Monday, August 24, 2009

Essence of A Mother - Mature Content

Essence of a Mother
An Empowering Birth.

The magic a mother feels giving birth to their baby is a powerful and fulfilling experience. The Essence a mother is not based on how one brings their baby into this world but the feeling one has for their newborn resting in their arms. It’s the overwhelming feeling of love, adoration, completeness and the miracle of bringing their child into their family. The essence of a mother can be about overcoming all odds and being blessed with motherhood itself. You can be a first time mother or a mother of a larger family. In my experience this was my essence of empowerment becoming a mother for the third time but choosing to labour the way I wanted to, without the use of drugs. The satisfaction of my ultimate goal was fulfilled.


It was still dark when I woke up. The room was cool from the air conditioning being on all night. The pressure in my lower abdomen was rising and falling with each contraction. I squinted at the clock; it said four thirty am. I tried to fall back to sleep, thinking I had plenty of time.

The contractions continued, slowly getting stronger. Surely this was only Braxton Hicks, just preparing my body as they had been like this for the past few days. Today I was four days past my due date. I flicked my attention back to the bedside clock and jotted down the time: 4:50am. The next contraction increased the pressure and pain in my pelvis. Breathe, I said to myself. The contraction started to settle again and I noted the time again. The duration of the contraction was maybe 30 seconds. My eyes started to close again, wishing for more rest.

It hadn’t been long when the next lot of contractions started. I glanced back at the clock; it was 4:55am. It had only been five minutes. Again I noted the time. Maybe this was going to be the real thing as it felt a little different. I wasn’t sure as I really hadn’t experienced what true labour was. Although I’d given birth twice before, I had no idea what I was in for. I rolled over once the contraction had ceased and woke Luke, my husband.

“Sweetheart, could you please get me some tablets for the pain. I’ve been getting a few Braxton Hicks I think but they seem fairly strong. Thanks.”

Luke rolled over and got up. He brought back a glass of water and two tablets to ease the discomfort of the contraction. I awkwardly sat up and waited for him to return. Just as I was about to take the glass from Luke’s hand, I had another contraction. I lowered my head and held up my hand to him as a stop signal to wait till the contraction passed.

“Are you having another contraction?” Luke asked.

My face was taut as I held my jaw firm without talking and nodded back. I slowly breathed out as the contraction eased. They felt like they were coming closer together.

“Yeah and getting closer together. I might get up and have a shower,” I explained to my husband.

“Okay, I’ll hop back into bed. Call me if you need.”

I took my tablets and washed them down with the glass of water.

I slowly pulled myself off the bed and headed towards the ensuite. The light was bright but the heat sensor was soothing. I stepped into the shower and turned the water on.

I leant against the glass and let the hot water run down my back. The feeling of the heat on my back was soothing and helped me relax a little. The water thumping against my lower back like a rhythmic beat helped me focus through the next tightening. The pressure I felt was like I was holding a bowling ball between my legs. My belly hardened like a rock. The pain was definitely different. I just thought about the water on my back as I was eying the little bathroom clock. I let out a groan as the contraction peaked. Luke rolled over to look at me.

“Is everything okay?”

“I don’t know,” I replied.

I just stood there motionless, while the heat of the water eased the pain in my back. I clutched the rim at the top of the shower. Leaning into the cool glass wall as the next contraction started. Again I groaned with the intensity of the contraction.

“That’s four minutes apart,” Luke commented.

He had been timing my contractions in the shower.

I was in the shower for about half and hour while Luke continued to time the contractions.

“Your contractions are fluctuating between three to four minutes apart.” Luke informed me while I towel dried myself off.

Every few minutes I froze to concentrate on each passing contraction.

“Do you think you should contact your midwife?” Luke suggested.

I nodded as another was starting. Luke got up and hunted for my paperwork with all the midwife and hospital details on it.

My bags were already packed by the front door. They had been for weeks waiting for any moment that we had to go. Luke ran back to our bedroom with the paper work. I started to dress myself as my husband searched for the birth centre phone number.

“Here it is.” He passed me the phone.

The time was now edging towards six o’clock and the contractions were down to three minutes apart. The pressure of the baby’s head on my cervix was causing most of the pain with the contractions.

I dialed the birth centre number to contact the triage midwife on duty. It rang a few times just as another contraction started to rise in intensity.

“Hello, Julie triage midwife.”

“Hi Julie, it’s Tess Anderson from the Delta midwifery team. My midwife is normally Kristy.”
I had to stop as the next contraction was passing through.

“What’s happening Tess, when are you due?” Julie questioned.

“I’ve been going through some contractions that are now down to three minutes apart,” I explained to her through gritted teeth.

“Did you just have a contraction then?”

“Ah huh.” Squinting my eyes and held my breath as I went through yet another one.

“Okay Tess, I’ll keep asking questions so I can time your contractions. When are you due?”

“I was due four days ago,” I replied.

“Tell me about your contractions and when they started and how long you’ve been having them.”

I explained to Julie the details of the morning. I had also taken some mild pain killers to ease the discomfort but to no avail. I went through another three contractions while talking to her. I had to stop talking briefly to focus through the contraction.

“Okay Love, what I’ll get you to do is go have something to eat. Breakfast will give you some extra energy. Then ring me back in half an hour.”

“Thanks, will try. Bye.”

