This is Brody with his new sister .. I was the doula for both of them. Special place in my heart.
16th May 2009.
3:00am this is the birth story for Broden Binns from his mum, Cara.
I awoke in the early hours of the morning on Saturday the 16th of May, considerably more uncomfortable than usual. Waking up at that time was not at all uncommon in the last few weeks as I was probably waking every hour or two to go to the look, turn over or remove my cat from my neck. So I was used to broken sleep but the accompanying stomach cramps were a little unusual. I lay in bed wondering if I could possibly be in labour, my due date was the day before, but I was pretty sure that going into labour should be a bit more like in the movies.. Like your water breaking in the middle of the street or at least something significant to let me know that I was in labour. Instead just a dull stomach cramp - how dramatic! So I told Doug, and he offered to take me to the hospital to investigate - but never wanting to be the type of person to overreact for something, I told him it was okay and that I would wait to see if it got any worse - not that he was listening to me - because he was already back to sleep.
After Doug had left for work - his boss had gone on holiday to the Transkei, so there was nobody else to cover for him even if I had had one of those dramatic movie moments - I lay in bed wondering if I should go meet my friend Terri for breakfast, or if I should just stay in bed as I had not slept since 3am (I had actually been making tea and taking photos of the sunrise) and was feeling pretty rotten. My stomach wasn’t that sore anymore, and any hopes I had that today were the day that my baby was going to be born were disappearing quickly. So I phoned her to ask her what she thought about the stomach cramps and after consulting her Pregnancy for Dummies book (I kid you not!) and phoning her mom we were all in agreement that there should be some waters breaking, membranes or an increasing amount of pain - all of which there were not. So instead Terri said that she would bring the brekkie to me. She suggested I phone Dr Swan just to be sure. Dr Swan assured me that he didn’t think there was anything to worry about and seeing as he was actually out of town for the weekend, I should just hang on till my scheduled induction on Monday. He was, after all the expert - so I was now sure that there would be no trips to the hospital for me or my bump.
Terri came around and we sat chatting and even though my stomach was sore I really was sure that it would pass and I would be going on my dinner date later that evening as promised by Doug - a bit like the last supper. I even talked Terri into coming fruit shopping with me at Fruit and Veg City of all places. I was dying for a fruit salad!! By the time I was back from my little shopping trip my cramps were getting a bit uncomfortable. This is when Taniel got to our place and within 45 minutes she had talked me into going to the hospital with her - with nothing but my sunglasses, wallet and cell phone. I wasn’t going to bother even packing my bags for Doug to bring as there was no way that I could be in labour and besides - I had a dinner date - something that does not happen very often for us.
So off to St Anne’s we went. First we went to Accident and Emergency - Tenniel’s advice. I thought as she was a mother already she would know where to go... After a strange look or two (from a midget behind the counter - again I kid you not!!) we were sent to the Maternity Ward - can I just say, for the record, that neither of us is actually blonde!
In Maternity I was taken to a labour ward and given a gorgeous outfit to wear while they strapped a belt thingy around my tummy - which confirmed that I was, indeed, having contractions. Good God!! Then they checked how far I was dilated (the appetizer of all the wonderful procedures yet to come that evening) - about 3cm! I was going on no dinner dates that evening - I was told then and there that I should be a mommy by 9pm that night. Taniel looked so pleased with herself - I am sure she was thinking if it had not been for her I would have given birth to my child on the dining room floor.
So I set about the task of phoning Doug and telling him to get to the hospital because I was having a baby that evening - he said that he would be right over. After he had a bath and dropped off the gardener - no rush or anything there mates - take your time. I smsed Ginny to tell her that I was actually having a baby - she had been in another birth at Medi Clinic since the early hours of the morning and must have been running on pure adrenalin by the time she got to me.
Taniel wished me good luck and left. I don’t know if the enema was mentioned and that’s what made her leave or if it was the other way around, but all I can say is that was the longest 6 minutes of my life. The poor cleaning lady who was about to go into the loo almost got flung across the room. If she had already been in that toilet it would have made for a very uncomfortable situation with the family that was having a tour through the maternity ward whilst I was streaking through trying to keep the gown from blowing open and losing what shred of dignity I felt I still had left - looking back now, I realize the only person who cared if that gown was open or not in the end was Doug.
Ginny arrived at this time - straight from her birth at Medi Clinic. About 45 minutes later Doug strolled in. I think he looked more nervous than me, but hid it pretty well. The nurses said that they wanted me to walk around as this would move baby down quicker than if I just lay on the bed, and things were considerably sorer now so it actually helped moving around. I was told that Dr Swan would not be joining us for the evening - instead we were getting Dr Amod. At this point I pictured a Muslim man complete with turban and beard peering between my legs. The thought did not warm my heart in the least. What else could I do though - just go with the flow?
I had to go help Doug check me in and do all the paper work downstairs. So there I found myself, in my hospital gown and no bra, sitting in reception with Doug and some woman behind the desk trying to book me in, and I am giving her my ID number and when I was last a patient at St Anne’s and trying to explain to her that my surname is no longer de Jonge, in between contractions. At this point the mid wife came to find me and hauled me back upstairs.
From here on things are a little hazy - I think when you start getting to 7cm you start forgetting stuff - this is to ensure that you actually do consider having other babies because it’s pretty damn sore and nature doesn’t want you to remember how sore it actually was because she is sure you wouldn’t voluntarily do it again if you did remember.
I think this is when Dr Amod came to meet me and have a chat. Dr Amod wasn’t an Osama lookalike - it was a WOMAN!! Glam in a silver Lurex top. Whew!! Sigh of relief from my side.
Now is probably a good time to say that originally I had wanted to do a birth that was as natural as possible - without sounding like a granola hippy. Dr Swan had basically told me that I was to have an epidural as I was just stupid to even think of doing otherwise, I would have stirrups as this was the only way a woman could possibly give birth and I was to have the mirror (oh the HORROR!) as this was the only way to see what I was doing (like I could forget!!) as I was going to have an epidural and wouldn‘t be able to feel. Oh yes - and the episiotomy. Probably the thing I was most scared of. So I had taken his advice to heart and dealt with the fact that this is what I was going to have. Dr Amod didn’t make me have anything that I didn’t want. YAY!! She broke my waters - which was not the most pleasant feeling in the world and we were off.
Most of my labour was spent in the loo and with Doug running behind me like a bridesmaid trying to hold my gown together - by this time I couldn’t care less that could see what. I would have to say the most helpful thing for me was Ginny massaging my back during the labour - that really did help a hell of a lot. That and the ice - I loved the ice!!! The gas that they gave me was fine in the beginning but as the pain got worse just made me feel nauseous.
So after much sweating and swearing my baby boy made his appearance at 7:25pm that evening. 3.1kg and worth every bit of hard work.
I just felt so lucky to have gotten the birth that I wanted so badly, with no complications. I even sent Doug home after wards to get me my fruit salad for dinner. They had come in to ask me what I wanted for dinner while I was about 8cms dilated. So Ginny ordered herself some dinner as she had eaten nothing but a few gummy sweets all day, and when you are in labour the idea of spicy BBQ wings with Chaka laka sauce is not the foremost thing on your mind so I didn’t get anything for myself.
I think the most rewarding thing for me after all that - other than my baby boy and my stupid fruit salad was the shower that I got to have before I climbed into bed. I will never forget how good that shower was!!
I would recommend having a doula to anyone. The birth of your child is such a special time and it can only be positive to have someone that truly loves what they do and are there to support you. Not the doctor or even the baby.
So thanks to Ginny - for everything!!