18 Jan 2012

AOI’s Birth Story: Breathing Baby Into The World

You can start by reading:

The rest was as if in a dream.
The lights in the living and dining room were turned off. They left on the lights in the kitchen and in the hall. A. put on Berry Birth Playlist Soothing and Classic. Bella’s Lullaby began to fill the room and my body relaxed.
Each following contraction I let my body relax further. D. was wiping my face with cold wipes because I was sweating so much from the heat of the water. At intervals A. brought cold water for me to drink and pieces of banana to boost my energy. I couldn’t eat anything else.
At one point I had to get out of the pool desperately. I needed to pee. Someone told me to do it in the pool but the idea of accidently having a bowel movement there forced me to get out and go to the bathroom. I think that was the third stage of labour contractions. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. D. came to count some contractions with me. Meanwhile AMI and A. were changing the water of the pool.
When I got out of the bathroom D. examined me. I was not making progress therefore she suggested I walk up and down the stairs. The contractions came stronger after each walk and I felt fluid dripping down my legs. “I am peeing myself.” I said near to tears for the embarrassment. Both A. and D. tranquillised me by saying that was amniotic fluid which meant that the baby was coming down. Their words gave me renewed energy and power. I walked for about two minutes then decided to stop because the contractions that followed were too strong to bear. D. asked if I wanted the pitocin. I turned down the offer because I could still go through the contractions, plus I didn’t want medicated pain reliefs. Though I didn’t need anything I asked which other non medicated pain relief was on offer. There must be something else apart from the water I thought. But there was nothing apart from my mind, my labour partners and the water. I went on my knees near the pool to give more room for baby to descend.
When D. checked again I was dilated enough because she began the preparation for delivery. She was very discreet and quiet but I could tell what she was doing because I was still alert of my surroundings. She checked the water to make sure that it was at the right temperature 38ᵒC-39ᵒC (that’s how I liked it). I needed to pee, after that she asked me to go kneel on the bed for some contractions. “I can see the baby coming.”
After those contractions I wanted to lie on the bed but A. encouraged me to stand up because she told me that, though lying on the side made labour contractions comfortable, it slows down labour. There was no way that I wanted to slow down labour so I got off the bed.
Downstairs D. was ready; she was waiting for me to decide what I wanted to do next. She asked if I wanted to give birth in the pool or not.
“In the pool.” That was all I wanted.

I changed again, this time I wore my swimming top.
At half seven I was in the tub, when I overheard D. telling A. to get ready to help her in case the baby arrives before the second midwife reaches our house. But luckily the second midwife, R., arrived just before eight o’clock. Things started to move fast from there on.
D. told me that from that moment on I could push if I felt the urge to do so. I didn’t know if I was doing it right. I was worried that I was never going to know that urge or that due to the strong desire to too see my baby I was going to push without that urge. These thoughts made me ask “Am I doing it?” to which A. answered
“You are doing it.”
“Am I fully dilated? Can the baby come?”
“Of course, you’ve been ready for the baby hours ago.” D. confirmed.
I was happy, relaxed ready to receive my baby. The music was going. “Listen, Mozart, Enya and Tchaikovsky...” D. pointed out to R.
“...The music I like.”
I breathed to the music, letting my body dance to it during the following contractions. Teardrop by Massive Attack began, I felt my baby coming further down. I could imagine my baby descending. It gave me encouragement. I wanted to welcome her to such beautiful song. I let myself go. The music put me into a trance, it was surreal “I can see the head... do you want to touch it?” D. asked.
“No... I am... worried that if I touch it I might not do the pushing right.” I was breathing with each push so I like to think that I breathed my baby into the world.
Then I started to chant “I can do it.”
“Yes, you are doing it.” A. encouraged me
“O. bra.” O. come I called to my baby in Ghanaian. Daddy was sitting behind me in the water on a blue bucket. He called to our baby in Ghanaian too. It felt magical and enchanted as I wanted it to be.
But I was worried that I was going to lose the energy when her head was in my perineum. It burned as if someone had put chilly down there. When they told me that it was the head of my baby giving pressure in that area, I didn’t mind the burning anymore, because I knew that in few seconds I was going to see my baby.
I held tightly to the tub handles. A. held my other hand and AMI supported my back. D. told me that during the last stages she wanted me to breathe more so that she can catch my baby for me. I did my best. She caught our baby at 8:30pm and brought her to me. I proudly received my baby girl.
I closed my eyes to savour my baby girl, my beauty, my dear daughter AOI. AMI and I were so happy.
Happy 2nd month in our lives my darling sweet daughter!