I was feeling a little deflated that she was making me wait at home longer. I asked Luke to make me some cereal and a chocolate drink. I explained to Luke what the midwife had said. Luke quickly put my breakfast together and went to have a shower. I tried very hard to eat my cereal while still having contractions. It was becoming impossible. I managed only half of my breakfast and drink. I only stopping to focus through each contraction, I could no longer sit down in my chair. The pain of the contractions would lift me on to my toes.

Luke entered the kitchen dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. James, my eldest son, walked into the family room to watch some TV.

“James, is Thomas awake?” Luke asked.

“I think so,” he replied mesmerized by the cartoons on the TV.

While Luke went to check on Thomas I rang my Doula Jasmine. I stumbled across Jasmine on the internet. She was looking for a third birth to complete her study / training as a Doula. As a student Doula her services were free.

These contractions were coming thick and fast and I was already starting to climb the walls.

“Hi Jasmine, sorry to ring you so early……I think this is it.” I explained stumbling through the details of what has been happening in the last two hours.

“Okay give me thirty minutes to get my things together and I’ll meet you at the hospital.”

I felt relived after talking to Jasmine. Her voice was calm and controlled as not to worry me. She was very encouraging of my goals of giving birth without drugs in the birth centre. The birth centre was located at a near by hospital. There were three rooms especially set up to look like a comfy hotel suite. The lounge was off to the side and a kitchenette around the corner. Two of the rooms had large spa baths used for labour. This was to ease the pain of the contractions. You also had the option for a water birth if your pregnancy was straight forward without any hiccups.

Still with the phone in my hands, I redialed the birth centre. I wanted to update Julie on my progress. I was crossing my fingers in hope that I could now come into the birth centre.

“Hello, this is Julie, Triage midwife.”

“Hi, this is Tess here again from Delta Midwife Team. Just letting you know how things are going.”

I was still having trouble with the contractions at three minutes apart and lasting close to a minute.

“Tess, keep talking to me okay, did you have something to eat?”

“Yes.” I paused for a contraction to pass.

“I have paged your back-up Midwife Jennifer as Kristy is not on today. Give her an hour to get in. So don’t leave home till maybe seven thirty.”

Tears were now trailing down my cheeks in panic and couldn’t stop crying as another contraction began. The pain combined with the setback of waiting was making me panic. My threshold was wavering as my voice started to rise in pitch and volume. I could faintly hear the midwife on the phone trying to calm me down.

Luke took the phone from me and talked to the midwife about the pain I was in. He informed her that the contractions were coming fairly fast. He listened to the midwife. I could see him nodding to whatever she was saying to him.

“Okay we’ll leave in thirty minutes then,” Luke confirmed with the midwife.

Luke hung up the phone. He suggested that we start packing the car, to be ready to leave in thirty minutes.

“You’d better contact your mother so she can take the boys with her and James to school.”

Luke handed me the phone, and headed out of the room to grab the suitcases to pack the car.

“Can you grab my stress balls on the bedside table, please?” I called back to him.

Luke returned with the two coloured stress balls. I held one in each hand and squeezed as the contractions peaked.

I dialed Mum’s mobile she was still at home about to get ready to go to work.

“Hi, Mum. I can only talk quickly as I have a lot of contractions close together. I need to leave for the hospital soon. Can you make your way over here and take care of the boys at school?”

Mum said that Dad would drop her off in ten minutes. Perfect, I thought. I could hear the excitement in her voice before she hung up the phone.

Luke came back inside and organized the boys. They had to get dressed, ready for school and Thomas would spend the day with Grandma. The boys didn’t take long to get dressed. They were excited that today their mummy was going to have a baby. James couldn’t wait to tell all his friends at school and his teacher.

I didn’t have to wait long before my parents arrived. Dad dropped off Mum and continued on to work in the city. Mum took over with getting James’ lunch ready.

Luke and I kissed the boys good bye.

“We’ll see you later on today. You’ll get to see the baby after school.” I hugged them tightly and gave Mum a quick kiss.

We waved and headed out the door to the car. We took Luke’s 4WD. What the hell was I thinking as I tried getting up into the car? I managed with Luke’s help, put on my seatbelt. Luke turned the ignition and the car roared into life.

We were on the way now. My contractions were now two minutes apart and the pressure was just incredible. I felt like climbing out of the windows. The trip to the hospital took so long. The birth centre was located on the fourth floor of the local public hospital just down the hill. It took about twenty minutes to get there. It was the morning rush hour with commuters on their way to work. The 4WD was a manual and the constant change in gears would jerk the car around. This would make it lurch forward. I still had the stress balls in my hand squeezing and releasing the balls gave my mind something else to focus on. I read in a book about preparing for labour that diverting the mind and body onto something else can reduce the intensity of labour. I was staring out of the window focusing on the car’s side mirror. I clenched my hands around the small balls. It helped to a degree so I wasn’t so fixated on the pain. I was trying to visualize the baby moving down; that he or she would be here soon. My body was knocked around by the movement of the car’s rough motion. This was making it hard keep all my emotions, and focus in check.

We rounded the corner when the traffic lights turned green and headed up the ambulance ramp with caution. Thankfully there weren’t any vehicles heading down. Luke entered the car park boom gate and took his ticket. Luke proceeded to park the car. With haste I slid out the passenger door. Walking as briskly as I could, we headed towards the Emergency Department. Luke had my backpack with all my paper work.

