Birth of Lieke
Dirkie and Dewald’s HypnoBirthing 2VBAC at Home
Birth of Akira-May
Mari-Luise’s Empowering Birth – Despite The Odds (premature vaginal birth in hospital)
I had just finished my last day of work to start my maternity leave. My husband and I went out for dinner to celebrate! 🎊 We were so excited that our little girl was coming soon – but we had no idea exactly how soon she’d be coming … Our due date was 28 February 2022, so we knew we had 3-4 weeks before she was coming … or so we thought.
At 4am on the 28th of January, I suddenly woke up soaking wet. I walked to the bathroom and had gushes of water coming out of me!
We were caught off guard completely. Suddenly, panic sunk in. None of the hospital bags are packed, none of the baby clothes washed. I frantically packed while fussing with my husband to wake up. I tried to practice relaxation techniques, but I was simply too excited.
I was admitted into hospital; however, I had not yet gone into active labor. We both got our Covid tests done and until I was in active labor hubby could only see me during visiting hours. I was placed in a room with another lady who had her baby at 27 weeks. As I lay in my bed waiting for my body, I could not block out the conversation the other mom was having with her counsellor about premature babies.
Her stories and words terrified me – created a whole storm in my mind, as my baby girl was also going to be born prematurely. I suddenly started crying and could no longer be in the room, so I went for a walk. My husband reassured me our baby girl would be okay; she was in good hands.
My doctor had given me steroid injections to help with our baby girl’s lungs so she would most likely not need NICU.
I was placed on a drip – 2 bags 3 times a day of antibiotics to prevent infection due to my water breaking without active labour setting in yet. I had blood tests done daily to monitor for infections.
Overall, I am petrified of needles, and all the prodding and pricking gave me massive anxiety … and my labour was not progressing. They scheduled an induction for the 1st of Feb in case I still hadn’t gone into active labor by then. I felt hopeless, like everything had gone wrong and my body was not capable of doing what it’s naturally supposed to do. I was also overly emotional that I had to sleep away from my husband for the first time in years. On top of that, I was having heavy menstrual cramps that, according to the machines, were not contractions – but caused massive discomfort and prevented me from sleeping. They checked and I was 1cm dilated. Because of possibility of infection, they refused to check again until I thought I was in active labour. So, I was left with no way of knowing if I was making progress but rather told (since the machines picked up no contractions) that I was not progressing .
I woke up the next morning crying. And then I heard my doctor’s calm voice in the passage … Suddenly I felt a wave of calm come over me. I knew my doctor and I trusted him. Finally, someone who can tell me what is going on. He explained my options – he explained the cramping is probably the start of labour and the machines don’t always pick things up accurately. He assured me our baby would have the best chances with the antibiotics and steroid injections. And, most of all, he told me I have time. He scheduled my induction for the 1st of Feb at midnight. That would be 2 days from when he told me. so I suddenly felt relieved – I had time for my body to figure this out.
It was at that moment I realised I had forgotten everything I learned in my HypnoBirthing classes. I was so stressed and tense that I was stopping my labour from progressing. So, I decided to go into a calm state. I had essential oils out on cotton pads. Listened to my birthing affirmations, ate my dates, drank my concentrated raspberry leaf tea. I even took a nice warm bath. At this point, I had a room all to myself as the nurses wanted me to be alone in case I went into labour.
My husband came to visit me and that evening we watched our team play. Stormers vs Sharks. I told myself if we tie, I’m having this baby before Monday! 🤣 And boom! Our team tied. I was so ecstatic and happy for our team. I was laughing and felt so much joy the nurses looked at me and told me I don’t look like someone who’s going into labour .
The next morning, I woke up with intense pain after a wonderful night of sleep. As soon as they hooked me up to the machines, the pain disappeared! 🤣 Freaking every time!!! The machines always said nothing was happening. The nurses laughed about how crazy it was.
My husband visited me in the morning. After he left, the cramping came back . Eventually, I saw I had the purple line. I sat in the tub, pouring warm water over my tummy to ease the cramps, and I thought to myself ,”I’m going to have this baby now, I better get out the tub”.
