John's Birth

written by Margie

Kay was impatient to have her baby and didn’t anticipate having to wait until her due date, the 5th February. There were, however, lots of days it was not suitable; for example other people’s birthdays or James’ first day of high school and so on. I wondered when this birth would fit in and guessed it would have to make room for itself, just as the baby would need to fit in to an already existing, busy family life.

Kay’s first call came excitedly at about 8.30 pm Monday 31 January after James’ first day of high school. “It’s on, I’ve just been to the toilet and had a show”. I was in the midst of a major spring clean at the time Kay called; I was hot, sweaty and tired. I suggested that she go to sleep as soon as she could, as I usually do when first signs of labour occur in the evening or night. If labours’s going to kick in strongly the woman will have to get up, but the sleep, or at least rest, can make sure that energy reserves are maintained for harder labour work. Kay replied that there was no way she was going to bed, she wanted to get on with it and have a baby. She’s had three babies already, and hey! It’s not my body: maybe we’d meet the new baby by midnight? By morning?

Her older boys weren’t too keen to be there and Kay felt like some company. I showered and organised myself to go and be with Kay and meet her baby. The older boys would sleep over with their cousin who would make sure they all got off to school ok the next morning. Terry, at 9, was a bit teary about the idea of going and of the idea of Kay not taking him to school the next day for the Assembly allocation of classes and teachers. While all this organization was underway Kay’s contractions were mild. She needed to attend to the other kids, reassure, make ‘letting them know when the baby’s born’ arrangements and say good bye.

Finally everything was quiet and we watched a bit of TV together and the contractions looked stronger. Trips to the loo showed more mucus. I suggested Kay call her midwife, Marie, before it was too late, just to let her know something might be happening.

Later in the evening things slowed down and we decided to go to bed. Kay looked pretty pissed off that the labour wasn’t starting more definitively. I snuggled myself into Terry’s bed and dozed fitfully. I heard Kay get up and pace. There were times during the night when the contractions were intense enough for Kay to kneel down, focus and breathe through them but then the intensity would dwindle again. It was a hard night for Kay as she was confused about what was happening – or not happening – as she saw it.

In the early morning Kay was dispirited and tired. I knew labour hadn’t established overnight, despite some phases of fairly strong looking contractions. I knew it was too early for a midwife to attend but I felt that Kay needed her. I hoped Marie could visit Kay before the rest of her day began. When I rang the midwife sounded tired. Not long after our evening call she’d had another from a client with some bleeding in pregnancy which she needed to check. Marie asked me how Kay was doing, whether labour had kicked in yet. I replied that Kay had had contractions all night and that I thought she needed to come over. I was vague but insistent and she agreed to come soon.

The midwife arrived an hour or so later and quietly chatted with Kay and observed what was going on. I could see Kay relax to know that Marie was around. We talked a bit about letting go of responsibility for the other kids and Kay arrived at the conclusion that she needed to ask her ex for assistance until the birth happened, when ever that may be. That would give the kids the security they needed and make Kay secure too that they were ok.

Marie departed and Kay had a choice of quietly resting or going for a walk. She decided that a bit of a walk up the hill would be good, then maybe she’d take it easy later on. Kay drove to the bottom of the hill and as we passed other mothers heading towards the school Assembly building I commented that she could do so too if she felt like it. She wasn’t impressed. Whatever was happening was enough to make the outside world of other people seem too hard and unattractive.

We wandered slowly up the slopes of Mount Majura, feeling the warmth of the sun, knowing it would soon feel too hot for comfort. We didn’t talk much and after a while Kay knew she’d had enough and wanted to turn back. I drove the short trip home.

I left Kay at her place and returned home to a quiet day of waiting for the next call or until late afternoon when I’d visit again with the midwife. No call came during the afternoon so we met up again between 5pm and 6pm. Contractions were still quite erratic and Kay was despondent. At some stage her friend Ellen arrived and we were all siting around, Kay still feeling frustrated that the labour wasn’t getting anywhere yet.

Marie suggested rest and give up on the idea of having a baby. She suggested a homeopathic sleep remedy and we wondered where we might get some. I remembered that a previous client had used some with apparently good effect during her wait for her baby and decided to ring her and see if she still had it and if we could use it. She answered and was very positive about me coming over to pick it up from her. I thought it might be helpful for Kay to have some time with just Marie and organised Ellen to come with me in order to take the pressure off Kay feeling like she had to ‘do something’.