“Good morning, how can I help you?” the triage nurse asked us.

Luke handed them my orange pregnancy folder.

“My wife is in labour and contractions are about two minutes apart.”

“No worries, can I have her name and details? Thanks.”

Luke gave them my details as another nurse sat me down in a wheelchair.

“Ok, you may follow the nurse to the labour ward.”

“I’m having the baby in the birth centre,” I managed to blurt out.

“Ok,” the nurse replied, moving behind me.

“Sweetheart I’m just going to grab your suit case; I’ll meet you in there. Will you be ok?” Luke gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

I nodded back while going through yet another contraction. I tried very hard to keep my vocals suppressed to avoid embarrassment and the gawky stares from patients and visitors as we moved through the building up to the birth centre. I was so self conscious about this. I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself so I clenched my jaw shut and closed my eyes tightly through every wave of contractions, as the nurse wheeled me in the wheelchair.

We travelled up the lift to the next level where we met a midwife. She informed us that all the birth centre rooms were full and I had to use a delivery room. My heart broke with the news. I had been fighting to get into the birth centre from the start. I was being judged on my fundal height which seemed excessive to my midwives Kristy and Jennifer. I pushed my plight at every appointment. I felt that they were not taking into account the very curvy and overweight body I had before I was pregnant. These just added pointless measurements that made the midwives concerned. They thought I was having a large baby that might get stuck. I trusted my body whole heartedly that I could do this.
The nurse wheeled me towards the birth centre. The third room didn’t quite have the luxuries of everything in the one room and had to share bathroom facilities. Jennifer popped out of a near by room and ushered us in to the large delivery room. A part of me was thankful for being in a large room. The small labour rooms I’d previously inspected with Kristy made me feel claustrophobic.

“Thanks.” Jennifer said to the nurse behind me.

I handed Jennifer my birth plan.

“It’s just a guide and nothing is set in concrete but we’ll go with the flow.”

“Thanks Tess. How are your contractions coming along?”

“Strong and quick.” I managed to answer through gritted teeth.

I stood up and hunched over the bed in the centre of the room. My groans started coming back with each contraction. I continued squeezing and releasing my grip on the stress balls and held my head back to look at the ceiling.

Jasmine entered the room. I was relieved that she had arrived. Jennifer handed her a heat pack to put on my lower back. It gave me instant relief and something else to focus on. The next contraction started to rise. They were still two minutes apart with one minute duration. The perception of why some mothers opt for a caesarian played through my mind.

“You’re doing great, Tess. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Relaxing your body creates more endorphins to neutralize the pain,” Jasmine suggested.

Her voice was calm and encouraging. She kept me focused and gave me something to visualize. She spoke to me about the baby descending. I was to relax and allow the baby through and out. The more I relaxed the less resistance my body would give.

Luke arrived with my suit case of clothes and all the other trinkets and focus symbols to help. But I pushed them aside and went by the guide of Jasmine. Luke sat himself on the other side of the bed waiting for his orders.

Jennifer had been timing me and jotting down notes, occasionally asking me questions.

“Tess, I need you to take off your jeans and underpants. I need to see if you have dilated. You’ll need to lie on the bed and then you can do what you want after that,” Jennifer informed me.

She got prepared and covered her hands with latex gloves to do the internal exam. In my birth plan I had mentioned to keep internals to an absolute minimal. This was the only time I was going to allow this. I was always uneasy about internals. I wanted to make this quick and hopefully I was fully dilated.

Luke and Jasmine helped me out of my clothes but I kept my nursing top on. They assisted me onto the bed and helped me lay back. Jennifer raised the head of the bed on a slight angle so I wasn’t completely on my back. I rolled over and pulled my legs towards myself. She inserted her fingers to measure the dilation of the cervix.

“You’re fully dilated, my dear, and I can feel the bulge of the fluid sac. You have the green light to push. When you feel a contraction starting to rise, begin pushing. Try not to hold your breath but pant lightly.” Jennifer directed as she removed her hand and her gloves.

I rolled over to my side facing Luke, looking at him in despair.

“Do you want to try some gas?” Jennifer suggested.

I nodded as another contraction hit. My inner vocals from deep within me raised pitch and gradually got louder as the contraction peaked.

“Good girl. That was great.” Jennifer smiled at me as she set up the equipment for the gas.

She then returned to the side bench and added some more details to my notes. Jasmine put some welcoming pressure to my lower back. This helped to ease the back pain. Jasmine talked me through each contraction while she applied pressure to my back.
Jasmine worked miracles with her hands.

I felt safe being surrounded by the only three people in the room with me. I didn’t want anyone else.

A doctor that had reviewed my file popped in to check on how I was doing. He wanted to see if everything was running smoothly.

“Yes, everything is going to plan and she’s dealing with the labour well.” She updated the Doctor.

My contractions were almost on top of each other now. My dear husband placed the mouth piece into my mouth. I asked him to do this at the beginning of each contraction. I breathed deeply as the gas entered my lungs. My mind was fuzzy with the effects of the gas but it sure made the pain bearable.

The doctor left the room satisfied with my progress. Jennifer walked over to the bed.

“I might break the waters by just nicking the bag of fluids. This should get things moving for you.”

Jennifer found another set of gloves and prepared the equipment she needed at the base of the bed. She had not even entered before the flood gates burst themselves. Amniotic fluid was rushing towards her and down part of her leg. It happened too quickly for her to jump out the way. The action startled her but we found it funny.

