[EDIT: Part II (the finale) link has been added at the end]
Guys, where to begin? I mean, yeah sure from the beginning, but the the problem is: Just where is the beginning of it all?..Because all the different parts leading up to this birth is what really brings the charm to it all, you know?
First up, maybe you don’t remember, but guys, I was having nightmares about not being prepared for this birth…and not like psychologically prepped – ’cause ya’ll know my deal with birth and how I look forward to it as a time of celebration and joy. So, no, I’m talking logistically prepared here – we were planning a home birth, but all we had done really in terms of planning (at about 3 days before the birth) was just book the birth pool. We had zero supplies otherwise. Like, nothing!
And just generally I was a bit on edge, I couldn’t seem to switch off from work, and, foolishly, the story I kept telling myself was, “I won’t be prepared, and it’d all be a rush.” (which by the way, goes against everything that HypnoBirthing is about! Or at least, the whole point is to focus on WHAT you want, NOT what you DONT want.)
Speaking of which, I barely had the time to truly focus on my HypnoBirthing preparation, to be honest. I think I might have been a bit too laid back on that front thinking that I had been there, and done it before, and thus didn’t need too much prep. I mean, I knew all the principles right? Besides, I’m freaking CERTIFIED HypnoBirthing FACILITATOR – I should be covered. Right? But truth is, as I later learnt, its a worthwhile to truly invest in it whole heartedly no matter how many times you go through it. (Hint, hint, preggo mamas!)
I think I spent far too much time stressing and telling everyone how unprepared I was, than actually just focussing on how I wanted the day to play out instead. But that’s ALL lessons well learnt.
So I had just finished up work, and on my first real day off (the Friday), I was overcome with a surge to get cracking on things. (Nesting urges are real!) I told hubby, “no matter what, we are not sleeping Saturday until we have all our home birth supplies!” I didn’t care about the nursery I barely touched – baby would only sleep in it months after birth anyway, so no rush. But, the very basics for the birth I wanted sorted, come hell or high water.
But before we go there, that night I had a promise to keep. I promised the girls a proper S’more night before baby came…complete with a starry sky as our ceiling. And since we were in the thick of our drought, the Winter nights were perfect enough for us as a family just to chill under some blankies, holding hands, by the fire on some camp chairs.
Also, right before bedtime, while Mike got the girls all bathed, I decided to snap this one…
For some “odd reason” I thought, what if this was the last bump shot I got before baby got here… Let’s just say, we are more in tune with our bodies than we think! 😉
Anyhoo, back to my nesting and prepping! My man already knows that crazy Alabama look in my eye I get, when I’m focussed on something, and there would be no wisdom in trying to stop me, so best he join me. We came home Saturday evening satisfied that we ticked all the boxes on the home birth prep list. We had even sorted all the finer details with the midwives – directions to our home and actual pix of our home just to make any possible “in the middle of the night” navigation to our home a breeze. We had our S’more night with the kids, and we even called about our birth pool lady, who told us we could pick it up a bit earlier – like the very next day ( Sunday), which was WAY earlier than what we even planned and agreed to. I still laughed and said “not to worry”, but that we’d stick to the schedule and only pick it up Wednesday. (I mean, why pick it up SO early, right?) In fact, Marysol, my birth photographer, and I had already discussed her weekend away. We were SO sorted.
I also told Marysol “not worry”, for as my past birth trends go, this baby wasn’t due for another week, so she could enjoy her weekend away without stressing about me. BUT she did say, as a parting shot, if baby was to come soon, that “she please wait until Monday”. And I still laughed and said to Coco in my belly, “you heard that child, if you wanna come now, please wait till Monday!”
I should have known then already, Monday was going to be the day – my kids have an uncanny ability/kindness to honour my birth date requirements. And Im not even kidding about that! (but that’s story for another time!)
So, with all the necessary things being in place, and my preggo heart at ease about having at least all the essentials in place. I could honestly feel my body and mind just let go and relax. I no longer had any burning worries taking up space in my head, and I could breathe and looked forward to enjoying us, as a unit of four, before things got switched up again. But…as many mamas would know, especially the HypnoBirthing mamas…..with all things being healthy and in place, THAT is the exact time, and most prime time for birthing to begin – when you’re mentally and physically at ease! (It’s part of nature’s way of helping to ensure safe birth)
So that Saturday night, after spending the whole day finalizing things, as I lay my body down to rest in the dark room…finally slipping into that deep slumber I was looking forward to all day, feeling that beautiful, welcoming sleep start to whisk me away to Lala Land, I starting feeling some familiar but extremely feint feelings in my lower belly. I went to the bathroom, and then saw some blood. The birth show!
Oh, boy…here we go. Right on cue, I thought! *also cue the hugest smile on my face*
I went back to bed, and I lay there, sleep now suddenly the furthest thing from my grasp. I lay there trying to figure out if this was real. Because each of my labours have been so very different.
