Labour had finally started! I realise all too well that I did not make it to 40 weeks but with all those pre contractions, I was very happy that it had finally come through. The moment Myrthe came home I was in full labour and I was having a hard, very hard time. I had made a birth plan beforehand and given Jordy clear instructions. I only wanted to consider painkilling in certain cases (in the event of a prolonged labour, for example) but I preferred not to have any painkilling and to give birth at home. So I had said beforehand that if I asked for painkillers or struggled, that Jordy should coach me and help me find a way to cope with the contractions. He took this task very seriously and he did exactly what I needed from him at that moment. So this blog is also a small ode to him, he has genuinely been my rock! So I had to find a way to accept the pain in that moment and find relaxation. This is where the warm water of the bath helped me a lot. Especially to find relaxation between contractions. Eventually, with coaching from Jordy and tips from Myrthe, I was able to find my bearings and spent hours in the bath sighing away the contractions. With each contraction, I tried to stay relaxed and told myself that the contraction was just right, and that the pain was supposed to be there. The pain continued to help me, and by repeating this like a mantra in my head, I managed to stop resisting the pain. This gave free rein to the labour hormones and in between contractions I even fell asleep (great endorphins, they make you very tired!). In between contractions, Myrthe kept an eye on our little man's heartbeat and he did very well and was not bothered by the contractions. So we could stay at home for the time being. For a long time there was total peace and quiet in the house. I had confidence in my body and confidence in myself. Myrthe's presence provided the peace I needed. I could let go of everything and let my body do what it needed to do. In the morning my water finally broke by itself. Always an exciting moment because the question is always: is it clear amniotic fluid? And thankfully it was! Myrthe checked the little one's heartbeat and it remained heartbeat. And then, came the next contraction. Gone was my control and gone was the calm. The intensity of the contraction overwhelmed me, making me completely out of my bubble. Myrthe asked if I wanted to know how much dilation I had in the meantime. In the end, I chose not to have this assessed. It didn't matter at that point. If it had been 5 centimetres I could have had full exclusion an hour later and if it had been 9 centimetres I could have been sucking away contractions for hours with that too. So at that point I decided not to let an internal examination distract me and let my body do what it had been doing very well up to that point. A decision based on trust, not rationality. How nice to have a midwife next to me who shared that trust and left the choice with me! Meanwhile, I had thus completely lost control and tried to find it again, Jordy and Myrthe tried to coach me through it. While Jordy supported me, Myrthe started preparing things and calling the maternity assistant, because she had realised how fast labour was going. I, on the other hand, was completely unaware of this and wondered out loud how on earth I was going to keep this up. When I started to feel the urge to push a few contractions later, I still didn't realise it......... until Myrthe said: Simone, you can do this, you know how far along you are...... then came the realisation, I had to poop! ( this shouts every woman who gets pressure) I felt my body pushing, there was no stopping it. During the first few contractions, I didn't feel much happening but after a few contractions, I suddenly felt the little one drop a few floors! Sinking too far! I had to suck this out (that's where the midwife in me came out, because we want the head to be born slowly). The next contraction the head was born and the following contraction our son came into the world swimming. I pulled him out of the water myself and was able to hold him close to me immediately. What a very special moment and very difficult to describe on paper. The mums and dads who have already experienced this know exactly what I mean! Because I was able to do what felt right for me during labour, I look back on it with a very good feeling. For us, the birth of our Maas is the most beautiful day in our lives and we couldn't have wished for a more beautiful birth. So I would like to put it on everyone's heart, as a mum, as a woman and as a midwife: do what feels right for you and make sure you have carers who support you in this!
In the next blog, you can read how together we provided the optimal setting at home to create a nice environment for labour.