The gushing fluid exiting my body made way for the baby to enter the birth canal. I could feel the pressure increase during this process. I relaxed for a minute or two waiting for the next wave of contractions. The next contraction was to push the baby’s head out. Jasmine kept the heat and pressure on my lower back and guided me through the next process.

I didn’t have long to wait for the next contraction to surface. Luke placed the gas piece into my mouth as I sucked in the gas. I just focused on the breathing and let my body do the job.

“Push……push,” Jennifer encouraged.

I was too frightened to push. I had to just believe in my own body’s abilities to do the job.

In the next contraction I could feel my body opening up to allow the head through. I felt no burning sensations. The head slid out and Jennifer checked around the baby’s neck to clear the cord. The cord was free. She checked for the placement of the shoulders. Everything was fine. I got a little reprieve before the next wave of contractions. My body rested for those few short minutes as it geared up again.

“You’re doing a fantastic job Tess. I’m so proud of you. You’re doing it your way. Keep going.” Jasmine was getting excited.

She left my side to go grab her camera. We had previously discussed taking pictures of the birth and I agreed. Jasmine stood next to Jennifer as she flashed a few snaps.

I was beyond caring what it looked like down there. Luke glanced down the end peering at the grey wrinkles and goop on the baby’s head. The baby’s head was fully exposed.

Luke tried to pull the gas piece from my mouth. I clamped tighter to hold it there as the contractions started again.

Jennifer wiped the baby’s mouth quickly and cradled its head in her hands. The next contraction was about peak and my body pushed.

The deep grunt that came from within as my body took over. The baby came out in one motion. Jennifer guided the baby as the tiny body exited mine with haste.

“Wow that was fast!” Jasmine commented.

Jennifer placed the baby up against my chest for a few minutes before clamping the cord. She glanced at the clock and noted the time of 9:50am. My birth plan had specified that I wanted the clamping delayed for a few minutes. I was glad that I had such a great midwife that respected some of my wishes. Jasmine passed me a hospital blanket to wrap around my baby to keep the warmth in. Luke and I looked down with adoring eyes to our new baby. We peered down between the legs, we had another boy. My heart just filled with admiration for this little guy. I looked into my husband’s eyes and smiled. I was so proud of myself, my body and my baby, we worked together. I felt so overwhelmed at such an empowering birth. I achieved what I had pretty much set out to do, to deliver our baby without drugs. It was the proudest moment in my life.

“You had a really quick birth. Just over five hours of labour including delivery is a great effort. Well done, you should be proud of yourself,” the midwife commented.

“Oh, I am,” I replied giving our son a cuddle.

“He is just beautiful,” Jasmine gushed.

“He is gorgeous.” Jennifer smiled.

He opened one of his eyes and rooted around for my breast. Luke helped me adjust myself and propped me up. I lifted our little one to my breast to feed. I knew it would be a few days before my milk would come in. Jennifer said it would help dispel the placenta.

He sucked hungrily at my breast as a new wave of contractions started. They weren’t as intense as before but strong enough to expel the placenta.

A lot of emotions were sweeping over me as I gazed at my new son. How perfect he was. Ten fingers and ten toes, two beady little eyes peering back at me. I could feel the love pouring out of my heart to him as he sucked. He closed his eyes, a contented and drowsy little body curled up in my arms. I focused on him while the midwife pushed down on my abdomen. She carefully pulled on the cord to pry the placenta out. It didn’t take long for the after birth to slide out of me. Jennifer examined the mass to make sure it was all intact. During this time she had forgotten to give me an injection that normally aids the body in expelling the placenta. It also reduces the chance of hemorrhaging after.

“I should really give you the syntosin to speed up the delivery of the placenta. Are you sure you’re alright?” she questioned.

“Yes, I’m fine, feeling great actually. Please don’t unless absolutely necessary,” I replied.

This request was also in my plan as I wanted to deliver the placenta myself too.

“We’ll just keep an eye on you over night.”

That was fine with me. Jennifer left the room for a few minutes to prepare my relocation. I was dreading the move to the labour ward but there was no where else to go.
Jasmine was still with us taking a few family photos of Luke and I together with our baby.

“Do you have a name?” Jasmine asked.

“We do.” I looked at Luke.

“Alexander.” Luke beamed.

Jasmine took a few more photos then put her camera away.

“Would you like to hold him?” I offered my husband.

It was beautiful seeing Luke holding him. Alexander stretched and yawned before closing his eyes again. He had a very strenuous and exhausting morning.

Jennifer glided back into the room with a smile on her face. She had found a wheel chair ready to relocate me.

“I have some good news. You can stay in one of the birth centre rooms. We’ll move you up there within the next half hour or so. We’ll take the measurements and weight of bubs before we go up. Have you chosen a name?”

“Yeah we have, we’ve called him Alexander.” Luke beamed.

“That’s great about the room,” I replied. I was so happy to hear that.

Luke was chatting to Jasmine about Alexander and the birth. Jennifer did another check over of me to make sure everything was going well. Jasmine gathered her gear together as her work was done there.

“Before you go Jasmine, would you like a quick cuddle with Alexander?” I suggested.

“Sure, thank you. You have a truly wonderful little boy here and you both did such a super job this morning. You should be proud of yourselves.”