Usually I never wake Mike up immediately. I normally let him sleep as long as possible. (I mean with Morgy’s birth I let him sleep for HOURS till the next morning before I even thought of waking him) But given that the last time with Parker-Grace, I was in such denial of being labour (while he had laughed at my vehement denials in the face of obvious labour), that I can’t even believe to this day, how I thought I wasn’t in labour. So I guess, not to want to be silly again and deny labour, I just woke him up then are there.
“umm, honey…I think it’s go time. Still early, but very likely labour”
This was met with his ol’ familiar happy and super excited big eyes and matching smile! ( I love how he always reacts with pure happiness when I tell him)
It was about midnight at this point, and I told him to hold off on calling the midwives just yet, as I could tell things were far from any real action just yet. So we chilled in bed. I told him to catch a few more winks, but as history has proven, we’re both normally far too excited to even get close to sleep, so I didn’t bother trying to MAKE him or myself sleep this time.
Eventually, after laying in bed, fantasizing all about this new little one that was on her way, we decided to message our on call midwife and our birth photographer, just to give them a heads up on what was going on. But that they should still not worry, as I was far from the real go-time.
It also dawned on us that madam was pretty early. It wasn’t even quite 38 weeks yet. She was still just 37 weeks, only bordering the next week marker. Whilst we were both like, but errm, that’s not how it was supposed to happen! My pattern was always 39 weeks! But as we all know how things with birth go – pattern schmattern! Baby decides when baby is ready. So who was I to question the timing.
And, flip, were we excited!
Eventually, it also hit us, that whilst we had sorted all the birth essentials, there was still so much we needed to get! For one, I hadn’t washed a single item of clothes for baba. There were also no news clothes, as my baby shower was only going to be the very next Saturday, and we ourselves, hadn’t had time to go to the shops at all.
Also we needed wood for the fire, as we were in the middle of winter and our home whilst a beaut during summer, is just bitterly cold in the winter. Also, as part of our “soul session with baby” that we had just done with Robyn Sheldon in our home the week before, warmth and fire seemed to be something that came through strongly. So we didnt want to drop the ball on that.
We also had zero birth snacks in the home – And Lord knows I NEED my snacks! (that goes for life in general, not just birth) 😉 And we definitely didn’t have enough groceries in the home to feed everyone that was going to be there (ie. Our birth team, and our little family – cause kids still gotta eat, yo!) I had planned on making a pot of food before things got closer to birth, but with no ingredients, it was pointless.
More importantly, my mom was due to be away in Paarl with her much anticipated day with her siblings that very Sunday. And the plan was that she was going to uber over to us on d-day to look after Morgan-Lee and Parker-Grace while Mike and I take care of bidniz. But with her sibling plans, and me not having the heart to ask her to cancel her plans, Mike and I were a bit stuck with what we were going to do. We had decided, to do what we do best in situations like this : Wing it, and make new plans if need be!
So before the sun rose, we were making plan B and C’s, whilst also giggling like two silly school girls, completely unable to contain our excitement!
The moment the sun was up, we called up our birth pool lady, Lana to ask if we could still take her up on her offer to come pick it that day – she was busy with a birth right at the time, but we managed to make tentative arrangements for pick up. Lana is also a doula, and whilst births are so unpredictable by nature, I had complete faith that it would just work out.
Later, we also called up Marysol – who hadn’t yet seen my messages (that’s why you always call, not text) – but she was already sorting out their check out times. Her timing seemed to be perfect!
Then I called up my mom, to let her know about the exciting developments, and whilst I tried to keep the conversation upbeat and happy, I couldn’t help but feel very solemn at the thought that she would not be able to be there; That not only would she not be there to help herd our kiddies, but that she wouldn’t be there to welcome her 15th grandchild into the world. ..BUT…by some small miracle; by some crazy twist of the universe, unbeknownst to me, there were numerous events that had transpired on her siblings’ side that now meant that their sibling day was cancelled! Like, holy cow!….I mean, I was very sad for her, because she always looks forward to spending time with her siblings – they mean so much to her- but flip, I couldn’t hide the fact for what that meant for us! And whilst I know she was also down about the cancellation, she was also just as happy as us about the pending arrival of our newest little family member!
By this time, the girls had woken up, and we let them know their little sissy was on her way! They were so excited, it was beautiful to watch their reactions. Such unbridled emotions of love and excitement! Flip, our WHOLE house was alight with excitement! This little baby girl was going to arrive surrounded by love and joyous anticipation!
Immediately the girls went into “how can we help” mode, and were tasked to clean up any little messes around the house – including the library dumpsite that they had made over that past week that was previously known as my bedroom floor.
But throughout clean up, they bombarded me with questions about their little sister. “When will she come? What will she look like? Can she sleep by us? Can I also breastfeed here,mama? Do my boobs also have nummies,ma? Do you think she’ll like her blankie?”
