How I became my daughter’s mamma
(An extraordinary story from everyday life at gynpoint)
Valentina was born on the 22nd of August 2021 at 21:58. At home.
The birth at home was unplanned. My “midwife” was my partner.
I was never afraid of giving birth during the whole pregnancy. My attitude towards the birth was “everything will be fine and if necessary, I can possibly ask for analgesics”. I trusted my body and that I would be supported by the hospital staff as needed.
On the recommendation of my gynaecologist, Dr. Alina Staikov, I attended the midwife consultation offered in the gynpoint practice once, together with my partner – we briefly discussed the birth process, but most of the time we answered our questions about postnatal issues. However, we didn’t realise at the time that exactly this short part of the conversation would be of great importance for my partner!
During the first six months I did a lot of sport, ski touring and climbing. Then I was diagnosed with a shortened cervix – on the advice of my gynaecologist, I stopped doing any sport. After this information, I was increasingly worried about my child for several weeks, but above all that I might not have been careful enough with my child and my body. I continued to go to work at 50% of the time until the due date.
The due date was 20 August. It remained calm.
On 21 August I still didn’t notice any signs of an impending birth – I decided to go hiking with my partner, as I was now past the due date, I didn’t have to worry about a premature birth anymore.
On the evening of the 21st of August, I felt a very slight tugging in my groin, something was different than usual, not just the tugging in my abdomen – I suddenly felt it and was quite sure that I would soon be able to hold my child in my arms.
On the morning of the 22nd of August, I felt the same pulling and cramping discomfort in my lower abdomen as I had before my period started. Immediately I informed my partner about it. We didn’t plan an outing for that day but decided to do a few more things around the house.
From about 11am onwards, I clearly felt the cramp-like lower abdominal pain again and again, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, and it also radiated into my groin. However, they were very irregular and usually passed quickly. I also noticed slight traces of blood in my panties. My partner started to prepare a small bag for himself, next to mine.
As we were unsure when the right time would be to go to the hospital, I called there for the first time at 12:19pm. I explained my situation – the midwife told me that it was a so-called low contraction at the beginning, that I could still stay at home and that I didn’t have to worry about the slight bleeding. She recommended that I take a bath.
Approx. 13:30: my partner and I made we something tasty for lunch – in between contractions kept coming at irregular intervals (about every 7-15 minutes, the duration was always longer than 30 seconds), I paused for a moment, could stand it well and when it passed, continued with whatever I was doing at the time. I did not take a bath.
The intervals lessened in between, 5-7 minutes from one to the next, but still very irregular for the most part.
At about 3:30pm, I suddenly had an extremely strong contraction, the pain radiating into my thighs. Tears promptly came to my eyes. After a little more than half a minute, the pain was over.
My partner called the midwife at the hospital again at 3:41 pm – he described the situation and got me on the phone, I had a longer conversation (about 10 minutes), during this time I felt another contraction once, but it was very weak and well bearable for me. The midwife said it was not an opening contraction, the intervals were still too long and there was no regularity. She told me that I will feel it when it “starts”, if I feel unsafe at home I can of course come to the hospital, but it will surely take many hours and go on like this and according to her it is not necessary yet. She said I would not be able to talk during an opening contraction. This midwife also recommended that I take a bath, she explained the contractions would then either get stronger or decrease completely. As I wanted to spend as few hours as possible in hospital and the pain was mostly well tolerable, I decided to stay at home and implement the advice to take a bath.
Around 4pm: my partner ran the bath for me, I lay in the tub with the scent of lavender and my favourite TV series. The contractions were hardly noticeable. After about an hour, I lay down in bed, relatively relaxed, and watched the series. Already at 5:30 pm I felt the first stronger contractions again, bearable but still unpleasant – the intervals were again longer than before the bath.
About 19:30: my partner and I have dinner. I also talk to my mother on the phone. I can enjoy dinner despite the increasing pain. We go to bed at about 20:30, thinking that we will probably not be home this night and want to get some rest now.
From about 20:50, the intervals are still irregular (5-10 minutes) but very painful, each contraction is more painful than the previous one. The whole pelvic area hurts, also always radiating into the groin and thigh. I can’t lie down anymore and walk around the flat very restlessly with every contraction, I cry, laugh and scold and feel like I’m going to vomit every time. I get scared, scared that I won’t be able to stand the pain when it “really” starts, as I am already in so much pain. As soon as the pain passed, I went back to bed.
At 9:20pm my partner starts measuring the intervals with a stopwatch, suddenly everything goes fast, I can hardly tell when one contraction stops and the next one starts.
9:34pm: my partner calls the hospital, he says that we want to leave now, we think it is the right time to go to the hospital. I still want to go to the toilet, suddenly my trousers are totally covered in blood, sitting on the toilet I have the feeling that something is “pushing out”. I go out of the bathroom, I am agitated, I think about what to wear for the ride, I don’t want to get anything dirty. From one moment to the next I can’t anymore, I lie down on the floor and shout: “I have to push, I can’t walk anymore, I think the baby is coming”; my partner answers completely shocked: “That’s not possible, we have to go, you can’t push now”.
9:42 pm: my partner calls the hospital again, he describes the situation to the midwife, he asks for an ambulance to be sent.
The midwife asks if the head can be seen yet – he asks confused: “Didn’t you call the ambulance?”. The midwife states that the paramedics are on their way, but she suspects that the baby will be quicker. I initially refuse to take off my pants.
We put the call on speaker. My partner thinks about unlocking the front door so the paramedics can get into the flat. I advise him to take off his top so he can put the baby directly on his skin in case the paramedics don’t get there in time to give it to me after the umbilical cord is cut. The midwife keeps giving simple essential calls to action. My partner gets lots of towels and sets them out. I have strong contractions, I hold my hand in front of my mouth so as not to be too loud, I have an extreme need to push – I just let it happen. I don’t know how I feel, in addition to the pain, I am excited, scared, and sad all at the same time. I feel my water breaking. I keep calling the phone and asking the midwife if anything can go very wrong now, she reassures me. My partner is also very calm and rational. He accepts the baby’s head with his hands. When the baby is out up to the navel, he follows the midwife’s instructions to pull the baby out. I hear him say, “There’s umbilical cord everywhere.” Immediately afterwards I hear it cry out, I see the relief on my partner’s face. I shout “quick, look at the time, what time is it!!!”.
9:58pm: Four pushing contractions.
He announces with a huge smile on his face, “Honey! Honey! We’re having a Valentina!” I cry. Shocked and surprised, I realise that my belly has disappeared, it’s just gone. After about 8-10 minutes, the paramedics come into the flat hallway, beaming faces – they have a quick chat with the midwife. My partner is allowed to cut the umbilical cord. Finally, I get to hold my baby girl. I still don’t know how I feel.
With the support of a paramedic, I put on the bathrobe, I walk to the ambulance. I feel contractions again. The afterbirth begins. My partner asks to verify the sex, as he must have been confused by the confusion during the birth, we had to laugh. We are driven to the hospital where we are lovingly welcomed by two midwives on duty. I expel the placenta in the delivery room.
My partner’s comment:
It helped me a lot that the midwife showed us the technical process of birth with the help of a pelvis and a doll during the consultation. It gave me an idea of when the baby would come out and how, or a better understanding of the exact birth process – it happened exactly like that, and I knew it was right.
I can remember so much so clearly because I texted with my mum and one of my best friends. The last message I sent before I could hold my sunshine in my arms was to my mum – it was at 9:17pm.