When I remember the birth of my first child, I get truly euphoric. I see the cosy birthing room, me in the bathtub, my husband on the edge of the bath, my midwives Gesche and Sabine, the midwifery student Ylva, an atmosphere of calm, concentration and joy. The experience fills me with strength and wonder and I would like to shout it to the world: it was an exhilarating experience! I want another child so that I can experience this magical moment of birth again.
I remember a quiet Sunday morning when I was woken up by contractions. I felt calm and incredibly curious. My actual midwife was Vanessa, but Gesche was assigned that weekend. I had met Gesche beforehand and the chemistry was right. After a romantic morning cuddle with my partner and a warm shower, the contractions came very regularly. I rang Gesche. She was bubbling over with good humour and told me to keep her up to date. I had to breathe out the contractions on all fours pretty quickly. So we met at the birth centre at midday. Gesche’s smile lit up. I experienced her as energetic and calm at the same time: meditative and athletic. All events were announced to me in advance and everything was done in such a way that it was as comfortable and pleasant as possible for me. Her announcements were precise. I was asked if the midwifery student Ylva, who I already knew from antenatal check-ups, could be there. I gladly agreed. She became our photographer.
I was suddenly desperate to get into the bath, which was prepared straight away. From then on, my husband was a rock. Gesche regularly listened to the heartbeat under water after a contraction, which was very straightforward. “The child is doing great, a sporty chap!” She commented quietly. In some contractions she held my hand. Apart from that, I only remember her praising us as a couple for how well we were doing. When I looked over the side of the pool, I looked into the face of the student midwife, who just smiled at us the whole time. That was incredibly motivating and gave me strength. I found it incredibly exhausting at times, but I felt totally safe. I could feel my baby’s movements and was completely focused on the contractions. I was completely on my own and everyone was sympathetic to me and the baby. I went through each contraction with long low tones, I remember how the sound swelled in the edge of the bathtub. Sound, labour pain and water combined to form a vibration, and then I floated very lightly on the breaks in between. Most of the time I lay bent forward on a nursing cushion on the edge of the bathtub.
Towards the end, my husband held me and I hung between his knees. Gesche encouraged me to feel for the baby. It was incredible to feel the head slowly push forward during a contraction. I remember the incredible moment when the head appeared between the legs. With the next labour, the baby was out. I couldn’t believe it yet when I already had it on my chest, Gesche had fished it out of the water in a flash. What had previously seemed like an insurmountable mountain had suddenly disappeared. My tiredness had vanished. Oh, was I overwhelmed by the force of nature in my body. I had made it. I had given birth to my child!
And I had the feeling that my midwives shared my happiness. My second midwife Sabine was discreetly in the background the whole time. I only discovered her later in the photos, I didn’t notice her during or after the birth. Together, the midwives helped me and the baby out of the bath, dried me off and accompanied me to the bed. The baby screamed and screamed. Ylva helped with breastfeeding. The afterbirth was uncomplicated. There was only a slight birth injury. Dad was allowed to cut the pulsating umbilical cord. As a new family, we lay in bed together for 1-2 hours. The midwives checked on us from time to time. Then they warmed up the soup we had brought with us and while I was fortifying myself, the U1 examination took place on the changing table next to me. Dad was allowed to dress the baby. Ylva helped me get up and get dressed. It had become evening. 3 hours after the birth we hugged each other warmly and the three of us got into the taxi and drove home.