Wow, she sure made me feel on top of the world. I didn’t think I could be any higher than after the birth of Alexander. I was still reeling from the euphoria of the birth without drugs. I had proved to myself that I had the strength, that I had the essence of mother. It wasn’t just the way the birth unfolded. When you meet your baby for the first time curled up into your arms, or when he looks up at you while he feeds this awesome feeling that comes over you. It’s just so powerful.

Jasmine held out her arms and Luke passed Alexander over to her for a cuddle. Luke adjusted the blanket that was draped over him so he was warmly covered. Alexander stirred a little as he changed hands. Jasmine smiled down at him as he yawned and closed his big blue eyes.

Luke started to pack my bags and get them ready to move up to the birth centre.

“He is so adorable,” Jasmine gushed

“Well, I better go as I have Uni later. I will contact you in the next few days, ok?” Jasmine placed Alexander back in my arms and waved goodbye as she left.

“Ok, are you ready to take Alexander’s weight and length?” Jennifer questioned.

“Yes, yes we can do it now.” I responded.

I slowly sat back up and passed Alexander back to Luke. I cleaned myself up a bit and put a maternity pad and sat in the wheel chair that Jennifer had brought in. Jennifer ushered Luke over to the side and placed him on the scales and took the blanket away.

“Wow, look at that 9lb 7os. That’s a hefty little fellow there, Sweetheart.”

Luke delicately picked our son up off the scales and placed him on the bed to be measured.

“He is fifty-five centimeters long and head circumference is thirty-six centimeters.” Jennifer noted on his records.

He was a nice chunky and healthy little thing. Jennifer cleaned him up and placed a nappy on him.

“Did you bring any clothes that you might want to put on him instead of ours?” She asked.

I looked at Luke and he shook his head. He forgot to bring any other suitcases with him.

“Bugger, I think we left it home in the rush this morning. I’ll ring my mum once we get up to the room. Then I will ask her if she can bring it in with her.”

I couldn’t believe it that we forgot.

“That’s ok, we have some clothing here for the time being,” Jennifer added.

She put a small singlet on him and placed one over his head to keep it warm. Jennifer then wrapped him in a new blanket. He was such a good baby that he didn’t cry while she changed him. He was so tired that he just let her maneuver his body where she needed to.

“Ok, I think we’re ready,” she announced.

She placed a heated blanket across my lap to keep me covered and warm. Luke popped the handle of the suitcase and started to wheel it out the door. He returned to wheel the hospital crib with Alexander sleeping rugged up in it. Jennifer guided my wheel chair out of the room and towards the lift.

We rolled into Birth Centre on the fourth floor and entered the room on the right. It was the room that I had done a birth class in. The room was L shaped with the kitchenette around the corner. There was a double bed and a two seater couch with a single seater. I had my own ensuite toilet / shower. There was the spa bath to the left just in front of the ensuite. It was like a mini hotel room. I felt calm and relaxed here. I got up and walked over to the windows to turn the blinds down. The light in the room was bright today. My little Alex was still asleep. He was making cute little gurgling sounds as his body tried to remove the fluid from his lungs.

Jennifer checked me out to see if the uterus was retracting by squishing around my abdomen. She also checked my blood loss. All was ok and she was finalizing her paperwork.

“I’ll be around for the next two hours or so, then I’ll be leaving for the day. I’ll let you know of the nurses from labour ward that will be looking after you. Be aware that they do leave you to your own devices unless you ring your bell for them. You’re isolated here because you are a birth centre patient. Most of the nurses are really nice and come when you call them.”

“Thanks Jennifer, for everything. I am really pleased with the outcome and glad that I could come up here after the birth.”

The only thing missing from the room was a TV. Unfortunately you’re not there long enough to warrant having one. Most patients are only there for twenty-four hours and then you go home. I was a bit nervous about that, going home so soon. Compared to my previous births where I was in hospital for at least six to seven days.

Luke unpacked his laptop to do some work. He had taken the day off. Since Alexander was asleep, I thought I’d make use of the time and freshen up with a shower.

“Jennifer, are you able to write out a certificate for Luke for being here today?”

“Yes, I can but it’s a certificate of attendance. Anything more you’ll need to get your GP to write a carer’s certificate,” she informed me.

“Thanks, that’s fine.”

“A pediatrician will be in some time later today to examine Alexander.”


“Well, I’ll leave you guys to it and write up some paper work before I leave. I’ll see you before I go. Well done today too.”

Jennifer gave me a hug before she left and headed out the room.

I gave Mum a call as she was looking after Thomas for me and had taken James to school this morning. I informed her of all the details of the birth, measurement details and his name. She was so excited. I asked her to bring in Alexander’s suitcase when she came in after picking up James from school. She couldn’t wait to come in. After hanging up from Mum I sent a quick text to my sister in law Michelle. She would want to know the events and details of this morning. A quick reply came back asking if she could visit after work. I confirmed that it would be lovely to see her.

Luke sent out some emails and made some phone calls to friends and family. I decided to have a shower while he did this.

The shower was hot, just how I liked it. It pelted down my back like a rhythmic massage. I stood there hanging onto one of the side rails as the water ran down my back. It was soothing. Once finished, I stepped out and dried myself quickly. I got dressed into a soft skirt and top, something that didn’t put too much pressure on my lower body. Although refreshed and feeling on top of the world, my body was tired. I headed back to the double bed to where Luke was and sat next to him. I stretched my arms and pulled him in for a kiss.

