Nine months later...

Welcome sweet girl!

Nine months in the belly-nine months out of the belly.

In 2 weeks, it will be 9 months since you came 'into the world'. And what a beautiful day that was! The months leading up to your birth seem so long ago now. And all the ailments that came with it now seem like peanuts. But the first trimester was a drama; I was exhausted and nauseous all day. No success with a toddler, work and a household. Fortunately, I got plenty of support. And the fact that the check-ups at Lief Leven were always good and you were growing like cabbage outweighed all those ailments. It also helped that I felt at home with the ladies at Lief leven and that every check-up was a party; we got to see you again! The second trimester was enjoyable. Until pelvic discomfort presented itself in the last trimester. Then the party was over.

Apart from Simone and Mayke, I also met Noor, the intern. Together we discussed our birth plan. We hoped for a home birth with birthing bath, nice music, no painkillers, a quiet setting with dad, my mother and the midwife. Not too much fuss. I remember very often saying 'maybe I'm romanticising everything', but Mayke and Simone always gave me back that this was ok and that visualising how I wanted it could contribute positively. That gave me a lot of confidence. When I had another check-up in week 38, Simone still called out on leaving; "I'll see you next Monday, because you'll be exactly 39 weeks then". Our son was also born exactly at 39 weeks, so we joked a bit about this.

Monday morning, exactly 39 weeks pregnant. In the morning, fortunately, I can still visit the acupuncturist. The pelvic pain is unbearable. Climbing stairs is hardly possible and walking is even less so. I ask the acupuncturist whether the treatment can be aimed at inducing labour apart from pain reduction, because I 'can't do it any more'. After the treatment, I lie down on my bed at home for a while. And after 30 minutes, my membranes break. Ohhhh yes, it's about to start. I recognise this feeling from my first delivery. There too, I was allowed to call Lief Leven at 39 weeks and Simone was soon on our doorstep. Only this time she was there faster, because she assumed it would go super fast this time. I turned and moaned away the contractions in the shower. I had completely forgotten what contractions felt like, but bah, these were contractions. In the meantime, dad made sure our little house was made ready to welcome you. The bath had to be pumped up and filled. He just got busy. The music went on, diffuser with a nice scent. I sat at the head of the table on a gym ball puffing away the contractions and an hour after we called, Simone was already there. I remember being so happy to see a familiar face; we are going to do this together!!! Noor was still busy with another delivery, but soon joined us too. My mother arrived half an hour after that. So our birth team was complete. This gave so much peace of mind!

Even though there were still a handful of us, there was a serene calm. Simone and Noor did their preparations in silence, my mother sat on the sofa with her crochet work. I could fully focus on the contractions. And in between, we could have a nice chat. I actually found it cosy. Dad, on the other hand, ran them legs under his body; drinking, supporting, massaging my back, keeping the bath up to temperature, snacking, etc. When the contractions became serious, Simone suggested we go into the bath anyway, so I would relax. At first I didn't want to, as I had no idea how long the birth would take. In my eyes, the bath was my last resort. Yet she convinced me; I could always get out and back in later.

Measuring how far my dilation was was ok I thought, however, I did not want to know the result of this.  

I was afraid that I would be disappointed by this and then find it mentally tough. So that did Simone all right. I went into the bath. How wonderful that was, I should have done it much earlier! I relaxed. But suddenly things moved fast. Was this because I was relaxing? Jeez, those contractions! All this time everyone was still sitting comfortably in place, everything was ready, it was quiet. Just the water and daddy, you and me. You were getting ready for your arrival, that was clear.

Slowly Noor and Simone gathered around the bath and I asked how long it was going to take. I would know when the body was really ready, Simone said. 'Have faith.

That only lasted a few minutes, because I knew: you are coming now!

I just managed to turn into the crawling position and then went into labour. 2 push contractions later, you are launched into the world underwater. You are here! Welcome sweet girl.

I hold you and we are still snug in the warm water. You don't cry immediately, you are a bit miffed from the launch and hard work, but otherwise you are also very relaxed and close.

While dad, you and I recover and get to know each other, my mum takes photos and Simone and Noor are busy. My placenta is still struggling a bit to be born. I am not aware of anything. My job is done, I thought. When it's really taking too long anyway, we discuss options. The hospital is also mentioned. I wasn't waiting for that, but what has to be, has to be. We try one last time and we succeed.

I can see the relief in everyone's eyes. Apparently, it was more exciting than I realised.

Still quietly, the checks are done on our girl and me. I get to shower, put on something easy and cuddle with you again. What a joy this is. We succeeded; a home birth as we hoped, in the bath, without painkillers, in a peaceful setting, with a wonderful birth team around us. A dream if you ask me!

Just before five, Simone and Noor are ready and walk out with their packs. I joke that they worked a good day shift from 9 to 5 on a Monday. Just in time.

Grandpa brought your big brother back home so you too could get acquainted. I was in the mood for Thai, so that was delivered. It really felt like a big party; nice people around us, you finally with us and good food.

In the course of the week, Noor and Myrte came to visit more often to make sure everything was going well. We really enjoyed the guidance, seeing the same faces over and over again and the aftercare.

To be repeated.

Now, meanwhile, we get to enjoy you for almost 9 months, all those months with us.

How grateful we are for that! Welcome sweet girl. How much we love you.

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