While we were away Marie checked Kay’s dilation – she was 5cm and the baby had changed from a posterior position to anterior – a better way for the baby to line up. This was reassuring news as it meant that the contractions had been working beneficially.

We all left Kay tucked up in bed. It was not going to be worth Marie’s while to go home so she came back with me with the idea of a bit of a lie down for everyone. We had a cup of tea and were just getting ready to have a nap when the phone rang. ‘Come baaackkk!’ Kay implored. The contractions had arrived with a vengeance.

Kay spent her labour in James’ room on the lower bunk; rocking back and forwards, rotating her pelvis, burying her face in a pillow, moaning and focussing on her breath. At one point she had a shower but it was a quick change of scene rather than a place she felt good in. A return to the bed. As the contractions continued to intensify we called Ellen and Jane. They came in and were chatty. The contractions were long and strong. Kay liked the inwards pressure as I pushed on her hip bones, sucked up drinks and liked her face being wiped cool. With Ellen and Jane present Marie and I sat in the hall listening for a change of pace, the catch in the voice. And there it was, accompanied by Kay trying more upright positions rather than kneeling forward. She began to hang from the bars of the top bunk, then kneel on the floor with her torso upright though contractions while flopping forward during the rest phase. Marie got her gear ready. The room was squashy. Ellen was still unaware that the birth was imminent at this point and I knew that Kay really wanted birth photos to match her other sons’ births. I tried to quietly hurry Ellen to get the camera organised and to climb over the bed to establish herself in a little pocket of space between in front of the chest of drawers so that she’d have a clear view, not impeded by Marie on the other side. Marie had asked Kay a short while earlier if there was pressure in her bottom. ‘No’, said Kay. ‘No worries. It’ll come’ Soon Kay said ‘pressure… pushing’ and a few pushes later out bundled a baby. I heard Ellen cry excitedly ‘another boy!’

Kay picked up her baby, at first looking quite dazed that he was in the world and then intently focussing on drinking him in.

John's Birth

written by Margie

Kay was impatient to have her baby and didn’t anticipate having to wait until her due date, the 5th February. There were, however, lots of days it was not suitable; for example other people’s birthdays or James’ first day of high school and so on. I wondered when this birth would fit in and guessed it would have to make room for itself, just as the baby would need to fit in to an already existing, busy family life.

Kay’s first call came excitedly at about 8.30 pm Monday 31 January after James’ first day of high school. “It’s on, I’ve just been to the toilet and had a show”. I was in the midst of a major spring clean at the time Kay called; I was hot, sweaty and tired. I suggested that she go to sleep as soon as she could, as I usually do when first signs of labour occur in the evening or night. If labours’s going to kick in strongly the woman will have to get up, but the sleep, or at least rest, can make sure that energy reserves are maintained for harder labour work. Kay replied that there was no way she was going to bed, she wanted to get on with it and have a baby. She’s had three babies already, and hey! It’s not my body: maybe we’d meet the new baby by midnight? By morning?

Her older boys weren’t too keen to be there and Kay felt like some company. I showered and organised myself to go and be with Kay and meet her baby. The older boys would sleep over with their cousin who would make sure they all got off to school ok the next morning. Terry, at 9, was a bit teary about the idea of going and of the idea of Kay not taking him to school the next day for the Assembly allocation of classes and teachers. While all this organization was underway Kay’s contractions were mild. She needed to attend to the other kids, reassure, make ‘letting them know when the baby’s born’ arrangements and say good bye.

Finally everything was quiet and we watched a bit of TV together and the contractions looked stronger. Trips to the loo showed more mucus. I suggested Kay call her midwife, Marie, before it was too late, just to let her know something might be happening.

Later in the evening things slowed down and we decided to go to bed. Kay looked pretty pissed off that the labour wasn’t starting more definitively. I snuggled myself into Terry’s bed and dozed fitfully. I heard Kay get up and pace. There were times during the night when the contractions were intense enough for Kay to kneel down, focus and breathe through them but then the intensity would dwindle again. It was a hard night for Kay as she was confused about what was happening – or not happening – as she saw it.