“What a beautiful boy we have. I feel so good. Thank you for your support and trust in me to do it without drugs. It’s been a wonderful experience,” I breathed into Luke’s ear.

Luke turned to me. Capturing my face in his hands he pulled me in for another kiss. His lips were dewy, light and his kiss was reassuring and full of love. It sent a tingle up my spine.

Alexander stirred and opened his mouth with a little cry.

“I’ll get him,” Luke said getting up from his seat on the bed.

I gazed at Luke seeing the love in his eyes as he picked Alex up with his supportive arms. He curled him into his body and stroked his face. Alexander was hungry as he started to root around to find my breast.

“He’s hungry,” Luke advised.

“Bring him here and I’ll feed him, Sweetheart.”

Luke bent down to place Alex into my arms. He stretched and started looking for my breast again. I unclipped my nursing tank top and brought Alexander up to my breast. He nuzzled into me looking for my nipple. He opened his mouth wide as he took in a large portion of my breast. He had an awfully strong suck and he did seem very hungry. I held him close, watching my little miracle in my arms. Love pouring out of my heart and into him. I kissed him lightly on the forehead and whispered, I love you.
This was one of the best days of my life.

I had a quick glance at the clock; it was two o’clock. There was a knock on the door as a nurse came in with two large arrangements of flowers.

“Wow, they are lovely,” I gushed.

One array of flowers had irises, white lilies and carnations. A small balloon stating ‘it’s a boy’ was poking out of the basket. It looked beautiful. This one came from my parents. The other one was bright with various colours of Gerberas, lilies and large green leaves.. This one came from Luke’s mum and step dad. I had to get Luke to put them into the kitchen for now. The floral smell was quite strong.

“Hi, I’m Meegan, if you need me at all give the bell a ring,” the nurse informed me.

Alexander had just finished his feed so I tucked myself back in. The nurse walked over to us and cast a look at Alex. He still had a bit of meconium in his hair.

“Would you like to clean him up a bit?”

“Thank you. Are you sure?

“Yeah, it’s no trouble at all.” Meegan replied.

Meegan bundled Alexander into her arms and moved towards the ensuite. Here she proceeded to clean the sticky meconium out of his hair. I could see her from where I was sitting. She seemed to be happy to help with whatever I wanted. She made me feel included and not so isolated just because I was a birth centre patient.
Meegan dried his hair with the spare hand towel. Alexander seemed happy for the attention and lapped it up. Meegan gave him a little cuddle before handing him back to me.

“If you need anything just press the buzzer.” She smiled and left the room.

I turned Luke and gave him a squeeze as we both looked at our son together. We were just so in love with him.

“Here, let me change his nappy, I’m sure I haven’t forgotten how.” Luke picked Alex up from my arms and placed him on the warming crib to change him.

Watching from where I was sitting, Luke hadn’t forgotten at all. He spoke to Alex while he removed his nappy and cleaned him. He then placed a new nappy on. He picked him up and supported his wobbly head. I already knew he was a great father. I was delighted that he hadn’t forgotten the little things about newborns.

Jennifer knocked on the door.

“Come in,” Luke announced.

“Hi, I’m about to go but thought I’d come in and take Alexander’s and your obs.”

Jennifer stood next to Luke while he finished changing his nappy.

“I’ll take his temperature and pulse rate.” She stated.

Jennifer used the thermometer that was in the drawer of the warming crib and placed it under his arm. Alex didn’t like the awkward placement of a rod under the arm and started to grizzle. I got from the bed and headed over to where Alex was so I could calm him down. The thermometer beeped and Jennifer removed it from Alexander’s armpit.

“There we go, all done,” she cooed at him.

“He is a little cool. We might keep him under the warming crib for a few hours while he sleeps.”

She turned the heater up to thirty-seven degrees and left the blanket off so he wouldn’t over heat.

“Just keep there for the two hours or so as his temperature is a bit low. Babies aren’t good at regulating their body heat so sometimes they need a bit of help,” she continued.

I nodded. Jennifer then checked my temp and blood pressure. All was fine but I was starting to feel a few sharp pains. I informed Jennifer what I was feeling.

“That’s after pains. They can be a bit unpleasant. I’ll get a nurse to get some medication for you to ease the pain.”

“Thanks, Jennifer.”

With that she left the room and waved goodbye. It wasn’t long before Meegan returned with some pain relief.

“Here you go. That should ease the pain for you. Is there anything else you need?”

“No, Thanks,” I replied and Meegan left the room.

Alex was drifting back to sleep with the heater radiating down on him to keep him warm. I thought maybe this would be the opportune time to rest before my mum and the boys arrived. Luke’s sister Michelle wasn’t far away either.

“I was going to rest for a bit. Are you ok to watch Alex and just wake me if he wants a feed?”

“That’s fine. I have a few emails to do so you rest and I’ll keep an eye out on Alex.”

I lay my head on the pillow and closed my eyes. It wasn’t long before I was sound asleep.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon the next time I peered at the clock. Alex was still sleeping. I heard my mum just outside of the room asking for directions. I thought I’d better sit up as I wasn’t going to get much more sleep anyway once the boys came in.

“Hi.” Mum beamed as she walked into the room with our boys James and Thomas. They were all excited; they wanted to see their new grandson and brother. Alex stirred as the boys’ excitement spilled over causing their vocal volume to rise.