AOI’s Birth Story: Week 39 +4 days

You can start by reading AOI’s Birth Story: The Day Before.

18th November – 39weeks and 4days.
At 1.45am a sharp contraction pulls me out of bed – Hollywood style. I throw my cover off and, without thinking, bounce and run into the bathroom. After cleaning myself I see a very faint blood. I knew it was showing because weeks before I asked my sister-in-law “How would I notice that I am in labour?”
“You will see the showing.” So I kept eye for that. But that morning I was not convinced I was seeing right therefore I called AMI to come double check “Is that blood?”
“Yes, light blood.” Good! I was afraid that those contractions were tricks of my imagination because for the past weeks I have been daydreaming about the encounter with my baby.
I made numerous trips to the bathroom. When I returned to bed it was difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I couldn’t sleep because contractions were coming every five to ten minutes apart lasting one minute. However, at this point they were not uncomfortable therefore both AMI and I thought they were preparatory contractions. One thing that bothered me was contractions getting me caught lying on my side, because it felt as I was frozen. I tried various positions on the bed, such as open knee-chest to help me relax and hopeful fall asleep. But I couldn’t sleep so I snoozed. I made another trip to the bathroom, I felt as if my menstrual circle was imminent.
I didn’t keep track of the time, but AMI was timing each contraction. I couldn’t sleep so I brought my exercise ball onto the bed. I embraced it while kneeling on the bed. It felt great; suddenly the pressure on my back was relieved. I managed to relax and fell into a comfortable position. I was about to sleep but decided to check the time. It was 6am so I opted to get out of bed.
Once up I called A., my doula, to inform her of the events. I was talking to her when a contraction hit me. I passed the phone to AMI who finished the conversation. I believe A. said to keep doing what I had been doing the whole morning, focusing on my breathing. With each contraction I relaxed my body and concentrated on the breathing letting all the jabs wrap me without fighting them.
After the telephone call we decided to start our day. I still felt sleepy so I made AMI bring out of the studio the desk chair, a sleeping bag and my exercise ball. I sat on the chair wrapped myself warm and lifted my feet up. I slept for nearly one hour. The contractions kept coming but they were not uncomfortable, just annoying. I got up at seven and went for a shower, I let the hot water run on my shoulders and then my lower back to relieve the pressure.

After the shower I ate fried eyes, then played on the Wii Fit alternating between Rhythm Parade and Obstacle Course.
{what the… was I really wearing that? LOL}
We phoned D., my midwife, at eight o’clock to let her know that labour contractions have started. She told us she was coming around 11am to check my progression.
AMI had a meeting that morning so I told him he could go because this stage could last 6-12 hours. But he called it off because he wanted to help me all the way. I loved having him fussing about me, making sure that I was comfortable, eating and drinking water. He became my focal point at each contraction; he would breathe with me while looking in my eyes, it was good to see his relaxed face. It made me feel secure and strong. At one point I even said “Why did we pay for a doula? You are doing so well by yourself. But maybe it will be difficult later on.”
Around 11am D. arrived. During one of our many telephone conversations in the weeks leading to this moment, my mother had told me that my birth will be like Jerusalem birth. I guess she meant calm and peaceful. I phoned her as soon as D. came because knowing that a specialist was with me would have cut down her guilt for not being near me during this miraculous moment. My mother sent me her best wishes and prayers. When I phoned her that day she told me that everything will be fine. She thanked D. and asked her to take good care of me and pray for me. She said she was sorry she couldn’t be near me. I was not sad because the thought that we were in her prayers set me at peace. I phoned my sister but she didn’t answer because she was at work. After some contractions D. decided to check how much I was dilated. During one of our visits she told me that she stays with the pregnant women once they are 4cm dilated. I was worried that I was not dilated enough for her to stay but I was fine with the thought.
She examined me and I was 7cm dilated. “What?” we were all in disbelief but every excited. After the examination D. told AMI to phone A. to let her know. After the phone call D. asked if we needed something for the house because we might not be able to get anything after today. Both AMI and I agreed that we need milk and bread. We phoned A. once again. She said she would come home first.
In my mind the loving thoughts began to overlap each other “What? I am in labour, is she right? Am I having the baby? OMG, am going to see my baby maybe today or tomorrow?” Because I thought it could take us the whole day even if to get to 7cm didn’t put too much strain on my body.
I was going by the book.
A. arrived around 1:30pm. Before she came I told D. how I envisaged snow outside while I was in labour and that I’ve already told A.. “It would be nice to have some pictures in the snow.”

