Four days before our due date I had an appointment with my gynecologist.
Everything looked fine, no contractions yet…but she mentioned that the baby could be big and heavy, very heavy. Since we had planned to birth in a birthing center with only midwives and no doctors present, she advised us to go to the hospital to have the weight of the baby estimated properly. Since the doctors office is close to a hospital we headed there. I had given birth to my son in this hospital and have very bad and sad memories of his first week there (he had to stay in the NICU) and as soon as we stepped in the waiting hall I started crying and couldn´t stop. I truly hate this place.
After a long wait, we finally had the weight estimated and the doctor promptly advised a c-section, because several complications could occur in natural birth. So…I ran…..I ran fast…
This were bad, sad and disturbing news and we didn´t know what to make of all this. So I called my midwife Bettina, from the birthcenter, who was kind enough to come by that night and estimate the weight again. She wasn´t too concerned and said that birthing in the birthing center would still be an option.
But all these complications the doctor in the hospital mentioned were in our heads now and I was very uncertain about what to do and how to decide. Doesn´t everyone want the best for their baby, noone wants to risk the health of their baby, right?!
The next day I went to another hospital, to see what they would advise. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and they were very busy. So the head of gynecology only talked to me and also advised a c-section, however he didn´t have the time to do another ultrasound to determine the weight again himself
Over the weekend I shed many tears and didn´t know what to do. I still wanted a natural birth but was scared for my baby…I really didn´t know what and how to decide, since everyone had a different opinion. During one sleepless night I made the decision to not deliver at the birthing center but in the hospital. But I still didn´t know whether to schedule a c-section
On Monday I called my OBGYN and talked to her. She understood what I was going through but of course couldn´t really help with the decision making process and told me to listen to my inner voice and what it was telling me.
Since I was so scared that something could happen to my baby, I decided to schedule a c-section. Robert (who by the way was very supportive during this difficult time but let me decide what I thought was best for my birthing experience and of course for the baby) and I went to the hospital to have it all organised for the next day.
Luckily things turned around…
We met a doctor who said, she had a lot of time on her hands and is very experienced in ultrasounds and weight estimations and offered to do it again.
Of course we were delighted and after the ultrasound she said, she would not even have said anything about a c-section had she done the ultrasound in the first place. However she advised a hospital birth and an induction the next day, since baby gains weight every day and gets heavier by the minute 🙂 and she already is a big baby. We were so relieved and headed home with lighter hearts.
I enjoyed one last day of pregnancy, the next day we would have our little birdie.
On our due date, the 5th of April 2011 we brought our son to kindergarten (grandma would pick him up and stay with him until Robert could head home), walked our dog and then got our hospital bag and nervously left home to have our baby girl.
At 11 am the doctor (who looked like Elmar Wepper, a Bavarian actor) had told us everything there is to know about the way I would be induced and the process got started with half a tablet of prostaglandin. I had to be monitored for half an hour and then we were free to walk around the hospital for 1.5 hours until I would have to be monitored again. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we decided to walk to the nearby park (the Shri Chinmoy peace mile is in the park and we would walk along there several times during the day). I had very mild contractions now and then but they didn´t hurt at all, so I knew nothing major was happening.
We ate in the hospitals cafeteria…well Robert ate (I think nothing can stop that man´s appetite :-)), I nibbled at a sandwich and had some Coke but was too nervous to eat anything more….
At 1pm I was monitored again instructed to drink some herbal tea to get the labour going. I was also given uterus oil to massage my belly and I promptly had more contractions. They were regular but still not strong enough. So the midwife gave me some herbal remedies to take with me and take a couple every 20 minutes and we were send on another walk.
We sat in the sun, chatted and waited….
At 3.30 pm I was monitored again. I had regular contractions now that were stronger than before but my midwive, Franziska, and I decided to give an enema a go anyway to speed things along. I never had one before and it felt weird and uncomfortable and unfortunately afterwards all contractions stopped.
We were sent on another walk….
At 6 pm Franziska´s shift ended and a new midwife, Bernadette, arrived – and I wasn´t pleased at all. This was the only midwife who I didn´t like at all in the entire hospital. I really had to get my act together and not just run off and go home to have this baby another day. I even asked a doctor if I could go home. But she just laughed and said: no way you are going home!!!
Well, so I had to deal with this new midwife and I remembered what Bettina once said: You get the midwife you will need! And as it would turn out she was right. (Franziska was really nice and gentle and let me decide everything. She didn´t seem very experienced, too.There would come a point where I really couldn´t decide for myself anymore and it would turn out that Bernadette was just needed.)