“Shhh,” I suggested

I waved the boys over to me to greet them and to show that mummy was fine. My mum kissed me on the cheek as she followed behind the boys.

Luke picked up Alex and brought him back to the bed so the boys could meet him.

“This is your new brother Alex,” Luke introduced the boys to Alex.

Luke sat the boys down so they could hold Alexander. It was really cute to watch the boys gush all over him

After the boys had their moment with Alex, I ushered Mum forward to have a hold.

“Would you like a cuddle too before I put him back down for asleep?”

Mother nodded with excitement and whisked him up into her arms. She talked and cooed at him. His eyes just batted back at her in response to her curious babble. .

Another knock at the door; it was Michelle. She’d left work early to come in and see her new nephew. Her boys were at home with their father. Mum passed Alex over to her for a quick hold. Mum was about to head home taking my boys with her for the night. I would be going home tomorrow.

“He’s so adorable. He is a blend of both the boys I reckon,” she commented.

Mum hugged Luke and I goodbye. She then ushered the boys to say goodbye as it was time to leave.

“Goodbye Mum, goodbye Dad. I really like Alexander.” James hugged us tight before he followed my mum.

“Seeya Mum, seeya Dad.” Thomas quickly squeezed us and dashed after his brother.

Michelle was rocking Alex in her arms as she surveyed the room.

“You have a really nice room here.”

“Yeah, I feel much more relaxed here. Pity the room was occupied at the time,” I stated.

The time was running away, it was almost dinner time. Dinner was normally served between five and six in the evening. I peered over at the bedside table where the clock radio time was illuminated. It was five minutes past five o’clock already. Luke started to pack away his work computer so he could go off and get his dinner. They didn’t provide dinner for him in the Birth Centre.

“I’m going to grab something to eat, I’ll be back soon.” Luke planted a peck on my cheek and walked out the door.

Michelle stood by the closed window blinds. She cooed and stroked Alexander’s face as he wriggled in her arms.

There was a soft knock on the door and Meegan’s head peeked around the corner.

“Hey, I have dinner here for you.”

“Great. I’m really hungry,” I announced.

Meegan wandered over to the kitchen table and placed the meal tray on the table. I could smell the roast vegetables and gravy under the hood as I got closer to the kitchen. Hospital food isn’t normally the best but this smelt delicious. I opened the lid and the aromas of roast pumpkin, potato, roast beef, peas and gravy wafted out.

“Michelle, are you alright holding him?” I queried, already part-way through my dinner.

“Sure, Alex is already asleep but I can cuddle him till you are finished.”

Luke arrived back with a pizza. It smelt good but I was already satisfied with meal I had just finished. Michelle passed Alex back to me. He was fast asleep in my arms, he’d hardly noticed the exchange but knew he was back with Mummy. He rolled into me with mouth open wide searching for me.

“I’ll be off as I have to pick up my boys. Thanks for the cuddle. See you when you’re back at home.” Michelle announced.

“Thanks for coming. We’ll catch up soon. I expect that we’ll be home tomorrow sometime.”

I waved Michelle off as Alex’s hunger became urgent and upsetting him. I sat down on the bed, lifted my shirt and he latched himself onto me. He drew long and strong sucking motions, encouraging my supply to kick start for him. Within five minutes he began to fatigue and fell asleep. While watching him feed, a feeling of contentment washed over me. Here I was feeding and bonding with my child, something I had difficulty with my first child. Only this time I was determined to breastfeed for as long as possible. I didn’t care what anyone else said, I was going to do this for me and Alex. Just watching Alex drawing what he could get out of me, made me feel like I had a purpose for him. He was calm. His little chest rising and falling as he breathed, so content in knowing he was safe.

I really felt like I was a mother for the first time having experienced the birth I only ever dreamed of and breastfeeding. It was an unbelievable achievement I will treasure forever.

Alexander released from my breast looking up at me with groggy eyes half closed. The satisfied look on his face drew a smile across my face. I was recalling a poem that reminded me of this moment by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

In the sheltered simplicity of the
First days after a baby is born,
One sees again the
Magical closed circle, the
Miraculous sense of two
People existing only for each
Other, the tranquil sky
Reflected on the face of the
mother nursing her child.

To me this describes the Essence of a mother and her role to her child. I truly felt this.
What it means to be a mother is a privilege, an honor, a proud moment in your life, a love so pure and raw. I felt an unbelievable amount of love pouring out of my chest for Alexander. Lost, actually mesmerized by his soft features of his chubby face.

The hands that reach for you, he draws your mind and spirit into him. Cute little snorts and squeeks he rouses my attention. He is so beautiful to look at and I have to pinch myself to believe he is mine. This moment with him is special to me. The doting look he has when he gazes up into my face. There is a silent bond between us like we could read each others thoughts and know exactly what the other needs.

Luke broke my thoughts. I smiled at him and then looked down at our son. This was bliss. We were content within our little bundle. I passed Alex to Luke so he could swaddle him in his flannelette blanket.

Once all bundled and tucked back into his crib, it was time for me to rest. My body had endured the ultimate exertion of child birth. I changed into my spotty pajamas and cuddled up into the double bed next to Luke. I could hear Luke tapping away with his laptop and playing some music with the volume turned very low. I closed my eyes and embraced the dream like state I was drifting into.