In the early morning Kay was dispirited and tired. I knew labour hadn’t established overnight, despite some phases of fairly strong looking contractions. I knew it was too early for a midwife to attend but I felt that Kay needed her. I hoped Marie could visit Kay before the rest of her day began. When I rang the midwife sounded tired. Not long after our evening call she’d had another from a client with some bleeding in pregnancy which she needed to check. Marie asked me how Kay was doing, whether labour had kicked in yet. I replied that Kay had had contractions all night and that I thought she needed to come over. I was vague but insistent and she agreed to come soon.

The midwife arrived an hour or so later and quietly chatted with Kay and observed what was going on. I could see Kay relax to know that Marie was around. We talked a bit about letting go of responsibility for the other kids and Kay arrived at the conclusion that she needed to ask her ex for assistance until the birth happened, when ever that may be. That would give the kids the security they needed and make Kay secure too that they were ok.

Marie departed and Kay had a choice of quietly resting or going for a walk. She decided that a bit of a walk up the hill would be good, then maybe she’d take it easy later on. Kay drove to the bottom of the hill and as we passed other mothers heading towards the school Assembly building I commented that she could do so too if she felt like it. She wasn’t impressed. Whatever was happening was enough to make the outside world of other people seem too hard and unattractive.

We wandered slowly up the slopes of Mount Majura, feeling the warmth of the sun, knowing it would soon feel too hot for comfort. We didn’t talk much and after a while Kay knew she’d had enough and wanted to turn back. I drove the short trip home.

I left Kay at her place and returned home to a quiet day of waiting for the next call or until late afternoon when I’d visit again with the midwife. No call came during the afternoon so we met up again between 5pm and 6pm. Contractions were still quite erratic and Kay was despondent. At some stage her friend Ellen arrived and we were all siting around, Kay still feeling frustrated that the labour wasn’t getting anywhere yet.

Marie suggested rest and give up on the idea of having a baby. She suggested a homeopathic sleep remedy and we wondered where we might get some. I remembered that a previous client had used some with apparently good effect during her wait for her baby and decided to ring her and see if she still had it and if we could use it. She answered and was very positive about me coming over to pick it up from her. I thought it might be helpful for Kay to have some time with just Marie and organised Ellen to come with me in order to take the pressure off Kay feeling like she had to ‘do something’.

While we were away Marie checked Kay’s dilation – she was 5cm and the baby had changed from a posterior position to anterior – a better way for the baby to line up. This was reassuring news as it meant that the contractions had been working beneficially.

We all left Kay tucked up in bed. It was not going to be worth Marie’s while to go home so she came back with me with the idea of a bit of a lie down for everyone. We had a cup of tea and were just getting ready to have a nap when the phone rang. ‘Come baaackkk!’ Kay implored. The contractions had arrived with a vengeance.

Kay spent her labour in James’ room on the lower bunk; rocking back and forwards, rotating her pelvis, burying her face in a pillow, moaning and focussing on her breath. At one point she had a shower but it was a quick change of scene rather than a place she felt good in. A return to the bed. As the contractions continued to intensify we called Ellen and Jane. They came in and were chatty. The contractions were long and strong. Kay liked the inwards pressure as I pushed on her hip bones, sucked up drinks and liked her face being wiped cool. With Ellen and Jane present Marie and I sat in the hall listening for a change of pace, the catch in the voice. And there it was, accompanied by Kay trying more upright positions rather than kneeling forward. She began to hang from the bars of the top bunk, then kneel on the floor with her torso upright though contractions while flopping forward during the rest phase. Marie got her gear ready. The room was squashy. Ellen was still unaware that the birth was imminent at this point and I knew that Kay really wanted birth photos to match her other sons’ births. I tried to quietly hurry Ellen to get the camera organised and to climb over the bed to establish herself in a little pocket of space between in front of the chest of drawers so that she’d have a clear view, not impeded by Marie on the other side. Marie had asked Kay a short while earlier if there was pressure in her bottom. ‘No’, said Kay. ‘No worries. It’ll come’ Soon Kay said ‘pressure… pushing’ and a few pushes later out bundled a baby. I heard Ellen cry excitedly ‘another boy!’

Kay picked up her baby, at first looking quite dazed that he was in the world and then intently focussing on drinking him in.