This is my first baby, so I examined my thoughts with great skepticism and cast them aside.
After a few more intense cramps, I eventually called the nurse, as my thoughts were alarming me that the baby was coming, and I couldn’t put them aside. My husband was on his way for visiting time.
Finally, after 3 days, the nurse agreed to check how far dilated I was 4 to 5cm!!! Yes!!!!! Active labour time!!! I overheard the other nurse shocked that I was 4-5cm, as none of them thought my cramps were contractions since the machines didn’t pick them up.
I was moved to a big private room and told I’d be there until I gave birth and my hubby was allowed to be with me.
That’s when things got real. I spent most of my active labour in the bath tub with my husband pouring water over my back and tickling my back between surges. The surges intensified, and eventually I started to feel nauseous, yelling loud at my hubby to pass me the bin. The nurses heard me shouting and came rushing in. They asked how I was doing, and I looked up at her from the tub and said, “I really want to push”. I asked her how much longer I’d be like this and they told me they expected the baby to arrive around 12am. 6 HOURS 😕 I looked at my husband and said, “Baby, I’m not going to make it 6 more hours like this, give me the pain medication.” I had gone 3 days without taking any form of pain relief. The nurse said she needed to call my doctor about the pain meds. She asked me to get out the tub so they could strap me to the monitor and make sure baby is okay. They also wanted to check what was going on.
I kept having intense surges (well, what felt like period pains – nothing like how contractions were explained to me; the hardening of my tummy didn’t hurt, it was painless) and begged her to not make me sit, as sitting made it worse. She pleaded with me that she needed to make sure the baby was okay, so I forced myself to get out the tub and sit back on the bed. I faintly said, “I really want to push.” She realised the baby was coming and told me not to push (they were waiting for doctor to arrive, as our baby girl was prem and there could be complications) but I could not help it 🤣 My body pushed despite me trying not to, and it felt so good to push and so painful to hold back. On the second push, our little girl’s head popped out and the 3rd push she was born. This all took 10 minutes from when I asked her if I could have pain medication! I didn’t even get a second chance to ask for it before my little girl was born. They expected me to be in active labour all night. In total, my active labour lasted 2 hours! They were very surprised and scurrying to get everything ready! 🤣 She barely had all the linen savers put out before catching our little girl. Akira-May had the cord wrapped around her neck twice and wrapped around her body like rope tying her together. The nurse calmly unwrapped the cord and handed her over to me. It was at this point that I saw my husband had recorded the entire thing! 🤣 In my mind I was screaming, but as per reality (I watched the video) I was soft, calm, and focused on breathing. I hardly made any noise at all. Definitely nothing like the screaming in the movies!
The moment I laid eyes on my little girl, I had a huge smile on my face, calling, “My baby girl, my little girl, mommy is here.” It was unreal. She was healthy, breathing fine on her own and no need for NICU. My doctor was in the parking lot, rushing to the ward – that’s how fast it all happened. The moment she was unraveled from the cord she started to cry, and a second later, when she was placed on my chest, she settled. She knew who I was. She knew she was safe.
My doctor told me the moment the nurses asked him about the pain medication, he knew baby was about to come. He was surprised – “Mari, asking for pain meds??? Never … Baby must be coming!” 🤣
I got everything I wanted. 100% natural labour and birth. No pain medication whatsoever, not even a Panado. Our baby girl was 100% healthy and could breathe on her own. It was amazing. I was stunned at how tiny our baby girl was, how thin the umbilical cord looked and how tiny my placenta was. She is this perfect tiny angel 👼.
I had no need for an episiotomy. No tearing – thanks to perennial massage 💆♀️.
I was left to labour how I wished and with my husband there to help me. It was everything I dreamed of.
62 hours of labour and 2 hours of active labour.
After she was born, I had so much energy and I was just so happy. HypnoBirthing classes helped tons. My husband was my rock through all of it.