Also, just for some context about that “blankie” story: Parker-Grace had four lovey blankies that she never parted with. One lovey, and three backups. She had travelled half way across the world with them, took them to school, grocery store, and just about everywhere with her. She would lose her mind if you even teasingly suggested that she shared them with you. But there she was, in the weeks of build up to this birth, after overcoming a huge psychological hurdle of not wanting to relinquish her title as baby of the house, one day she came over to me standing in the empty nursery, with the cleanest blankie she could find, in hand. (she had apparently asked the nanny to wash it for this very reason). She handed it over to me, saying, “this is for Coco. It’ll make her sleep nicely.” Guys, I instantaneously melted right there into a puddle of sloppy mama heart mush. I did my best to keep my ish together, and we, together, packed the blankie away into the empty nursery drawers. I was so proud of her…and she was just as happy about it – as she should be.
Anyhoo, the home was busy with everyone getting something done, until I noticed that things on the birthing side, just died down. There was just nothing happening. No more birth shows, no more “tap, tap” feelings near my nethers…nothing. Not that there was too much going on anyway to begin with. So while Mike went out to get some groceries, snacks and pick up the birth pool (because things just worked out sweetly with Lana and the pool), the girls and I decided to chill on the couch with some movies.
Also, the suspense was killing me – like, am I in labour or not? Will it be today, or next week? I just couldn’t believe how much baby had me guessing. They always say third babies are wild cards! My birth team and I had joked about this at length throughout the pregnancy. That you have no idea how things will go down with them – will it be a long labour? Or short? Will it be easier or intense? And this little one was truly living up to that stereo type in spades!
So eventually, I just cracked open the Rasberry Leaf tea and brewed myself a good cuppa before plopping on the couch. I also lined up some comedies for Mike and myself to later enjoy. Especially the one particular movie that had Mike and me rolling and crying with laughter during Morgan-Lee’s labour. I was after the endorphins and keeping the great mood going …But, our humour is dark and sometimes dirty, and whilst we know we were in our own home, we had to consider the fact that there might be others in our home that might not appreciate it as much. So, we kept it one side for now.
The girls and I made it a bit of a mini girl day on the couch, giggling about silly jokes and just chilling.
Eventually Mike came back with all the goods, and we immediately set up the birth pool!
Guys, I need to remind you, this was supposed to be a test run pool set up – you know, the one we do like at least week or two BEFORE labour even starts to see if all works, and if pipes fit, etc – but there we were laughing at our own fumbalia in the set up for the real deal. Like, OF COURSE this is how it would go down for us!
And this last minute effort obviously came with various unforeseen things that had to be fixed on the fly. For one, the water pipe wasn’t long enough to reach our kitchen (from the pool in the lounge). But our guest bathroom was closer anyway. Then the special tap adaptors that I ordered didn’t fit either. So back to hardware store for Mike. It was a bit of comedy of errors for us, but it was all good – we accepted the fact that we were a bit caught with our pants down. But there was nothing that “team us” couldn’t overcome.
Eventually, after some Youtubing and texting Lana, our pool was up and running, and ready for action. But just to be sure, our girls felt they needed to give it a test run.
By this time, my mom had made it over to our place, and I felt so good about how things were just panning out so beautifully for us. It was a good day already, and baby wasn’t even there yet! But then again, my mom’s mere presence tends to have that effect on us. She’s magic!
I was on a complete high, but made sure we kept our midwives and photog clued up through out that Sunday, and just enjoyed the insane electric feel in the air, as we were all kept guessing as to when this little lady wanted to make her debut or not.
It was a crazily happy day, and I was lapping it all up! This is all part of what birth is about!
It was already late afternoon, early evening at this point though, and I think that perhaps my mind had become too preoccupied with the birth pool…or whatever. But things had completely died down now. I was so confused.
And I dont say that lightly. Im generally fully understanding of the nature of birth and that it’s generally unpredictable. But I guess I just figured my body had it’s pattern, you know? And the pattern was that usually once things get started in there, it’s like one giant snowball effect that cant be stopped. Like a rollercoaster ride that I stood in queue for all this time, thought I got the signal from the ride operator and now I’m all strapped into my seat, ready to go. And usually, I’m right there with that goofy smile on my face, ready to get this ride started, and throw my hands up in the air for all the thrills…except this time, the ride operator seemed to go on a quick lunch break without letting anyone know. So I was just hanging there…wondering how long lunch is. 🙂
But deep down I knew better than to start stressing or wondering if I need to do anything to help bring it on faster, and that it was just the excitement of the day that was sending me down the garden path. My body and my baby knew what they were doing. I did tell Mike that I do tend to labour better at night, and that Im sure after all the commotion of the day, we could all do with some decent rest that night. So after spending an exciting day with the family, we racked it up to baby girl giving just lighting that little fire under our butts…fires that we all needed to get things really sorted.
We also decided to just put a blank next to the next day’s to-do list…and kept ourselves open to all possibilities. Besides, my mom was there…meaning we felt like we were prepared for anything.
Sleep oddly came easily that night, especially considering the levels of “errmahgerrd-ness” that were raging in our home…but not for long… 😉
To be continued! (EDIT: See here) (Yes…I’m totally doing that to you!..But not on purpose, I swear – the kids are beckoning!)