill the bath now. We also called my midwife to tell her to hurry up – luckily she was already half way here. She half-jokingly asked me if I was already pushing as during my last birth, she arrived when I was full on pushing and from the open night window she heard me roar thinking the baby had been born. It was in fact about 10 minutes before he was born and she walked in the door just in time to help me take off the clothes I still had on and step into the birthing pool. This time I assured her I wasn’t that far yet!
As I bounced on my birth ball in my birthing space up in the attic my husband hastily went about filling the birthing pool. It suddenly dawned on me that my body was about to open up and let a mini human being through once more and I felt overwhelmed by the immense power of it all. Just at that moment Jolien, my midwife arrived. Her hand rubbing my back and a huge warm hug were exactly what I needed. My tears flowed freely, making space as I abandoned myself to the overwhelming power flowing through me bringing my baby deeper into my pelvis.
All I wanted now was to get into that warm bath. Although it was still not completely full, I got in. I felt such a sweet warm embrace from the warm water that I could just let go more and let myself be carried by the water and the immensely powerful waves that were now washing through my body.
As I looked up I noticed that my eldest son Mauro was standing proudly along the side of the bath watching over us.
I enjoyed being on my hands and knees with my face almost in the water feeling the earth shaking contracting of my womb as I opened more and more for my baby. All of a sudden I felt a very strong and distinct kick in my diaphragm as my baby literally dove down into the birth canal for her final descent. Just as I wanted to say what I felt, the most intense and long contraction I have ever experienced took me over sending me from all fours to an upright position where I had to arch backwards to accommodate the movement from inside. On this one long wave of intense sensation my little baby glided out of me in one go, from head to toe!
She floated out of me into the warm birth pool and I gently picked her up and brought her to me to greet her. At this moment I still did not know if this new baby was a boy or a girl. But as I picked her up I did not feel the weight of little balls in my hands which I had felt with both my sons. Regardless, I first held this tiny little one and welcomed it to the world. After some moments, my curiosity grew and I checked if my initial feeling was right – and YES! After two beautiful sons our family was blessed with a little girl! Born at 8.50 PM after a gentle day of preparation and just less than two hours of actual labor!
Right as she was born my husband went to fetch my second won who was just down the stairs with his oma and who had not seen, but heard me roaring as his little sister was born! After an initial consolation as he cried that he also had wanted to be there, we invited both of the brothers into the birthing pool to meet their little sister who was floating around enjoying being able to stretch her legs as she was still attached to me by the umbilical chord and the placenta still inside.
I like to joke that Anaiya, our little girl decided to come in order so as not to disrupt any of her brothers schedule. The boys had dinner, saw the birth of their little sister and went to bed all around a pretty normal time J Even for me it all just seemed like part of an ordinary day and I was in bed by 12.00 with my fresh baby tucked in under my arm.
It is amazing how birth is such a special, unique experience in our lives and how at the same time it can all just be part of an ordinary day! It really is an everyday miracle!
I am so deeply thankful for this beautiful life experience which I will carry with me for the rest of my life!