The next time I woke was from Alexander’s muffled little cry of hunger. I whipped out to be by his side and cradle him in my arms. I shot a look back at the clock radio; it read 4:10 am. Wow! that was a big sleep but I guess he needed it too after yesterday morning.
I plumped up my pillows and feed my eager little man. Latching on and feeding like a trooper. I was proud of him. Luke hadn’t budged from Alex’s cries, he was still curled up fast asleep next to me.

For close to forty-five minutes I fed him for, not that I had anything in me to keep him there for that long. I guess the practice will do him good anyway.

I elbowed Luke as he started to snore. He opened one eye and looked up at me and smiled. He then sat up once he woke himself up a bit. Luke offered to take him and cuddle him back to sleep.

“I’ll take him if you like so you can go back to sleep for awhile. Breakfast will arrive in about an hour or two,” Luke whispered.

I nodded and rolled over to catch a few more Z’s.

The smell of toast wafting in the room and the clanging of the breakfast cart woke me.

“Hey sleepyhead.” Luke smiled with Alex still in his arms.

“Hey,” I repeated, still sleepy and squinting back at him.

“Breakfast is here. It’s on the kitchen table.”
“Hmmm,” I groaned.

I rolled over and tried to adjust to the sunlight peeking through the blinds. I forced myself up and sat at the side of the bed. My body ached and the after pains were very uncomfortable. I rang for the nurse to see if I could take something for the pain.

A new nurse entered the room.

“Hi, what can I get you?” she asked politely.

“I’m getting a lot of after pains. They are really strong and uncomfortable. Am I allowed to take anything for it?” My face screwed up as another wave of pain came and went.

“Sure, I can get you some pain relief,” she said keeping her voice low.

She seemed like a lovely nurse with short dark brown hair and glasses. I don’t think she was much past thirty. She returned fairly quickly with some medication and placed the little white cup into my hands.

“I’m Lisa, by the way,” she introduced herself.

She took a quick look at Alex, he was still asleep.

“What a gorgeous little boy,” Lisa smiled back at us.

I tossed the tablets into my mouth and took a swig of water to wash them down.

“While I’m here I’ll take your Obs.”

While Lisa took my blood pressure and temperature, Luke placed Alex back into his crib and proceeded to make himself a cup of tea.

“Well everything looks normal to me. Your midwife will check on you and Alexander before you leave this morning. I think the Pediatrician will also do a quick examination on Alex to,” she informed me.

I nodded as I gulped down the last of the water. I got up slowly and headed towards the kitchen. I was hungry. My stomach growled beckoning for food.

Luke sat with me briefly before I heard a knock on the door. My midwife Jennifer had arrived with the Pediatrician. I was a bit disgruntled at their early presence as I hadn’t got dressed or finished my breakfast and Alex was still sleeping.

“How are you feeling today?” Jennifer questioned.

“Good but sore,” I replied.

“After pains?”

“Yes. I am still fairly drained from yesterday,” I murmured.

“Do you have some pain relief?”

“Yes, Lisa just gave me some.”

“Good to hear. By the way, this is Dr Camplyn, he just wants to check Alex out before you go.”

I nodded in his direction. Luke was already chatting to him as they moved Alex and started to unwrap him. Alex let out a cry. I don’t think he really wanted to be disturbed from his comfy spot. I continued chatting to Jennifer and eating my breakfast in between.

“Well, he seems to be all ok. You are welcome to go home this morning,” Dr Camplyn informed.

He was a weird looking doctor; he reminded me of the actor John Malkovich. He was a bit rough in bedside manner but straight to the point as he explained to Luke what he was doing and checking for.

“Seeing that all is clear with Alex and yourself, you can go home.”

I was worried about going home as I wasn’t used to going home within twenty-four hours after the birth. I didn’t really have a proper reason to stay. Luke and I had to leave the Birth Centre by ten so the room could be cleaned ready for the next labouring mother to use.

Dr Camplyn signed Alex’s booklet in recognition of passing the examination. Dr Camplyn seemed to be a man of few words as didn’t talk much while doing his check on Alex. He waved and said goodbye before leaving the room.
Jennifer also cleared me to be released as soon as I was ready.

“I’ll visit you tomorrow at home and go over any questions or worries you have. Take care.” She gave me an approving smile.

I finished my breakfast while Luke cuddled Alex back to sleep. I decided that this was my opportunity to go have a quick shower to freshen up before we left.

By the time I had finished my shower and getting dressed; Luke had changed Alex and dressed him. He wrapped him and placed him back into his crib so he could start packing our gear ready to go.

Luke took the suitcase and a few other bags down to the car while I put the other bags by the door. I was feeling nervous to leave.

What about if he gets jaundice what do I do? I will ask on my way out if I remember or ask Jennifer tomorrow.

“Are you ready?” Luke asked.

“I think so.”

I picked Alexander up from his crib and together we headed out of the birth centre. We were going home. Looking back on the previous day, we had achieved so much the way we had planned regardless of the negativity that surrounded us going in the direction we’d hoped. We proved those skeptics wrong and proved to myself that I could do it. Walking out of the hospital I left with a sense of pride and I could hold my head high for fulfilling my dreams and goals. It was a perfect outcome of a little life beginning and a new journey for us all.


Lea Bristow Copyright © July 2009

1 comment:

  1. reading this made me relive both Hayley and Jacks birth and the complete differences between them.....thank you for sharing