But back to 6pm. So two doctors checked me (one wasn´t sure about dilation. She was young and shy and we called her doctor mouse, after she left :-). The second doctor looked like a rich girl who spent her afternoon riding a horse and afterwards had drinks at the Seehaus, so we called her doctor Cheerleader as she was so cheery) and they decided that they would break my water. For this procedure they would send another doctor and I was so happy when I saw her: it was the doctor who made this attempt of natural birth even possible. We chatted for a while and she broke my water. She was surprised that it wasn´t even that much water and so was I.
But when I was aloud to get up again and sat on a chair and the next contraction hit, I flooded the whole room :-). Robert and me couldn´t stop laughing and Bernadette wasn´t pleased at all that she had to clean up my mess.
At around 8 pm we were aloud to take another walk but were told to stay close this time and to come back after an hour. It had gone dark outside and the atmosphere in the birthing suite had changed so much. From a relaxed, sunny room to a darker, more serious place.
We walked the dark, empty halls of the hospital, looking for the hospitals church (which was closed) and I had to stop for every contraction and concentrate on my breathing now but it still didn´t hurt too much.
By 11pm Bernadette suggested (more like ordered) I go in the tub which I gladly did. I told my husband to lie down in my bed and I labored alone in the tub for an hour. Things got really rough and my breathing grew louder and louder. After an hour I felt too hot in the tub, so I called Robert who helped me out and called for the midwife. She checked me in between heavy contractions and told me I was 3cm along. I was devested and decided that I wanted an epidural as I thought that it would take many more hours for my daughter to enter this world. Boy, was I wrong…
Robert went to tell Bernadette that I wanted an epidural. She came back and told me that the anesthesiologist was in surgery but would come as soon as he could. I couldn´t deal with the contractions anymore and she helped me to find a somewhat comfortable position leaning on the changing table. She rubbed my back and talked softly to me (who would have thought this stern woman was able to do that) which helped a lot. Robert pressed a heating bag on my back an helped me to concentrate on my breathing. I was completely in my own world, eyes closed. It was such an intense feeling and I somehow retreated to a place deep within me where I searched for the courage and strength to do this.
After about 20 minute the midwive suggested to check me again. I really don´t know how I got on that bed for her to check me, I hated to lie down and the contractions had become almost unbearable. She told me that I was now 7 cm along and I instantly knew there would be no more epidural for me. I think as soon as she said I was 7cm along, I felt the urge to push and was at a 10 in seconds. I tried pushing on the bed but it felt wrong. I remember saying again and again, that I couldn´t do it, that I didn´t know how to get her out, that someone should tell me what to do. I couldn´t say what I needed, I could just focus on the breathing. My midwife realised without me saying it, that I needed to be somewhere else than on the bed. So she helped me to try hold on to some bars on the wall in a sort of half kneeling position. This was better but my legs started shaking so much. Again Bernadette realized that my position wasn´t working for me and she helped me onto the birthing stool with my husband behind me, holding me up under my arms. And after a few pushes, she was out!!!!
Oh the sweet relief! For a minute I wasn´t even looking at my baby girl, I just closed my eyes, leaned into Robert and enjoyed the absence of all pain!
Bernadette told me to look down and there she was! Sometime during my pushing phase the doctor who had done the ultrasound had come it to attend the birth (I kind of noticed someone else arriving but was still so much in my own dark place that I didn´t really see her until the baby was born), which I thought was so great. She truly was our angel in this hospital.
They had to cut her cord pretty quickly and suck some fluid from her lungs so she was able to breathe better. I remember Robert telling me, that yes, it was really girl.
I was helped onto the bed and she was placed naked on my skin and we were covered in warm towels and blankets.
Softest skin, lots of black soft hair, she was perfect! Our daughter! Nalini Mae, born 6th of April 2011, 1.40am!
We stayed in the hospital for one night and then went home.
Robert cared for us every day and night. He was so supportive during my pregnancy, the birth and the time after. I already knew that I have the best husband and that he is the best daddy in the whole world but this experience brought us even closer together. I LOVE YOU, my darling! Thank you for everything!
Nilay is delighted by his little sister, and loves the little birdie soooo much!
Nalini Mae, you make our family complete. We love you!!!
Look at that beautiful face! Doesn’t it just make your ovaries hurt with love… makes me want another little squishy babe. Thanks so much for this beautiful story Mitali! xox If you want to read more about this beautiful family, you can find Mitali’s gorgeous blog Life With My Lovelies here.