The birth of my firstborn- Mieke

I knew from the beginning I wanted a natural birth. I strongly believed that a natural birth with as few interventions as possible was best for both baby and me. So I booked my bed at a birthing facility that was pro for natural births and allowed mothers to choose their birth plan rather than procedures be dictated to and enforced upon you. I did not want to be bound by hospital policies of birthing on my back and not being allowed to move around in labour. I wanted to be in control. I interviewed several midwives before I found one that I felt a bond with and felt I could trust with my little miracle. I had my birth plan typed out which involved a beautiful, calm, and relaxing water birth for my angel, I had given a copy to both the midwife and the doula, our bags were packed and we waited.

Madam decided to make us wait and came nearly 2 weeks over her due date! The Friday morning I had a check-up with my midwife. Upon arrival I was met by her assistant only to be told my chosen midwife had left the day before on holiday in London. Are you freaking kidding me?! No notice, no warning, nothing! Strike one!  I had a stress test done and they picked up I was having mild contractions and was told I was in early labour, but was sent home to rest and see what happens. By the time Hunny got home that afternoon at 4pm I was curled up on the bed feeling very crampy and nauseas. He ran me a bath, made me some Milo and got me to relax while he timed contractions. We phoned the midwife at about 8pm to say things were picking up only to be told that we can only come in when the contractions were every 3-4 minutes and also.... the birthing facility that I had booked a bed at was full. I was going to be redirected to another hospital. Strike two! We waited till just after 1 before letting the midwife know we were on our way. PAUSE! First I applied some waterproof mascara and french braided my hair in between contractions. I refused to be that dishevelled looking mother in all the photos. Vanity I know!

At 2am on a Saturday morning we made our way to the hospital that we had never been to- I was giving directions to Hunny using Google Maps on the iPad inbetween contractions. We got to the hospital and found that I was about 5cm dilated. Although I found it very strange at the time the midwife inserted a central line and insisted upon breaking my waters to get the labour going. In hindsight I now know that both of these methods were a form of inducing and speeding up the labour- something I had clearly specified in my birth plan I didn’t want. Strike three! But I trusted her as she was the medical professional and in my total anxiety and fear of everything that had not gone according to plan that day I went along with whatever she said. (Please moms- educate yourselves before making any decisions, choosing your medical practitioner and deciding upon what you want at the birth. Had I been more educated at the time I would have recognised what was going on and stuck to my guns.)

When she broke my waters there was meconium in the waters. Dark green, spinach looking waters. I was told that it wasn’t anything too serious but because of this I wouldn’t be able to have my waterbirth. Strike four! Nothing in my birth plan was happening the way I wanted. I laboured on without any pain medication. Hunny was my rock and kept reminding me that I could do it and that we were nearly there. 8 cm dilated! I can do this! At about 5am they hooked me up to the machinery again to check on baby and everyone started getting worried. Baby girl’s heartrate was dropping too much with each contraction and I was no longer dilating. The midwife made a call the gynae and suddenly there was a flurry of activity- the gynae was speeding to the hospital and a theatre was frantically being booked. What?! I didn’t want a caesarean. But Baby Girl was in distress and they needed to get her out. I had a total breakdown and stamped my foot demanding drugs- NOW! I was devastated that I had laboured without any pain meds for nearly 24 hours only to be taken for a Caesar. Strike five! But alas, I was told it was too late for that and I had to wait.

While everyone was getting things in place to take me to theatre one of the Sisters came to check on us. The midwife explained what was happening and the Sister looked at the machine still hooked up to my belly monitoring the baby. She noticed what my midwife had failed to pick up- suddenly Baby Girl was doing much better and her heart rate was way up. Upon inspection the midwife also realised I was fully dilated. I got told that this was my shot- I had one last chance to try get her out before the Dr arrived. Suddenly Hunny was behind me and I was leaning against him, there were nurses and midwifes doing what they had to and I started pushing! Ridiculously the thing that I was focused on the most was where to put my feet. Birthing on a normal bed is actually quite difficult considering there is nothing for you to brace yourself against- oh well, I planted one foot on the midwifes shoulder and the other on the doulas shoulder and I pushed! (Again- in hindsight this was just a terrible situation! I’m birthing on my back people! On my back with my legs flailing in the air- just stunning! If you do your research this is the worst position to be in, especially considering I was birthing a large baby to boot!)

The midwife who is meant to be my calm and reassurance, to motivate and guide me is screaming at me to push harder but warning me to keep quiet because of the other moms on the ward. Like really! At some point some strange lady walks in and sits on the bed next to me peering between my legs. I don’t recognise her and she doesn’t have the same uniform on as the others. She slaps me on my backside and says, “Harder! Poooosh harder!”  and then walks out of the room. To this day nobody can tell me who she was. At this point I’ve realised how ridiculous the situation is. Gone is my calm, serene, candle lit birth and instead it’s been traded in for a bloody circus and I have a clown for a midwife! Mieke’s head is born midway- her nose gets stuck. A few more pushes and she is born. She weighs in at 4.12kg and had flaming red hair. My little miracle is handed to me and suddenly the room clears. It’s just the three of us- Hunny, Baby Girl and I.

After a long warm bath we were wheeled to our room. The first time I tried to feed her she turned blue. We frantically called a nurse and she was whisked away from us. About 20min later she was brought back to me and I was told I was being a bad mother and had let her get cold. I was devastated. I had had her in the bed with me against my bare skin under the blankets- how could she get cold. The second time I tried to feed her she turned blue again and went all floppy in my arms. Luckily my mother in law was with me this time and she also realised something was not right. We called for a nurse but there was no-one in the passage. Hunny grabbed her and ran up the stairs to the next floor which was the NICU and stood shouting at the door for someone to open and help him. About an hour later, once she had been hooked up to a ventilator and placed in an incubator in the NICU a Dr explained that she has gotten me conium in her lungs. Everytime she had tried to feed the meconium got lodged deeper in her lungs and that was why she was turning blue.

My Baby Girl spent 5 days in the NICU and eventually we were able to take her home with us. Finally, something that was part of my plan had come true- bringing my little miracle home and starting our new journey as a family of 3.