Subira... Patience

Subira... Patience

​Subira Swahili for Patience

“If you want to go fast, go alone,

if you want to go far, go together”

-African saying

“Look at me for a moment and please tell me how you really are?” were Pascal’s words in the evening on the 19th of June. It’s been a hot Monday evening and we just settled into the quiet after being out to refresh. Pascal went with Lea to the outdoor pool while I was walking labs on the running track next to the pool.

Here I am walking labs at 42 weeks. I was convinced that the latest day of arrival of our new family member would be no later than the full moon on the 9th of June.

Duh!

Day after day passed with me feeling physically rather better than worse, dropping into the deepest sleep all throughout pregnancy and getting more and more annoyed by people asking the f****** obvious: “You’re still pregnant?”.

This trust went very well until about day 12 past due date. Then I stripped all layers. The trust layer included. I lost it. All of it. I just cried and didn’t know how to continue. I was scared. Scared my body would fail, this baby would be in danger, something would be wrong in my system and the baby would want to come but my body would be blocked… once I started opening the “fear-box” all sorts of scenarios unfolded within me… and they released all stored tears.

Somewhere in my subconscious there was the fear of day 14 past due date. I didn’t inform myself properly and didn’t have the intellectual backup of what will happen after day 14. It just felt like the something big and scary would happen and I was afraid to be induced as I rarely heard about outcomes of induction that are anywhere close to what I envisioned for my birth. So finally I started to lean into my support. I talked to my Doula from my last birth, to my good friends, to my partner. All of them listened with an open heart. Listened more than anything else and gave me permission to lose it all as a part of labor. Maybe even the emotional start of it.

“This is how it starts, the armour breaks so the baby can come” is what Pascal said, and “talk to your midwife, she’ll have something for you, and she’ll want to know!”. So I dropped the disease of “not wanting to bother anyone” and called her. She’s been unshakable in her trust all throughout our relationship and she remained in steady in it, which inspired me beyond words. In a time in which so many birth professionals drop out of trusting the process of birth and big money is being made off general fear, she responds to my questions of what will happen after day 14 past due date: “ We wait, nothing happens. The baby comes when the baby is ready. A baby is considered full term from the end of week 37 to 42 weeks, being ‘over due’ starts at 42+1”. “So how long is the longest you waited so far?” I ask curiously. “17 days” she says!

“Look Julia, you’re looking amazing, you’re active, you move, the baby moves, you’re healthy, there is nothing to worry. And if you do worry, go get another check up if it calms your mind. And listen, get out of your mind, birth happens in the body…” she thinks for a moment and continues: “Get yourself some Verveine tea and prepare a clove oil tampon, so you’ve “done” something. This will calm your mind. And then we’ll see”.

“Look at me for a moment and please tell me how you really are?” was Pascal’s words that monday evening when Lea was in bed. I lean on the kitchen table sway my hips during a soft contraction during which some amniotic fluid runs down my leg and answer: ”there is a possibility that this is the start… I’m not sure though… just let me do my thing for a while”.

Looking at the amniotic fluid and seeing it’s very slightly red in color I get the last flush of fear running down my back:

What if I waited too long?

What if the amniotic fluid went bad?

What if the Placenta doesn’t do it’s job anymore?

What if I failed in my responsibility as a caring mum?

….

Before that big black hole opened all the way I examined the water properly and called the midwife who… AGAIN… was all calm and brought me back to trust: “All good!!! I’m so happy your water broke, just do your thing and keep me updated!”

Just like in my first labour there came the moment of my body getting rid of everything unnecessary to make space to deliver the baby: I needed to throw up. Since this was kind of close to the pushing phase Pascal asked me if I wanted to call the midwife. Honestly, I had no clue… with Lea everything took so darn long that I didn’t want the midwife to hang out here for days. Hesitant we decided to give her a call and check in what she thinks. “Let me listen what you’re doing for a few surges” she said and asked Pascal a couple of more questions which I can’t remember being all caught up in the surges. That just around half past midnight. “I’m gonna get ready and come over, you’re doing great, just continue”.

My chosen pattern worked quite well and I tried to expand the relaxation phase as much as possible which sometimes got me stuck in side position as the surge took over making it super hard for me to get up. Where I have to state that I find it impressive how woman can actually give birth on their backs! Even in side position I felt like my hip’s gonna explode if I stay laying down on it. Pascal had found the perfect comfort measure very early on which worked perfectly and was not straining for him. He would place his hand on my sacrum and lengthen it away from my head during surge. Gosh, did I ever say how amazing it is to have a bodyworker on your side? Generally in life and in birth even more?! In my dance of up on the ball and down into the pillows our midwifes arrived 45 min later checking on me without making a big impact and being not disruptive at all.

She made herself comfortable in the living room where I could see her lying down in chill mode which made me even more relaxed and feeling that all was perfectly fine. No vaginal exam, no estimation of anything, no time frame, no tracking of contractions… just listening to the heart beat quickly, which was just fine. Letting me work it out for another hour she suddenly started to arrange things around me, put on cloves and sat down next to me. “What’s happening Barbara, are we really that close?” I asked being unable to believe that I finally really get to meet this little being. Somehow it’s kind of cool to have had a super long first labour and then get surprised when the path is actually paved and can be taken a little quicker by the second being. “Well, you’re already starting to push my dear, I better get ready! Do you want to move over to the living room?” she asked being mindful of us not having prepared the bed with a cover.

My eyes see the way over to the living room which in fact is no more than three meters from the bed to our Thaimatress, yet in my state it felt like a kilometre without anything on the way to lean on if I get caught by a surge. I look at her and respond: “No way, I’m not going anywhere and this bed is so nice and soft”. Later on she told me she was just worried about ruining our bed, but when she heard my determination she knew: This baby is gonna be born right here in this bed.

This moment, is as if someone changes the software of a computer. The shifts in the brain are tremendous and I went out of the primal part of my brain which was active in labour into the conscious loving frontal part of my brain realising me being a second time mum. I hear the Baby cry, turn from all fours to see her lying there and immediately fall deeply in love, feel proud, happy, relieved, in pure celebration. In my happiness I didn’t even think of checking the sex of the Baby. It was Pascal saying: “A girl! I knew it right from the start!!!” While I was truly surprised, being almost convinced of having a boy I was way to much in love to give it more thought and snuggled up with our daughter. Finnja, we agreed on before. Birthing our Baby into our own bed has a major advantage: I just needed to lie down and was where I wanted to be for now and the coming days.

In no time our midwife had cleaned and arranged the whole scenery and gave us bonding time disappearing in the kitchen. I peak over to the living room where we had the pool prepared for weeks… “We didn’t need it, hugh?!”, “I kind of had a feeling” Pascal goes, as the door opens and Lea walks in: “My sister has called for me?”. Pascal and I both smile as she climbs into the bed welcoming her little sister. The room still full of oxytocin the Placenta emerged with a last effort for this night from me, we arranged everything to rest and sleep agreeing on doing “the numbers” of weighing and measuring the next day. It was just as the sun of the hot and bright day before summer solstice light up our bedroom peacefully, when the midwife left and we stayed behind marvelling at our expanded family in the raw beauty of birth.

Slowly Pascal, Lea and Finnja fell asleep. My calm excitement made me stay awake watching the sun rise, listening to the breathing of my children and guarding their sleeping spirits. I’m here for you, I’m listening, I’m available to your and my own needs… deeply falling in love with the present moment.

Suggestions for birth prep

  1. Get a Doula
  2. Childbirth from within is great book
  3. Choose a midwife who you really connect to
  4. Spinning babies is an amazing and resourceful website for prenatal questions