Amazement amidst anguish

Another beautiful birth story given graciously for me to share with you (Once again, names have been changed).

Sonya’s birth Story. (DOB 27/12/81)

Sonya is our third child. We only planned to have 2 children, but the month I conceived Sonya I knew I was living dangerously, & she was the result! I had a 3 year old & a 1 year old already, so busy was not an adequate description, even before she was born. It was a good pregnancy I never had any problems, except all day sickness for the first 3 months. During that time Ben took Long Service Leave, & we travelled in a campervan from Cootamundra to Port Douglas via the coast, then home via the inland. I found pineapple very helpful for morning sickness. We started buying them at McLean, on the Northern NSW coast, & continued as far North as they were available. We called Sonya our pineapple baby! The travelling kept me going. I had to wash nappies for Tasha every day, & help put up & take down the tent, as well as caring for Michael & Tasha (my other children).

I didn’t have time to dwell on how I was feeling. And anyway, I wasn’t going to let my morning sickness spoil a good holiday! Our niece was born while we were staying at ‘Bungawarra,’ on our way home.

Later in the pregnancy I found out that she was in the breech position. This meant that they would want to do a caesarean for the birth. I even stood on my head to try to change her position, but to no avail! I went to the Anaesthetist in our little country town to discuss options for the birth. He would not even offer me an epidural, stating that the hospital staff were not geared for that. I was extremely angry. I felt like a piece of meat that was being passed around on a plate. I told my GP how I felt. He was a Christian. He decided to pray about it. He came to visit me at our new home, I think to tell me this, or maybe it was to offer their water cooler, as they were upgrading to air conditioning. What a kind thought. It was an extremely hot, drought summer when she was born, so that cooler made all the difference. (the drought broke in March 1982.) He asked us to pray as well, but I confess that we were a fractured relationship at the time, so were not able to do that with any effectiveness.

A blessing at that time were some 2nd hand maternity dresses from my sister in law. Being the third & last baby, I was pretty sick of my own clothes. Those little bought cotton dresses were just a joy to me, compared to my much used, hand made garments.

I was extremely tired towards the end of the pregnancy. We also moved house when I was 7 months pregnant. It was a good move to ¾ acre out of town, but by the end of the move I was almost in a state of collapse. My GP’s wife brought us a meal the day we moved.

God gave me these verses to hang on to: Isaiah 40:30-31. ‘Even youths grow weary, & young men stumble & fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run & not grow weary, they will walk & not faint. ‘ I have only realised in later years that these verses are preceded by a description of God the Creator, who does not grow tired or weary, & whose understanding no one can fathom.

On boxing day It was a little cooler, & I had a surge of energy. I planted out some cabbages in my new garden. That night I began my birthing journey, still thinking that I would be having a C/S. I rang the Dr close to midnight, & we went to the hospital. He examined me, & said, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

I said, “Wont that be a bit late to do a C/S?”

He said, “God told me to wait, & He hasn’t said anything else.”

I said,”does that mean that I can labour?”

He said, “Yes.”

I was absolutely ecstatic, and got on with the job!!! Of course, I was labouring on the bed, as we did in those days, & also to guard against the risk of a cord prolapse, which can happen with a breech. I found something in the room, on each side of the bed, on which I could focus during contractions. I also used the Lamaze breathing that I had learnt for my first birth. Sonya was born just before 7 am on Dec 27th.

Ben had slept on a couch for part of the night, until I insisted that he be woken. He always supported me through the labours & births, & I don’t know how I would have gone without him. We were a good team at those times. We called her Sonya. We always had a name ready for each baby, boy & girl, as we did not find out the sex until they were born.

I did not use any drugs, which was my pattern for all the children. The Dr did put local anaesthetic into my peri for the birth. My legs were up in stirrups, & I had an episiotomy. He applied forceps to the head once I had breathed the body out. All this was the usual practise then. It was the easiest birth of the 3. The ideal position to deliver a breech is standing up, just for the record. But no one gets to have a vaginal breech birth, unless it is undiagnosed, so it was only the Lord’s intervention that enabled me to have Sonya naturally. My Dr. said that the experience taught him to rely more on God & less on his text books when making medical decisions.

Sonya was taken to the resus table. I did not hear her cry for probably 30 seconds to a minute, & called out to ask if she was OK. I felt stranded, with my legs still up, & a feeling of let down, because she was not in my arms. However, soon she was given to me, but all wrapped up, of course. No skin to skin in those days!!! She had bright bright red hair, & plenty of it. Her sister was so jealous that I didn’t let Sonya have long hair until she was about 4 years old!

Breast feeding was no problem. I had already breast fed 2 children, & was supremely confident. In those days the babies were kept in a nursery, & you only saw them for a feed. How much better it is now, with babies right by their mothers bed, so that they can get to know each other. Also, I was in hospital for 6 days. On the last day I had planned to go to church with Ben, but he went out to fight a fire that was threatening local homes. He did not tell me where he was. It wasn’t a positive day.

We went home the next day, to a 4 year old, a 2 year old, & our many problems. But Sonya was an absolute joy. Not because she was a no noise baby, but because I felt so confident in my mothering. I also knew that she would be the last child, & I just relaxed & loved her, not feeling the pressure to grow her up before another baby was planned.

My mum helped out for a time after she was born, probably about 4 to 6 weeks I think. I breast fed for 8 months, then started to wean, because it seemed the only thing that I could change, in the midst of heartache & exhaustion. (I think I had undiagnosed Post Natal Depression, partly due to the circumstances at home.) I have always regretted that decision. Sonya loved the breast. She was weaned by 11 months.

The psalm that God gave me after she was born was Psalm 126, especially verse 5-6: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.’ Well, I had my harvest, but I wasn’t so good at the songs of joy.

Now she is a mother herself & I was her Doula. That is another story.

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