Gerda's Birth Story - Baby #2

Updated: Mar 15

Being pregnant with baby number 2 was a whole different experience for me. Not only was there a very energetic and fun two-year old toddler to keep me entertained, I was also determined to do it on my own terms. I avoided visiting a gynaecologist and armed myself with knowledge and information about natural childbirth. My sister-in-law just had her second baby with a midwife at home (in water of all things) and I was determined to follow suit.

It worked out that we were in a small rural town at the time of birth and the local GP (who was also keen for everything natural) was happy to attend my homebirth. I have an extremely supportive husband who trusted me enough to allow for the very different approach and he shielded any negativity from family and friends so well that I was completely unaware and undisturbed in my preparation and determination to have this baby at home. One night, around the time that I thought my baby was due (I wasn’t quite sure of the actual due date), I had some strong contractions and I got up and set the plan in action… everybody was on high alert, we even had the doctor out to check and then woke up the next morning to.. no baby… yet. I was very disappointed and a little bit embarrassed, but happy that we had a nice dress rehearsal and that everybody knew their roles. I settled to wait a bit longer. About ten days later I woke up to something that felt vaguely familiar. This time, I was hesitant to alert everybody but spoke on the phone with the doctor at around 10 in the morning and she came at 12 to check on me. By that time, I was more confident that the labour is really happening and that our sweet baby will arrive soon. I was at home with my hubby while our toddler was happily being cared after by his grandparents on the farm just outside of town. It was a good day and a good way to labour our baby into our arms.

I remember walking up and down in the lounge, keenly aware of the feel of my soles on the rough-ish carpet. I remember getting in and out of the bathtub several times. I remember having a lovely lunch with my husband, chatting about the baby who’s going to be here soon and how her older brother will just love meeting her. All of this while my body was working to deliver my baby.

I clearly remember when we switched gears and there was no time to focus on anything else anymore. We tried all kinds of positions and breathing patterns to help me through the contractions. I was on my knees next to the bed for a long time, hubby’s hands gripping my hips, applying that counter pressure that keeps you from falling apart completely. I remember resting in between, leaning back against his body, encouraged by the fact that this time we were doing it and it was going well! The doctor came and went at some point during the afternoon. When she came back at around 5:15 she brought an assistant. She was a nurse who that day became my cheerleader and without me knowing anything about it, would be my introduction to the work of a doula. Many years ago. It went really quickly from there. Shortly after I “yelled” something about giving up, our beautiful girl was born - a whooping 4 point something kgs, claiming her piece of my heart when her blue eyes locked into mine. Oh, the joy of being in your own home! Her proud daddy bathed her right there on the bed next to me and we were all freshened up by the time the grandparents and the sleeping older brother arrived with supper.

When, around midnight, her newborn squeaks woke him up, we had an amazing family moment and then daddy took her for a stroll in that same lounge while my firstborn and I cuddled and fell asleep in complete peace. It was a good day and a good way for our baby to be born.

Lessons learned from baby #2:

1) Take the time to get to understand how amazing your body is – it can grow a baby, birth a baby and nurture a baby all by natural design. Learn to trust your body and respond to that inner voice. It will serve you well in all areas of your life.

2) Gather a positive and encouraging support group – this might not be easy for everybody, but it is the key to a beautiful and empowering birth experience.

3) Birthing at home makes it easier for older siblings to be part of the big event. If mommy and daddy don’t have to “go away” for the arrival of the baby, the transition feels more natural and the bonding can start immediately. This might make it easier for the firstborn to see a baby in mommy’s arms.

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