And here we are, three weeks and two days into being parents to our beautiful daughter, Lyla, born on the 18th of June 2019 at 18:45, weighing a lovely 4,24kg.
But let's go back for a bit...
As far as birth preferences go, it was our intention to have a home birth and I wanted it to be as natural and unmedicated as possible. That being said, we were aware of the fact that this is one process we definitely couldn't control, and that in the end we would make decisions based on what cues we were given, and what ultimately felt right to us.
During the pregnancy we did a series of family constellations with our midwife, and the message was clear to trust each cue and trust the vibe we were getting as the birth came closer.
From about twelve days before my due date I could feel things changing and happening, my Braxton Hicks became stronger, my discharge increased, the baby was in a beautiful and low position...On the Monday before our due date we thought things were really happening, my contractions were settling into somewhat of a pattern and we were ready to let the day unfold and hopefully meet baby. Sadly, as we were walking our dogs down the road from our house, a big dog from one of the yards had escaped and attacked our schnauzer. Traumatized we all were, to say the least. Any and all things on the labor side came to a complete halt for quite a few days. I felt angry and sad, and I knew that shock to my system messed with things.
Anyhow...the due date came and went, we had a check in with our gynae who said we could induce, but I didn't feel ready yet. We spent the next week going through "false" labor almost every day...things would start up, progress, and then come to a stop. On that Sunday I had to go for a CTG to check on the baby, and the nurse said she could see my contractions, she was certain we would have the baby in the next day. We went home super excited, I could feel things progressing and it became more uncomfortable, but...it all stopped again by the next morning.
That Monday I was 41 weeks and 3 days, and we had agreed with our gynae we would induce at that stage if nothing happened. We thought of pushing it out, but both my parents happened to be in town, and my gut was saying it's okay to induce, it didn't feel too intrusive as my body had been giving signals for a few weeks already, maybe this was just the final push it needed.
This was a mind shift as I had to let go of my home birth ideal, and accept intervention in the hospital, but something in me didn't want to fight it.
We booked in at midnight on the 17th of June for the first dose of prostaglandin gel, contractions started, stayed at a normal pace, but didn't progress- the gynae checked my cervix which was still entirely posterior. We did another dose of the gel on the afternoon of the 18th, contractions started, but didn't progress, and my cervix was still entirely posterior. Without my cervix moving, we couldn't try any other interventions.
Our midwife was at the hospital with us the whole day, and the vibe I got from her and the nurses, was that this is only going one way...I told hubby that I know they're just being patient with me, but I'm certain they know where this is heading. So during the afternoon I had many conversations with my midwife about a c-section, what the procedure would be like etc., and I made peace with the likelihood of it happening.
When the gynae next came and we officially decided to do the c-section, I felt completely confident with the decision, as I trusted every cue that eventually brought us to that moment. Even so, I felt terribly sad and emotional about it too, it didn't make sense to me that I couldn't go into labor, I had worked so hard for months on my body and mind, doing exercises, meditating and visualizing, drinking and eating all the things they say one "should". I felt like I was failing.
But I put that aside, because for now, I was just getting ready to meet our first child.
It was a whirlwind of efficiency from when we gave our go ahead for the c-section. I got changed, a bed came up to get me, they took me to the theatre, the anesthesiologist came to do the spinal block, and a few minutes later they pulled out our daughter. We were crying and laughing and before I knew it she was on me, latching, and I was back in my room in the maternity ward.
My parents came minutes after, and Craig revealed with absolute pride his daughter, Lyla Jennifer Portman.
We were in heaven.
I still feel sad that I didn't get to push her into this world, I feel sad that I didn't get to go through that animalistic and instinctual process of giving vaginal birth, but I can only trust that things worked out exactly as they must and I still think fondly of the whole process.
The team of doctors were all positive and amazing to be around, and I will think of it with optimism forever. Our midwife was there with us, calming me down and giving me affirmation through it all.
And of course, hubby was holding my hand through the whole thing, and made me feel safe and supported. I feel more in love with him than ever. And seeing how in love he is with our little girl is enough to make my heart burst!
Today, we are officially four weeks in. It's been a wild and beautiful ride. Lyla is doing so well, and I feel immensely blessed.
I will share another post soon chatting about my experience postpartum.