Joy of birth

On 18 October 2019, our daughter Edna Sol was born at home in our flat. Our birth experience together was our first big task and challenge as a team. My partner Alex was and is a firm and important support for me before, during and after the birth. Edna is relaxed, full of life and naturally beautiful. Edna’s birthday was a celebration for me and for all the other people who were lucky enough to be there. My positive attitude towards birth, which I adopted during my preparation for this moment, was certainly one of the reasons why I was able to give birth in a powerful and self-determined way. It is for this reason that I am keen to write down and share my birth story to encourage other women to organise the birth of their child or children exactly as they wish.

A beautiful birth is not rocket science

– but rather a balance of security, trust, courage, dealing with fears, weakness, loss of control, devotion and a large portion of joy of birth!

5 days before the birth, my partner Alex and I slept together. Sexuality was very important during our pregnancy too. As my body and my hormone balance changed a lot during the nine months of pregnancy, it wasn’t always easy for me to feel and allow my desire. But for the most part, we managed to recognise and respect each other’s needs. Making love, cuddling and caressing even became a very valuable part of the pregnancy and I often had the feeling of actively preparing for labour.

Allowing pleasure, relinquishing control, blossoming, exploding, feeling, loving…

The last time we had sex before Edna was born was very intense. I had two wonderful orgasms and I,

high on oxytocin,

went to the park with our dog. However, my tummy felt funny and I had to walk very, very slowly. My uterus contracted at regular intervals. I vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom. The urge to clean and tidy was very strong. So the loving sex triggered the first contractions.

I felt different in the following 5 days. My uterus practised contracting diligently. Is it starting now? What is happening in my body? What if I’m wrong and this state continues for 3 weeks or longer? Can I really manage this? …. But despite some doubts (especially at night…), I never lost my courage and my anticipation of the birth and of our child.

The evening before the birth, I had a date with my punk band. We cooked together and spent the evening together. The food was delicious and the time went by quickly, but my stomach hurt so strangely. Had I perhaps eaten too many crisps? Did the Indonesian food not agree with me? It was already 11pm and I decided to take a taxi home. Somehow I didn’t feel so good….

On the way back in the taxi, I spoke to the driver about the pregnancy. The conversation with his old wisdom à la – it will definitely be a boy, because…. – annoyed me.

I was very happy when small talk was over and I was finally home.

I wasn’t in a particularly good mood, I wanted to lie down but couldn’t find a comfortable position and I was also rather bitchy with Alex. He wasn’t even allowed to rub my tummy with oil…. A ritual that actually had its fixed place every evening before going to sleep.

I couldn’t really sleep well. I tossed and turned and was dead tired. When I finally got up because I couldn’t lie down any more, it was already 4..30 am. Then I floated around the living room with my big exercise ball. I rolled up and down on the floor, started my breathing techniques – inhale, count and exhale twice as long – and then I realised:

It’s starting now.

I wanted to go to the loo, had the feeling that my stool was too hard and so I decided to wake Alex up at around 5.30am and ask him how I could give myself an enema. He woke up, rubbing his eyes. “”Is it happening now?” I nodded. Then he said: “Give me five minutes, I’ll make myself a coffee and then I’ll be there for you!”

So I was busy giving myself an enema while Alex was running a bath. The contractions were already coming quite frequently and yet I was still hesitant. Was it really going to start? Somehow I was afraid of being wrong. I was also a little afraid of the challenge that lay ahead of me. I felt that I was the direct link to my child and therefore had a huge responsibility. The other people I had chosen to be present at the birth could support me, but I was the one who would soon be giving birth. That was somehow

a sacred and powerful feeling.

Alex and I enjoyed a cosy bath together. The distance between the contractions continued to decrease in the bath and we did get a little excited and nervous. Our mood was good and very positive. Alex transformed the living room into a cosy birthing cave with blankets, mats, a mattress, sheets, pads, candles and lots of love.

After the bath, my good friend Fee arrived, who I had asked to be my doula during the birth because I felt safe and in good hands in her presence. She radiates calm and I trust her. Fee and Alex accompanied me into the living room and supported me with the contractions. The candlelight, my own labour playlist with lots of songs by strong female energies and the dim light made me feel very comfortable.

Fee ate some muesli. I didn’t.

I was no longer hungry. The distance between contractions became shorter and I would lie on the floor under a blanket with a hot water bottle on my feet during the breaks. When I felt a contraction coming, I would get down on my knees and lean on the ball, breathe and moan or tone. That worked quite well for a while. Suddenly I noticed how

a lot of mucus flowed from my vulva.