We found ourselves, at 1:45pm, taking pictures as the snow picked up falling down.
Outside the cold air eased some contractions.
I walked for a minute or so and then I posed like a super-diva pregnant woman, kicking the snow and laughing.

When we got back indoors, D. pointed out to A. “She doesn’t look like she’s about to give birth.” We all smiled pleased. I was jolly and chatty, and they contractions were like special drugs to me, I was in this peaceful place. Meanwhile AMI, A. and D. were covering the living from floor with plastic shower curtains, old towels and blankets ready for the birthing pool.
I went into the water around 3pm when the stronger contractions began, AMI came in to support me.
I believe that was the beginning of the second stage of labour. This time I started to believe that maybe, just maybe I would see my baby tonight. It felt good to be in the warm water (37ᵒC), because each strong contraction was felt less. Throughout the day I had Berry Birth Playlist Love playing. The music was on loop and I believe some songs played more than others. After about an hour of being in the water I came out because I was getting cold.
I went to change into a different outfit.
To be continued…

17 Jan 2012

AOI’s Birth Story: The Day Before

In the afternoon of 17th November I sat at my desk, opened my journal and wrote:diary17112011
I have three diaries, one for my poems, another for my thoughts to you. This one is for my thoughts about the days leading to your arrival. I feel emotional because I don’t know when exactly you will make your debut in this world.
I am excited and full of nerves. I feel your delicate movements more than ever, in fact I think you want to come because the room is getting too cramped for you.
I imagine your face but it is not clear in my mind because I think you are beautiful more than the way my poor imagination can describe you.
I am anxious because I really want you to debut in November and I don’t know what to do when you are overdue, to give another week before inducing or shall I wait until you decide to come. I don’t think it will be good for both of us if I wait too long I will be overly paranoid.
I will do what my instinct tells me to do around your due date.
I am feeling stronger jabs in the lower back and I hope they are helping the cervix open more.
This week has being nice.
Monday= I went to have manicure and pedicure.
Tuesday= I went to the chiropractor and massage therapist. In the evening we went to watch Contagion.
Yesterday I was reading and trying to find ideas for a poem or short story I want to write to submit to a writing magazine.
Today I am writing and also doing my hair.
I am presentable to meet my baby, I can say.
I wonder if I should squat more to help you descend.
I believe last night I dreamt that you were lying very low in the womb. It looked as if you were about to drop. I didn’t see which day.
But there are some scenes of how I envisage your birth.
  • It will happen early in the morning, when true labour begins – early morning around four o’clock. I will focus on cleaning your nursery, making it is clean just to have something to focus on.
  • Outside it will be snowing. We will have the water ready in the pool. Once I’ve done the nursery I will go have a shower for half an hour or more. I will oil my body and put myself in the grey vest dress with a scarf around my neck. I will be squatting and then go in the pool when I feel like I need my contractions to relax. We will be listening to Berry Playlist Love on loop from the moment I wake up.
  • Daddy will be supporting me throughout and the doula will be taking notes of my progress and pictures.
  • After four hours of active labour I will start breathing you and by nine o’clock you will make your debut.
  • Sounds easy right? Wishing, praying for and envisaging doesn’t harm.
That evening when AMI, my hubby, came back from work we went to the library to return some books because I didn’t want to get more fines. We came home just in time to see D., our midwife, who had to leave the birthing pool in preparation for the due date, 21st November. Once in the house AMI decided to blow two levels of the three levels pool.pool 1
When he finished I whispered to Berry in my belly “You can come now, we are ready for the delivery.” I felt such serenity around me. We went to bed around eleven without suspecting anything. Outside was snowing as per my wish, I was so happy.
To be continued…
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