I cannot say thank you enough to my amazing OB-GYN Dr E Majachani – he made sure our baby girl had the best chances of survival. He respected my wishes for no pain medication and for a natural birth. He did everything in his power to make sure my birth plan was taken into account – how amazing is that, and in a hospital setting! The nurses at Sunninghill Hospital went above and beyond; they were so caring, so calm, and allowed me to have my privacy as I requested in my birth plan to have minimal nurse interference during my active labour.
Overall, I had the most incredible, empowering birth experience I could have ever asked for, and in a hospital setting. To me, it seems the high quality of medical care in South Africa shone through. Most of the nurses are also trained midwives, so for those ladies afraid of hospitals because of the lack of midwife care, this hospital was (for me) the best combination between a hospital setting and using a midwife to birth at home.
I am ever grateful to my doctor, the nurses and my husband for creating an experience I will never forget. A positive, wonderful memory of birthing our little girl into this world. And I am ever grateful to God for making sure that this day all came together perfectly and that our daughter and I received the best care.
This is proof, ladies, that even if things don’t go according to plan, you can still have an empowering birth ❤️ Don’t give up on yourself. You can do this.
Birth of Thando
Lerato and Dudu’s Empowering Birth (Caesarean following transfer from birth house)
Birth of Malik
Jennifer and Chan’s HypnoBirthing Water Birth at Genesis Maternity Clinic
39 weeks – 3.53 kg
We found Shakti Births purely by accident; we had a rough idea about having a natural birth and that HypnoBirthing would assist with the experience. Must I say, my husband and I have no regrets having Tamryn, as she smoothed out all of our uncertainty and answered all of our questions without us even asking them. She provided us with great information and education is definitely everything. This eased these first-time parents greatly.
Leading up to the birth, I experienced practice surges quite regularly. It was only on the day that I started experiencing some slight discomfort with each surge during lunch, still thinking they were practice surges. I still breathed through them like how we trained.
Around 6pm, I noticed some light blood after going to the bathroom – I didn’t think too much of it as I was still thinking I’m going through practice surges. Because my husband and I worked from home, we were working into the late nights (Yes! I was still working during my surges, come to think of it). I called it a night around 11:45pm, showered and went to bed. I was then woken up from an intense surge at 3am, and it finally hit me that this is the real deal. I proceeded to do my HypnoBirthing breathing techniques during and between surges, on the toilet, in the bathroom; just to give my husband extra time to sleep in before what lay ahead. Timing between the surges was roughly 4-5 minutes. It was not until 3:30am that I realised we hadn’t packed our things into the car yet and, knowing it would take a bit of time, I woke Chan up to let him know what was happening and that we should get going.
We arrived at Genesis at 4am and were greeted by one of the midwives on duty, Sr Dwan. She checked me and I was already 5cm dilated. I didn’t realise I was so far along already and was delighted to hear from the midwife that this birthing process may be a quick one. My surges became long and intense, making me want to push and bear down, and this was when the rest of the birth show released. Soon after settling into our room, the birthing tub was ready for me. Thankfully it wasn’t long before I got into the pool, which felt AMAZING and was a big relief. My husband joined me in the tub – this gave me much comfort.
HypnoBirthing doesn’t block out the pain – I was very aware that I was in a lot of discomfort. But it teaches you to deal with it – I kept telling myself that I am going to meet my baby soon and I would count down the contractions whilst using my breathing techniques, which really worked. Throughout the birthing experience, my husband read positive affirmations and applied counterpressure to my hips and back (I had an anterior placenta, so a lot of the pressure was here). Because the surges started to become regular to every minute, my husband’s arms eventually gave in, so he quickly switched to using his knees to apply the counterpressure. This was my saving grace, as it was more effective than using the hands. The next hour was a blur and I even felt sleepy. We switched between multiple birthing positions every few surges, which made me progress faster than others.
At 7:25am, we welcomed baby Malik into the world.
I completely put down my experience and birth being how I’d hoped because of all the practice and preparation we did, with prenatal yoga, HypnoBirthing and the guidance of our wonderful midwife, Dwan. She even stayed with us instead of going off when her shift ended, so as to see our birth through. The result was a positive experience, attitude and overall mood in bringing our baby home.