Submitted by Marjolein Mensink
As I am getting closer to my due date I have mixed feelings: I still feel great and enjoy being pregnant so much, but I also can’t wait to meet the little person who’s inside me. Is it a boy or a girl (I think it’s a girl!)? Will he or she look like our son Ben? Also, I am very curious about how my birth will be. Ben’s birth was a great experience, he was born at home as I wished for after just four hours of labor and everything went well. Having this experience in my mind, I am actually looking forward to having a new birthing experience soon.
Because Ben was born fast I tell my partner Jacco that there’s a chance that he will be the one to catch our baby if our midwife doesn’t make it on time. I don’t know any other man as relaxed as Jacco is, so the idea of catching the baby doesn’t get him of his feet. He jokes: ‘Well you know you can wake me up once the baby’s head is born’. Secretly I like the idea of doing it all by ourselves very much, but being a midwife myself, there is also a voice that tells me that this is something that we couldn’t do. After all, why wouldn’t a midwife want another midwife at her own birth?
My best friend Maartje who is also a midwife is staying near our home the weekend before my due date. Her home is a two hour drive from ours so only if the birth starts this weekend, Maartje can come. It’s a wild guess, but we both think it’s at least worth a try. Because of the distance and the bad weather she couldn’t be there when Ben was born.
Maartje comes by for a drink on Saturday evening. As I go to the kitchen to get her something, she says: ‘I just said to Marvin (her husband): how funny would it be if her water breaks when I am there…’ And you might not believe it, but right after this my water breaks (8.45 PM).
We are totally surprised and can’t stop giggling for a few minutes. This is great! There’s a very good chance our baby will come tonight and Maartje will be there with us. What perfect timing. Jacco’s parents come to pick up Ben for the night, Maartje prepares everything for the homebirth and I take a long shower. I am so ready, let the contractions begin!
That night…nothing happens. I am so disappointed and also surprised. I’m always looking for answers and I just don’t understand why nothing happened. Of course, I know that bodies and births don’t always work the same, but still. The ‘policy’ is to go to the hospital after 24 hours when labor doesn’t start and I start to feel this deadline slowly. We decide to pick up Ben and Maartje goes back to her family. She’ll be closeby until dinnertime, so there’s still a chance that she’ll be there as our midwife.
During the day I try everything: listening to music, taking long showers, massaging acupressure points, looking for distraction (going out for lunch and a walk in the park), but NOTHING works. Obviously I am very frustrated at a certain point. I want a homebirth so bad and hate the idea of having to go to the hospital. Actually, I am also very afraid that the birth will be more painful because of having to be on an IV and fetal monitor. I do always think everything happens for a reason so maybe it is just supposed to go like this. It might even be a useful experience for me as a (hospital)midwife.
In the evening on Sunday we go for a check up (in ‘my’ hospital) and plan to induce labor the next morning. We’ll be spending the night at home luckily. Maartje has obligations the next day and went back home, so unfortunately we won’t share my birth experience together but at least we have a funny story about the ruptured membranes. After another long shower I go to bed where Jacco and Ben are already in a deep sleep. This will be our last night with ‘just’ the three of us! I finally found more peace with the idea of not having another homebirth and try to sleep.
At 11.15 PM I get a really strange feeling, like something ‘breaks’ inside. I also hear a pretty loud ‘click’ which later I found out from my physiotherapist that this sound was the same as a ‘popping’ knee or elbow- there is a vacuüm inside the joint/pubic bone and when the head came down, this probably caused the vacuum to break. At the same time as I heard the click sound, the baby makes a very strong and uncomfortable move. This scares me because I don’t recognize it. My first response is to lie really still and wait. After a little while luckily I feel the baby moving again. Right after this there’s a huge contraction..and soon another and another. Also I almost immediately feel pressure in my pelvis. It is soon clear that its going fast so I wake Jacco and ask him to call my colleagues and let them know we’re coming. Jacco’s mother will come for Ben so he calls her as well. Just a few contractions later I feel a lot of pressure and the urge to push. My first response is: ‘No way…now already?’ When I feel the same at the next contraction I tell Jacco that we won’t make it to the hospital. He calls to tell that we’ll stay home. Also he calls the midwifery practice, and asks if the midwife can still come to our house.
‘We’ll be fine honey, we can do this together’, I ensure Jacco. He is as calm as he can be and that’s very comforting for me. The urge to push is so strong that the only thing I can do is just let go. Just a few moments later the baby’s head is born. I tell Jacco we’ll wait for the next contraction and that the baby will then be there. At that moment the midwife calls and gives Jacco some instructions for the shoulders to be born. This goes smoothly and when I open my eyes I see Jacco holding up our second son! Another boy, I am so surprised. Also, he looks so different than his older brother. I am overwhelmed, surprised and intensely happy. A homebirth after all! And UC…how’s that for a hospital midwife.
Little Adam Jack was born at 11.49 PM and was doing perfectly straight away. A few minutes after he came the midwife rushed in to find a perfectly healthy baby, an overwhelmed mommy and superproud daddy.
We joked about this scenario in my pregnancy…waking Jacco up after the head was born? Well this was close! What a special birth, what a beautiful experience! And what an amazing gift to have two sons. I still feel like the luckiest woman on the planet and am so proud of Jacco, Adam, and…myself and my body.