We put our two sons to bed for their afternoon nap. I go to bed too and try to sleep a little. Tiredness is said to be mostly a first trimester thing, but I’ve been tired for nine months now…
It’s still quiet in the house. The children don’t usually sleep that long. I’m well awake and enjoy the peace and quiet in the house. Mmmmm, I really want to postpone that moment they stop taking a nap for as long as possible.
I need to pee. It feels like I continue to urinate, as if I no longer control my bladder. Strange. I tell Bert and feel another gush coming. Not normal. Unless it’s my waters that have broke? I check again and it seems unlikely. It’s very clear, I remember it being pinkish with flakes. Another tour to the toilet, too late, my pants are wet. Ok so my waters have gone. I always thought my labour would start early morning. How will I cope with an afternoon labour?
Bert calls Lieve. She advises us to arrange care for the kids so we can enjoy a little time together. Bert calls my mother. I hear them say that she could be there around half five, there are no contractions yet, there’s plenty of time. I shout from the couch to call someone else if she can’t come straight away. She’s coming. The kids are still asleep.
Bert is rushing around, improvising blinding for the kitchen windows, he’s throwing some toys in the playroom, lighting the stove. I’m still on the couch, the contractions have started now. It’s still quiet upstairs. I’m pulling myself up to gather some stuff for the kids and praise myself for my organisational skills: everything is ready at the door. Third time lucky.
My mum knocks on the window. Bert gets Linus and Wannes out of bed and pushes them gently but a bit perplex in the arms of their granny. Bag in the car, bye bye. I stay on the couch, the contractions have started properly now.
Bert calls Lieve again. Can she come over to check? She’s on her way.
Bert is preparing some stuff here and there, brings me water and comes to sit next to me. I wonder where Lieve is. It’s taking so long. And those contractions, do they have to come so close together? Is it really necessary to be that painful? Bert asks if I want to take a bath upstairs. I would love to, but I’m wondering if I can still get there. And if I would make it back downstairs afterwards. Once I’m in that bath, I won’t come out before the baby comes. And I don’t want to have a waterbirth. And mostly: I don’t want to put one foot before the other, I don’t want to take the stairs. Please leave me lying here.
Lieve has arrived. I’m scared, it’s all going so fast. I start crying, I tell her what’s on my mind, she tells me to let go.
I realise at that point we’re meeting our third child today. I’m accepting what’s coming. The contractions don’t decrease in intensity, they are not less painful either.
From that moment I loose grip on the time. It’s going fast, very fast. The contractions become stronger and it seems like there’s no break in between them. I want to change position. On all fours, hanging onto the couch, on the birthing stool, back onto all fours, hanging onto the couch, on the birthing stool, the couch again, bending over Berts lap, back to the birthing stool. In the corner of my eye I see a little chair smoking, it’s too close to the fire. I don’t care. Bert does care, he asks the student midwife to take care of it. I’m on the birthing stool, next to the birthing stool. Ann has arrived too in the meantime. Back to the birthing stool. It’s going way too fast. “Are these pushing contractions already?” Yes. “Is the baby coming?” Whenever you want to. If I want to. Ok. There he comes. I feel the little head, I feel his shoulders. Shouldn’t it be one thing at a time? I feel the little body, pull my hands away and let our baby be born.
He’s arrived. His name is Florian and he’s just perfect.
Midwife Lieve ads:
A third birth in a family, the third birth I’m attending. I have come a long way together with this lovely warm family. When I arrive, I’m at home. I don’t have to introduce myself, we know each other already. It’s a very straightforward birth, the little boy knows what he wants. Even if the mother is doubting herself, the baby knows the way. The parents are a great team. With love they made this baby, with love they are bringing it into this world. It’s so beautiful, so real. It’s a privilege to be part of this.
Welcom Florian, brother of Linus and Wannes. You are as unique as your brothers, but you are still three of a kind.
My love and gratitude goes out to Soetkin and Bert, for their loving openness for each other and their children. The road can sometimes be tough and painful, just like birth, but together you go your way, surrounded and supported by many.