Written by Justine Rae
(Stock image used)
After living in the UK and having my daughter born there, I found it very strange that it was so difficult to have a natural birth in South Africa. Midwives and normal deliveries are the norm in the UK and a Gynae is only seen if a pregnancy is considered high risk. People here were amazed that I had had an un-medicated natural birth and to this day, even since having had my son, I am told ‘wow you are brave’. To the ladies out there who have had C-sections…you are the brave ones! From the friends who have had to be knocked out because the epidural didn’t take and they missed the birth of their child, to the ones who had to have hysterectomy’s due to the scalpel cutting their bladders by accident, or the ones who nearly bled out on the operating table because they were told, ” their baby was too big’, or ‘the placenta is calcifying’, or ‘your pelvis is too small’ for a natural birth. It makes me so mad.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I didn’t even approach a Gynae. The three nearest hospitals had C-section rates of over 80 percent and I was not even going to go down that road. I was healthy and fit and although I had had a long labour (21 hours…yes normal for a first baby) with my daughter, I was confident I could do it again. I found a midwife called Cheryl Rowe and never looked back. She has delivered over 800 babies and out of all those births, the amount that have ended in a woman needing a C-section, is 5 %. Amazing statistic don’t you think???
I went into labour on a Friday afternoon at about 3pm. I had been having Braxton hicks for about two weeks so I was in complete denial. I was 39 weeks pregnant. I got into the bath and tried to have a nap, but at about 5pm I felt uncomfortable. We called my mum and I bounced on my gym ball whilst watching kids programmes on TV with my daughter. I would have a contraction but they didn’t last long and even after phoning the midwife to say that we would meet her at the hospital, I thought she would tell me to go home. When we got to the hospital, I was shown to the delivery suite and continued bouncing on the gym ball there and leaning on the bed. The best position! My mum left with my daughter when Cheryl got there. She checked me and I was 8cm! I couldn’t believe it…it really hadn’t been too bad at all. I got into the water (It was about 8pm) and by 9pm I was told I was fully dilated and could start pushing. Well after a long labour and easy pushing stage with my first, I thought this would be a piece of cake. I was wrong…the cord was wrapped right round Jude and so he thought he would take a really long time to come out. ‘Baby’s are very clever, they take their time if they get the cord wrapped round them’, Cheryl told me after (she originally just thought I wasn’t very good at pushing!) I got out the water and ended up squatting between my hubby’s legs to birth him. I know for sure that if I had had an epidural, I would have ended up with an emergency C-section,. I had to feel my body to help Jude out, there was no other way. I could move around and use gravity and that made all the difference. He was born at 22:22pm and weighed 3.2kg’s. He was perfect! I had no delivery tears and daddy got skin to skin while I was sorted. He latched beautifully and I was able to go home the next day. We just celebrated his fist birthday today 🙂 Ladies out there, you owe it to yourselves and your babies to birth naturally. If something doesn’t sound right, get a second opinion. How you birth affects the rest of your life.