Eight years of Grace 

I remember going to bed the night before Grace was born thinking “oh please dear Lord let Grace not be born while Lizette (my gynae) is away.  I mean in the words of Lizette “first time babies don’t come at 38 weeks”. Well maybe not 38 weeks, but definitely 38 weeks and 1 day.

I have never blogged about Grace’s birth story and seeing as we are celebrating her 8th birthday I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane to her first few hours. 

So after my little prayer and some dull cramping I went to bed, none the wiser that we would be meeting our precious little girl a few hours later. I woke up at 00h30 for my usual toilet stop (ah the joys of pregnancy), got back into bed, fell straight to sleep and woke up at 01h00 with my waters breaking (quite the shock to the system). I rushed to the toilet and told Duncan that my waters had broken and just sat there. After about five minutes Duncan asked me if I was having contractions to which I answered yes and between him offering me something to eat, and pumping up my physio ball, he began timing my contractions.  I remember looking at Duncan, thinking he looked a bit like a chicken with his head chopped off.  

My contractions were all over the place with them lasting for between 20 and 60 seconds with anywhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes between them.  All of the antenatal classes / books I had read didn’t prepare me for this. Where were the gradual contractions with a long gap between them (oh wait read Eli’s birth story!) . No mine were intense and there was no pattern and being a first time mom I was worrying about whether I was going to the hospital too early / too late. If I went too early was I going to get sucked into the hospital wors machine especially, since my Gynae was not there.  

I tried getting off the toilet and walking around but found that the most comfortable position for me was in fact on the toilet because I had incredible discomfort and pain in my butt, kind of at my coccyx.  I remember saying to Duncan “no one told me they had pain in their butt, yes in their back, but not their butt” 

I also recall saying to Duncan if this is how it is in the beginning I am definitely going to need an epidural.  After an hour I basically said that if we don’t go now to the hospital I didn’t think I would be going, so Duncan phoned to let them know we were on our way.  He told them we would be there in 30 minutes and even though the drive only took 10 minutes it took me about 30 minutes to get from the toilet to the car. I was leaking amniotic fluid and changed my clothes twice before we used a toweling nappy which did the trick.  Once in the car I was actually quite calm, (well as calm as one can be in labour).  

When we got to the hospital Duncan asked me if I needed a wheelchair (I would have chosen some choice words if I hadn’t been doubled over, ironically he asked me the same question on arrival at the hospital with Eli. I clearly look more together than I feel when in labour). 

I arrived at the maternity ward between   03h30 – 03h45, bent over in my wheelchair my husband kindly got me. Besides asking us if we had come from Malmesbury (because we had taken so long to get there), the sister on duty asked me if I planned to have natural birth without any drugs. Duncan confidently said yes, I nodded meekly (thinking I don’t know)   and she said “we will see” ( well I guess that’s one sure way to ensure I have natural birth, tell me “we will see”)  I did not appreciate her attitude at the time, but I could understand from her perspective I looked rather pathetic bent over moaning in a wheelchair. 

They wheeled me into the labour ward and being a hospital got down to the admin of it,  wanting a urine sample. Even bent over with pain I had to giggle, not much chance of that since I had basically spent the last 2 hours on the toilet, but hey since the toilet was my happy space I happily obliged. 

I was then told I needed to lie on the bed for 20 minutes while they monitor the baby – I was thinking no way is that possible, but being a good diligent girl got onto the bed with their help and got all the straps attached to me.   The straps lasted for as long as the internal at which time the staff jumped into action, phoning the gynae, and prepping for the baby. 

It turned out I was fully dilated and I was told I could start pushing. I guess Sister We Will See was wrong about me and I was going all natural.  Pushing brought me such relief, (even though I didn’t know what I was doing), because I couldn’t feel the contractions.   About 20 minutes later Dr Truter arrived, a very sweet man who put me at ease from the moment he walked him. He had a gentleness about him that I liked and he called Grace (who wasn’t yet named) bokkie bum and 15 minutes after he arrived Grace was born at 04h30. 

In retrospect (the joy of retrospect) I realised that my contractions were really not very strong because I could not feel anything while pushing, so I would push then stop and then say no it’s still going on and would carry on pushing.  After a while I figured out that 3 breathes was the length of each contraction and would push for 3 breathes and then rest. It also took me a few pushes to understand that the sensation I was feeling was actually her head, but once I understood I pushed well. I had a minor internal tear for which I was given 2 stitches and that was that – 3 1/2 hours and Grace was born.  

And then she was here, no manual and me feeling way out of my depth.  We have come along way from that first day and although we are 8 years in I’m still learning with you and from you. 

Happy birthday my special girl, you make our lives fuller and richer and we are blessed to call you our daughter. Your brothers are so lucky to have you as a sister and we all love you very much. 

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