Well prepared for birth

The evening before I felt the first contractions, we encouraged our daughter – still cosy and protected in my belly – to set off. Whether she heard us or whether we encouraged ourselves with our words, we don’t really know. In any case, our midwives Vanessa and Peter helped to raise our awareness for this moment – we simply felt ready.

As a midwife team, Vanessa and Peter took turns at the prenatal appointments. In addition to the standard check-ups, the discussions about the birth were particularly helpful. As it was our first child, we had no idea what to expect. We still didn’t know until the birth, but the mental preparation allowed me to rely much more on my intuition. Together we also had a rough idea of how my boyfriend could support me during the birth. I am absolutely certain that this support beforehand contributed significantly to the uncomplicated course of the birth. So nothing stood in the way of a self-determined birth.

After I had already felt slight, irregular contractions the day before, the contractions started to get stronger in the morning on Saturday. We went for a walk and now I had to stop and breathe consciously during the “waves”. When we got back home, the waves were coming – every ten minutes. At around 2.30 pm, I called Peter, who was on call that day. He asked how I was feeling and the intensity of the waves and we made arrangements to go to the birthing centre at some point in the evening. We had also discussed in detail in advance when the journey to the birthing centre would take place. We realised that we would spend as much time as possible at home.

That’s what we did: watched series, listened to music and in between we breathed together through the waves. I was slowly getting more restless and wanted to go to the birthing centre. At around 8pm, Peter recommended that I take another shower and check whether the contractions remained regular. The shower felt really good and the waves got stronger. I had to start to tone with them. My boyfriend always reminded me after the contraction to take another deep breath towards the child. That helped me to regain my composure. At around 10.30 pm there was no stopping me: I wanted to go to the birth centre straight away.

As there was another birth at the Maja birth centre, which was attended by Peter, another midwife had to look after us for the time being. Fortunately, Vanessa had agreed to do this, even though she had the day off. We arrived at the birth centre at the same time and while the room was being prepared, I leaned on the changing mat and breathed deeply through the waves. The first examination of the cervix revealed that it was already 9 centimetres open. So we had already done a lot of labour work at home and I was very happy about that. I had instinctively sensed that it wouldn’t be long now. Vanessa asked me to go to the toilet again. Sitting on the toilet, I breathed in a few waves until I stood up and leaned on my boyfriend, who was kneeling in front of me. Suddenly my waters broke with a loud bang. It took a few seconds for us to realise this. The pressure in the pelvis increased considerably. Vanessa now checked the heartbeat more frequently. As the standing position was very tiring in the long run, I changed to the all-fours position and put my arms around my boyfriend’s lap. Vanessa pressed my feet against the floor so that I could let go better and encouraged me to open my pelvis wide at the bottom. Then Vanessa took my hand and guided it to my vagina. I could already feel our baby’s head with my fingers. Although some things are totally blurred in my memory, I remember the music playing in the background. My boyfriend had put on my yoga music. For the last contractions, Peter joined us as a second midwife for the birth. Everything suddenly happened so quickly – and the head was already there. The next contraction was a little while in coming, but then at 1.05 am our baby’s body was born and our little one was immediately placed in front of us. All the effort immediately gave way to indescribable joy.

We first had some time to cuddle up to each other and marvel at this little miracle. Meanwhile, the placenta was born. While tending to the birth injuries, Peter and Vanessa realised that I was a little more torn. They suspected a second-degree perineal tear, which was a little difficult to locate, so they advised me to go to hospital to have the injury stitched up. I trusted them both and was happy to take their advice, even though I would of course have preferred to be treated by Vanessa or Peter. The transfer to the Virchow Clinic went smoothly about three hours after the birth, as the wound was not bleeding. Our daughter and Vanessa accompanied me to the hospital in the ambulance while my boyfriend was already on his way there by taxi. It was very helpful that Vanessa accompanied us and was able to give the doctor detailed information. Fortunately, I was able to be stitched up with a local anaesthetic and so nothing stood in the way of us returning home a little later.

Despite the friendly treatment at the hospital, I am very glad that we were able to experience the birth at the birth centre. At no point did I have the feeling that I was in the wrong place. I also never doubted that I wouldn’t be able to give birth without painkillers. Thanks to the loving and professional support from Vanessa and Peter before and during the birth, I was able to surrender to the situation and trust myself. This is a great gift for which I am deeply grateful to my midwives – but we are even more grateful to be able to welcome a healthy daughter into our little family.