The mucus plug had come loose. And together with Fee, I went to the loo and enthusiastically pulled out more and more mucus. Grandma’s alarm clock rang at 10 o’clock. The alarm clock doesn’t actually work any more and therefore only rings at random. But I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in fate… So the ringing was a wonderful signal for me. My grandma, who passed away 2 years ago, was also there and would support me and my child during the birth! And then suddenly, during the peak of a contraction, I had the feeling that my pelvis had broken apart… I heard the rupture and it scared me immensely. I then shouted very loudly: “Something has just happened.

Something has just broken inside me!”

Fee then asked if it was wet between my legs and it really was. “Then it must have been the waters,” she said. We put a towel between my thighs. Shortly afterwards, the urge to push started. It was a crazy feeling and I couldn’t do anything about it. Finally the doorbell rang and my midwife Peter arrived with the student midwife Alena. Peter took off his clothes and quickly came to me on the mat. He put his hands on my back and thighs and said to me clearly: “I’m here – you can get started!” Those were wonderful words that gave me a lot of confidence. I was in a trance. Vanessa, the second midwife, also came into our cosy, warm birthing room. Everyone was there. Everything was ready. I felt well supported and strong. Peter offered me the chance to try out the all-fours position. I was sceptical at first and wanted to hold on to my tried and tested position lying on my left side. But I had confidence and so I tried out the new position. I even found it very comfortable. I was able to hold on to Alex or Fee at the front, push along at the back and, above all, see what was happening with my own eyes. I could also feel Edna pushing against the top of my uterus from the inside. That was a really funny feeling! During the contractions and this extreme pressure, I thought a lot about my grandma –

she was my power animal

and gave me courage and confidence. It felt fascinating how Edna’s head was pushed down a little with each contraction and then slid back again. “2 cm forwards and 1 cm back again – this protects the tissue,” Peter explained. That’s why he pressed a warm cloth against my perineum. I inserted two fingers. What I felt was hard and had folded skin on top. It was probably a piece of the back of her head. That was cool and very motivating! And I tapped her on the head and then told her: “Hey you – you can come out”. That was a great moment. Shortly afterwards, I could already see a piece of the head in the shape of an ellipse. Peter urged me not to press with the next wave to protect the tissue. And then came the moment when the full size of the head protruded from my vulva. That was pretty crazy. It also stung and was simply a very extreme moment. But I had confidence that it would pass. Then, with the next wave, the head was born. When I looked down, I could see the back of her head. Edna was looking backwards in Peter’s direction and we could only hear her sweet noises in front – she was quacking and squeaking like a little bird. Then Edna pushed her left arm outwards, which is why her shoulders were wider than her head, resulting in birth injuries. But I didn’t realise that at the time. All I could think in my head was: Push. We can do this! Hang in there. My child is about to be born! Craaaaaaaaaazy… And whoosh – there it was on the floor

a little creature.

It was 12 noon. I sat back, knelt in front of her and just stared at her face. “Looks like Alex and like Grandad Jörg,” was the only thing I could get out. Vanessa wiped her body with a towel and after a short while she said that my child was a girl. I hadn’t even realised that before. And indeed, our newborn child has a beautiful vulva. It really was a surprise that we had been looking forward to throughout the pregnancy. Someone told me that I could pick her up. So I did and docked her directly onto my breast. Her eyes were wide open and she drank straight away. Alex sat behind me and the three of us cuddled while we waited for the placenta to be delivered. Edna, Alex and I were soon able to move to the mattress that had been prepared in the living room, where we stayed for what felt like a week :)

The whole postnatal period was a wonderful, exhausting, intense and life-changing time. We slept in the living room for over a week. It was nice and warm in our flat, we were naked a lot and enjoyed hardly leaving our birthing cave.

The birth was truly

a celebration of life.

The atmosphere was very pleasant and I am super happy about this relaxed home birth. Edna arrived safely on our planet and hasn’t had any problems so far. My milk is flowing well. Edna has gained weight quickly, the recovery is progressing steadily and despite a perineal tear, a few labia tears and the associated pain and itching, the postpartum discomfort has passed. The first few nights were tough. I had severe headaches and a lot of sore muscles – my

“Full-body mum muscle ache.”

Thanks to lots of loving massages from Alex, my friend Anne and my sister Lulu, that too passed. Susanne, our maternity nurse and mother of 4 children herself, supported us in the household during the first 3 weeks, had good conversations with us about life and prepared delicious meals for us. Our neighbours and some friends also provided us with treats and good music. Fee came to visit us every day for 10 days as a friend – it was an intense time that we really enjoyed. We are very lucky and very grateful that we were able to spend the first few weeks in such a carefree and loving way.

We are now a family, slowly finding ourselves again, but basically everything is and remains pretty crazy. A real adventure! I am very grateful for all the support from dear people. I am also glad that I was brave enough to decide in favour of a home birth. Edna has landed in a cosy and safe nest. We are happy :)