Saturday, 22 September 2012

A child is born

August is now four months old and it has taken me a long time to compile my thoughts about his birth. It was a day that changed my life forever and I don't think my words do the experience justice, but here is my poor attempt.

My last days of pregnancy

I woke restless. My expected due date was the next day and I felt as though holding my child was a distant reality. My mother had arrived from Australia a few days earlier and Rasmus, when not at school was at home with us. We were all in waiting mode and yet it was so surreal, almost too good to be true.

I felt ready, and in the weeks leading to August's birth I decided I wanted to give birth naturally, without drugs. I wanted to feel every moment and work hard, the hardest I have ever worked for the universe's most incredible gift. Other than this I hadn't planned for the birth. I didn't know what to expect so I didn't plan. My mind was open and prepared.

After a slow and anxious morning, desperately trying to not think about the nearing birth, which made my heart feel as though it could explode with excitement, excitement that was almost too much to bear, we dressed and left for the city. It was a welcome distraction.

It was a sunny day and we spent our time walking and taking pictures of the matured parks and buildings in Stockholm. It was hours before we were forced to go home due to sore feet and hunger. On the train trip home I felt occasional and familiar squeezing sensations in my ever growing belly, not painful but noticeable. I thought nothing of it as they had been happening regularly for a long week before, rousing my hopes just a little each time. I placed my hand on my belly and a shiver of love and excitement rushed through me, knowing that I would meet my son so soon.

Arriving home, we ate a late dinner and the squeezing feelings came more often, a comfortable, warm tightening of my swollen belly which I didn't yet dare to believe was the beginning of labour. I told my mama and she started to get excited but I still didn't want to get my hopes up. But the contractions didn't go away, more and more often they came and then after some time there was pain. It was subtle to begin with but then grew as the contractions quickly came more often. I told myself it was nothing. I knew that the worst pain would be worse than I could imagine and there were hours of pain ahead of me. I was very relaxed even as the pain increased. Rasmus drew a bath and joined me in the warm water. Sitting behind me, he touched my stomach and held me close when my belly began to tighten again. Afterwards, Rasmus started timing each contraction which were now only a few minutes apart. What we had waited for, for so long had finally come. We knew then that our child was ready to join us.

Rasmus rang the hospital as I paced excitedly up and down the kitchen. They told us to wait for another two hours before leaving the house so we went to bed and tried to sleep but the contractions came so often and I was in too much pain. Time had been warped and it felt as though only five minutes had past before both my mother and Rasmus were trying to get me dressed, packed and into the taxi. The streets outside were deserted and the calm of night lingered. The journey was short and the taxi driver seemed not to notice that I was in labour despite my long, deep breaths, and casually chatted with Rasmus who was trying to comfort me as each little bump seemed to bring on another contraction. Nothing bothered me though. My focus had turned to myself, completely internal, almost as though I was in a mediative state and what went on around me was like a blur or a vague sensation. After arriving at the hospital I was dragged back to reality with the task of finding the delivery ward. None of us knew where to go. We went four floors up to a delivery ward just to be sent downstairs again to another. Strong contractions were coming every three minutes and it was four o'clock in the morning. But I was in a gleaming mood. The walking, the contractions, the getting lost in the hospital didn't dampen my spirits at all. In between my contractions we all joked and laughed together.

Rasmus's welcome touch and soft, sweet words of encouragement

My contractions were monitored and the nurses checked to see if I was dilated enough to stay at the hospital. To my surprise and relief I was four and a half centimeters dilated and had started to bleed. The nurse looked at me and said happily 'You're having a baby today.' I couldn't keep the grin off my face and my heart leaped with joy. In a matter of hours I was going to have my baby in my arms.

I was left in relative peace in my room, the nurses coming to check the baby's heart beat and my progress every so often as well as bring food. I tried to eat but my body rejected it and I vomited several times after my contractions. As the time went on the pain grew and grew. I withdrew back into my  mediative state, almost sleeping between each of my contractions. I have never been so calm and focused in my life. My mama and Rasmus massaged my back where it felt like my bones were breaking. But time went quickly. I thought the hours would drag on but I was always surprised to hear how much time had passed and how much I had progressed. The nurses asked if I wanted any pain relief and I refused. At that point I became completely determined to give birth naturally. When the pain reached its peak Rasmus urged me to take something. He hated seeing me hurting so much. I looked into his eyes and said 'No' and he understood how resolute I was. Not once did I lose hope, not once did I think or say that I couldn't do it, as though I was making up for the all the times I had said it before. I was the strongest I had ever been with my new found woman power.


My Mama by my side

The morning light filtered through the windows but I barely noticed. More contractions came and before even realising, my body had started pushing. By then it was late morning. The midwife checked me again and said that I was just off 10 centimetres and told me to try not to push for just a few more minutes. I almost had to laugh at this seemingly impossible task as the pushing urges had become overwhelmingly strong and trying to stop my body took more effort and concentration than I ever thought I had. I was helped to the toilet and tried to resist pushing until my body was ready. Finally the midwives checked me one last time and told me I was ready to push. I was stirred on after my mama told me that she could see August's head. I couldn't believe he was so close and my exhausted body shivered with anticipation. My baby was almost here. I began pushing on my knees but my legs shook with weariness and trying to hold myself up was taking more energy than pushing. In between a contraction I was helped onto my side. I could feel August's head between my legs and the weight of his little body pressing on me. Lying comfortably, I was ready to push again. I don't know why but this was the least painful part of giving birth. My midwife reminded me to listen to my body and wait for the contractions. It was so difficult because the only urge I had was to push with all my might. However, with my last ounce of strength, I held back that tremendous urge until my next contraction.

After one last push and then an overwhelming surge of relief my son was born. I glimpsed a surprised face, a tiny, squashed face with big, confused eyes. My heart reached out to him and ached as soon as I set my eyes on him. I wanted to hold him so much and it seemed to take a millenium before I could have him in my arms. I looked to Rasmus and I could see the tears rolling down his cheeks. Not a tear fell from my eyes. Every emotion hit me at once and my body had no energy to produce the tears. I just looked down at my baby boy fascinated, overwhelmed, proud, relieved and everything in between. It felt so comfortable to have him in my arms, as if I had held him a thousand times before. I counted his fingers and toes just like my mama told me she had counted mine and touched every part of him. Those first moments of his life, while I lay there with him in my arms, were the happiest of my life. The world stood still and all that mattered was being there with a brand new creature in my arms still connected to me, and Rasmus wrapped around me, kissing us both. Rasmus cut the umbilical cord and just like that our baby was his own person. He lay there calm, warm against my bare skin and I rejoiced with the knowledge that we were a family. Safe and loving with our tiny child.

A family for the first time

Counting tiny toes

August arrived at 12:42 on the 18th May 2012 (his due date). He weighed 3230 grams and measured 49 centimeters long. He was perfect. After birthing the placenta a hot shower and some food, our tiny family lay together, exhausted in bed and fell into a deep sleep. No dreams came to me then, I was already living one.

An amazed Papa and tired Mama

August drinking for the fist time

In Papa's arms

*Thank you to my beautiful Mama who documented everything, travelled all the way to Sweden and never left my side. 


  1. Beautiful Alyx. It was a privilege to be part of it.

  2. I'll admit it! I cried. What a beautiful record of August's birth. xx