In blog 80, Zani is torn between choosing pain relief and trusting nature to give her what she needs to bring Brandon safely into the world. Then, finally, it is time.
I am fast approaching the point where, if I don’t opt for pain relief right away, I will have to go the natural way all the way and trust my endorphins to come to our rescue. A voice far at the back of my mind reminds me that pain relief will only be beneficial if it benefits both Mom and Baby. The details are now unclear. But I distinctly hear Juanita Haupfleish, a nurse, say:
Don’t drug yourself out of an experience that you may only have once in your lifetime. Nature has given you a baby; trust nature that it will also give you what you need to bring your baby safely into the world. Listen and trust your body.
I am thinking without thinking, and look at Jake and look around for Miriam.
Their eyes are asking.
I have a flash of many candles being lit, and many prayers being said and that gives me the courage to shake my head to pain relief. If other mothers can do it, so can I.
I am tired. Very tired. Holding Jake’s hand is a comfort, but nothing helps when the searing pain shoots through my body with an intense urge to push.
But we have to wait; the cervix has to open more.
I shiver and feel nauseous, unaware that Miriam and Jake are communicating silently, acknowledging that the endorphins have kicked in and that the adrenaline will give me energy for the last part of the journey. The intensity of the contractions signal the presence of high doses of oxytocin – the hormone of love – so Jake and Miriam are happy. All is well. I have no clue, but I am here and there will be no return. What goes up must come down. What goes in must come out.
The look in Jake’s eyes is indescribable. Searching. Encouraging. Confident.
There are no words for what his eyes tell me.
We have a short breather before the mother-making hugs start in earnest. It is time. It is finally time.
The ATNR, TLR and Spinal Galant reflexes do their job and enable Brandon to first face sideways, move his head and shoulders through the oval opening of the pelvis, turn 90 degrees so his head turns face down and move powerfully down the birth canal towards victory.
It is all so confusing – and those final moments come so fast! One minute the pain is red hot and seems to last for ever, and then Miriam says that the head is crowning. The next moment I feel a warm, slithery feeling between my legs and Jake is saying: “It’s our boy! Zani, you did it – we have our boy!” and through my unfocused eyes I see Brandon – a hunched, reddish-pink wet bundle with scrunched-up eyes and lungs that let out a wail.
Then Miriam places him on my chest. Skin on skin.
I am speechless. Thoughtless. Emotions overflowing. Jake hugs us and in a single moment I fall in love. Twice. And we become a family. It is holy ground.
Time stands still. For a moment the whole universe seems still and in awe of the miracle of birth. Of life. A new life. And we are part of it. What a privilege. What a miracle.
I feel cramping as the uterus finally contracts to expel the placenta, but with Brandon on my chest, the cramping is nothing. We are enthralled and amazed to see Brandon inching towards my breast, lifting and bopping his head in search of the nipple! Miriam encourages us to let him latch because sucking will help to deliver any remaining tissue.
Miriam observes Brandon’s vitals and does the first APGAR from a distance in order to respect our moment of bonding and celebration. After a while Jake has the honour of cutting the umbilical cord. I am exhausted, relieved and happy. I also feel a little lost. Where has my companion – the red-hot searing pain – gone?
I look at Jake and Brandon in awe and wonder, and breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude for the privilege of being a mom.
Now we are a family.